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.
Title: A Princess of Mars
Based on the Works of: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Writer: Roger Langridge
Art: Filipe Andrade
Letters: Cory Petit
Colors: Sunny Gho, Arif Prianto, Benny Maulana & Sotocolor
Cover Art: Filipe Andrade & Skottie Young
Editor: Mark D. Beazley, Jennifer Grunwald, Jeff Youngquist
Publisher: Marvel Comics
In recent months, I’ve become quite a fan of all things related to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter character, so I decided to take a chance on the Marvel Comics adaptation of the first book in the series, A Princess of Mars. Despite being scripted by the great Roger Langridge with covers by the equally great Skottie Young, this collection of the series was, in fact, just okay for me.
Strictly taking it as an adaptation, it does its job. It tells the story of John Carter, ex-Confederate soldier who is mysteriously whisked away to the planet Mars and forced to struggle for his life. That struggle doesn’t really gain meaning other than survival until he meets the lovely Martian Princess Dejah Thoris, and his new world begins to become a home.
Langridge does a decent job with the adaptation, but there are some strange choices in here. Carter, for example, has a tendency to speak in more modern slang and contemporary dialogue than feels appropriate for the character, particularly having read the novels just a few weeks ago. The way the ending is condensed feels off as well – it’s actually similar to the movie, cutting down the time Carter spends on Barsoom drastically, and with less of a purpose than before. Some of the changes are easier to accept – the way Carter figures out where he is, and the almost too-cute combination to the atmosphere plant.
Filipe Andrade’s art is, similarly, okay. It tells the story, but feels a bit too blocky, too angular, and not quite as smooth or energetic as one would hope for this property. It probably doesn’t help that it’s compared here to Skottie Young’s covers – he’s one of the great fantasy artists of the day and the interior work just doesn’t live up to the stuff he does in his five cover sketches.
It’s okay, and I wouldn’t mind reading the other Barsoom novels adapted by this team, but it’s not the knockout that the Oz adaptations have been.