By Daniel Cole
Welcome to the Six Shooter! This is a weekly column that will review six specific comics. Big new releases, small interesting titles and random curiosities. All will be looked at. The way it works is that there will be a brief review of the comics followed by our rating system. Our ratings are:
Headshot (Best of the week)
Miss (Don’t Read)
Misfire (Worst of the week)
After last weeks hiatus Six Shooter is back and ready to look at this weeks offerings. So lets do this!
BATMAN 66 #1 – DC COMICS
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Jonathan Case
It is a given that nearly everyone is familiar with the 60s Batman TV show. It was high camp and trippy fun that made household names of Batman and Robin. Adam West’s Batman is everything that is odd and silly about the character.
What Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case have done is recreate the TV show and embrace the ridiculousness of it all. As a result we have a comic that captures the TV show’s camp feel and that is a good thing. Having this Batman back is refreshing and gives us a caped crusader who isn’t bogged down in an overtly serious tone.
The plot is a simple but effective, utilising one of Batman’s more colourful villains. The Riddler just suits this style of Batman 66 and his mania is excellent. The dialogue is pure cheese, but is a constant source of humour. Parker has nailed the actors deliveries perfectly and manages to throw in some great Robin one-liners (HOLY TIGHTROPE!)
Jonathan Case’s art has a pulpy charm to it that really sells the book. The colour work alone is a visual treat as the bright colours pop off the page. His panel layouts are dynamic and the action is fun. Sometimes the pencils are a little simplistic in places and the thick inking shows that up, but on the whole the book’s visuals mirror the TV show’s aesthetic.
It isn’t going to blow you away, but it is a fun read that plays heavy on childhood nostalgia for the TV show. Parker and Case are a great team and have constructed an engaging and camp book that explores a take on Batman that has been sorely missing in the recent comics.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – HIT
SUICIDE RISK #3 – BOOM! STUDIOS
Written by Mike Carey
Art by Elena Casagrande & Andrew Elder
Although the premise behind Mike Carey’s latest series isn’t really original, it at least has a little depth to the world. The idea that a cop buys a superpower from a back alley is a nice set up and from this issue we are finally hitting some ground with the story.
That being said this issue still has pacing problems and the need for exposition drags the first half of the book down. Carey goes to great lengths to make the reader sympathise with the main character here, but Leo continues to be somewhat of a blank canvass. His emotional distress at last issue’s events is hammered out here and the script overworks that angle, which leaves it feeling too artificial. Leo’s brother is nothing more than a plot device as he tells Leo one villain’s backstory and gives him details on another super powered person. These elements make the first half of the issue a tedious read.
But the second half isn’t that much better. However the introduction of a character with the powers of a drug without the side effects is handled well. But the little action scene is a by the numbers affair and the issue’s cliffhanger doesn’t do much to entice you back.
Elena Casagrande’s art is functional and clear, but it lacks any real impact. It looks just like your standard comic book. That isn’t a bad thing as the plot is told well visually, but you won’t exactly remember the comic for its art.
Suicide Risk has a lot of problems, but even its good points only raise the book up to an average read. The concept might be better suited to TV as the way this issue is paced and plotted seems to have that medium in mind. It has potential to improve and Carey is a very capable writer, but for now this is a middle of the road title.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – MISS
ABSOLUTION RUBICON #1 – AVATAR PRESS
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Daniel Gete & Digikore Studios
The main problem with Christos Gage’s Absolution Rubicon is that we’ve seen it all before. Super powered vigilantes murdering the bad guys are so commonplace now that it is becoming tiresome.
It would seem that Gage has been inspired by Mark Millar’s recent output. We have characters swearing, graphic depictions of violence and a completely cynical approach to superheroes. This issue is, as you’d expect, all set up and places the reader six months after its main character turned into a murdering vigilante. All the major players are put on the board and Gage gives them all motivations. It isn’t a bad script technically, but the familiarity of it all makes the book a bland read.
The one true interesting concept (criminals appealing their time in prison) is dealt with in such a quick fashion that it is no longer relevant before the issue hits the halfway mark. The way Gage introduces the two female protagonists is the highlight of the whole issue. Using the speed dating framing device to get across these two characters personalities in a succinct way.
Gete’s art is more focused on delivering bloody action than consistent quality. It isn’t hard to follow but the detail drops from time to time. He has a lot of fun in the action scenes, but he isn’t really suited to the more talkative moments.
The book isn’t terrible by any means and you can see that it is aiming for a specific audience. But the concept isn’t thrilling, the characters don’t really capture your attention and the art is mediocre. As a first issue it does what is needed of it, but little more.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – MISS
THEREMIN #2 – MONKEY BRAIN COMICS
Written by Curt Pires
Art by Dalton Rose
Curt Pires and Dalton Rose’s time travel based comic rushes along at a break neck pace. It is especially noticeable due to its small page count. On top of this the book is crammed with ideas that makes it seem almost necessary to read again once you’ve finished.
There is a pulp feel to the title, but it isn’t overt. The main selling point of the book is the almost poetic text boxes that straggle a fine line between interesting and pretentious. However the gung-ho attitude to murder from a lot of the characters is a little too much and one will wonder how far down the rabbit hole Pires went as we see Buddhist talking chimps being slaughtered.
Dalton Rose’s art is well defined and gives the book a distinct style. His art is very expressive, but it is quite rough. However this gives the book a solid visual identity. The use of colour and lighting effects is where the art shines. Rose really knows how to colour a book with the projector panel being the best image in the issue.
It is quirky and it is hard to decide whether that is a good or bad thing. There is something alluring about the crazy ideas on display here, but the execution seems rushed and a little incoherent due to the rapid pacing and limited page count.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – MISS
SATELLITE SAM #1 – IMAGE COMICS
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Howard Chaykin
Sex, violence and TV in the 1950s. It’s a concoction that suits Howard Chaykin down to the ground. It is also a great fit for Fraction as his script trundles along nicely as the opening chapter of Satellite Sam comes to an interesting end.
One thing is instantly noticeable about this issue. The black and white choice really enhances Chaykin’s art style. His pencil work is detailed and his visual story telling is the best he’s done in a while. His characters look great and they perfectly fit into the darkly styled world he has created. Bold inking makes the book look striking and Chaykin’s use of lighting and shade gives the art depth.
Fraction’s script is talky, but in a great way. The characters are well defined and the hectic atmosphere of a TV production is captured perfectly. The ramifications of Satellite Sam’s death are intriguing and the issue makes you want to find out more about how these stressed characters deal with everything now the star of the show has gone.
It is a well-paced issue that is filled with great dialogue and character work. The plot is engaging, with Fraction setting up his story whilst delivering a satisfying first issue. Chaykin is on top form, as he enhances Fraction’s script to no end. If Satellite Sam keeps up this quality then it will be a must have title.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – HEADSHOT
MASKS AND MOBSTERS #9 – MONKEY BRAIN COMICS
Written by Mike Henderson (Script Assist Joshua Williamson)
Art by Mike Henderson
Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson’s crime anthology is an excellent title. It is an interesting concept told in an interesting way. Taking the masks back to the golden age and having them fight the mobsters instead of super villains.
This issue is a stand-alone tale where two members of the mob meet a Namor-esque character. The ensuing story is simple but entertaining. The creative team play on the concept of an aquatic super being. With the mobsters cleverly getting the creature on their side. It all ends with a Mask appearing and a scuffle. It is a light read but it will stay with you.
Before we talk about the art inside the comic let us admire the fantastic front cover from Henderson. It’s a haunting and moody piece of art that perfectly encapsulates the tone of the world Masks and Mobsters inhabits. The art inside the comic is just as striking. The noir look might be the go to style for this type of tale but Henderson really makes it work. The decision to make the sky a black backdrop makes the white coloured characters and world pop off the page. Henderson proves that he is an excellent storyteller with this one issue.
This is a gorgeous looking book with a fun story. It maybe a quick read but it’s a well-crafted one. It is easily one of the best looking comics out there.
SIX SHOOTER RATING – HEADSHOT
Three misses is disappointing but it is also a week that has two headshots. So we can call that a win.
Do you agree with the reviews? Did we get them wrong or right? Have any suggests on what we should review next week? Get in touch in the comments section.
For more comic views and reviews follow Dan on Twitter at @gizmo151183
Posted on July 5th, 2013
Category: REVIEWS, SIX SHOOTER
Tags: Absolution Rubicon #1 Review, Adam West, Avatar Press, Batman 66 #1, Comic Reviews, Daniel Cole, DC Comics, Image Comics, Masks and Monsters #9 Review, Monkey Brain Comics Reviews, Satellite Sam #1 Review, Six Shooter #005, Suicide Risk #3 Review, Theremin #2 Review