What do they know?
Well, if the whole point of critiquing a comic book, a novel, a film or an episodic TV series is to, perhaps, warn somebody not to waste valuable minutes or hours of their lives on crummy entertainment, then critics certainly perform a necessary service, but do remember that opinions are like @$$holes; and everybody has one.
I just looked through a small stack of a buddy’s recent comic book purchases and I was less than enamored of several titles therein. IDW released Spike: After The Fall #4 in October and Angel: After The Fall #14 in November 2008. Spike #4 is written by Brian Lynch and illustrated by Franco Urru & Angel #14 is written by Lynch, with artwork by Stephen Mooney (and Angel’s original creator, Joss Whedon also helps out with the plot).
Stephen Mooney at least manages to produce identifiable likenesses of the original Angel television series actors, but Franco Urru needs to focus more on this crucial aspect, since I assume the target audience is largely built upon fans of the former TV show. That’s not to say that the artwork is particularly well done in either case. I have absolutely no idea what the criteria for hiring these guys may have been, but based on what’s on display within these two issues, the bar wasn’t set very high at all.
I really can’t comment on the writing, as there was nothing about either book that made me want to read them (and I had enjoyed both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel on TV). IDW Publishing is also apparently one of those companies who routinely dress up their obviously poorer comics fare by using higher grades of interior paper and heavier cover stock at a price of $3.99 a copy. Um, why? Newsprint would be so much cheaper, and possibly better for their bottom line, and I’ve just got to say that this stuff does not deserve anything better. These books are crap, no, make that CRAP. Why anybody would burn their hard-earned dollars for this kind of dreck is beyond me. Obviously Angel: After The Fall has survived on the stands for more than a year, but my recommendation is to give these books a wide pass.
Things didn’t get any better with Top Cow/Image’s Broken Trinity #3 (also released in November). The cover blurb says that this issue is "the fatal conclusion" to this crossover mini-series which weaved together characters from Witchblade and The Darkness, but even the presence of established comic’s writer Ron Marz didn’t prompt me to dig into this story. The artwork by Stjepan Sejic and Phil Hester, visually seems to tie into the IDW books, but that is not a complement!
I would have LIKED to have found some redeeming aspect of any one of these books to mute my criticisms, but even alternate covers (in the case of IDW) didn’t merit such an effort.
One of my 2009 New Year’s Eve resolutions will be a heartfelt prayer that the dwindling comic book fan base will stop buying this kind of poorly realized shit. It’s so representative of why the industry continues to fade away. For Pete’s sake people, please quit wasting your good money on utter crap like this!