The List for 2/17/2010:
BATMAN: THE BRAVE & THE BOLD #14
BLACKEST NIGHT: THE FLASH #3
GREEN LANTERN #51
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #45
JOE THE BARBARIAN #2
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #42
POWER GIRL #9
RESURRECTION VOL 2 #8
TINY TITANS #25
RESURRECTION VOL 2 #8
RESURRECTION TALES: WOLF
Written by Chris Sims & Chad Bowers
Illustrated by Rusty Shackles
I’ve never read an issue of RESURRECTION prior to this, but the concept of a world ruined by a decade of alien occupation is pretty easy to grasp. The vibe of the book reminds me of WALKING DEAD a bit, but with absent aliens instead of omnipresent zombies. Mass devastation that ignites a new quest for survival seems to be the main thrust. I didn’t read the main story, as I’m mainly interested in the backup.
If you’re familiar with the boys’ work over at ACTION AGE COMICS or CORNFED CANNIBAL, the first thing that you’ll notice is how grounded and realistic the tone and action of this post-invasion story is. There are no skateboarding half-vampire detectives or Hitlerfists here, just the very real and immediate concerns of three teenage geek boys and their harebrained plan to increase their chances of scoring with the girls of their ravaged town.
Their plan consists of faking an alien reappearance (hence the title) and then faking a retaliatory strike in the armored vehicle that they’ve A-Teamed up. Some bad timing on the geeks’ part leads to a misunderstanding that the Hero-Wagon is actually the invaders themselves. And the geeks’ own underestimation of the strength and resourcefulness of the town’s womenfolk (who have attained Y THE LAST MAN levels of empowerment) almost leads to their own demise.
One of the strengths in conveying the character of our heroes and female militia-folk lies in the great dialogue by Messrs Sims and Bowers. The women have become strictly no nonsense in regards to defending their town, whereas the boys are still fantasizing about living the dream that is PORKY’S 2 and their speech evinces this. The teenagers sound like real teenagers with a dash of some standard Simsisms throw in (guys, son, I’mma). The red-headed Mayor of Shawsville brings some drill sergeant level thunder to the ass-chewing she gives the boys once she discovers their plot. And that’s some really revealing character action.
Rusty Shackles’ art for this issue is just plain amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to get some commission work done by his Rustiness and have enjoyed seeing his art evolve since we’ve become pals. That evolution continues to shine here in this story. For starters, Rusty’s vehicles (especially what I’ve dubbed the Hero-Wagon) look perfectly balanced and functional. Much like horses, vehicles are an enemy that some comic artists have difficulty grappling with, but that’s just not so with Mr. Shackles. His Hero-Wagon reminds me of a cross between the armored vehicle in DAMNATION ALLEY (another post-apocalyptic tale that also involves bugs) and the Dreadnok’s own THUNDER MACHINE from G.I. JOE. I wonder if the resemblance is intentional. I bet it is.
What I really love best about Rusty’s art is his character work. People use the word “cartoony” sometimes to describe very expressive and what some consider non-realistic art. I wouldn’t call Rusty’s art “cartoony” or “non-realistic” and here’s why: just look at his women. Rusty takes the high road when it comes to drawing women. Every woman in the story has a different height and build. Some of the women have ample bosoms, but are not top-heavy compared to the rest of their frame. This is very important when drawing the female form, to not just render women with Barbie’s fantastical and physics-defying measurements.
I remember a customer from when I worked at my local LCS that dropped JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, because of a certain Michael Turner cover that had Power Girl’s chest jutting out of her costume in the most ridiculous way. You’re not getting any improper anatomy like that with Senor Shackles, just check the panel where the Mayor orders her girls to get grab their guns. Each girl has a different body type that works. I especially like that Rusty’s not afraid to give a girl a little heft in her thighs, something that we don’t often see outside of Amanda Conner’s or Ross Campbell’s work.
Rusty’s true art gold is in his character’s expressions. I want to compare the acting going on here to elements of Amanda Conner’s style by way of Kevin Maguire. There’s also a bit of Will Eisner and Kurt Schaffenberger here in the way that the characters’ very animated expressions contrast with the functionality of a realistically depicted world and that this makes the characters seem more vibrant and alive when compared with their ordinary surroundings.
Final Observations: Teddy totally looks Sims (straight from the WRA vs. screen), and the red-shirted, no-named teenager resembles a sort of hippy Rusty. I’m willing to bet that Nicky looks like Chad Bowers at least a bit.
Great work, fellas! I’m hoping there’s more greatness coming down the pipe soon, especially THE HARD ONES… I’ve been waiting too long.
Story: Better than KNIGHT RIDER, but not quite THE WIRE.
Art: They’ll be handing out the SHACKLES Award for Comics Supremacy any day now.
Please leave a comment if you'd like. Thanks for reading my very first review!