Saturday, July 28, 2012

PunisherMax v1: #1

by Jason Aaron (writer) and Steve Dillon (artist)

Chapter 1

Punisher is a killing machine, a one man army intent on bringing down the crime families of New York City. Something has to be done to slow him down and stop him. Enter Wilson Fisk, a bodyguard who will play the role of straw man for the Punisher to focus on. That's the plan.

Intriguing premise. There's a lot of exposition in this chapter. Hopefully it will be the exception and not the rule. The ball is in motion now.

So far the most interesting character is Fisk. In the regular (616) Marvel Universe he is already a boss. At this point in this series he just aspires to be one. He is shown both on the job and at home. He is a thinking man; he is multidimensional. It is not clear at this point if Frank Castle, the Punisher, possesses both of these qualities.

Steve Dillon doesn't pull any punches with his art. What violence there is in this chapter is graphic. Is it excessive? Possibly but it helps to move the story forward and gives the reader a lens through which to view and understand the world in which Fisk and Castle operate.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

House of Mystery v6: #30

Safe as Houses

Chapter 5: monsters / the goblin king / baby universes / problem solved / the fix / what you need vs what you want / three guys walk into a bar by Matthew Sturges (writer), Werther Dell'edera (pencils), and José Marzán, Jr. (inks)

Fig and Tursig, individually, get themselves out of the pickles they have found themselves in. This arc is resolved in a quick and tidy manner, although there is some bloodshed involved. The reader is left to fill in much detail. This isn't a satisfactory approach to storytelling. It feels cheap and unfair. Readers deserve more.

Backup story: Lotus Blossom's Theory of Names by Matthew Sturges (writer) and Carine Brancowitz (art)

Mack, the wizard, figures but does not star in this story. It is primarily a text piece hut there are a few illustrations. It is a body-switching, revenge-type story but aside from the inclusion of Mack it is unclear how this story relates to the main story.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

House of Mystery v6: #29

Safe as Houses

Chapter 4: mindworms / rejection, rejected / it's all done with rabbits now / bodies are easy / the eternal flame thingy by Matthew Sturges (writer), Werther Dell'edera (pencils), and José Marzán, Jr. (inks)

As if this story wasn't confusing enough as is there is a drastic change in the look of the main storyline. Luca Rossi steps aside and Werther Dell'Edera takes over the penciling duties. Ideally such a change should have happened with the beginning of a new arc rather than in the midst of one. The coloring seems considerably less subtle than in previous chapters, although there is no indication that someone took over for Lee Loughridge.

Backup Story: the story about the goblin who loved babies and also there is a hunter in it by Matthew Sturges (writer) and Esao Andrews (artist)

It is pretty to look at and simple to understand but it is unclear what purpose it serves other than to fill pages. It isn't particularly compelling and doesn't provide any vital information.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

House of Mystery v6: #28

Safe as Houses

Chapter 3: announcement 1: public / announcement 2: private / some goblin concerns / little known pitfalls of time-travel / it's "oedipus" / summerlands by Matthew Sturges (writer), Luca Rossi (pencils), and José Marzán, Jr. (inks)

Backup Story: Peace by Matthew Sturges (writer) and Phil Noto (artist)

This chapter is seductively great. It could lead one to believe that there is more to the story than there actually is. There are some great character moments. Fig makes a decision which will separate her from the other denizens of the house. She feels it is something she has to do. They don't agree. The art tells the story as much as the words they exchange do.

Possibly the key to enjoying HoM is learning not to expect too much from it. It is doubtful that it will go everywhere and explore everything that it hints at in this chapter and has hinted at in previous chapters. The images are pretty and the story inspires the imagination, which is not true of plenty of other comic books.

The backup story doesn't slouch. It merges seamlessly with the main storyline. Noto's art is a vital part of the narrative.