Butch Guice

Wonder Woman: The Once and Future Story (August 1998)

Wonder Woman: The Once and Future StoryTrina Robbins does a rather good job hiding The Once and Future Story’s PSA status. It’s a perfectly good one too–Wonder Woman is translating some tablets and there’s spousal abuse in it and then Diana also discovers something similar going on with the archeologists she’s working with.

There are multiple interventions and the situation generically escalates, but the art–from Colleen Doran and Butch Guice–is really good, especially on the Greek historical stuff. Robbins could have easily done the comic without Wonder Woman, who’s basically around to be strong and awesome when need be. She’s got nothing else to do.

Oh, right–translate. She’s the translator.

It probably would have been more effective without the gimmick, with Wonder Woman actually intervening in less complicated situation. There’s nothing distinct about the present day stuff. None of it’s memorable. The past stuff, definitely. Not the present. It’s too bad.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Trina Robbins; penciller, Colleen Doran; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Gaspar Saladino; editors, L.A. Williams and Paul Kupperberg; publisher, DC Comics.

Captain America 605 (June 2010)

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With the exception, obviously, of the Luke Ross art, this issue of Captain America is the best in story arc. I’m not sure if it’s the best part of the backup story, because–again–I couldn’t stomach it. Shockingly, Ross is a better artist than whoever does the backup.

See, out of nowhere, Brubaker decides this storyline should be about Bucky and the crazy evil fifties Cap. Sure, there’s the silly moment at the end when Sam tells him not to worry about being like the crazy Cap, but the comic is once again about Bucky being unsure of himself.

Brubaker’s whole thing with Bucky–initially–was that unsureness. Then he dropped it. And I guess I forgot about it (until it came back) because I was still reeling from Reborn and because Ross’s art was making my eyes bleed.

While Brubaker’s losing his touch, he hasn’t lost it yet.

CREDITS

Two Americas, Conclusion; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Luke Ross; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Dean White; letterer, Joe Caramagna. Conjunction, Part Four; writer, Sean McKeever; penciller, David Baldeón; inker, N. Bowling; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterer, Joe Sabino. Editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America 604 (May 2010)

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Another three minute read.

It’s better this time, as Brubaker follows the Falcon for a lot of the story and he’s writing the Falcon a lot better than Bucky here. This story, Bucky’s coming off like a moron.

There’s some awful artwork again–it kind of reminds me of the really bad Don Perlin Werewolf by Night stuff–but those comics took like fifteen minutes to read. Not three.

And they had interesting stories.

Brubaker’s crazy evil Captain America? Most boring villain ever. Though I do like the inference anyone who thinks like he does must be insane. It’s like if Glenn Beck became Captain America.

I’m trying to think of something else positive to say….

A Brubaker Falcon series might be good reading–far better than this Captain America.

I’m not sure if it’s intentional, but Brubaker’s making the case Steve Rogers really needs to take his shield back.

CREDITS

Two Americas, Part Three of Four; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Luke Ross; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Dean White; letterer, Joe Caramagna. Conjunction, Part Three; writer, Sean McKeever; penciller, David Baldeón; inker, N. Bowling; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterer, Joe Sabino. Editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America 603 (April 2010)

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Wow. Four bucks for a comic I read in three minutes. I guess one of those bucks is for the Nomad backup, but I skimmed it then gave up on it. It’s not just poorly written, it’s incompetently illustrated.

Now, calling the backup story incompetently illustrated seems unfair given the Luke Ross pencils on the main story. Even with Butch Guice inking, it’s just hideous artwork.

I remember when Brubaker joined Marvel, it was so exciting. Now it’s just depressing. As far as I remember, he never phoned it in at DC. At Marvel, it seems like he does nothing but write mediocre, disinterested stories.

Strangely, he could have earned back some respect here, if he’d had the racist call Sam (the Falcon) a racial slur. As it reads, the scene in question is laughably off.

I remember when I looked forward to this comic. Now I want a refund.

CREDITS

Two Americas, Part Two of Four; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Luke Ross; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Dean White; letterer, Joe Caramagna. Conjunction, Part Two; writer, Sean McKeever; penciller, David Baldeón; inker, N. Bowling; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterer, Joe Sabino. Editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America 602 (March 2010)

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So this is the issue with the “tea baggers,” the issue Brubaker apologized for.

Did he apologize for the rest–how he portrays people in Idaho as psychotic anti-government racists, just waiting for a Hitler to lead them? Because I don’t think he did.

It’s a lead-in story, a ramp-up. I’m pretty jaded on Brubaker’s Marvel plotting style for ongoing series, since they’re usually fake arcs to trade easily but the story just goes on and on.

I guess it’s fine. It’s not particularly interesting though, especially not after the lackluster Reborn.

Bucky doesn’t even get any good moments and he usually gets at least one an issue.

Luke Ross’s art is lame, which is no surprise.

And the less said about the backup story the better, it seems to be for an all ages audience.

Brubaker kept Bucky as Cap. This issue says it’s a mistake.

CREDITS

Two Americas, Part One of Four; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Luke Ross; inkers, Butch Guice and Ross; colorist, Dean White; letterer, Joe Caramagna. Conjunction, Part One; writer, Sean McKeever; penciller, David Baldeón; inker, N. Bowling; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterer, Joe Sabino. Editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? 1 (February 2010)

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How did Marvel resist putting Obama on the cover of this issue?

It’s actually–besides the awful Luke Ross art, which is just terrible–a good issue of Captain America. Bucky and the Black Widow do their thing, Steve does his (showing up at the White House looking like an Ed McGuinness drawing).

There’s a nice fight scene with the two Captain Americas, the Black Widow and Mister Hyde. There’s some good dialogue between Bucky and the New Avengers and Steve and Sharon (she hasn’t apologized for shooting him I notice)–plus, Steve Rogers has sex. How’s do you like that one, Disney shareholders? Nookie, nookie.

But it’s all just a prelude to Siege, which seems lame. Is Steve going to become Nomad again? That one might be funny. Or U.S. Agent. I always liked that costume.

Or is there going to be a whole other big event summer 2012?

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; artists, Butch Guice and Luke Ross; colorist, Dean White; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 6 (March 2010)

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Almost.

Brubaker almost pulls it off.

Who drew the second to last pages? The War of the Worlds future pages? He had some problems but those problems were almost preferable. They had an unfinished, kind of indie feel–as indie as Marvel would get–which would have been something on a flagship title like this one.

But that art isn’t why Brubaker nearly succeeds. He nearly succeeds for a couple reasons. First, he paces this issue better. He resolves the previous issue’s cliffhanger but also has time to do some resolution to those events. The little things make all the difference.

Oh, the other reason. He calls back to his first issues of Captain America with Steve out on the roof, taking a breather. At his best, when dealing with Steve Rogers, Brubaker brings some humanity to the legend. Like he does here.

Too bad it’s too little, too late.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 5 (February 2010)

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Seriously, an issue-long fight scene? A boring issue long fight scene on top of it? It’s like Brubaker doesn’t understand (or maybe just doesn’t care) you can’t rehash–or modernize–the old Marvel feel and draw out the fight scene. Something has to happen. Nothing happens here. It could have been done in about four pages. The only two people who matter, right now, are Bucky and the Red Skull–though I will admit it’s real creepy to see him in Cap’s body–because it’s where the issue cliffhangs.

It’s also where Brubaker’s going to have to make a decision.

Is Bucky his lead or is Steve his lead? Market forces and Hollywood seem to dictate the latter, but everything Brubaker has done on the series to date suggests the former. Tick tock, tick tock.

I’m really not looking forward to the last issue. It is going to disappoint.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 4 (January 2010)

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And now I’m completely confused again. If Steve Rogers’s mind is unstuck in time, how come his body comes back at the end of this issue? If you’re going to use “Quantum Leap” science, at least do the reader the courtesy of giving the “Quantum Leap” explanation–it’s okay, no one thinks you’re original anyway (kind of like how Conway cribbed from The Wolf Man in some of his Werewolf by Night exposition).

It’s a terribly paced issue; Brubaker could have done this stuff in a quarter of the room. Even with the revelation from the past I figured he’d wait on more.

For some glorious return of a character (who everyone knew was coming back, so maybe he didn’t need a glorious return), Reborn‘s underperforming on all levels.

The pleasure is supposed to be in the trip–from no Cap Steve to Cap Steve. Reborn‘s got a major flat.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Jeanine Schaefer and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 3 (November 2009)

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In what universe couldn’t Brubaker tell this story in five issues? There’s an undue amount of padding going on here and it had better be worth it when I get to the sixth issue. I don’t like how Steve’s message to the future is going to be hung over my head for at least another issue and I don’t like how–well, I really just don’t like the juxtaposing.

Brubaker was always more comfortable with Bucky as Cap and Reborn feels like he’s going to revert the book back to being solid (if poorly paced in terms of plot revelations) fun instead of something more.

I mean, if it really were the adventures of Steve unstuck in time–the stuff about being stuck in ice over and over again is fantastic but Brubaker drops it once the scene’s over–it would have the chance at being sublime.

Instead, it’s mechanical.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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