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Posts Tagged ‘Leonard Kirk’

H-E-R-O #14

August 7, 2012 Leave a comment

March 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Ch-Ch-Changes Conclusion

Stuck in the body of Electro-Lass, what does a common construction worker do when his girlfriend is being held hostage and his best friend wants to marry him?

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Leonard Kirk
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: JD Mettler
Letters: Ken Lopez
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: John Van Fleet
Publisher: DC Comics

Trapped in the body of Electro-Lass after using (and promptly losing) the H-Device, the former burly construction worker goes through a roller-coaster in this issue. His best friend tells him he’s in love with him, his girlfriend is being held hostage by a couple of muggers he took out last issue, and he still can’t find the only thing that could give him his own body back.

This issue really shows off the sort of stories you can tell in a book like this with no regular cast, focusing instead on a concept that leaps from character to character. The way this story unfolds and concludes could probably never be done with a continuing character. It makes for an original read that really shouldn’t feel as original as it does.

Will Pfiefer doesn’t skimp on the major subplot of this title either, giving us a scene with the original device-wielder Robby Reed that promises to start tying together the various tales that this book has told since issue one.

It’s always a pleasure to see Leonard Kirk penciling a comic book, and it’s a shame that he doesn’t have a regular series at the moment. He’s one of the most underappreciated artists in comic books – he always has good characterization, dynamic poses and strong storytelling. It’s only due to a quirk of his own (which he freely admits) that he’s no longer penciling JSA. This book only whets my appetite and makes me want more. Together with Wade Von Grawbadger and JD Mettler, they do great work on a comic book bereft of supervillains and with only a few characters in spandex at all (although there are plenty of energy effects which are done very well).

This is a solid book that tells interesting superhero stories that you just couldn’t get anywhere else. The subplot with Robby promises to really kick things into high gear very soon – if you aren’t reading this title, why not? You’re just depriving yourself of one of the smartest superhero comic books out there.

Rating: 8/10

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Legion of Super-Heroes (2005 Series) #4

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

March 28, 2005

Quick Rating: Great

The Science Police make a play for the Legion – and one member holds the key.

Writer: Mark Waid
Co-Plot: Barry Kitson
Pencils: Leonard Kirk & Dave Gibbons
Inks: Mick Gray & Drew Geraci
Colors: Chris Blythe & Paul Mounts
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher & Phil Balsman
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Cover Art: Barry Kitson
Publisher: DC Comics

The United Planets finds a way to crack down on the “dangerous” Legion of Super-Heroes activity, and one unsuspecting member holds the key to the attack. This issue covers more of the team than usual, but the focus is very solidly on a few characters. Cosmic Boy is justifiably outraged at how a member of the team hid the past from them, and equally outraged that Brainiac 5 went along with it, and it all works well in character.

It’s hard to say much more without spoiling the secret of the Legionnaire who’s at the heart of this issue. Suffice it to say, it all comes together well, and furthers the overarching plot of this title, the mysterious “war” that seems to be approaching.

Filling in on the art chores is the always-welcome Leonard Kirk, who has almost as good a handle on this book and its characters as regular artist Barry Kitson. There’s a lot of action this issue, more than we’ve gotten used to seeing in this title, and he handles it all really, really well. The book, overall, amps up the level of intensity and the interest in this title, while still managing to serve up a complete story in a single issue.

In fact, they manage to serve up two complete stories. The second, with art by Dave Gibbons and Drew Geraci, is a quieter story about Karate Kid and Phantom Girl. As the Kid tries to get closer to the biggest heartbreaker in the Legion, Mark Waid explores a really interesting application of her power that, to my knowledge, has never been touched upon before. What makes this series work so well, I think, is the new twists Waid and Kitson have put on this title – the new twists on Phantom Girl, Colossal Boy, Chameleon and others has made this a really great reimagining of the series.

I’ve loved this book from the day the first new issue hit the stands. I still love it. This is one of the best periods the Legion has ever had.

Rating: 8/10

Spider-Man Family (2007 Series) #3

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

June 8, 2007

Spider-Man Family #3 (Marvel Comics)
By Paul Tobin, Pierre Alary, Fred VanLente, Leonard Kirk, Roy Thomas, Jim Craig & Yamanaka Akira

This issue of Spider-Man Family is something of a mixed bag. The focus is on Spidey and the Fantastic Four, which is always an entertaining pairing, but the lead story is kind of weak. Spidey and the FF team up to fight a giant mummy (which is definitely fun), and then again against Electro. There’s a lot of the standard misunderstanding-then-team-up stuff, which is really somewhat out of place considering the relationship between these characters even relatively early in their careers. The personalities are off as well. While it’s true that many of the earliest FF stories made Sue subservient, this issue goes too far in the opposite direction, making her more aggressive than she’s ever been painted. We also see the Scorpion drawn into battle with her former namesake, Mag Gargan, the current Venom — a pretty good story, and certainly a logical one. Next is a reprint of What If? Vol. 1 #1, “What if Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four?” This is one of my all-time favorite What If? stories, and it’s a welcome addition to this book. The story ends with a new “Spider-Man J” tale (does the “J” stand for “Japanese?”), a reprint of the Japanese Spidey title. This is the first of those titles I’ve read and, honestly, I wasn’t impressed with either the story or the artwork. This isn’t a bad issue, but except for the classic reprint, there’s really nothing to get excited about.

Rating: 6/10

Sigil (2011 Series) #4

July 24, 2011 Leave a comment

July 20, 2011

Writer: Mike Carey
Pencils:
Leonard Kirk
Inks:
Ed Tadeo
Colorist:
Guru EFX
Letterer:
Rob Steen
Cover:
Jelena Djurdjevic
Editor:
Nick Lowe              
Publisher:
Marvel Comics/CrossGen

Samantha Rey and the crew of the El Cazador are racing against the fearsome Captain October, hoping to find an artifact of incredible power that Sam’s mother hid there when she was young. This issue, Sam gets her hands on the mysterious box and decides to take it one place October can’t get to it – through time. I’m really glad to see that Mike Carey took this particular tack with Sam. Giving a character with the ability to travel through time is kind of a big deal, and there are a lot of logical applications that some writers ignore. He seems to be embracing them and, in fact, using the time-travel nature of this series to its advantage. In fact, by the end, time seems to be of the utmost importance. Mixing in those sci-fi elements with the classic pirate setting makes for an interesting contrast, but one that’s really a lot of fun. There’s clearly a pretty large, thought-out backstory here, and while this is the end of this miniseries, we can only hope that it’s done well enough to justify returning to the world of Sigil in the future. Leonard Kirk finishes off this title with great skill, getting to play around in multiple time periods with his artwork, which seems to be a lot of fun for the artist. Overall, this miniseries really was a lot of fun, very exciting, and something I want to see come back in the near future.

Rating: 7/10

Sigil (2011 Series) #3

July 12, 2011 Leave a comment

June 23, 2011

Writer: Mike Carey
Pencils:
Leonard Kirk, Patrick Olliffe
Inks:
Ed Tadeo, Pat Davidson
Colorist:
Guru EFX
Letterer:
Rob Steen
Cover:
Jelena Djurdjevic
Editor:
Nick Lowe                        
Publisher:
Marvel Comics/CrossGen

Captain October, the evil Sigil-Bearer, has captured Samantha Rey and the crew of the pirate ship El Cazador. Sam’s efforts to master her own Sigil and her time-traveler’s knowledge of the future  may be all that helps her crew escape and beat October to the mysterious treasure of Blackjack Tom.

This book has gotten better as it progresses. Sam is coming into her own as a character, and the things we learn about her world are intriguing. This is one of the things that always disappointed me about the demise of the original CrossGen comics – we never got to learn the grand scheme behind the sigils, how they worked, why they were given to different characters across the cosmos, and so forth. I don’t know how much, if any, of that original concept has survived in the new Marvel-CrossGen comics, but at the very least, it seems Mike Carey is going to avoid the danger of another dangling mystery by revealing at least some of it early. That’s highly appreciated.

Leonard Kirk and Patrick Olliffe, both of whom have done great work with young, female heroes in the past, trade off halves of this book. The transition is pretty seamless – you can’t tell where one artist ends and the next begins, although it may help that Pat Davidson’s inks begin a few pages before Olliffe takes over the pencils.

I’m looking forward to the conclusion. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this book at first, but it’s grown on me quite a bit.

Rating: 8/10

Agents of Atlas (2006 Series) #5

June 22, 2011 Leave a comment

December 3, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: The People’s Leader
Rating: T+

A traitor revealed

Writer: Jeff Parker
Pencils: Leonard Kirk
Inks: Kris Justice
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Cover Art: Tomm Coker
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Agent Khanata now believes one of his team to be a double agent. As they find themselves facing off against SHIELD, Namora makes a sudden connection about one of her teammates that reveals a long-hidden, horrible truth. In the end, a traitor stands revealed, and the Agents of Atlas find themselves gripped in a truly horrifying battle.

I haven’t been reading this miniseries up until now, but this issue really makes me wish I had been. This is a wonderful blend of old-fashioned superheroics and modern espionage, with enough of a 1950s flavor to make it true to its roots. The characters all read very true to themselves (at least from the few stories of theirs I’ve read in the past), and Jeff Parker has done a good job of taking obscure, forgotten characters and making them relatable today. He gives us people to root for and people to disdain, and that’s quite a feat with characters like these.

I’ve always been a fan of Leonard Kirk’s artwork, and this issue is certainly no exception. He takes the retro 50s style, but blends it with modern sensibilities to create something of a timeless look. This book would fit in perfectly with comics of any age, and like the writing, that’s no mean feat.

It’s probably too late for me to hunt down the first four issues of this miniseries, but I’m definitely going to seek out the trade paperback. This issue was a lot of fun.

Rating: 8/10

Superman: Our Worlds at War-The Complete Collection TPB

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

April 17, 2011

Title: Our Worlds at War

Writers: Jeph Loeb, Joe Casey, Mark Schultz, Joe Kelly, Peter David, Phil Jimenez, Todd DeZago
Pencils:
Phil Jimenez, Mike Wieringo, Doug Mahnke, Ed McGuinness, Pascual Ferry, Carlo Barberi, Kano, Todd Nauck, Mark Buckingham, Duncan Rouleau, Yvel Guichet, Bill Sienkiewicz, Ron Garney, Leonard Kirk
Inks:
Marlo Alquiza, Andy Lanning, Jose Marzan Jr., Cam Smith, Keith Champagne, Tom Nguyen, Juan Vlasco, Wayne Faucher, Walden Wong, Duncan Rouleau, Mark Morales, Lary Stucker, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dexter Vines, Robin Riggs
Colorist:
Wildstorm FX, Patricia Mulvihill, Jason Wright, Zylonol Studios, Tanya Horie, Richard Horie, Tom McCraw, Rob Schwager, Gene D’Angelo
Letterer:
Richard Starkings, Comicraft, Ken Lopez, Janice Chiang, Bill Oakley
Cover:
Ed McGuinness
Editors:
Eddie Berganza, Mike McAvennie, Bob Joy       
Publisher:
DC Comics

Comic book crossovers have been a staple of the form since the 1980s, and there have been more misses than hits. Sometimes, though, time passes and you forget how good a particular storyline was. That’s the case for me with the 2001 crossover Our Worlds at War.

In this storyline Imperiex, an alien Superman had fought some months before, was making Earth the target of his latest assault. It turns out Superman hadn’t fought the real Imperiex, but rather a “probe” sent out by a much more powerful biend, who had the intention of destroying Earth in part of an ongoing quest to wipe out… well… the universe. Superman, the Justice League, and pretty much every other hero on the planet assembled to go to war against the forces of Imperiex, and to do so they had to make some strange allies… Lex Luthor, then-President of the United States, and the dark god himself, Darkseid.

Although this book is labeled The Complete Collection, that isn’t strictly true. There are several crossover chapters and specials that were released in 2001 that aren’t part of this already-hefty omnibus. This book does collect all of the pieces vital to the main story, including the chapters of the assorted Superman titles, Wonder Woman’s book, those starring the members of Young Justice, and a few more for good measure. Not every chapter is that great, but a lot of them are. The story packs a surprising emotional punch, as we see Superman and his allies run ragged fighting a foe more powerful than they’ve ever fought before. Granted, that’s the tagline for virtually every crossover that’s published, but this time we really feel the stress, the strain they have to go under. We see heroes brought to the breaking point and several significant, meaningful deaths. (Unfortunately, virtually all of those deaths have been reversed in the decade since this story first saw publication, but it’s unfair to hold that against this volume, I think.)

The book does lean heavily on characters that were important to the Superman mythos at the time, such as Strange Visitor, who more recent readers won’t recognize at all. The changes that Steel goes through, as well, make for a strange little time capsule, and Supergirl is virtually unrecognizable from the current version. But the story as a whole is still engaging, exciting, and powerful. I’m really glad I picked up this monster omnibus and read this story again.

Rating: 8/10

For the record, this book collects the following individual issues: Action Comics #780-782, Adventures of Superman #593-595, Impulse #77, JLA: Our Worlds at War #1, Superboy (1994 Series) #91, Supergirl (1996 Series) #59, Superman (1987 Series) #171-173, Superman: The Man of Steel #115-117, Wonder Woman (1987 Series) #172-173, World’s Finest: Our Worlds at War #1, and Young Justice (1998 Series) #36.