What Comic Didn't Work for You This Week?

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I've been enjoying the two Starlin collections of Warlock and Captain Marvel immensely.



You know what this forum needs more of?

COMIC BOOK CRITIQUE!

I miss when comic fans REALLY talked about comics! What did you read, but didn't work for you and why? The art? The writing? The characterizations? The price? The editing? The colors? There's already a thread about praising good material, and I've picked up books from what I've seen written about there, but what about words of warning to our fellow comic fans? There's only so much time and money.

Some people may feel that criticism is not welcome, that these forums should always be about positivity, but I can tell you that any creator or business welcomes legit criticism for various reasons, and we know there are some industry involved participants on these very forums. To criticize something, means you cared enough to write or share that criticism - this medium should mean enough to us to be willing to criticize it.

Criticism lets you see things in a different light. Everyone should have a different viewpoint—one which you might never have considered before. Criticism helps us to see things from a different perspective, hence raising awareness. Criticism is a form of honesty. I actually prefer to talk with someone who openly shares what he/she thinks rather than someone who thinks the same thoughts BUT keeps it to him/herself. Criticism helps people improve.

If you want to stick with all-positive comics discussions, jump over to this thread, but if you've been investing in a title that just isn't working for you, why not let us know here so we can check it out ourselves, avoid it also, or try to persuade you why we think you've made a mistake, or just ignore it.

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Here are two titles that I wish I hadn't kept buying before I had already bought several issues of before I got around to reading them:

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Man-Thing by R. L. Stine ($3.99)
I haven't gotten through all 5 issues of this mini yet, but what I've seen so far is a story that’s lacking strong characters, a clear plot, and a reason to exist at all. The art is good, but I am not impressed with the inner monologue of the protagonist. It was never necessary back when Steve Gerber was helming this intriguing character (the two volume Epic trades are worth your time). Stine gave Man-Thing the ability to think and speak like Ted Sallis, thereby removing the essence of what made this anti-hero unique. He also offers no explanation how Man-Thing suddenly regained consciousness and speech - without having a mouth or having done so in 40 years! Did RL Stine not know how this character worked?The origin story is a sham compared to what Gerry Conway and Len Wein did back in '71. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be a nostalgia trip or just a parody, but either way, this is an #epicfail on every level and I will never read another Man-Thing comic by Stine.

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(She-)Hulk by Mariko Tamaki ($3.99)
I'm very fond of She-Hulk. Ever since John Byrne took over the character and made her the fun-loving hero who broke the 4th wall before Deadpool was even an idea, I was hooked. I actually have that complete run and the essential of SSH. That version of the character is long gone. Dan Slott did a pretty good run a few years ago, which I have in trades, and the Charles Soule version a few years ago didn't impress me much, but this 2017 version is just awful. Jennifer is struggling to recover from the aftermath of having a near death experience and learning that her cousin Bruce Banner was murdered by Hawkeye during Civil War II, this series is set-up to tell her painful story about the psychological trauma of being a superhero, and literally nothing has happened for several issues. The renderings are clunky, static, and lack detail. The proportions are all over the map and the villains look very goofy and not at all menacing. The color is actually well done, however. The story so far is miserable. Even the Bendis-y dialogue is cringy. Not at all like Tamaki's 'Supergirl: Being Super.' You hardly ever see She-Hulk in her heroic form in the series, and when you do it's a last-panel jip. Marvel has transformed a sexy, fun, confident female hero into a self-loathing, one-dimensional, boring character. The only bright spots are the sitcom stereotypical gay, interracial couple and, well... that's pretty much it.

I'm done. No more pre-ordering of this title.

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(D.M. me and I will send you issues 1-8 for FREE plus the cost of S&H if I can't recover any of my investment and they don't sell on eBay.)

Comments

  • DARDAR Posts: 801
    Well I'm trying out Marvel Unlimited and Comixology. I've liked most of what I've read but I gave a look at Ultimatum. Yeah it's bad. It's really really bad
  • BryanBryan Posts: 12
    edited August 15
    Gotta disagree on Man-Thing. I thought it was great fun to read. BUT, I have no prior experience with the character - didn't read much Stine as kid either. I grabbed issue 1 on a whim and loved that it didn't take itself seriously at all. I can see how if you loved previous incarnations of the character it might miss.
  • TheOriginalGManTheOriginalGMan Posts: 1,624
    Inhumans Once and Future Kings #1.

    Beautiful artwork ruined by moronic story-telling. I'm an Inhumans fan, so I'll give it a couple more issues, but it's already on double-secret probation with me.
  • bralinatorbralinator Posts: 5,841
    Bryan said:

    Gotta disagree on Man-Thing. I thought it was great fun to read. BUT, I have no prior experience with the character - didn't read much Stine as kid either. I grabbed issue 1 on a whim and loved that it didn't take itself seriously at all. I can see how if you loved previous incarnations of the character it might miss.

    Hey, I'm glad it worked for you. I'm just trying to figure out what the purpose of the story is other than "It's R.L. Stine and we're gonna let him write whatever he wants."

    Seriously, I am glad it's working for you. Any books NOT working for you that you'd care to mention @Bryan? Feel free to share.
  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,169
    edited August 16

    The renderings are clunky, static, and lack detail. The proportions are all over the map and the villains look very goofy and not at all menacing. The color is actually well done, however.

    What we have here is the penciler/inker, Nico Leon, and the colorist, Matt Milla, not really being in synch. Taken individually, I think the penciling, the inking, and the coloring are just fine. The penciling isn't particularly dynamic, but the storytelling is solid, and the poses look natural. The inking (looks digital to me) isn't very expressive, as he uses dead line weights on everything, but there’s nothing particularly wrong with going for a dead-line, open look with the blacks, and he does vary the line weights between the foregrounds and the backgrounds, creating some sense of depth. The coloring is a flatter approach, which I generally prefer. Milla doesn’t overdo the airbrushing, he’s got a pleasant, if conventional, palette, and most importantly he doesn’t get in the way of the storytelling.

    The problem is that the pencils/inks lean more to the realistic side, which calls for more dramatic lighting. Leon does practically nothing to indicate lighting in his linework, with the exception of the highlights on leather. He leaves all the lighting up to the colorist—which is perfectly fine if the colorist is prepared and able to handle that. But Milla does not go far enough in his coloring to provide enough of the necessary lighting. Without that dramatic lighting, the artwork as a whole lacks dynamism.

    I cannot stand when the colorist overdoes it in lighting effects and ends up working against the lighting of the linework. For me that is the greatest sin a colorist can commit, and it happens far too often (and has since digital coloring became the norm). But here we have the opposite happening. Either Leon needs to indicate more (any!) of the lighting in his linework, or Milla needs to be more painterly in his coloring, or both. (My personal preference would be to see more lighting in the linework.) Regardless, it’s something that editorial should have caught and rectified, because the artwork as it stands is serviceable, but boring (just like the sloooooow pace of the story). And comics should never be boring.

    I dropped the book after issue #5.
  • BryanBryan Posts: 12



    Seriously, I am glad it's working for you. Any books NOT working for you that you'd care to mention @Bryan? Feel free to share.

    Nothing I picked up off the shelf recently. I did pick up a couple things today that were gambles, so maybe later this week?

    I did also just finish up my free month of Marvel Unlimited. The last thing I read was Marguerite Bennett and Kieron Gillen's 1602 Witch Hunter Angela. Didn't much care for it, but I think that was mostly because it was immediately preceded by reading Gaiman's 1602 - and how do you follow Gaiman? The story just wasn't compelling. If it wasn't free and I wasn't on vacation at the time, I'm sure I wouldn't have read past issue 1.
  • bralinatorbralinator Posts: 5,841

    Either Leon needs to indicate more (any!) of the lighting in his linework, or Milla needs to be more painterly in his coloring, or both. (My personal preference would be to see more lighting in the linework.) Regardless, it’s something that editorial should have caught and rectified, because the artwork as it stands is serviceable, but boring (just like the sloooooow pace of the story). And comics should never be boring.

    I dropped the book after issue #5.

    I think you've nailed it, Eric. I'd been thinking the colorist was doing all the work, and maybe that was the case if Leon hasn't been indicating any of the lighting in his drawings.

    And yes, the story never got around to anything at all. Some issues actually would end with Shulkie transforming in the final panel only to begin the next issue back in her Walter form... A complete yawnfest.

    So disappointing.

  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,169

    I'd been thinking the colorist was doing all the work, and maybe that was the case if Leon hasn't been indicating any of the lighting in his drawings.

    It's impossible to say without seeing the files he sends the colorist whether or not he indicated lighting or not. There's certainly a possiblity that Leon simply wanted an open, natural look, and had digital markings for areas he wanted shaded darker in the coloring. But just look at the two panels you posted above, where in panel 1, the chair (well, most of it anyway) and stairs cast distinct shadows (though Hellcat does not), and in panel 2, only Hellcat casts a distinct shadow. Granted, adding the shadows in panel 2 would have made the panel composition a bit cluttered in the middle, and off-balance with a lot of open space in the bottom-right corner. But without the shadows, the chair is just floating there. I won't bother to ask why a single dining room chair is sitting alone in the middle of the room.

    As for the transformation teases, it seems to me that it was part of the writer’s effort to build tension before the inevitable hulk-out. But the tension wasn't a steady build up. It didn't even feel to me like a situation where the tension builds, then eases off a bit, then builds even futher—the roller coaster effect, where each climb and drop is bigger and scarier than the next. Instead the tension would build only to fall back to zero, build, then fall back to zero—which will leave most readers either bored or frustrated.
  • bralinatorbralinator Posts: 5,841
    edited August 17

    But without the shadows, the chair is just floating there. I won't bother to ask why a single dining room chair is sitting alone in the middle of the room.

    I think I am seeing more and more artists rely on this software to fill up their backgrounds and I think I am seeing it throughout (She)Hulk. Are you familiar with it?

    the tension would build only to fall back to zero, build, then fall back to zero—which will leave most readers either bored or frustrated.

    Or both, as I was. I've expressed my fondness for this character on these boards before, and you and I discussed the last run, which I at least enjoyed the writing on, but this one has lost me entirely.

    Appreciate your take on it.

  • nweathingtonnweathington Posts: 5,169

    I think I am seeing more and more artists rely on this software to fill up their backgrounds and I think I am seeing it throughout (She)Hulk. Are you familiar with it?

    Yes, I am. Lots of artists use it, or something like it, and get great results with it—Paolo Rivera is a perfect example. The problem isn’t artists using software to help them work faster or more efficiently. The software is a tool, just like a pencil or a lightbox or a reference photo. But just like a carpenter with a skill saw and power drill still needs to know how to design a cabinet before they can build a quality cabinet, an artist with SketchUp still needs to know how to compose a panel and add (or remove) the necessary elements that give it life and movement—and have the time to do so—before they can draw a quality comic.
  • DARDAR Posts: 801
    I picked up three books this week of the three Flash issue 29 wasn't bad per se but after the other two I read it seemed shrug worthy. Nothing really grabbed me story wise
  • bralinatorbralinator Posts: 5,841
    edited August 28
    Just binged the zero issue and first three issues of IDW's Star Trek TNG The Mirror Broken. I was a fan of the original STTNG series, but haven't picked up any of those comics.

    While the Tipton's story is great, albeit a bit slow so far, I think Woodward's art looks a little rushed/sloppy in places. And it could definitely use stronger editing. This is a common problem I have with IDW titles. I plan to stick it out until this mini-series finishes, and I hope it pays off. So far, it hasn't.
  • BrackBrack Posts: 525
    Secret Empire #10 Specifically, the last 3 pages of the main story.

    The actual through line from Standoff to the defeat of Hydra Cap makes sense. As long as you read the right comics before starting Secret Empire. I did, but if you didn't, I perfectly understand finding it confusing and hand-wavy.

    However, those last 3 pages make no sense whatsoever, in that they directly contradict the previous page (hint: follow Cap's shield). All to sell you Generations' one-shots. Which still make no sense even with the single sentence explanation it gets here.

    And hopefully Scarlet Spider will explain the glaring continuity error in those final pages of Las Vegas being left wiped off the map, yet perfectly intact as the setting of Scarlet Spider.


    It all smacks of editorial edict rather than cohesive storytelling, that once again will have to fixed in comics that aren't the book that broke the things in the first place.

    Which would be sort of understandable, but they go out the way to fix a lot of things with the device that was there from the very first issue of Spencer's Cap run and caused the mess in the first place. Why can't it be used to undo the few remaining things everyone who has read a superhero comic know will be undone eventually anyway?

    I suspect the story of the extra issues, the extra art team, Generations and Marvel Legacy will eventually be a much more interesting tale than this mini-series proved to be. It all feels like panic moves from Marvel editorial to present an illusion of having a new direction even though it's mostly the same direction.

    After the Generations nonsense, the epilogue made me wonder if the original plan was to take Steve out of the story entirely for a while and use this to firmly establish Sam as THE Captain America, as it plays like he was the guy who saved America (the final image is Sam as Cap), when the actual comic doesn't play it that strongly.
  • fredzillafredzilla Posts: 2,035
    edited September 21
    What the %*#@ is this?

    Star Wars #35, page 6
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    I usually love Edgar Delgado's colors, especially on Humberto Ramos' art. But seriously, what the %*#@ is this? Han and his skin tone look like it's trying to be photo realistic, but Grakkus and Chewbacca both have more flattened, more typically modern comic book colors. This took me right out of the story. Issue #34 was the same thing. Ugh. I have yet to check the actual book to see what they look like, but this is what I see in the digital version.
  • fredzillafredzilla Posts: 2,035
    edited September 21
    fredzilla said:

    What the %*#@ is this?

    I usually love Edgar Delgado's colors, especially on Humberto Ramos' art. But seriously, what the %*#@ is this? Han and his skin tone look like it's trying to be photo realistic, but Grakkus and Chewbacca both have more flattened, comic book colors. This took me right out of the story. Issue #34 was the same thing. Ugh. I have yet to check the actual book to see what they look like, but this is what I see in the digital version.

    Let me clarify: Han's look is not a bad coloring job at all. The hues and tones Delgado achieved is quite spectacular. But to put it right next to the other colors is wrong. Lando had the same problem in the previous issue. Star Wars is not Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and that's what this looks like.

    Edit: Yeah, physical comic looks just as bad. Oy...
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