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Posts Tagged ‘Todd Klein’

The Shade (2011 Series) #6

August 14, 2012 Leave a comment

June 16, 2012

Title: Las Cinco Esquinas

Writer: James Robinson
Art:
Javier Pulido
Letters:
Todd Klein
Colors:
Hilary Sycamore
Cover Art:
Tony Harris
Editor:
Wil Moss
Publisher:
DC Comics

With the Inquisitor cutting a bloody path through Spain, the Shade and La Sangre are joined by one of the local heroes, Montpellier, to try to hunt him down.

This isn’t really what I expected from James Robinson returning to the Shade. While there’s still plenty of cool weirdness (what with the vampires and all), it’s not as surreal as a lot of the previous Shade stories have been. It’s a more personal story, and a more straightforward one as well. None of these are bad things, it’s just a departure from what he’s done with the character in the past, and that may be turning off a few people.

One thing I really enjoy about the book is how he’s reaching out to some of the unexplored corners of the new DC Universe. With a few exceptions, most of the New 52 titles are still pretty America-centric, and I like seeing him go around Europe and show off some of the different characters that are in the DC toy box. I’d like to see more of Montpellier, and I’d read a whole miniseries of La Sangre by herself. (In fact, DC, if you’re reading, why not at least give her an arc in DC Universe Presents?)

Javier Pulido is really perfect for this story. His style isn’t like your typical superhero comic. It’s a little darker, a little more Mike Mignola-esque. That Hellboy vibe is perfectly suited for this title and the characters that we’re playing with here.

This halfway point helps show that the book is going into some different directions, but overall, I think that’s a good thing.

Rating: 8/10

Somebody’s First Comic Book: Neil Gaiman’s Teknophage #10

April 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!

TITLE: The Day God Came From the Machine

CREDITS:

Writer: Paul Jenkins
Pencils:
Al Davison
Inks:
Al Davison
Colors:
Ian McKie
Letters:
Todd Klein
Editor:
Ed Polgardy
Cover Art:
Bryan Talbot & Angus McKie
Publisher:
Tekno-Comix

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: “Neil Gaiman’s Teknophage.” None of these words mean anything to me. Maybe if it was “Neil Diamond’s” or something, I dunno. Still, it looks like there’s a giant lizard, so how bad could it be.

IMPRESSIONS: Well… there’s a giant lizard, all right, but that’s about as much of this issue that I comprehend. We’re in a skyscraper in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by birds, bugs, and flying machines. Inside, the lizard – whose name is “Henry Phage” and who wears a snazzy red jacket, throws a bunch of people into a giant vat of green goop. And they turn into a blue thing.

It’s all… it’s kind of… what the hell is it?

Okay, I get that the people Phage sacrifices turn into this blue amalgam entity that kinda-sorta takes vengeance on him, but so what? I have no idea where we are, who these people are, why he’s killing them or why there’s a giant lizard wearing a snazzy red jacket in the first place. Quite frankly, this book is completely absurd, and the only reason it doesn’t rank lower is because I at least follow a little of the internal consistency. There’s a clear cause and effect here, but there’s no context to allow any of it to make sense. I know this issue the tenth issue – says so right on the cover there – but couldn’t they have included some sort of note to let people know what was going on? I’m utterly lost.

GRADE: D

Books of Magick: Life During Wartime #1

April 12, 2012 Leave a comment

July 13, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Have You Seen the Stars Tonight?

Tim Hunter has given up on magic… but magic hasn’t given up on Tim Hunter.

Writer: Si Spencer
Story By: Neil Gaiman & Si Spencer
Art:Dean Ormston
Colors: Fiona Stephenson
Letters: Todd Klein
Editor: Shelly Bond
Cover Art: Frank Quitely
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

Review: I am an unabashed fan of Tim Hunter. I loved the original Books of Magic series about his childhood and the subsequent Hunter: The Age of Magic about his teenage years. Right from the outset, from the addition of that “k” to the word “Magick” in the title, it is clear that this will be a very different Tim than we have seen in the past.

It seems about four years have passed since we last saw Tim. He has turned away from his destiny to become the greatest sorcerer of them all, denied his place as the Merlin. He has settled down with the love of his life, Molly, and he is happy in a world without magic.

Cue the cataclysm.

Something is very wrong with this universe. Magical creatures are dying… being slaughtered. People seem to be forgetting all about gods and faith. Hell seems to be coming to Earth and, as always, John Constantine is going to have to get Tim back on track if the world is going to be saved.

I’ll be honest here, this is not a very accessible issue. As big a fan of this series as I am, I had to read this issue twice and I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on. Now some of that, of course, is because this is the first issue of the series and a lot will be filled in as the story progresses, but new readers won’t grasp who Tim is or why he’s so important or why Constantine is thinking about him. Having read the earlier books is almost a prerequisite for this one.

Dean Ormston’s artwork is spot-on. He has a fantastic quality that is still quite dark and dirty, reminding us of the subtitle of this new series, Life During Wartime. This is not a bright, happy tale. This is likely to be a hellish, brutal story. War is Hell, and Ormston’s artwork, even in the early, jollier scenes, conveys a sense of foreboding. You can look at the panels, at the serenity in Tim’s face, and you know that in a matter of issues, it’s all going to be shattered.

This is a very new direction for Tim Hunter, and while it may be a bit confusing, it’s one I like. I’ve already hitched myself to this title. I’ve got to see where it goes.

Rating: 8/10

Fables #113

March 29, 2012 Leave a comment

March 4, 2012

Title: In Those Days

Writer: Bill Willingham
Art (Prologue):
Rick Leonardi & Ron Randall
Art (A Delicate Balance):
P. Craig Russell & Lovern Kindzierski
Art (A Magic Life):
Zander Cannon & Jim Fern
Art (The Way of the World):
Ramon Bachs & Ron Randall
Art (Porky Pining):
Adam Hughes
Letters:
Todd Klein
Colors:
Lee Loughridge
Cover Art:
Joao Roas
Editor:
Shelly Bond
Publisher:
DC Comics/Vertigo

One of the best things about Fables is that, even after all these years, Bill Willingham keeps finding ways to mix up the formula of the book. In-between longer stories, he often does one-off issues that may set the seeds for future storylines, or tie off past storylines, or maybe just stand on their own. This issue feels like it does at least two of those at once, as we see a magical travelling performer weave several short stories about Fables both new and familiar.

Among the stories, we see a tale of a faithless queen and the punishment she brings upon her kingdom, a sorcerer whose downfall led us to the background of our more prominent Fables, a sailing clan unaware of the true nature of their world, and a hysterical story of a porcupine with an inventive curse. Of the four, it’s the longest (Cannon and Fern’s “A Magic Life”) that seems least complete in and of itself, ending up as it does off to the sidelines of our regular cast. The text itself implies that this story may not be over yet as well, but it stops far short of promising a return. “A Delicate Balance” and “The Way of the World” are tied together in an interesting way and create a world I’d like to see the title return to one of these days. And “Porky Pining”… well, it’s just funny as anything, and it’s got some rare, gorgeous interior art by Adam Hughes.

It’s an offbeat issue, but it’s exactly the sort of thing that Fables needs once in a while. I’m glad that the title has the freedom to do things like this when the creators see fit.

Rating: 8/10

The Shade (2011 Series) #3

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

February 18, 2012

Title: Dreamtime

Writer: James Robinson
Art:
Cully Hamner
Letters:
Todd Klein
Colors:
Dave McCaig
Cover Art:
Tony Harris
Editor:
Will Moss
Publisher:
DC Comics

To seek the mysterious Darnell Caldecott, to help further define himself, the Shade has traveled to Austrailia. After a brief encounter with local hero the Argonaut, Shade meets up with his old rival Diablo Blacksmith to help him find Caldecott – a quest that will take him to the depths of the Dreamtime.

This series is going in some odd directions, but James Robinson is definitely using it to expand the DC Universe. We meet some new characters here, and while neither of them have a huge part, they could easily lay in wait until they’re picked up by other writers, or by Robinson himself. Even though the Argonaut appears to be a bit of a parody, that’s how Lobo started too.

The Dreamtime stuff, the battle we see there, is the real meat of the issue, however, and it delivers well. Simply from a visual standpoint, it’s cool to see the Shade using his shadow powers to make himself a legitimate threat to a character that, physically, is a hell of a lot bigger than he is. On a less dramatic scale, the character’s personal journey is really being reflected in the story. The other characters don’t know what to make of the Shade – someone who historically was thought of as a villain but, in the past few years (DC time, nearly 20 years in the real world) has acted as a hero sometimes, but usually occupies a much grayer area. Even the Shade doesn’t really know how to classify himself anymore, and that’s one of the things that makes his story so compelling.

Cully Hamner’s artwork is cool, and Dave McCaig’s colors are vital to making this story work. The action takes place in the Austrailian outback, in desert terrain, in broad daylight. It’s not the Shade’s natural habitat. But it looks very good on the page and the contrast helps the story in turn.

This series is delivering for me, and big-time.

Rating: 8/10

Uncle Scrooge #360

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

December 9, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Being Good For Goodness Sake and other stories

Who has the most Christmas spirit: Scrooge or Donald?

Writers: Carlo Chendi, Carl Barks, S. & U. Printz-Pahlson, Donald D. Markstein, Kirsten DeGraaf, Tony Isabella, Kristian Hojsteen, John Clark
Art: Romano Scarpa, Carl Barks, Vicar, Mau Heymans, Daniel Branca
Colors: Scott Rockwell, Rick Keene, Egmont, Kneon Transitt, Marie Javins, Michael Kraiger
Letters: Todd Klein, Willie Schubert, Susie Lee, Jon Babcock, John Clark
Editor: Leonard (John) Clark
Cover Art: Marco Rota & Susan Daigle-Leach
Publisher: Gemstone Publishing

This year’s Christmas offering from Uncle Scrooge is well worth your money – lots of good stories and not a weak one in the bunch.

“Being Good For Goodness Sake” is first. Carlo Chendi and Romano Scarpa give us this lengthy tale, in which the Mayor of Duckburg offers a $10,000 prize to the citizen who demonstrates the most Christmas spirit. Donald and Scrooge, in an effort to win the money, begin dumping as much cheer as they can on a hapless individual they suspect of being one of the secret judges. Meanwhile, the Beagle Boys take advantage of Scrooge’s distraction to break out of prison and plan their latest heist.

Just when you’ve thought they found every way to twist around the Duck Christmas story, Vhendi and Scarpa have given us something utterly unique. Usually you have one or the other ducks trying to teach the others a lesson, but here the ducks are both squarely in the wrong, and even the nefarious Beagle Boys show more true Christmas spirit than they do. The gags are funny, and the twist put on the end of this story is really original – something I never thought I’d see in a Disney comic, but which nonetheless fits the story perfectly.

Carl Barks’ 1963 Gyro Gearloose story, “Snow Duster,” is the next offering in this issue. Gyro has invented a formula that can rapidly evaporate snow from driveways and sidewalks. When the owners of the local football stadium find out about it, they hire him to take a crop duster and clear out the stadium in time for the big game. Gyro’s power turns out only to be good at short-range, though, and it looks as though the experiment – and Gyro’s reputation – will be ruined, until his Little Helper comes up with a plan. This is a rare story in which Helper actually has dialogue (even if Gyro can’t understand him), and it works pretty well, even if it isn’t something I would want to see on a regular basis.

“Return of the Terror” is a sequel to issue #358’s “The Terror From Outer Space,” in which an alien from a planet of criminals was thwarted in his attempt to pull off the heist of a lifetime – stealing Scrooge’s money bin. This time, the insidious Tachyon Farflung returns, planning to ambush Scrooge as he takes advantage of a major light bulb sale. (Yeah, Scrooge is that cheap.) The ducks wind up doing battle with the alien in the midst of a crowded-to-bursting shopping center, which provides plenty of gags throughout the story.

“Trapdoor Trick” is a great one-pager where the nephews take advantage of Scrooge’s security measures to get the best of him. This is quickly followed by “Operation Vesuvius.” Magica DeSpell interrupts the ducks as they’re in the middle of their Christmas shopping, but she gets snagged. Scrooge knows the authorities won’t be able to hold her for long, so he takes advantage of her temporary incapacity to rush to her workshop on Mount Vesuvius to destroy her magical paraphernalia. The resultant battle royale is pretty good, but not quite a home run. Finally there’s another one-page, “Snow Intention to Pay,” in which Scrooge’s shrewd business acumen comes up with a way to get the path to his Money Bin shoveled for free.

Not a bad little collection, with a really good opening story to propel it along.

Rating: 8/10

The Unwritten #24

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

October 17, 2011

Title: Stairway to Heaven

Writer: Mike Carey
Layout:
Peter Gross
Finishes:
Al Davison
Colorist:
Chris Chucky
Letterer:
Todd Klein
Cover Artist:
Yuko Shimizu
Editor:
Pornsak Richetshote
Publisher:
DC Comics/Vertigo

One of the cool things Mike Carey and Peter Gross are doing with The Unwritten is popping in between longer story arcs to develop the story of Pauly Bruckner, a human who has been transformed into a fluffy white rabbit out of a children’s book and is being forced to journey through the world of stories. In this issue, Pauly finds his way on a seemingly infinite stairwell, where an entire civilization of anthropomorphic animals is climbing upwards through eternity in what seems to be a mad journey towards the top. Pauly, sensing an opportunity, attempts to wrest control of the nation of animals and use it to help achieve his own end – making it back to a familiar world and exacting his revenge on Tom Taylor. Pauly’s story is becoming increasingly brutal and horrific as the series goes along, The things he does to this peaceful civilization are truly appalling, and it makes us really start to root for (what we hope will be) his eventual comeuppance. Contrasting a shocking story is wonderful artwork by Al Davison, over the layouts by regular artist Peter Gross. Davison is really good at crafting characters that look they could have fallen out of any children’s storybook. The same goes for Pauly, in fact, which makes his horrible facial expressions far, far more effective. As much as I enjoy this series as a matter of course, I think this may be one of the best single issues.

Rating: 9/10