Tag Archives: Alan Davis

Comic Book Review – Aquaman #29


Is the new creative team living in the shadow of Johns and Reis or are they finally picking up some steam of their own?

I have been reading this title since its relaunch under the talented hands of Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. Their work was spectacular even if the title seemed to suffer from some story drift (sorry for the pun) near the end of their run. When the title transitioned to Jeff Parker and Paul Pelletier I was excited. Two creators whose work I had enjoyed in the past will surely be able to continue this character’s upward momentum. Unfortunately I have been underwhelmed so far.

Jeff Parker’s writing seems confined and safe – something I have not noticed from him before. I don’t know if this is due to some editorial mandate or Parker’s own trepidation following the likes of Johns. The transition seemed smooth enough and Parker is for the most part not jettisoning the good things about the character’s revival. This issue’s story, however, will seem very familiar to any regular reader of the title. A nosy scientist betrays Aquaman and inadvertently opens a rift allowing monstrous creatures to threaten Atlantis and the surface world. We have been here before and fairly recently in fact.

What I am missing in particular is Parker’s humour. Even Johns injected a sense of self depreciation into the character. A fitting addition since Aquaman is usually the butt of jokes anyway. Parker is, after all, writing the terrific Batman ’66 title that oozes with self mocking. The end of this issue gave me a little hope. I am not terribly excited about the identity of the big bad since you know this is the classic misunderstood fight trope. I did particularly enjoy the winged serpentine woman and hope she will develop into a worthy adversary for Aquaman. Parker needs to be free to bring his style and energy to this title.

Here again I feel like the current artist is trying to be too much like the previous fan favorite. Paul Pelletier’s art always looked like Alan Davis and John Byrne had a love child. He has smooth, sleek lines on solid, well positioned figures with expressive faces. You can see some of his style shine when the story stays in the slower parts of the book. Mera’s expression when she opens the door is particularly nice. Unfortunately, once the action starts, the pencils and colors remain in a singular style that makes my eye rush through the panels – nothing to see here just a smash fest.

In the major fight scene Pelletier struggles when the panel is filled with rubble and rough textures. It is hard to see where one monstrous creature ends and the next one begins. You have to work to differential between the different surface textures – even between a minotaur (hair), a cyclops (skin) and a crab monster (hard shell). I think this is made worse by a color palette that stays within a few shades of one tone throughout the battle. Norm Rapmund’s inks on the final page seem to clear up some of the clutter better than Parson’s do during the balance of the book.

Sometimes the artist’s figures can come off stiff while in action but then you get a shot like the serpentine woman beckoning the big bad through the portal – full of expression and emotion. I would like to see this creative team approach the story in such a way that will work with the artist’s strengths. I just don’t know if the art needs a better supporting cast or if Pelletier is just better suited to a book with a sleeker environment like Green Lantern or Superman.

What to look for
Is there enough here to believe that these talented creators are beginning to move in their own direction?

What might put you off
How long can we wait until these guys make this title their own?

Although I see a spark of hope here, I am getting a little tired of treading water (that pun was intended.) I am not too interested in seeing a poor man’s version of those who came before. I like these creators, just not what they have done together with this title.

Title Aquaman
Issue Number 29
Publisher DC

Release Date 3/26/2014
Writer Jeff Parker
Penciller Paul Pelletier
Inkers Sean Parsons and Norm Rapmund (pg.20)
Colorist Rain Beredo
Letterer Dezi Sienty
Editor Chris Conroy

Reviewed by Geoff Jolliff

Comic Book Review – Green Lantern #36

Rage of the Red Lanterns Part 2

Geoff Johns’ writing can be filled with breath catching moments and this issue is no exception.  Rarely has an issue so expertly conveyed a range of different emotions.  Emotions are the fuel that is driving Johns’ latest Green Lantern story.  The DC Universe is now populated with a rainbow colored variety of ring bearing entities – some good and some evil.  Johns is now introducing us to Red Lanterns who embody rage.  We also get a good first look at the Blue Lanterns who embody hope.  The issue features a startling statement for both Hal and Sinestro.

Geoff Johns (The Flash, JSA) does so many interesting things here.  I like how these new lanterns’ power can control the emotional state of those around them.  Sinestro’s captivity on Ysmault, the world of the Red Lanterns, inspires true dread and you even start to feel sorry for Sinestro (just a little bit maybe).  This is Johns at his finest – he is in his own little universe and he can pretty much do as he pleases. 

Ivan Reis provides us with a rich universe filled with detailed aliens and planets ranging from lush to desolate.  His figures and layouts are reminiscent of Alan Davis (Excaliber, ClanDestine).  What sets him apart is his use of detail.  Although his lines are smooth when needed, he can really get into the corners of an object and give it depth or menace when required. 

One of the highlights of Reis’ art is what he does with energy.  A Lantern’s energy can be (and has been) treated like an afterthought by some artists.  Ivan sees energy as an opportunity.  Each Lantern color group has its properties and each individual within that color has his or her own identity.  Check out how a Red Lantern’s power almost bleeds and how a Blue Lantern’s power is more aura-like. 

This, much like Marvel’s Thor, is great storytelling talent on a “second tier” character.

What to look for
The interaction between John Stewart and the Blue Lantern should interest any Stewart fan.

What might put you off
You have to wait 30 days until the next issue.

Green Lantern should be on your pull list.

Title Green Lantern
Issue Number 36
Publisher DC Comics
Release Date 1/2/2009
Writer Geoff Johns
Penciler Ivan Reis
Inker Oclair Albert
Colorist Nei Ruffino
Letterer Rob Leigh
Production Irene Lee
Associate Editor Roam Schlagman
Editor Eddie Berganza
Cover Shane Davis, Sandra Hope and Nei Ruffino
Reviewed By Geoff Jolliff

Fantastic Four: The End Tells Last FF Story

Fantastic Four has been called the world’s greatest comic magazine because it has been home to the greatest super-hero team. But all good things must come to an end, as the Fantastic Four will learn in the six-issue limited series Fantastic Four: The End by Alan Davis.

Often times, the closeness of the Fantastic Four were what pulled them through their battles with the likes of Doctor Doom and Annihilus. They were a family first and foremost, but when this family is torn apart by tragedy, the fallout may be something that none of them can survive on their own.

But what could have caused the most close-knit of super-hero teams to go their separate ways? When the Four are no more, it sets the stage for a galactic conflict that could jeopardize not only Earth, but the whole galaxy. Plus, how do long-time enemies and friends like Doctor Doom and Namor fit into the future of the Fantastic Four?

Alan Davis both writes and pencils this final tale of the Fantastic Four that tells the story of how the First Family of comics finally embark on their last adventure. Recently extending his exclusive contract with Marvel Comics and with fan-favorite work on Uncanny X-Men, Excalibur, and Captain Britain, Alan Davis presents the last Fantastic Four story.


Classic logo. Classic line-up. Classic creative team. Classic Uncanny X-Men story.

Even if I didn’t notice that the credits said “Chris Claremont,” I’d know he was responsible just be seeing the first page: Emma up to plate, Bishop being the ump and Kurt playing catcher (wait… isn’t he usually the pitcher?) Claremont seems to have brought us instantly back to the more innocent days of the X-Men, when they could afford to spend more time indulging in a little backyard baseball game. Is this a bad thing? Heck no! If anything, it fills me with confidence, because Claremont’s baseball game is just that reassuring, that he’s in control of things, and that gives some hint of things to come.

This story eases us into the new dynasty of Uncanny. Not just the Chris Claremont/Alan Davis dynasty, but the one that brings Storm, Gambit, Rachel Summers, Cannonball, and others into the “corest of core” X-Titles for the first time in years, and Sage for the first time ever (I think.) The story with these new characters has them establishing a new XSE, a Government-affilliated program which has the merry mutants policing other mutants who are probably not so merry. Hey wasn’t that the idea behind X-Factor? Whatever. The idea is that not everyone agrees with this premise, and there’s your conflict. It works, and while it might not be the most original idea ever used in an X-Book, Claremont handles it very well, getting the idea across effeciently and in an interesting way. As for the usual charges of over-wordiness? Let me tell you what I think: when used properly, the abundant word captions are very effective in setting a scene and getting a point across, without muddling up dialogue. Since the “wordiness” here is mostly in captions, not over-expository dialogue, it works well, flowing like most classic X-stories… and hey, isn’t this the guy who wrote those stories?

Alan Davis does his job well, as the art has a vibrancy in it that has been lacking, possibly due to to recent storylines that plodded along without any sense of fun, or possibly because of matching the wrong artist with the wrong story. Clearly, Claremont knows how to write for Davis, and Davis knows how to do his business when it comes to drawing Claremont’s script. It almost soars along without any hint that yes, there’s plenty of dialogue, too. It’s not amazing, but it’s interesting, efficient, and lively art that’s really neat to look at. Frank D’Armata’s vibrant colors restore some of that bounce, that joy which was lost in that time, particularly the softspoken Udon colours, which were right for the stories, but just not energetic. And hey, who could forget the costumes? I know some of you out there are in favour of a return to costumes and others are against. Me? I couldn’t care less. I like the way they look in this issue, except that Wolverine now looks like Batroc the Leaper’s brother, Francois. I think it mostly adds to the feeling of being a classic X-story, but you’re free to feel whatever way about it you please.

In this issue, Uncanny X-Men is tighter, more focussed, and more well-crafted than it has been in years. And not just the “Austen” years, either, as some of you may be thinking, but ever since the writers who immediately followed Claremont. After suffering almost a decade of fairly sloppy storytelling, including Claremont’s befuddling return and especially recent history, I personally think the book is getting back on track. Okay, that might be overstating it just a bit, or jumping the gun on over-praising the book, but I just felt that good after reading it. It’s not “there” yet, of course – there are reparations to be made, administration to administer, before the book really becomes a tight ship, but it’s definately on the right track. The story flow is cleaner than I can ever recall; for the first time in months it feels like I’m reading an actual linear story instead of several isolated scenarios per issue. To summarize, do I think that “Reload” has done well by Uncanny X-Men? Why yes, I certainly do. All of the X-books should be lucky enough to retain this much quality.

Reviewer: Scott Williams, yoda905@yahoo.com
Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: The End of History, 1 of 4

X-Men establish a Government-recognized organization, but realize that not everyone recognizes their “authoritah”

Written by: Chris Claremont
Pencils: Alan Davis
Inks: Mark Farmer
Colors: Frank D’Armata
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Assistant Editor: Cory Sedlmeier & Stephanie Moore
Editor: Mike Marts
Editor-In-Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan BuckleyComiX-Fan


Diamond Comic Distributors’ online solicitations for April-shipping product have revealed that issue #151 of Wizard: The Comics Magazine will include a preview of a new X-Men #1 by writer Chris Claremont, throwing a whole lot of petrol on the already-blazing speculatory fires surrounding Marvel’s planned “X-Men Reload” in May.

Claremont was previously announced as returning to Uncanny X-Men with artist Alan Davis (see ‘MARVEL’S UNCANNY X-CHANGE’) for the Reload event, which will also see X-Treme X-Men cancelled and the debut of a new Excalibur series by Claremont and a yet-to-be-announced artist (see ‘X-TREME X-MEN UNLOADED, EXCALIBUR RELOADED’).

So where does the debut of a third X-Men #1 fit into the picture? Some rumours, such as those in the latest Lying In The Gutters column, have tagged the title as being a relaunch of the long-running Uncanny X-Men title, which itself began as simply X-Men, whilst others are claiming this will be the title to replace X-Treme X-Men.Comix-Fan