Wednesday, September 07, 2016

What I Bought 8/28/2016 - Part 2

Not a fan of Comic Book Resources' recent redesign of their website. I was only interested in the Comics Should Be Good blog, and it went poof! I'm not even sure what's the effective way to find anything there now.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #11, by Ryan North (writer), Jacob Chabot (guest artist), Erica Henderson (drew one panel), Rico Renzi (color artist), Travis Lanham (letterer) - No Squirrel Girl, don't venture onto the Internet, it's a horrible place!

Squirrel Girl is attacked in her dreams by Nightmare, who keeps throwing versions of super-villains at her, which Doreen keeps defeating with computer science knowledge. She's helped by the fact she has no idea who Count Nefaria is, and therefore doesn't have any idea that his powers don't involve counting. I mean, he tries to pass himself off as some landed aristocrat, right? He probably didn't even get schooled in mathematics, just horse-riding and beating peasants.

That's pretty much it. The computer science stuff is largely lost on me, but that's OK. Kraven's one-panel appearance in Doreen's entirely reasonable approach to taking finals in a class she hasn't attended was good for a chuckle. Chabot's a good choice for a guest artist. His art definitely falls in that range I'm very fond of. Clean, expressive, a bit exaggerated but not overly so. Conveys all the important information even in the small panels, and includes some nice additional touches. Example: As Doreen works out how to escape the "finals she didn't study for" problem with Tippy, Chabot keeps Dream-Nancy visible in the panels, looking on somewhat flummoxed by Doreen's attitude. She doesn't really need to be there, but she had been previously established there and it's nice as a reminder the nightmares aren't going to fade away simply because Doreen knows that's what they are. She still has to deal with getting out of this final, and she still has to deal with Nightmare wearing the Venom symbiote.

Also, Doreen rocking the Dr. Strange fingers as she commands the squirrels to defeat Nightmare was a good visual.

Darkwing Duck #4, by Aaron Sparrow (writer), James Silvani (writer/artist), Andrew Dalhouse (colors), D.C. Hopkins (letters) - I originally figured the villian was Lilliput, the short guy Gosalyn defeated in one page in issue 2, because he wears a hat with the dangly things on it, but no.

In fact, the villain is a tiny, super-powerful bug calling itself Gnatmare, who repeatedly thrashes Darkwing until he borrows Megavolt from prison to make a giant bug zapper. In plot terms, it's very much how I remember someone describing (probably Scipio at the Absorbascon) Silver Age comics. First meeting between hero and villain, villain wins handily. Second meeting, hero does better, but still fails to catch bad guy. Third meeting, hero is prepared for villain, wins the day. Darkwing doesn't really get any closer to catching Gnatmare the second time than he did the first, but its otherwise accurate. Which is fine, as an occasional thing. It seems clear Sparrow and Silvani have longer term plots in mind (the weird ink the Phantom Blot was using in the Brill/Silvani volume comes back into play at the end of the issue), but a one-shot a nice change of pace.

I think my favorite page is the one of Darkwing, in his civilian identity trying to find Gosalyn and blowing off the Muddlefoots' offer to watch the "Pelican's Island" series finale. I don't know who does the dialogue, since Sparrow and Silvani are sharing writing credits, but the 'Er, you know, I would, Herb, but wouldn't you know it. . . That's on the night that I don't want to.' cracks me up. I think how Silvani draws Drake in the scene helps, where Drake is already trying to get the hell out of there, but still has a relatively friendly look on his face. That plus his look of complete disgust once he's got his back to them in the next panel, combined with the muttered, 'I hate the Muddlefoots.' Probably a nostalgia aspect to that, since he said it all the time on the cartoon, but it works.

Silvani doesn't do a lot with page layouts, which is something that was true in the previous volume, but he's still pretty good at telling the story and conveying emotion. He's good at knowing when to go really cartoony with their expressions or the figurework, and when to reign it in and keep things relatively realistic. In one panel, Gnatmare hits DW in the stomach hard enough to basically fold him over, and also the force makes his limbs appear longer, like he's stretching. It works because it's only used sparsely, when appropriate. That's an obvious thing, but it seems like an important one.


SallyP said...

I am constantly delighted by Squirrel Girl. And Kraven has been reborn... and is fabulous!

I have to agree with you about the Comic Book site... everything that I liked just up and disappeared!

CalvinPitt said...

Yeah, I can't figure out what CBR was going for. Do they think they streamlined the site doing this? Everything's on one page now? 'Cause it doesn't seem to work. Bizarre.