In Review: Larfleeze #3

The cover: Howard Porter has created a powerful introduction for the Wanderer. She’s knocking over Larfleeze and Pulsar as she makes her presence known. The angle is a little odd, as we’re looking from the ground up at her, as her legs her huge and as we work our way up her figure she shrinks in perspective, yet our two leads aren’t drawn at the same angle. The guys look good, but she looks like a weirdly proportioned aluminum princess. And I can’t help but wonder why the cover’s text didn’t include “…And the Whimpering of Pulsar Stargrave” in tiny letters underneath him. The colors are good, though. Overall grade: B

The story: The story can be summed up very easily: Wanderer reveals her origin, Larfleeze wakes up, a villain is dispatched, and then something really awesome happens on Page 18. Plotter Keith Giffen (makes him sound rather nefarious) and scripter/kibitzer (his line, not mine) J.M. DeMatteis go back and forth between a classical comic book tale and broad comedy. Pulsar’s occasional interruptions in Wanderer’s story are snicker worthy, but become hysterical at the bottom of Page 6 when a caveat is introduced. Larfleeze’s awakening leads to the stereotypical power smash-up, with his typical smugness. The dispatching of the villain on Page 15 was a little too simple, considering all that transpired last issue. The last panel on page 16 was my favorite of the issue: very Daffy Duck logical. Now what happens on the final four pages is a “Duh!” moment, as in “Duh! Why wasn’t this done long ago in another comic?” It’s a neat scenario and could have long lasting effects for the wielder of the orange ring. I just hope it’s more dramatic than comedic, but the comedy is making me laugh out loud. Overall grade: A

The art: The breakdowns for the art are done by Keith Giffen, while Scott Kolins does the linework. This book looks great! I’m impressed with Kolins on his cosmic contributions. The first four pages have real Jack Kirby epic-ness to them, and that’ what I’d expect from a cosmic power like the Wanderer. Page 5 is just dripping in details: from the carcasses on the left, the swirls on Pulsar’s garb, the power flowing from the Wanderer, or the YEECH on unconscious Lar. Every splash page in every comic should be this rich! Page 7′s frantic character had me chuckle out loud, the entrance on 9 was butt kicking awesomeness, the final panel on 16 my favorite of the issue, but how could I overlook those who appear soon after? I want alien looking creatures in my lantern books and I got a magnificent seven! In the words of Little Shop of Horrors’ Audrey II, “MORE! MORE!” Overall grade: A+

The colors: More than earning his paycheck this issue was Mike Atiyeh, who goes beyond the call of duty to color every excruciating detail that Kolins puts into his art. Each page is all the more rich due to his contributions. I particularly loved the coloring on Pulsar’s face, which only served to heighten the comedy. He seemed to grow paler as his tension increased. Larfleeze could’ve been colored a uniform orange and I would’ve been happy, but check out all the subtle shades on Page 9–Awesome! When the Wanderer and Lar start fighting, look at all the debris that Atiyeh colored! All the colors make the energy of the scene more intense. Atiyeh is awesome! Overall grade: A+

The letters: Superior sounds abound from Dave Sharpe this issue. There’s scene setting, the “normal” dialogue from “normal” (Well, as “normal” as this book gets) characters, special Wanderer and N’odens dialogue, italicized words in the dialogue to better hear the characters’ emphasis, and some stunning sound effects. You want a good time? Read this book aloud–sounds and all–and you’ll be a kid instantly! Great fun! Overall grade: A+

The final line: I keep telling myself I really shouldn’t be enjoying this comedic take on such a sinister villain, but darned if this isn’t just a good old-fashioned fun book. In a time when “fun” doesn’t seem possible in books with brooding heroes, this is a delight to read. Overall grade: A


Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as possible, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.

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