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My Review of Darth Vader #12 by Marvel Comics

5 Jun

June 5, 2021

Darth Vader #12, published this month by Marvel Comics, written by Greg Pak with art by Guiu Vilanova, is a Star Wars comic focusing on Darth Vader and is set just after The Empire Strikes Back. This issue is also a War of The Bounty Hunters tie-in.

The War of The Bounty Hunters begins when Boba Fett is ambushed and his bounty of the frozen-in-carbonite Han Solo is stolen on its way to Jabba the Hutt. The bounty is so high, and Solo has so many enemies, that a war has broken out among the bounty hunters of the galaxy to be the one to deliver him to Jabba and collect, or to be the one to kill Solo.

This issue begins with the aftermath of the storyline currently running in the title. Vader had dared to challenge the Emperor and received a painful beating in return. It also somehow shoehorns in the fleet the Emperor is building at Exegol, in a vain attempt to somehow make the The Rise of Skywalker relevant.

While recovering, Vader has a flashback to the first time he saw Han Solo in person and learned the name of the man who shot his TIE fighter in the Death Star trench.

Vader has used the vast resources of the Empire and his own fearsome Force abilities to track the Millennium Falcon to the planet Corellia. There, Vader tracks the ship to a docking bay and with his lightsaber…

…kills the owner of a ship parked across the street from the Millennium Falcon.

You see, there were two identical ships parked a few yards away from each other, and somehow, someway, goofy ol’ Vader was confused!

Han then reasoned that if a lummox like Vader could be flummoxed by two identical ships, then a dozen identical ships would totally addle his brain and they could escape while Vader stood there twiddling his lips.

And you know what? He was right.

We were next treated to my favorite page in the entire issue, a sequence of Darth Vader standing in line and dealing with bureaucracy at the Corellia DMV.

(FUN TIME! Copy and paste this Spoiler Alert to the top of this page where I should have put it to begin with.)

Spectacular writing like this must have fantastic art to match, and this art almost meets the heights of the writing. It actually isn’t bad at all but it is ruined by the colorists (color is credited to Dean White with Giada Marchisio) who insist on heavy use of black to the point of making even the brightest scene appear to be set in a coal mine. (This is not a problem in only this issue, the entire line of Star Wars comics suffers from this. Does the editor think this looks good?)

However, I do have to criticize artist Guiu Vilanova for this one. in the panel above where Vader and Solo lock eyes, the artist has switched their positions and they are looking away from each other. The two previous panels had Solo on the left, Vader on the right. Vilanova, for no reason I can see, has flipped their positions and now they do not even appear to be looking at each other!

Now compare it to this quick edit I made.

Not only does it retain the positioning of the first two panels, now with their eyes locked there is drama in the panel. I honestly do not see any advantage to the panel as published. This is a moment that needs more drama. Guiu Vilanova is a competent artist with his panels being technically solid, but his panel to panel continuity doesn’t flow well, with most panels seeming to stand alone from the other panels with no sense of movement from one to the other. I see no better demonstration of this than his poor choice of layout above.

I don’t read comics much anymore but I was curious about Vader and Han’s first meeting. I was disappointed.

MY RATING: DO NOT BUY.

He’s A Nasty Man, Charlie Brown

25 Oct

October 25, 2019

This Halloween, just one post, but it’s my favorite Halloween post. Enjoy my take on a true Halloween classic.

From October 22, 2016

It’s the fiftieth anniversary of the classic It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. For decades, poor Charlie Brown has been getting rocks instead of candy. But did you ever wonder why the adults on his street would give a little boy rocks on Halloween? Read on for one man’s story.

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The Time: Halloween 1966
The Place: The home of Burt and Luann Smith, just down the block from Charlie Brown’s house

BURT: (Looking out window) Hey Luann, it’s getting dark. Those trick-or-treaters are coming down the block.

LUANN: (Calling out from the kitchen) I’ve got a bowl of candy near the door, Honey. Don’t give them too much, just a couple of pieces each.

BURT: (Muttering) I’m keeping the Kit Kats for myself.

From outside, the distant sounds of children trick-or-treating can be heard.

BURT: (Still at the window) Aw Jeez Luann, that kid with the messed up head and the blanket is squatting in the Jackson’s pumpkin patch. What’s wrong with him? (Burt squints, looks closely) I think he’s got that little Sally Brown with him. (Muttering again) I bet the coyotes get her first.

LUANN: (Still in kitchen) What did you say dear?

BURT: Nothing, dear, nothing dear (bell rings) Uh, got to get the door.

Burt opens the front door. A group of kids in homemade costumes yells “trick or treat!” Burt gives them some candy, pocketing the Kit Kats for himself. They leave but before he closes the door, he looks down the block.
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BURT: Luann, I’ll be back in a second. I just have to run out back for a minute. (Burt runs out the back door.)

LUANN: (Enters the living room) What? Where are you?

BURT: (Comes back) OK Hon, I’m back.

Burt puts a pile of rocks on the table near the bowl of candy.

LUANN: What are you doing with those rocks?

BURT: That Brown kid is coming down the street. He’s such a blockhead, his costume has about 50 extra holes in it. Match the ones in his head.

LUANN: Burt! He’s such a sweet little boy!

BURT: Yeah, such a sweet little boy. When’s the last time he cleaned up after his dog? That damn beagle keeps leaving piles in the front yard. And how did a dog get those goggles and that scarf anyway?

Burt opens the door a crack and peeks out.

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BURT: Yeah, yeah, here he comes. You want a trick or treat? I got a trick for ya. (Quickly shuts the door.)

LUANN: Burt, really!

BURT: Shhh shhh here they come! (Bell rings)

Burt opens the door and a group of kids, including Charlie Brown, yell trick or treat.

BURT: Here you are, you cute little goblins! (He gives each in turn a piece of candy, except for Charlie Brown, who gets a rock.)

Burt closes the door, smiling a nasty grin.

LUANN: Burt! That was horrible! He’s just a little boy!

BURT: He’s lucky I gave him a rock and not one of his dog’s turds. I’ve got a dozen of them on the lawn.

Burt goes to the window, sees the kids comparing their candy and opens it a crack, just in time to hear Charlie Brown say “I got a rock.”

BURT: Serves you right, you little bald blockhead.

THE END

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