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Posts Tagged ‘Will Pfeifer’

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

Blood of the Demon #2

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

April 4, 2005

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Hunters

Jason and Etrigan strike an uneasy truce.

Plot: John Byrne
Script: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: John Byrne
Inks: Nekros
Colors: Alex Bleyaert
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: John Byrne
Publisher: DC Comics

The new status quo for Jason Blood and the Demon is established this issue, and while it’s not what I expected, it’s an interesting take nonetheless. Last issue, Etrigan was fully unleashed in the midst of an arcane ritual to bring an “Elder God” to Earth. This issue the demon revels in his freedom as he does battle with the creature, only to find a new obstacle he didn’t expect.

I’m not entirely sure what I think of this new arrangement. It reminds me quite a bit of another DC hero (and I can’t say more without spoiling it) but it may be a bit more interesting in this case, as our two main characters have often been at odds – Jason’s heroic tendencies clashing with Etrigan’s basic evil nature. That part of the arrangement, at least, seems to have remained intact, and I think that’s important to keep. Although I’ve got to do on record as one of the people who misses the rhyming Etrigan – he never feels quite right if he’s not rhyming to me.

This is a heavy action issue, but we also get some development and some additions to our supporting cast, whom I suspect will be rather important to this series – some of them in a “support crew” kind of way and some in an adversarial “Jean Valjean” way. Both of these have a lot of potential for this series.

Byrne seems to have a lot of fun with the artwork in this issue, particularly with the rather Lovecraftian “Elder God” that gives us our Maguffin. He has an interesting take on Etrigan himself as well, making him look more beaten up, more weathered than most interpretations of the character.

Like the first issue, I feel like this is a solid start to relaunch the character. It’s interesting – not so long ago I remember reading an interview with Byrne where he said he had no jobs lined up after he finished Superman/Batman: Generations 3. Between this, Doom Patrol and his return to Action Comics, he’s not hurting for work anytime soon.

Rating: 8/10

Aquaman (2003 Series) #19

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

June 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: American Tidal Part Five

The reason for San Diego’s destruction is revealed, and Aquaman has to decide what to do about it.

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Christian Alamy
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
Publisher: DC Comics

And it was going so well, too.

When Will Pfeifer took over this title four issues ago, he presented a new take on Aquaman, a shocking storyline and a real sense of excitement that the character has been lacking for a long time. And all of that is still there – this is a much more interesting Aquaman than we’ve seen in a very long time. But this issue falls apart anyway.

Why? Because when the villain’s plot, the reason he sank the city of San Diego is revealed, the whole thing turns out to hinge on a bit of alarmist junk science – and not comic book science, but junk science from the real world that turns out lots of lousy disaster movies and even worse books. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were just the bad guy concentrating on the junk science, but Aquaman buys into it too, and one would think he’d be more rational about the whole thing.

The minute I realized where this issue was going I was disappointed, but I kept reading anyway, because the rest of the gems are still there. This is a solid interpretation of Aquaman and I’ve even come to like and care about Lorena, the San Diego survivor that has accompanied him on his quest to find justice.

Patrick Gleason doesn’t get as much chance to show off his artwork this issue, as most of the book takes place in the villains’ lab without much action – it’s a talking heads issue without any great backgrounds or underwater scenes to set it off. Still, he draws a good Aquaman and deserves a home on this title.

With one issue left in this storyline there’s still one mystery left to solve, and with the resolution to the last mystery I’ve got a sinking feeling I know where it’s going. I hope I’m wrong. I hope Pfiefer redeems what had been a great story coming into this issue. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed.

Rating: 6/10

Aquaman (2003 Series) #18

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

May 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: American Tidal Part Four

Aquaman tracks down the man who created the creature beneath the sea – what does he know about the destruction of San Diego?

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Christian Alamy
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Phil Balsman
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
Publisher: DC Comics

Will Pfiefer’s run on Aquaman continues, and it’s still one of the best stories featuring the character I’ve ever read. This issue we learn that it wasn’t just the people of San Diego that were transformed into water-breathers when the city sank beneath the ocean. All of the dogs wake up and begin to paddle towards shore in desperation, not realizing that the air will kill them now, and people and marine mammals together begin trying to toss them back into the water before they all die on the beach.

Meanwhile Aquaman and Lorena investigate the strange creature they found at the end of last issue, a bizarre amalgam of sea life and machines that is somehow tied in to the destruction of the city. Pfiefer really shows off how versatile Aquaman’s powers are with the right creator behind him. Have you ever wondered what good it is to “talk to fish”? Find out this issue.

Other writers, over time, have painted Aquaman as a superhero, a monarch and occasionally as a warrior. Pieffer’s take uses elements of each of these to create a character that, in essence, is an aquatic crimefighter. Aquaman is using his powers to look for clues and solve a mystery that only he can. I’ve never seen him written this way before, but it works beautifully. With storytelling this good, maybe the character will finally be taken seriously.

Gleason’s artwork is an interesting blend as well. His human characters look like they fell from a crime comic, but his monsters are good and gross. The funky creature Aquaman fights looks just great, and the action scene works really well. The underwater scenes carry the sort of grandeur and majesty that you want in a story that takes place beneath the waves, and it all looks wonderful.

Peter David had a great, fabled run with this character not so long ago, but Pfiefer’s interpretation is even more accessible and just as exciting. It’s incredible, after all these years, that we finally have an Aquaman worth reading.

Rating: 8/10

Aquaman (2003) #17

June 4, 2011 Leave a comment

April 12, 2004

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: American Tidal Part Three

Aquaman frees hundreds of people in the underwater ruins of San Diego… but how did they all survive the earthquake that has trapped them beneath the ocean for five weeks?

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Patrick Gleason
Inks: Christian Alamy
Colors: Nathan Eyring
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
Publisher: DC Comics

Will Pfeifer continues the best Aquaman story in a very long time. The city of San Diego was toppled into the Pacific Ocean and thousands of people were lost, presumed dead, until Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter discover that the people still in the submerged city have been converted into water-breathers and no one knows why. In this issue, the rescue and recovery mission begins to help the people who will never be allowed to go to the surface again. Meanwhile, accompanied by the girl whose memories helped him find the survivors in the first place, Aquaman begins the search for the cause of their astonishing transformation.

People who have complained about Aquaman having lame or limited powers should be made to read this issue. What good is it to be able to talk to fish or breathe underwater? All you need is a writer good enough to craft a gripping story set underwater, and that’s what we get here. Pfeifer also avoids the trap of making Aquaman’s story too centered on Atlantis, which may also have turned off people in the past, by dropping the entire population of an American coastal city right underwater with him.

Patrick Gleason and Christian Alamy do lovely underwater work, with colors by Nathan Eyring. Swimming characters, floating debris, assorted underwater creatures and beautiful effects like shafts of light cutting through the tides all come together to give this book a wonderful visual feel. There’s a bit more of the gore that struck me about this team’s first issue on the title, including a strangely hideous revelation, but none of it feels superfluous, and it all helps to give this title a more mature feel.

Aquaman is a book that I’ve never read more than sporadically over the years, but as long as Pfeifer is handling the writing chores, I think I’ll be a regular reader. It’s just that good.

Rating: 8/10

Blood of the Demon #1

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment

March 5, 2005

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Born Again

There’s a new life out there for Jason Blood – or is there?

Plot: John Byrne
Script: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: John Byrne
Inks: Nekros
Colors: Alex Bleyaert
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Cover Art: John Byrne
Publisher: DC Comics

It seems like, every so often, someone feels the need to revamp Jack Kirby’s Demon, and apparently, that time has come again. This time it’s in the hands of John Byrne and Will Pfeifer (whom I’m very happy to see writing again after the sad cancellation of H-E-R-O).

The book opens up with a surprisingly gruesome torture sequence. Jason Blood has been captured by a mysterious sect seeking information on the demon Etrigan, and they’re literally flaying the skin from his bones. (No code approval on this one, kiddies.) The way out of the interrogation causes a very fundamental change for Jason, and it’s unclear whether or not it will quite be permanent or whether it’s changed again by the end of the issue.

If it is a permanent change, it’s both intriguing and a bit off-putting at the same time. It could be a drastically different direction to take the character, and a very interesting change. On the other hand, if mishandled it could feel like nothing more than an attempt to turn Jason into DC’s answer to Blade.

This is probably Byrne’s strongest showing as a writer in the last few years — helped, no doubt, by Pfeifer’s script. I’ve never thought his pencils lost any of their flair, though, and his teaming with Nekros on inks makes for a really appealing visual package. There are much gorier scenes in this book than you usually expect out of Byrne, but it works well. He also does a solid job with the action, and Alex Bleyaert’s color work goes a long way towards making this book consistent and appealing.

I wasn’t really planning on picking this book up, but the first issue has me intrigued. I have to admit, though, I’m concerned. Byrne is taking over the pencils on Action Comics soon, and as far as I know, Doom Patrol hasn’t been canceled – can he really handle three monthly titles without a drop in quality?

Rating: 8/10

H-E-R-O #11

November 9, 2010 1 comment

December 7, 2003

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: The Great Leap Forward

A self-contained issue tells the story of the first bearer of the H-Device

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Art: Kano
Colors: JD Mettler
Letters: Ken Lopez
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: John Van Fleet
Publisher: DC Comics

The most interesting aspect of this title for me is the prospect of, after all these years, finally having a story behind the H-Device. We get a bit of a clue in this issue that spirals back in time 50,000 years to a group of cavemen who find a strange glowing device that comes crashing to Earth. Archeologists through the centuries find the remnants of the power a caveman is granted, without ever grasping the true significance of their finds.

This is a quick read, as there is no English in the long prehistoric segments (caveman dialogue seems limited to “Oot” and “Hurm”), but it’s a good read nonetheless. This is a consistently good title that doesn’t get quite the recognition it deserves. Since issue one it’s been an exploration of superheroism. With this issue it becomes an exploration of superpowers throughout history.

Kano may not be a comic book superstar artist, but he’s hands-down the right artist for this title. He has a slightly more iconic style than you average superhero artist, but it works really well on this title, and on this issue in particular. The cavemen look very good, and the later museum scenes work equally well.

For a book like this, which is increasingly hinging on the mystery of the H-Device, it’s nice to take a look at the backstory once in a while. I’m left with just one question, though… when the Device crashed to Earth in 48,000 B.C., why were the letters in English?

Another mystery to ponder, Mr. Pfeifer. Thanks a lot.

Rating: 8/10