Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist(s): Juan Jose Ryp, Mark Sweeney (c)
Publisher: Avatar Press
Exclamation: “No one but Ellis!”
Explanation: On the run, (after one of their own takes it upon himself to take the fight against crime, corruption, etc. to the highest level, i.e. the White House), the Seven Guns spend a major part of this issue being, well, on the run. Along the way more three Guns show up. Codenamed Angel One, Kathryn Artemis and Dominic Atlas Hyde, the introduction of these three brings the total number of the Guns (both alive and dead) to seven. As for what (or rather who) they are on the run from, how about the U.S. Army? Having taken to the streets (literally) the armed forces are under a ‘take no prisoners’ dictate. However, they are still no match for the powered Guns. The end of the issue portents yet another showdown and possibly even a betrayal. Then again it (the betrayal) could just as well be me reading too much into the writing and art.
Story Examination: I am not a big Warren Ellis fan. Correction; I am not a big Warren Ellis ‘superhero story’ fan. I have read and liked quite a few of his stories both in the costumed/superhero genre and with out, but none of his costumed/superhero stories (barring his Wildstorm work) quite match up to the rest of his work. Black Summer is, however, well on its way to becoming an anomaly in that regard. I feel this could be because, unlike any story with the Big 2, with Black Summer Ellis has a free reign on not only the story but also the characters, which is why instead of a glorified alcoholic (a la Tony Stark) we have an outright living-in-his-own-vomit drunkard in Tom Noir. Ditto for others members of the Seven Guns. This makes for some interesting and volatile outbursts and infighting.
I could point out how the violence didn’t quite sit well with me, both in its scale and depiction but then it’s not like this is a special, once in a blue moon occurrence. Not in today’s comicdom where we have violence aplenty, (seemingly) even more so in the Teen and/or PF rated comics. Still, while the deaths in the previous two issues had an impact and purpose, the ones here come off as a bit too much overkill.
Art Examination: I am big fan of Juan Jose Ryp so much so that even if the story/writing of Black Summer were mediocre (or even lower) I would still get it, just for Ryp’s artwork. Thankfully that isn’t the case. On the colors, Mark Sweeney is a perfect match to Ryp’s hyper-realistic style both in the character and action scenes. As for the covers, my personal favorite is the wraparound one with Angel One on her bike, especially since, wonders of wonders, it actually has something to do with the story and is not just there as eye-candy.
Proclamation: With five more issues to go, the already blazingly hot Black Summer is well on its way to becoming a real scorcher. Get it. Get it now.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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