Archive

Posts Tagged ‘John Workman’

Mega Man (2011 Series) #8

July 27, 2012 Leave a comment

July 13, 2012

Title: Time Keeps on Slipping Part Four-Duplicity

Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: Chad Thomas
Inks: Gary Martin
Letters: John Workman
Colors: Matt Herms
Cover Art: Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante
Editor: Paul Kaminski
Publisher: Archie Comics

Things look bad for Mega Man. He and his buddies, the first wave of Robot Masters, have managed to track down Dr. Wily and his new robots to their secret hideout, only for him to regain control of our friends. Now, Mega Man and Special Agent Rosie Krantz have eight Robot Masters to face down if they’re going to save his sister, Roll, from becoming another of Wily’s pawns.

The interesting thing here is that I honestly find my synopsis of the issue – while accurate – wholly inadequate. Ian Flynn is doing a great job with this title, telling a story that, on the surface, is the sort of screwy sci-fi superhero adventure that we would have seen back in the Silver Age. Once you chip past the surface, however, we’re given a comic that has surprising depth of emotion. Rock (Mega Man’s “secret identity,” such as it is) is faced with some interesting moral and ethical quandaries here, and the nature of sentience and life itself is a topic of serious and legitimate discussion for this title.

At the same time, Flynn brings the funny. There’s a great little moment, for instance, when Roll has to remind her brother that he should be hunting down Wily, which leads to a nice little comedy beat. The book isn’t a full-on comedy, of course, but there’s enough funny in here to keep the kids entertained.

Chad Thomas and Gary Martin have crafted a style for this title that borrows a little from American animation, a little from Japanese Anime, and a little from the style of the video games themselves to create a comic that looks… well… it’s not unique, and it’s not unprecedented. But it’s effective and it fits the family of these characters. It looks right.

Mega Man has been a surprisingly emotional and entertaining addition to the Archie Comics family.

Rating: 8/10

Solo (2004 Series) #3

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

February 22, 2005

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: The Problem in Knossos and other stories

The works of Paul Pope!

Writer: Paul Pope
Art: Paul Pope
Colors: Jose Villarrubia, Dave Stewart & James Jean
Letters: John Workman & Ken Lopez
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Cover Art: Paul Pope
Publisher: DC Comics

As much as I love the basic idea behind this book, this issue and last haven’t really used the format to its fullest potential. Giving an artist 48 ad-free pages to go nuts and tell whatever kind of stories they want is a great idea, and Paul Pope’s artwork, for the most part, is quite good. But the stories don’t really go anywhere.

I do applaud Pope for straddling several different genres in this issue, however. The first story, “The Problem in Knossos,” is a pretty straightforward telling of the Greek myth of the Minotaur, from the circumstances of its conception to its bloody death. Beautiful artwork, but there’s no real new twist to the story to make you understand why he’s telling it again.

“Are You Ready For the World That’s Coming?” is a retelling of the origin of Jack Kirby’s Omac, one of his more out there science fiction comics. We start with a scrawny little guy named Buddy Blank who gets transformed into something fierce. Straightforward. Pope does a good Kirby riff in the artwork, but again, it’s nothing new.

“Life-Sized Monster Ghost” is probably the best story in the book. It’s a quick and seemingly autobiographical tale of a little boy who’s got big dreams about all those cheesy toys that used to be advertised in the back of comic books – which may not live up to expectations.

In “On This Corner,” Pope does the best art, but with the weakest story in the book. It’s the story of a runaway in a Will Eisner-esque setting, but there’s no meat to it. “Teenage Sidekick,” the last story, is similarly pointless. The Joker has captured Robin (Dick Grayson), and Batman has to save him. The story is an excuse to preach about each of the characters – it commits the cardinal sin of telling instead of showing.

This title, naturally, is a showcase for artists and not for writing, but the previous two artists who worked here hooked up with writers to help them out. Pope’s stories just plain missed the mark.

Rating: 6/10

Mega Man (2011 Series) #3

August 22, 2011 Leave a comment

August 13, 2011

Title: Let the Games Begin Part Three: Power Get!

Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils:
Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante
Inks:
Gary Martin
Colorist:
John Workman
Letterer:
Matt Herms
Cover Artist:
Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante
Editor:
Paul Kaminski
Publisher:
Archie Comics

Mega Man has been marching through Dr. Wily’s transformed robots, defeating each of them and taking his weapons in turn. But with the defeat of each enemy he seems to be enjoying his victories more and more, and his thirst for battle is growing ever stronger… will Dr. Light have to step in to save Rock’s soul?

Once again, Archie’s Mega Man is providing the reader with a wonderful surprise. This simple video game adaptation, in the first two issues, dug into the psyche of an unwilling soldier going to war. Now it shifts gears and looks at what can make a good, gentle man turn into a someone who craves violence. Let me emphasize where, exactly, this story is coming from: it’s the Archie comic book based on the Mega Man video game. I simply can’t believe how deep Ian Flynn is taking this book. He’s not doing it in a frightening way, nor in a way that would soar over the heads of the children this book is primarily crafted for, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to give the kids something to mull over. It’s an interesting fable about not allowing the necessity of a fight transform you into someone who relishes it.

Also, he beats up Fire Man.

Rating: 8/10

Mega Man (2011 Series) #2

July 30, 2011 Leave a comment

July 20, 2011

Title: Weapons GET! (Let the Games Begin Part Two)

Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils:
Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante
Inks:
Rick Bryant
Colorist:
Matt Herms
Letterer:
John Workman
Cover:
Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante
Editor:
Paul Kaminski       
Publisher:
Archie Comics

The evil Dr. Wily has corrupted the robots invented by his former partner, Dr. Light, and turned them into weapons of destruction. To save the world, Light’s gentle assistant robot Rock has volunteered to be transformed into a new kind of warrior: Mega Man. In this issue, as he does battle with the likes of Bomb Man and Guts Man, Rock learns how to adopt the weapons of his fallen enemies, even as he questions the wisdom of going into battle against his own kind.

I’ve gotta tell you, when Archie Comics announced that they were going to be launching a Mega Man series, the last thing I expected was a deep examination of the mental state of the modern soldier. Rock’s reluctance to fight brainwashed robots, coupled with his own self-recriminations when he’s forced into a position where he has to destroy them, makes for one of the most cerebral comics I’ve ever read from this publisher.

That’s not to say that the comic doesn’t work as a simple action tale – it does, and it does so in a very entertaining fashion. People who grew up playing the video games will find just what they expected. It’s an additional later that seems pretty bold for the righter to add on, actually making a statement of sorts rather than just telling a wacky sci-fi tale. This book works in ways I wouldn’t have expected at all.

Rating: 7/10

Mega Man (2011 Series) #1

June 19, 2011 Leave a comment

June 17, 2011

Title: Trouble Get (Let the Games Begin Part One)

Writer: Ian Flynn
Art:
Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante
Colorist:
Matt Herms
Letterer:
John Workman
Cover:
Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante
Editor:
Paul Kaminski       
Publisher:
Archie Comics

Considering that Sonic the Hedgehog has been a solid seller for Archie Comics for over 225 issues now, it’s kind of odd that they’ve waited so long to try to expand their video game hero library. On the other hand, maybe they’ve just been waiting for the right project. Mega Man kicks things off with the origin of the young robotic hero.

The good Doctor Light has given up on building weapons. His new generation of robots is intended for peaceful purposes. But his former ally, Dr. Wily, isn’t willing to accept the new robots, and abducts them, reprogramming them into weapons of conquest. A new hero must be constructed to stand against them.

The story isn’t really anything new here – Mega Man has been around as a video game character for decades, after all. Ian Flynn has done a great job of polishing off that old story, injecting a little more pathos into it, and turning it into a modern kid-friendly action yarn. The book is just exciting enough to keep you turning the pages, while still picking into the characters pretty well. Patrick Spaziante brings his considerable skill to the table, providing art that seems, at first blush, to be very Manga-inspired. In truth, though, it’s just faithful to the classic character designs.

Not being much of a video game player myself, I really don’t know how aware kids these days are of Mega Man. I hope the book finds its audience, though – it’s a worthy companion to the venerable Sonic franchise.

Rating: 8/10

Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer #1

May 4, 2011 Leave a comment

September 18, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The First Dream: Bargains in Blades

Young Prince Elric embarks upon his first dream-quest!

Writer: Michael Moorcock
Art: Walter Simonson
Colors: Steve Oliff
Letters: John Workman
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: Walter Simonson
Publisher: DC Comics

I am at something of a disadvantage reviewing this book –although I’ve heard about Michael Moorcock’s Elric saga, I’ve never read any of the novels in the series and don’t really know much about it. Fortunately, this book seems to be something of a prequel, and as such it supplies me with all the information I need.

In the far past (or perhaps far future) kingdom of Melniboné, the time is coming to select a new emperor. Some factions favor the Emperor’s nephew, Prince Yyrkoon, a scheming, malevolent man who seeks to take the throne that belongs to the rightful heir, Prince Elric. Elric, however, is viewed as weak and sickly by some, a creature held only together by magic, whose reign is destined to be short. Elric, however, is seeking knowledge, and as such is preparing for a dream-quest that will last a full year – the first of many such quests, the others of which will last longer.

I would probably enjoy this more if I was familiar with Elric or his world, but even unfamiliar as I was I had no trouble following the story and found it intriguing. Walter Simonson’s artwork, however, is a total knockout. He was born to draw this sort of high fantasy/science fiction blend, showing equal aplomb with odd technology and with sizzling magic. A few pages spent in a dragon’s lair are absolutely fantastic – they couldn’t have found a better artist to handle this series.

I liked this first issue. I didn’t love it, but I liked it. If you’re a fan of Moorcock’s and you enjoy the Elric novels, bump the rating up a point. If you’re unfamiliar, like I am, this isn’t a bad place to start at all.

Rating: 7/10

Bullet Points #2

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

December 9, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Trajectories in Flight
Rating: T+

As Steve Rogers ponders retirement, Peter Parker wanders onto a very familiar missile testing range.

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Tommy Lee Edwards
Letters: John Workman
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Cover Art: Tommy Lee Edwards
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Last issue, two Marvel icons were irrevocably altered by the same bullet when a German spy successfully murdered Dr. Abraham Erskine before he could transform Steve Rogers into Captain America. The same bullet killed an MP by the name of Ben Parker, depriving the future Peter Parker of the only father figure in his life.

Now, years later, Rogers is semi-retired from the program in which he served his country – the “Iron Man” project. Parker, however, is a young punk, rebellious at school, failing, and addicted to danger… which leads him to a missile testing range, where he absorbs a life-altering dose of gamma radiation.

Yeah, you get where this is going.

Straczynksi has crafted a pretty good story here, showing how the initial alteration has a ripple effect throughout time, changing things for one hero after another. This is the sort of thing the original What If? series did so well, and in fact, that’s what this comic reads like. My only concern is that this doesn’t simply turn into a case of, with every issue, two characters getting combined. It works for Steve and Peter, but if it keeps going it will start to feel like a gimmick.

Tommy Lee Edwards’s artwork is perfect for this title. He’s got a very dark, edgy, sketchy style that fits this twisted version of the Marvel Universe to perfection.

So far, this has been a very strong prism through which to show a different Marvel, and it’s working quite well.

Rating: 8/10