Archive for Sergeant Rock

Wednesday Comics #1

Posted in Comics, DC, Wednesday Comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 8th July, 2009 by Adam Redsell
The Ultimate Newspaper

The Ultimate Newspaper.

Wednesday Comics is the product of DC’s continued experiments with the weekly comic format, and in many ways I think it’s the culmination.  For many people, this will be the Ultimate Newspaper.  It’s certainly mine.  There’s something about opening it out that makes the experience that much more exciting.  And while the whole format is a throwback to the Sunday comic strips, and the stories themselves a throwback to the Silver Age; it’s just so brimming with comic magic that it can’t help but feel fresh and new.  Each page is devoted to a DC property, written and illustrated by a star-studded roster including the likes of Brian Azzarello, Dave Gibbons, Kyle Baker, John Arcudi, Lee Bermejo, Kurt Busiek, Neil Gaiman, Paul Pope, Adam Kubert, Joe Kubert, and Walter Simonson.  The hook is this: these creators get to tell stories of whichever character they damn-well please.   The plan is virtually fool-proof.  Here’s how it went:

Batman
Author: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso (with Robins & Mulvihill)

Not a whole lot of action as yet, but we have a good setup here.  Batman finds out he has until midnight to save an investment banker from being murdered.  Problem is, it already is midnight.  Azzarello makes an interesting observation on Commissioner Gordon’s relationship with Batman.

Kamandi
Author: Dave Gibbons
Artist: Ryan Sook

The opening shot is classic Kamandi, but I’m also getting hints of “Tales of the Black Freighter”, which is interesting because this time Gibbons is writing, not drawing!  Gibbons highlights the awesomely clever origin of Kamandi’s name too.

Superman
Author: John Arcudi
Artist: Lee Bermejo

Bermejo’s Superman is absolutely gorgeous.  This has got to be the most intriguing story of the bunch as well…

Deadman
Authors: Dave Bullock & Vinton Heuck
Artist: Dave Bullock
Letterer: Jared Fletcher
Colorist: Dave Stewart

Deadman is too talky and too simple for my liking.  As far as noir goes, though, it does talk the talk, especially in the art department.

Green Lantern
Author: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Joe Quiñones

Busiek and Quiñones revisit the Hal Jordan of the 50s, and if Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier was anything to go by, this should fit like an old pair of shoes.  (Comfortably, that is.)

Metamorpho
Author: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Michael Allred
Colorist: Laura Allred
Letterer: Nate Piekos

This was probably the funniest of the fifteen comic strips.  Gaiman has put himself right into the Silver Age for this one, forcing foibles and attitudes of the time period to great comedic effect.  Michael Allred also channels Jack Kirby with his bold, no-nonsense approach to the panels.

Teen Titans
Author: Eddie Berganza
Artist: Sean Galloway

Loved the art style.  The writing – not so much…

Adam Strange
Author & Artist: Paul Pope

The biggest surprise for me was Paul Pope’s choice of character in Adam Strange.  I had him pinned as a Batman-only writer, but boy, was I ever wrong.  This pulp-style sci-fi is probably the coolest of the bunch.

Supergirl
Author: Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Amanda Conner

This is pretty much just an intro, but a cute and funny one nonetheless.  After all, isn’t that what these Sunday comic strips were all about?

Metal Men
Author: Dan DiDio
Artists: José Luis García-López & Kevin Nowlan

Anyone who’s ever read a ‘DC Nation’ column was probably as surprised as I was when they realised that Dan DiDio’s Metal Men is actually quite funny.  And clever!

Wonder Woman
Author & Artist: Ben Caldwell

While I found Wonder Woman’s conversation with the pigeons to be quite amusing, I thought the rest of the page was cluttered and confusing.  I think Ben Caldwell is trying to cram too much in here.

Sgt. Rock and Easy Co.
Author: Adam Kubert
Artist: Joe Kubert

Kubert and Son join forces for a striking first effort.  Joe’s depiction of Sergeant Rock’s brutal interrogation is all kinds of visceral.  I’ve never read Adam Kubert’s writing before, so it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.

The Flash
Authors: Karl Kerschl & Brenden Fletcher
Artist: Karl Kerschl
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Dave McCaig

It’s good to see Karl and Brenden really experiment with the form.  The Flash page is split into two parallel stories: a Flash action sequence in a race to stop Gorilla Grodd; and Iris West, about to leave that unreliable, good-for-nothing Barry Allen!  Can’t wait to read the next one.

The Demon and Catwoman
Author: Walter Simonson
Artist: Brian Stelfreeze (with Steve Wands)

What *appears* to be a rather wacky combination of characters proves to be rather dry, as Selina Kyle takes a tour of Jason Blood’s mansion.  Hopefully things will heat up when the Cat and the Demon come out to play…

Hawkman
Author & Artist: Kyle Baker

A great note to finish on.  The entire story is told from the perspective of a hawk as Hawkman leads his avian allies into battle.

I never thought it would happen, but I think DC may have finally nailed that magic weekly formula.  If each of these stories advance at a steady pace, then we should be in for a real treat.

A word to the wise, though: *probably* don’t carry this one on the bus, or out in the rain…

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Booster Gold #20

Posted in Booster Gold, Comics, DC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26th May, 2009 by Adam Redsell
You'd be surpised how few Commies are actually in this.

You'd be surprised how few Commies are actually in this.

“1952 Pickup”
Author: Keith Giffen
Artists: Patrick Oliffe & Dan Jurgens
Inkers: Norm Rapmund & Rodney Ramos
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover Artist: Jurgens & Rapmund

I stopped reading Booster Gold after lucky issue 13.  That’s two issues after Geoff Johns left the book, which yielded a noticeable drop in quality.  All the while Dan Jurgens continued to draw Booster – which was great, seeing as he created the character – but writing duties were passed to less accomplished writers, and at one point, Jurgens had to draw and write.  I thought it was only a matter of time before this once illustrious series got the axe.  Not yet, it seems.

When I noticed Keith Giffen’s name credited on the front cover (along with Jurgens’) of issue 20, I decided now might be the right time to climb back into the chronosphere with Booster Gold and Rip Hunter.  After all, Giffen has quite a pedigree when it comes to Booster Gold.  Booster was in Giffen’s hilarious incarnation of the Justice League.  Giffen also did the page breakdowns for my favourite ‘event’ comic, 52, in which Booster was a major character.  But most importantly, Giffen has a reputation for witty dialogue.

He doesn’t disappoint in that regard – Booster’s a smartass as always and Rip’s a time-wearied cynic as expected – although I was missing the presence of his robotic encyclopaedia, Skeets (perhaps there wasn’t room for three smartasses in Giffen’s story).  When I stopped reading the title, Booster’s sister had just joined the crew, which was an interesting development, so it was sad to see that she had already been dispensed with (or maybe she’s just on an adventure with Skeets).  The issue kicks off with an amusing verbal skirmish between Booster and Rip,

In Booster Gold #20, Rip’s time machine stalls ‘somewhere to the left of yesterday’, and Booster decides to pass the time by visiting the [relatively] peaceful 50s.  He, of course, gets more than he bargains for when he journeys to 1952.  Hoping for Las Vegas, he lands instead in the Nevada desert, near the small town of Mosely, population 265, but more importantly, near a top-secret rocket launch site.  Booster, oblivious to the ‘anti-cape’ laws of the time, flies to the nearest servo [Americans read: gas station] for directions to Sin City.  What he gets instead is the ‘FBI’, who actually turn out to be none other than Sergeant Rock and the Suicide Squad.  They blackmail Booster into stopping one of the world’s first manned space flights, because the project is headed by a deep cover Soviet scientist.  Booster is happy to oblige when he realises the first successful manned space flight wasn’t to occur until a decade later.  Everybody wins.  (This, of course, leads to some witty banter between Booster and Sgt. Rock.)

This issue was pretty entertaining.  Probably the biggest disappointment was the guest art by Patrick Oliffe.  It’s not bad per se, but the characters’ faces lacked detail at times, and Jurgens’ Booster just can’t be matched.  It probably would have fared better had the issue not been book-ended by Dan Jurgens’ illustrations.  It just lacked consistency given the differences in style and ability.  Of course, I would have preferred that Jurgens drew the whole thing, but obviously there were time constraints there.

When all is said and done, Booster #20 is a simple, yet enjoyable one-shot.  Whether or not you’ll enjoy this issue is wholly dependent on what you value most in a comic book – the writing, which is great, or the art, which is good in places, and merely *okay* in others.  If you enjoy Keith Giffen’s ear for dialogue and *a spot of* Dan Jurgens’ art, then by all means, have a read.