Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Comics Review : Star Trek Deep Space Nine Fool's Gold Issue 4

The covers: Mr. Garak reenacts a scene from Pulp Fiction on Cover A by The Sharp Brothers. The Sharps usually have a lot of motion in their work, but this is just stagnant. Yes, it's from a major scene, but doesn't it leave you "blah"? Odo, looking a little more like himself than in previous issues, graces Cover B provided by David Messina with colors by Giovanna Niro. It continues the pattern of the previous three issues, focusing on one character in front of a white background with some appropriate red computer overlays. It's better than the A Cover, but Odo looks old. There is also an Incentive Cover, that's the same as the Cover B, just without all the writing. If you like the B, you'll like the IC. Overall grades: A is a B, B is an B+, and the IC is also a B+ Editorial question: Dear Mr. Scott Dunbier, could there be some tightening up on what these Retailer Covers are listed as? This series has them called Incentive Cover, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ghosts lists them as Retailer Incentive Virgin Cover, and then there are the occasional Retailer Incentive Photo Covers. Can't all the retailer incentive covers just be called Retailer Covers? It's a pain in the butt for me to have to keep track off all the different titles when essentially they're all in the same category.

The story:
This is as close as any comic has come to being an episode of DS9. There's no violent shoot out, there's no last minute surprise, and there's no created science to solve the problem. What you have are characters who are true to their television counterparts. There is a bargain made with a character of questionable motivations (Garak--YES!), Quark at his best unlawfulness (close to the edge, but not enough to get in trouble), and a solution where everyone is satisfied at the outcome. And included are two wonderful epilogues: one on a viewscreen with the only other character I loved more than Garak, and the last three pages being a great "Of course!" moment. My biggest grouse about the writing of this series is that it was only four issues! I'm used to 5 coming out in most IDW Trek series. But I realize that this story doesn't need another issue: it works perfectly the way it is. Anything more would have been padding. So, big thanks to Scott & David Tipton for a great "missing episode" story of Deep Space Nine. Please come back as soon as possible! Overall grade: A

The art:
What the heck happened? I thought the art by Fabio Mantovani was passable in previous issues, but I'm dropping some grades this time around. There's been some major cleaning up in some places (Kira on Page 2 looks nothing like previous issues' Kira: it looks better and that's a plus) and some pages look completely unfinished (Page 13 through 22 look awful!). Look at Odo on Page 5, not bad, but VERY different from previous issues. Look at Odo on Page 13, and look at the perspective in panel two. What the heck is going on? How can this be the same artist? And what happened to Quark? In previous issues the Ferengi were some of the better drawn characters in the issue. Not this time. That's O'Brien? How wide and fat can he be? He looks like Charlie-27 from The Guardians of the Galaxy. I cannot believe that this issue was solely done by Mantovani, it's just too jarring. There's also some odd layout choices: look at the wasted space on Page 11 and there's only one point of view during the viewscreen conversation. I want to know what happened with this issue. If delaying the book to improve the art could have been done it should have been done. Retailers be damned. I'd rather have a well drawn book, or at least one that looked like the last three, than one that got slapped together like this. A huge disappointment considering how good the story is. Overall grade: D+

The colors:
Provided by artist Fabio Mantovani and Davide Amici capture the coloring of the show: dark browns and blues. The colors look sharper on some pages, such as the bottom of Page 2, but on others, that had opportunity for colors, it's very monotone (such as Page 5), The coloring suits the locations, I can't argue that, but last issue was a lot more vivid. Overall grade: B

The letters:
Chris Mowry closes out this series with dialogue, a groan, and some horn work (Doesn't this sum up this issue?). Perfectly fine. Overall grade: A

The final line:
Fun to read, heartbreaking to look at. Overall grade: C-