Category Archives: 2010

Garrison #6 - Cover

Garrison #6

Garrison #6 - CoverWriter: Jeff Mariotte
Pencils: Francesco Francavilla
Colors: Wes Hartman
Letters: Johnny Lowe
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Shannon Eric Denton
Cover: Francesco Francavilla

(No Spoilers)
Where Sparta U.S.A. frustrated the heck out of me, in the end Garrison was successful in underwhelming me.  I tried to give this book the benefit of the doubt but ultimately it was just your average comic.

Garrison #6 - Image 1Did we get more fun Francesco Francavilla art?  Absolutely!  Plus we get some great action scenes but that’s something that this series has delivered since the beginning.  It’s the story that really made me lose interest.  We got Garrison’s origin last issue and it wasn’t a very original idea.  In this issue we do get a neat little addendum to his origin but much like Sparta U.S.A. it seemed like too little too late.

To me an average comic is one that’s entertaining but is usually forgettable.  Garrison unfortunately falls under that category.  I never got invested in the characters and the story progressed in a very predictable way.  I think I had my hopes set high because I have enjoyed Mariotte’s work in the past.  So I was surprised that he didn’t take any chances with this mini-series and take this character in a different direction.

With the shutdown of the Wildstorm Imprint, Garrison will be one of the last creator-owned titles Wildstorm ever prints.  With such an event, I just wish we would’ve gotten a better story.  But at least we’ve still got two more creator-owned titles that are wrapping up under Wildstorm’s imprint that I am thoroughly enjoying.

5 out of 10 (Average)

X-files/30 Days of Night #3

(No Spoilers)

Writer: Steve Niles & Adam Jones
Pencils: Tom Mandrake
Colors: Darlene Royer
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Cover: Andrea Sorrentino

The nightmare for Agents Mulder and Scully continues as the threat increases substantially in this issue. Niles and Jones have gone from making this feel like an X-files episode to feeling more like an X-files movie.

The layouts and the pacing take on more of a widescreen feel in this issue. Mandrake’s art seems to be getting better and I like some of the huge establishing shots he illustrates. Plus, like I’ve mentioned before, we don’t have a particular vampire character we’re following so Mandrake takes the vampires we do see and seems to give us only teases of them. Whether it’s in shadows or close-up shots, he truly gives them a beast-like quality. This is a departure from the way Niles has presented them in the past which was a mixture of the human and animalistic traits. But again, I think it’s the lack of a main vampire character (so far) that drives this notion.

The characterization is still spot on as Mulder continues to insert humor even in the most dire situation while Scully is ever the skeptic as the unexplainable happens around her. They also get into a pretty intense action scene towards the end. It’s not something I’m used to seeing with them but the unexpectedness of it added to the suspense.

The story is still moving along nicely. We didn’t learn as much as I would’ve liked this issue but we traded that for a great action scene. I think what made it more suspenseful is that I’ve been wondering how Mulder and Scully will survive against such a dangerous foe. I got a taste of that here.

The series is continuing to be a great read each month. I’m confident that the remaining issues will be just as enjoyable. Niles proves time and time again that he knows how to write a good comic. Now with Adam Jones providing some insight, it appears the two work really well together. A solid read each month and one that is worth checking out if you still haven’t.

8 out of 10 (On its way to greatness!)

Ides of Blood #2

“Beware the Ides of March” (No Spoilers)

Writer: Stuart C. Paul
Pencils: Christian Duce
Colors: Carlos Badilla
Letters: Johnny Lowe
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Shannon Eric Denton
Cover: Michael Geiger

Stuart C. Paul and Christian Duce deliver another beautiful issue in this intriguing mini-series. Paul’s writing is flawless and Duce’s art continues to be amazing as we get arguably one of the most unique takes on one of the most infamous assassinations in history.

Paul’s skills as a writer shine here as the pacing is excellent. He is able to pack so much story into these issues so far that I really feel like I’m getting my money’s worth reading this comic. In a 32-page comic that only has 22-pages of actual story (standard because of the ads) you feel like you get twice as much story. I’d liken it to what Adam Beechen is doing over in Wildcats.

Don’t think this means Christian Duce is doing nothing but drawing small panels. The layout sizes vary enough to keep it visually interesting; including an awesome full-page shot of Valens and Caesar. There are also some great action pieces especially towards the end where some of the scenes are very superhero-like. Duce is also able to capture the desperation in those final pages as we end with a great cliffhanger.

It’s obvious Paul has done his research as he inserts various ideas surrounding the assassination of Caesar such as the “Ides of March” and omens like the two-headed calf being born. It’s amazing how much mythos has been built around this historical event. It’ll leave you wanting to head to Wikipedia to read up on all the details he’s inserted in the story.

I’m afraid this comic is going to fall under the radar for most people. I know money is tight for a lot of people but if you’ve got that one title you’ve wanted to drop, do it and add Ides of Blood to your pull. It’s only 6 issues and with what we’ve gotten so far, I anticipate that it will be a solid read all the way through. Give it a try if you’ve been on the fence about it. It’s worth the read!

9 out of 10 (Excellent!)

Garrison #5

Writer: Jeff Mariotte
Pencils: Francesco Francavilla
Colors: Wes Hartman
Letters: Johnny Lowe
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Shannon Eric Denton
Cover: Francesco Francavilla

(No Spoilers)

Alright, we got a little more with this issue than last. There wasn’t a single explosion in this issue but there was a great hand-to-hand fight at the beginning. But thankfully fighting is not all we get in this issue as we finally get some revelation here.

When I started reading the issue and the fight began to run long I was afraid we wouldn’t have room for much else. Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome fight but this series has been leaning more towards action than story since the beginning so while I was expecting it, I was also hoping for a little more substance too. Francavilla continues to deliver some awesome fights and is still finding new and interesting ways for Garrison to finish people off. Then afterwards we get a pretty funny scene of Garrison and Agent Bracewell in a plane that I thought was amusing but again I thought we were running out of comic too quick to fit in more story.

Thankfully, by the last third of the issue we finally get an answer to the origin of Garrison. It’s not really an original origin and it’s kind of what I anticipated all along but it’s passable. It makes sense with certain real world concerns but as far as comics are concerned, it’s not an idea we haven’t seen before. And I don’t mind revisiting old ideas but I do like them to have some sort of cool new spin on them (see Ides of Blood).

I’ve already talked at length about the comparisons to a summer blockbuster movie and you could almost keep a checklist of the cliché’s here. This includes the one we get at the very end of the book which I could see coming a mile away. Again, not necessarily a bad thing but it does kind of take the suspense out of the story.

I am still enjoying this comic but I was kind of hoping they’d try something new with the story. I anticipate next issue we’ll get at least one more good fight and probably a happy ending but regardless I’m still interested enough to see how it all ends. I just wish Mariotte had taken more chances with this story.

6 out of 10 (Slightly above average)