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Posts Tagged ‘Sean Phillips’

The Walking Dead #100

July 25, 2012 Leave a comment

July 13, 2012

Title: Something to Fear Part Four

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard
Letters: Rus Wooton
Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
Cover Art: Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
Variant Covers: Marc Silverstri & Sunny Gho; Frank Quitely; Todd McFarlane & John Rauch; Sean Phillips; Bryan Hitch & John Rauch; Ryan Ottley & John Rauch; Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn, Charlie Adlard
Editor: Sina Grace
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound

Let’s hear it for Robert Kirkman, shall we? Aside from a hit TV show and what will likely prove to be the highest-selling comic book of 2012, The Walking Dead is now a member of that ever-shrinking family of comic books that have lasted 100 issues or more… and this for a black-and-white character drama with no superheroes. That’s damn impressive.

Also impressive is the story we get here. Kirkman tells a great story, but he doesn’t go out of his way to make this some huge, mind-blowing, 100th-issue extravaganza. We get extra story pages here, but a lot of it is talking heads stuff. Rick and his friends are going out to take a stand against the mysterious Negal, leader of a group of survivors demanding unfair tributes from the group Rick’s people have fallen in with. Rick and company wind up in a face off with Negal, only to wind up captured, and forced into the most horrible situation a human could place them in.

There’s so much about this comic that’s impressive to me. The fact that the drama can come not from the zombies, but from the still-living, is really just the top of the iceberg to me. The fact that, after 100 issues, Kirkman can still legitimately amp up the drama regarding who will live and who will die… the fact that this issue ends with our heroes at a new low point, a point of rage and grief and pain that the reader will share… it’s remarkable that he can still do that after all this time.

Adlard pours it on this issue, turning out some of his best work. Pain, anguish… gore… he puts it all into these pages, turning out a stark look at a horrible world that’s nevertheless wonderfully entertaining to read.

This book is hard to read. But if it wasn’t, it would be worthwhile.

Rating: 9/10

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Marvel Zombies 2 #5

October 26, 2011 Leave a comment

February 26, 2008

Quick Rating: Great
Rating: Parental Advisory

The hunger is waning… but does that mean the fighting is over?

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Sean Phillips
Colors: June Chung
Letters: Rus Wooton
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Art: Arthur Suydam (After John Buscema)
Publisher: Marvel Comics

When I heard that there was a second Marvel Zombies series in the works, I (justifiably, I think) was afraid it would be a derivative book that just rehashed the first one in the hopes of making a quick buck. Instead, the sequel has been a surprisingly strong title that adds a whole new dimension to the concept (both metaphorically and literally) and this last issue seals the deal nicely.

The spacebound zombies are beginning to realize the ones left on Earth discovered long ago – if they go long enough without feeding, the Hunger will eventually leave them. As the zombies come to this conclusion one at a time, they not only have to grapple with the weight of their sins, but also prepare to battle those Zombies who still seek to feed. And if that wasn’t bad enough, not all of the humans left alive are feeling particularly forgiving.

This last issue is exciting and packs a serious emotional punch on several levels. While the first miniseries was really a dark comedy – an excuse to play with a nasty little concept, but not much more – this sequel turns the whole thing on its head and makes it a startlingly effective morality tale.

The ending is about as blatant a set-up for yet another sequel as I’ve ever seen, and while that sort of thing usually annoys me, this time it doesn’t bother me at all. I want more. I want to know where this story is going to go. I want to see how this is going to develop.

This is one of the few sequels that actually surpasses the original.

Rating: 9/10

Sleeper Season Two #1

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment

June 29, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Faith, Hope and Charity

On the run, trying to escape his past, Holden Carver gets a new “assignment.”

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips
Colors: Strachan With Sinclair
Letters: Jared Fletcher
Editor: Scott Dunbier
Cover Art: Sean Phillips
Publisher: DC/Wildstorm Universe

Okay, before I get into the meat of this review, allow me to voice a complaint about a practice I see way too often in comics. Why on Earth would anyone, rather than providing a proper credit box, simply run a list of names (just last names, mind you, not even first and last), not detailing who did what job and forcing anyone interested in such a thing to play detective? It’s not like a movie with big names where everyone recognizes everything. (Spielberg! Hanks! Zeta-Jones!) These people have worked damn hard to put out a good comic book – give them the full credit they deserve.

Okay, on to the actual book. While I was at a slight disadvantage, having only read the first issue of “Season One” and the prologue to this series that appeared in the Coup D’etat Afterword, this issue was very accessible, setting up the situation for even those with only a modicum of prior knowledge about the title.

Holden Carver has gone from being a deep undercover agent posing as a supervillain to an agent that feels betrayed by his agency and his former commander, John Lynch (whom Holden believes is still in a coma). When someone approaches him with an offer that will allow him to gain a measure of satisfaction, it’s clear that this “Season” of Sleeper will be quite different from the first.

This makes for a quite satisfying spy/espionage action/drama, and the story would probably work just as well without the superhero trappings, which is what holds me back from being the first book I’d recommend to someone looking for “superheroes with a twist.” It’s a solid book, don’t misunderstand, but for someone looking for a different take on superheroes I’d be more likely to recommend something like Powers, where it’s actually a new take on superheroics, as opposed to a book in another genre that happens to have superhero incidentals.

Sean Phillips is the perfect match for Brubaker’s story. He serves up good action and drama and the occasional appearance of the guy in spandex doesn’t look silly or jar you out of the story. (In fact, the look reminds me very much of Dark Horse’s The Escapist – Phillips would be a fine match for one of those short stories.)

So while I’m not exactly wild about this book, I did enjoy it and I think it does a fine job of setting up the new storyline. If you’ve been thinking about Sleeper and looking for a place to jump on board, this is the issue to do it.

Rating: 7/10

Marvel Zombies 2 #2

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

November 26, 2007

Quick Rating: Very Good
Rating: Parental Advisory

The zombies return to Earth, where the Black Panther is going through some changes…

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Sean Phillips
Colors: June Chung
Letters: Rus Wooton
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Art: Arthur Suydam (After Frank L. Paul)
Publisher: Marvel Comics

In space, the Marvel Zombies continue their trek back to Earth, but Spider-Man’s incessant jokes finally begin getting the best of Giant-Man. Driven to madness from forty years of wandering the universe devouring every living thing they can find, the strain is showing on these once-heroes, and in the end, their alliance may not be as strong as it seemed. Back on Earth, after Malcolm tried to have the Black Panther assassinated, the Wasp turned him into a zombie to save him. Jan shares a secret with him – if the zombie can go long enough without feeding, the hunger that compels them fades away, and their minds again become their own.

This little twist, that of the hunger wearing off, has really given this book a whole new dimension. We now have a functionally immortal (and, for all appearances, safe) zombie Panther fighting to keep control of his country in a battle against the man that tried to kill him. In space, some of the zombies are beginning to free themselves from the hunger, while others are just going madder. The first miniseries was basically about overrunning the world and destroying it. This one, against all expectations, seems to be about a new fight for the future. Never saw it coming, but man, is it making for a good read.

Sean Phillips art isn’t quite as good as usual, but I’m not really sure how much of that is due to him and how much is because of story demands. Seeing the aged Reynolds and Forge in spandex is just kinda silly, and when you add that to Hawkeye’s disembodied head being attached to one of the Wasp’s spare – female – robot bodies, the art started to remind me of an episode of Futurama. This book has a dark humor to it, but some of the visuals are just too goofy to fit.

Very strong issue. This series has gone in a really unexpected direction.

Rating: 8/10

Coup D’etat Afterword #1

November 14, 2010 Leave a comment

March 9, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Wetworks Volume Two & Sleeper Season Two Preludes

Where does the Wildstorm universe stand after the Coup D’etat? Find out here.

Writers: Mike Carey & Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Whilce Portacio
Inks: Trevor Scott & Sean Philips
Colors: Wendy Broome
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Ben Abernathy, Alex Sinclair & Scott Dunbier
Cover Art: While Portacio
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm

The title of this book is Coup D’etat Afterword, but it could have just as easily been titled Wildstorm Secret Files, because it is in essentially the same format as that DC Universe series of books – two short stories setting up future titles and lots of profile pages on nearly every Wildstorm title.

It’s a good, quick read that helps get you up-to-date on where things stand now that The Authority has set themselves up as defacto rulers of the United States. Lucifer and My Faith in Frankie scribe Mike Carey is poised to resurrect Wetworks, a very different title from what he’s known for, as a techno-thriller with hints of superhero comics and military action. He tells a good set-up story that will lead fans into the new series quite easily.

Whilce Portacio, who created Wetworks for Image comics once upon a time, returns with some great artwork in this issue. Sometimes dismissed as a Jim Lee clone, Portacio proves here that he has a really good style and knows how to tell a comic book story.

The Sleeper story doesn’t feature Holden Carver at all, but instead shows the reawakened John Lynch pondering the fate of his former operative who has “gone native” in a supervillain underground. This story serves as good recap for the first season – if you didn’t read Sleeper before but want to start, this story will tell you everything you know.

While I wasn’t a fan of Sean Philips’ art in this week’s issue of JSA, he does a much better job in this short story. Taking place mostly in a snow-covered cemetery, he creates a very bleak and bitter mood, making Lynch seem like a force to be reckoned with. The real prize in this issue for Sleeper fans, however, comes with the confirmation that Season Two will begin in June.

The profile pages in this book are also a real gem. In addition to showing the current states of Wildcats, Stormwatch, Wetworks and The Authority, the book also includes profiles of each of these teams in their earliest incarnations. The changes each title has undergone are pretty striking when viewed in this fashion, and it makes you realize how long the Wildstorm Universe has really been around.

Rating: 7/10

Marvel Zombies 2 #1

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment

October 16, 2007

Quick Rating: Great
Rating: Parental Advisory

Forty years later, will the Marvel Zombies return to Earth?

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Sean Phillips
Colors: June Chung
Letters: Rus Wooton
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Art: Arthur Suydam
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Forty years after the Marvel Zombies ravaged Earth, stole the power of Galactus and took to the stars, they find themselves faced with a universe with almost nothing left to eat. Their entire world has been totally ravaged, and they make a fateful decision that sends them back to their homeworld. Meanwhile, however, some of the zombies – both in space and back on Earth – make a discovery that may change everything.

This issue surprised the heck out of me. Like many people, I was skeptical about following up on the admittedly fun Marvel Zombies series. I didn’t see where Kirkman could take the story without just repeating himself. By the end of the first scene, though, it was quite clear that this would be a very different story than the first, and that Kirkman does, in fact, have a direction to take this story beyond just another bloodbath full of parodies of Marvel characters.

Sean Phillips’s artwork is as great as ever, and he does a really nice job with a few cosmic scenes this issue before getting to the more “down-to-Earth” stuff. Although you’d think someone would have mentioned to some of the few remaining human characters just how silly they look in spandex at their age.

People who are planning to skip this miniseries, who don’t think there’s a new story to tell, should really think twice. This isn’t just another retread. Against all odds, Kirkman has succeeded in creating something new.

Rating: 9/10

JSA #59

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

March 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Great
Title: Time and Time and Time Again

Degaton joins the Justice Society on a time-bouncing trip through their lives.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Sean Philips
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Ethan Van Sciver and John Kalisz
Publisher: DC Comics

After three issues of messing around with Hawkman, JSA is back with a fantastic done-in-one issue that progresses the storylines of nearly every member of the team and sets up a lot of things for the future.

Degaton, a time-traveling villain the older members of the JSA have faced in the past, returns to torment the various heroes over the course of one day, teasing them with horrific descriptions of their futures and, in some cases, their past. Everything gets covered in this issue — Flash confronts Captain Marvel over his relationship with Stargirl, Dr. Fate makes an important decision due to the return of his wife, and Hourman desperately searches for a way to pierce the timestream himself to rescue his son, who traded places with the old man after being critically injured in the “Black Reign” storyline.

The things Degaton says are chilling – while he most certainly can’t be considered an unbiased, legitimate source of information, if the things he hints at are even partially true then Geoff Johns has some incredible storylines in the works over the next few years (and there is enough packed into this issue to last a few years). The last scene is particularly heartrending, and I for one hope that it doesn’t end that particular storyline, because it’s been a favorite of mine.

One thing that isn’t at the top of the game in this issue, however, is the artwork. It’s surprising to say this about a book where all the pencils and inks are done by the same person, but it’s wildly uneven here. It looks as though Sean Philips was inked by a half-dozen other people – some scenes look like clips of a Bruce Timm animated series, others resemble Sal Buscema’s art, and some are just kind of sketchy and rough. It gives the reader the impression that the issue was done rather quickly, and doesn’t serve it well.

The art isn’t terrible, though, and a fantastic story makes this a must-read issue for any JSA fan – and if you haven’t been reading this book, this is the issue to come on board. The future, as they say, is now.

Rating: 9/10