Luther Strode

The Legend of Luther Strode 6 (August 2013)

280968 20130817232040 largeThe big finale is pretty much what I expected. It’s a setup for the next series; so if Jordan’s writing this series just as a lead-in… well, it shouldn’t have been six issues. It could have been three and been much, much better.

It’s another fight scene. Moore gets to do a mall fight, kind of Dawn of the Dead. It’s cool looking enough.

Jordan opens the issue trying to build up the characters. There’s more conversation from Luther Strode on the first two pages of this issue than in any of the previous ones. It’s too little, too late. Jordan’s managed to exhaust all his goodwill from the first series and start chopping away at the goodwill Moore is still garnering.

On the other hand, another sequel couldn’t have much to do with this series so Jordan might turn things around. Legend is nicely drawn and totally useless.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Justin Jordan; artist, Tradd Moore; colorist, Felipe Sobreiro; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

The Legend of Luther Strode 5 (May 2013)

Prv16464 covLuther just hit the exasperating point. So far, Jordan has established exactly one important event in five issues of this series. It could have been a single issue and ended where this one ends and the series might be setup for something good.

Giving Moore a place to showcase his ultra-violent art is fine, but Jordan tries to slap on a narrative. Had this series just been one very long fight sequence–really, six issues of one fight, I mean it sincerely–they would have been trying something. And doing it just before Shaolin Cowboy.

Instead, there’s this loose attempt at a story. The crime bosses, the other Highlanders (what else should they be called at this point), Jordan actually feigns turning the boss’s lackey into a character. It’s pointless because this comic doesn’t need characters.

Worse, there’s a lengthy fire sequence and the fire looks terrible.

Luther’s redundant.

C- 

CREDITS

Writer, Justin Jordan; artist, Tradd Moore; colorist, Felipe Sobreiro; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

The Legend of Luther Strode 4 (March 2013)

269829 20130701040246 largeJordan is just getting worse. He’s still not doing a bad job, he’s probably even on the positive side of mediocre, but he’s getting worse. There’s less and less actual content as the series progresses. There’s no story, just a series of awesome action set pieces from Moore.

And the fight scene is great. The bandaged villain guy is a good opponent for Luther. Jordan doesn’t write their fight banter particularly well–he’s trying to get in way too much exposition–but the character concept is strong. Moore does well with all the energy of an absurdly long limbed supervillain.

About the only character who gets any attention is Petra. Jordan has her running around, meeting up with various players. He doesn’t cliffhang on her again, which is a welcome change. Unfortunately, the cliffhanger he does pick isn’t much better.

The series continues to be entirely decent but completely pointless.

C+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Justin Jordan; artist, Tradd Moore; colorist, Felipe Sobreiro; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

The Legend of Luther Strode 3 (February 2013)

267786 20130227123404 largeAnd now Luther gets himself a supervillain. Not bad gimmicks, very creepy the way Moore draws him. It’ll probably be a great looking issue next time. Of course, this time was great looking too. Only nothing really came of the story.

The situation at the end of this issue is the same as at the beginning. Damsel in distress. The whole issue just circles around until Jordan finds a way to put the girl in danger again. There are some great fight scenes, some humor, some character development for the old guy… but there’s no story. It’s the third issue and it seems like Jordan has done nothing but show off what his artist can do.

Not what his characters can do, what the artist can do. Luther’s once again barely a character. He’s reduced to witty lines, almost always in response to someone else’s wittier line.

It’s severely uninspired.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Justin Jordan; artist, Tradd Moore; colorist, Felipe Sobreiro; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

The Legend of Luther Strode 2 (January 2013)

264543 20130109162325 largeIt’s another action and violence issue. Since Moore has such a good time with the violence, the issue’s definitely entertaining. And Jordan doesn’t spend a lot of time with the crime boss. Luther does get a lot of page time.

He just doesn’t get to say anything. The girl, Petra, she gets a lot of lines and is actually the issue’s protagonist. Based on the cliffhanger, however, it appears Jordan is about ready to hand over the series to Luther. For those counting, that handover will be on issue three. While Luther’s name is in the title, Jordan’s plot is so contrived he can’t figure out how to get his titular character in the driver’s seat until the third issue….

Hopefully. It could all be about the villain again.

The comic’s good, it’s just uninspired. Apparently indie comic creators can do cash grabs too. No one is immune from it.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Justin Jordan; artist, Tradd Moore; colorist, Felipe Sobreiro; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

The Legend of Luther Strode 1 (December 2012)

262672 20121206184729 largeI’m underwhelmed. Maybe because Luther Strode doesn’t really get much to do in the first issue of The Legend of Luther Strode except do an impression of the Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie. He sits alone in his sewer lair in his birthday suit. No dialogue, no nothing.

There’s a lot of action. Lot of violence. Tradd Moore does just fine with the art. It’s energetic, it’s visceral. There’s one panel where things aren’t clear–maybe close ups of boot straps are enough of an establishing shot for other people… Overall though, the art’s good.

Justin Jordan doesn’t seem to know how to start his sequel though. He goes five years later, he brings in a colorful crime boss and his associates, he has a surprise ending (for anyone who can remember the first series and its characters). He just doesn’t have a story yet. Crime empire versus Luther isn’t enough.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Justin Jordan; artist, Tradd Moore; colorist, Felipe Sobreiro; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode 6 (March 2012)

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Well, Hollywood’s never going to go for this ending. No jet pack, to say the least.

I was talking with a group of writers once about novels and one said, “all novels end poorly.” I’m not sure I agree, but Luther Strode certainly ends poorly. But it doesn’t change my opinion of the series overall.

Jordan takes himself very seriously as a writer and this issue shows it. He even writes about the decision-making process and the morale of the story. He should have put that energy into a good last issue.

It’s not just the writing either. Moore’s art is still energetic and enraptured in the series’s violence, his pacing is just off. Some of it’s Jordan’s multiple false endings, but Jordan’s writing for emotional effect and Moore isn’t drawing for it.

So, even with a lame ending, Luther is a good series. Desperately needs an editor though.

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode 5 (February 2012)

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It’s another very fast issue. Jordan gets in some humor with the girlfriend and the sidekick, which is good. Luther’s not in a jokey place, but the sidekick definitely has a good scene for it.

This issue ties directly to the first one? Remember those passages of time I mentioned Jordan having problems with a few issues ago? It was totally unclear, from the framing device, Luther was still in high school. While it works fine narratively, it shows another place an editor should have done his or her job.

Luther is a little too confusing for its cover price. Jordan might think it’s a cute move, but a monthly comic can’t expect too much….

It’ll play great for the movie deal though.

The issue ends with another cliffhanger; it’s decent but not great. Jordan all of a sudden has made the series very restricted.

It’s a mildly disappointing development.

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode 4 (January 2012)

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Luther meets his adversary this issue and discovers a little about the source of his powers. Basically, macho men are just failed murderous psychopaths. Jordan’s philosophy, which is probably subconscious, is interesting for a comic book. It’s not really a commentary on the superhero comic genre, but it’s hard not to take it as one.

There’s a lot of humor this issue. Luther makes more wisecracks than Peter Parker. It’s too many since very little happens overall; Jordan is just trying to pace out the issue better. He’s trying to delay the reader from getting to the end.

Unfortunately, when he does need to draw it out more–the ending–he and Moore rush to the ending. It’s a fine issue, but someone should have told them to cut out the unnecessary biblical flashback, especially since Luther isn’t about making a statement.

The cliffhanger is amazing. Jordan redeems the issue.

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode 3 (December 2011)

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So, Luther comes out as a superhero this issue and has a terrible first night out. That aspect of the issue is somewhat predictable, though there’s probably nothing else Jordan could do to make the narrative work.

There’s a lot of humor this issue, particularly in the dialogue. Whether it’s Luther’s mom trying to act cool or he and Pete having a super-hip high school conversation, Jordan does rather well. He never goes overboard with the witty dialogue. The scene with Luther and his girlfriend, for example, is quite gentle.

This issue features maybe the most action so far, whether it’s Luther out on superhero patrol or the bad guy making an appearance or Luther trying to figure out the extent of his powers. For a high school comic, high school doesn’t really play any part anymore except to get the characters together.

It’s an excellent, if zippy, issue.

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