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Scarlet 3 (November 2010)

Okay, Bendis is still pretty heavy into the silliness–he needs to do a comic about being a middle-aged comic book writer who decides he wants to be a woman, it would fit him–but it’s hard to complain when the ending has protagonist Scarlet shooting some cops in cold blood with a sniper rifle. That commitment […]

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Scarlet 2 (September 2010)

Bendis does write himself some likable hipster chicks. Scarlet is basically just Alias applied to something else, which is fine. This issue is a lot better since the reader already has had to accept Bendis’s silly plot line (one has to wonder how much Criminal influenced him), so coming back to it… it’s just based […]

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Scarlet 1 (July 2010)

For a second, maybe the first half of the issue, I was going to say Scarlet is the best writing Bendis has done since Alias. Then the second half happened and I realized it’s just Bendis on a podium, but not one he’s going to take any responsibility for. I mean, the story turns out […]

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Criminal: The Sinners 5 (March 2010)

It’s completely predictable but I guess it’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been. I read the Sinners and I think back to when Brubaker actually wrote real conversations. It’s like he uses Criminal‘s noir influences to excuse no one talking to each other, just at each other. This issue features nothing new, […]

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Criminal: The Sinners 4 (February 2010)

I’m not trying to be a jerk with the following question. Really, I’m not. Has Brubaker ever read Criminal? Because this arc, with Tracy Lawless being an honorable man among the riffraff, it really feels like Brubaker hasn’t read his comic before. It might explain why Criminal‘s quality is always so sporadic. This issue has […]

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Criminal: The Sinners 3 (December 2009)

Well, I figured out one major problem–besides the contrived plotting–Brubaker doesn’t have a protagonist this series. He did the first issue, because he hadn’t introduced his teen killers for God (an ex-Army Catholic priest is getting kids to kill criminals), but now he’s got nothing. The narration is awful this issue. It’s probably the worst […]

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Criminal: The Sinners 2 (November 2009)

Brubaker opens the issue with some terrible adjective use, so I started out ready to nitpick. Of course, he didn’t have to prove me right… but he went ahead and did so anyway. I really loathe these types of reviews, because I really do love Brubaker’s work. It’s just… fallen off since he’s gotten to […]

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Criminal 7 (November 2008)

Maybe I just put it out of my mind, like I didn’t want to believe Brubaker was capable of writing such a stupid reveal. I mean, I knew he was capable of stupid endings–Sleeper provided that one beyond a shadow of a doubt, but…. Really, Ed? Fight Club? That’s the best you could come up […]

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Criminal 6 (October 2008)

Okay, I’m mildly amused–back when I started reading Criminal again, I misremembered the first arc as this arc. Brubaker’s really running into some pacing issues here. What’s old hat in a film noir–around an eighty minute narrative–does not work in comic book form. Brubaker also doesn’t have enough exposition to keep the reader’s reading speed […]

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Criminal 5 (September 2008)

Ah, the five minute read. Nothing like the five minute read. For a five minute read, this comic isn’t bad. It’s got beautiful Sean Phillips art and it’s not a terrible all action issue. But it’s really light and really boring. Brubaker’s pacing here is for effect, everything is hurried to get the reader anxious. […]

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Criminal 4 (July 2008)

This arc of Criminal–I can’t remember if I’ve read it or not, I think I’ve read this issue because it seems familiar, but I’m not sure about the rest–is Brubaker’s first attempt at using a non-criminal as his protagonist. The guy used to be a criminal, but he’s since reformed. And he was never a […]

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Criminal 3 (April 2008)

I’d like to say Brubaker has some kind of magic where he’s able to escape all the traps of a guy writing female narration. But he doesn’t. It’s still a really good issue and Brubaker doesn’t make the frequent mistakes of female narration–he’s got a really good plot and he sticks to the events and […]

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Criminal 2 (March 2008)

What Brubaker does here–a sort of prequel to the second arc of Criminal and a concurrent, companion story to the previous issue–is even better than the previous issue… which I didn’t think Brubaker could do. Brubaker had a hard time working out the setting for Criminal in the first arc and wisely left it mostly […]

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Criminal 1 (February 2008)

Such a good issue…. Brubaker’s able to get more content in because he’s got an increased page count but also because he’s concentrating on doing a standalone story. It turns out it’s not exactly standalone, but the issue has a beginning, middle and end. There’s no messing around with being deceptive in the narrative, to […]

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Criminal 10 (October 2007)

Now I remember this story arc and why I didn’t have any bad memories of it–because it’s great. What Brubaker does in this arc is take a character who’d be on the periphery of another story–a bigger story–and examine him. Tracy’s a tough guy who’d be in one scene of a more traditional noir story […]

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Criminal 9 (September 2007)

It’s in film noir’s nature to have a double-cross, to have a secret inopportunely revealed and have it affect the protagonist’s plans, whether he be a good guy or a bad guy. So I’m not surprised Brubaker has both of those elements in this issue (maybe twice for each). But Criminal isn’t a film. It’s […]

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Criminal 8 (July 2007)

In some ways, this issue is the first regular one of the arc. Brubaker’s not introducing anything startling, he’s just telling a story–he’s got enough established already he has material to work through. The result is a very nice issue. The only negative thing I can think of to say about it is Phillips’s one […]

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Criminal 7 (June 2007)

Brubaker has a reasonably painless reference to the first arc here, letting that arc’s protagonist have a little cameo. Then people talk about him a bit. It’s problematic because Brubaker’s writing the character differently here, so it attracts more attention than it should. Otherwise, it’s all very solid, once again. I think my favorite part […]

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Criminal 6 (May 2007)

Okay, I’m entering this arc of Criminal enthusiastic. Brubaker either grew up on a Navy base or an Army base–amazing how little biographical information is available about him, even though I know he’s talked about it in at least two interviews–and this arc’s protagonist is an AWOL soldier out to avenge his brother. I don’t […]

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Criminal 5 (February 2007)

Turns out some of my major assumptions about the plot and its twists and turns were wrong. Unfortunately, just because the girl doesn’t double-cross the hero, Criminal doesn’t retroactively make intelligible sense. After spending almost five entire issues glamorizing crime–in the most negative way of course–Brubaker ends with a really pat “crime doesn’t pay” message. […]

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Criminal 4 (January 2007)

Finally, a good issue. Maybe if Brubaker had opened with this issue–with some structural editing, of course–I’d feel a little different about Criminal. For the first time, in issue four of five, he shows the reader something about the likely unreliable narrator instead of telling the reader all about him. As much as I hate […]

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Criminal 3 (December 2006)

Well, there certainly are a lot of developments here. There’s a super villain introduced and he’s, no shock, a psychotic. The girl seduces the brainiac protagonist, who’s spent the first part of the issue thinking he needs to think things through better. Oh, and the cute old man the protagonist looks after–he’s got alzheimer’s and […]

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Criminal 2 (November 2006)

I’m still not enthusiastic. Even though I don’t remember the specifics of the events, even though I’m sort of fresh reading it, I don’t really care at all. I remember it ends terribly so going through the issue, I’m finding myself concentrating on things besides the story. First and foremost, the artwork. Phillips is mostly […]

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Criminal 1 (October 2006)

I remember thinking about early seventies Springsteen the first time I read Criminal and I did again this time. Brubaker’s opening narration makes some pretty clear references to Springsteen and then it disappears. I don’t think it ever comes back, but it’s right there on the second page. I always get hung up on whether […]

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Incognito 6 (August 2009)

Doesn’t Nick Fury want his flying car back? Incognito ends with an abbreviated fight scene (if only Brubaker and Phillips had abbreviated the one in the third issue, when everything started to go bad) and no real resolution to any of the subplots. In fact, it introduces some kind of romance between protagonist Zach Overkill […]

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Incognito 5 (July 2009)

Wow, did Mark Waid read Incognito before starting Incorruptible or what? I think Brubaker ought to say something–the underage girl villain sidekick is just too much. That pithy opening, unfortunately, is the most enthusiasm I can get with this one. I could really care less at this point, so when Brubaker turns in an issue […]

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Incognito 4 (June 2009)

Ok, so for whatever reason, I thought Zoe Zeppelin was black (or half-black) and so I was going to do another Tom Strong reference (since Zeppelin’s dad was the one who started the whole science-hero thing in the Incognito universe) and maybe even point out back in the good old (pre-Marvel exclusive) days, Brubaker did […]

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Incognito 3 (April 2009)

I’ve read Incognito before so I know it eventually falls apart. I just didn’t remember where it started crumbling. Apparently, it’s this issue. Instead of his delicately paced narrative, here Brubaker dedicates the majority of the issue to a superpowered fight scene in a mall. Then he brings in Zoe Zeppelin, a superhero (with a […]

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Incognito 2 (February 2009)

The way Brubaker weaves his plot and subplots (he uses a modified Levitz Paradigm) is beautiful. There’s so much nuance to it, little things being introduced, percolating gradually then rapidly (this issue introduces a Plot C and heats it to a Plot A, all while keeping other subplots cooking steadily). Brubaker’s “independent” work is so […]

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