Chris Samnee

Daredevil 3 (July 2014)

Daredevil #3It’s so bland. Why am I reading it? It’s so bland. Even the ending is bland. It’s sort of an all-ages Daredevil comic written for adults. And Samnee is the perfect artist for that tone. But it doesn’t have to be so bland–Waid doesn’t have anything going under the surface here. Foggy popping in from witness protection is just Foggy being so darned lovable again.

Even the Owl–after all this foreshadowing about his appearance, there’s zero pay-off. Maybe Waid is pacing it out for next issue, like he transforms or something, but the damage is already done. There’s already been a boring showdown with the Owl. Who cares if he Larry Talbots?

Once again, the only thing special about Daredevil is the Samnee art. It’s beautiful stuff–I wish there had been more exterior scenes–but it’s just not enough to keep the comic going.

Waid’s Daredevil’s like eating stale junk food.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 2 (June 2014)

Daredevil #2Really, it’s necessary to do a Batman wink? It’s not necessary. It’s pointless given neither Waid nor Samnee are identified with Batman. So maybe it’s a DC jab. Eh, who cares.

Daredevil is fine. Waid writes a good Matt Murdock, though I suppose I question his friends. The girlfriend remains unestablished and the idea of Daredevil as the official superhero of San Francisco seems odd. Waid and Samnee aren’t going for high concept or realism, so bringing in both those elements makes for an awkward read.

Waid tries too hard. He doesn’t need to sell the concept. Between his Matt characterization and Samnee’s art, Daredevil is an entertaining read. It doesn’t try hard as far as the plot, so why try on the new ground situation. It’s digestible. Better to be digestible than not.

Samnee gets to do a variety of different scenes. The fight’s cool, but so’s the comedy.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 1 (March 2014)

Daredevil #1Daredevil is a lot of fun. Most of the issue is a chase scene through San Francisco. Chris Samnee composes his panels close to the action, not in long shots, so there aren’t big landmark double pages. Instead, he infers the setting around Matt. It’s a rather cool approach.

Also important is the daytime setting; this comic is exciting, not downbeat, even when Mark Waid’s putting a little kid in danger. Waid knows exactly how to get the best result from the story, whether it’s in Daredevil showing off his powers of observation, how he paces the kid in danger, everything.

It’s very well-done superhero comics.

There’s also absolutely nothing compelling about it except Samnee’s art. And the art’s enough reason to read the book. Waid does an okay job, but the art’s where Daredevil is different.

If it were just the writing, there wouldn’t be a reason to return.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 4 (November 2012)

883924I went into this issue hopeful, I really did. I thought maybe Waid could do something besides Cliff flying around L.A. and killing a bunch of terrified animals.

He does do something else. It’s just not very good. Apparently Betty has been suspecting the sidekicks of being enemy spies–Sally and the black guy. It’s a little too subtle a suspicion because I didn’t get it until the wrap up of that subplot. I thought Betty was just being a shallow bitch.

Apparently, she’s a suspicious shallow bitch.

After four issues, she’s clearly one of the big problems with the franchise. She’s utterly unlikable at length and Cliff’s continued interest in her just makes him seem more shallow too.

IDW should’ve just released a single, wordless issue of Samnee’s Rocketeer versus dinosaurs art. There are some beautiful panels, page after page, in this issue.

Shame Waid’s words ruin it.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 3 (October 2012)

881034It’s a good thing Samnee’s drawing this series–but especially this issue–because without him I’d forget I was supposed to be reading a Rocketeer comic.

The stuff at the hanger is all fine, but it’s the supporting cast jabbering to each other. Waid writes Peevy well, he even writes Betty well (though not enough to turn her into a real person) and Cliff’s new sidekicks continue to amuse.

But Cliff? Fighting dinosaurs and teaming up with some bad guys? It’s a disaster. Waid’s only got two good moments on the Cliff side and one’s not even his own. The bad guy asks Cliff to save his crew. It’s a neat moment.

The other is Cliff talking back to a supportive crowd. Very funny, but not really specific to the character. Feels more like a Spider-Man moment, actually.

And the way Cliff deals with the dinosaurs is just mean.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 2 (September 2012)

875614While Cargo does give Cliff something he really needs–a stronger supporting cast–Waid’s approach is practically fanfic when it comes to the big reveal.

Cargo of Doom is a (sly) sequel to King Kong, where the bad guys are going to loose captured dinosaurs as a terrorist act. The chief villain–dressed like a pirate no less–describes the Kong events from the movie, but acts as though the world forgot them. Giant apes aren’t big news in Rocketeer land.

I’m a little shocked at Waid’s plot. It’s moronic. The Rocketeer versus a T. Rex? And IDW without a Kong license?

The other stuff, particularly Sally (Peevy’s niece) and Cliff bonding while Betty fumes, is good. The black federal agent is questionable given the time period, but official help for the Rocketeer isn’t bad.

It’s just the comic reads like a convention commission gone to series. Waid’s gone nuts.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 1 (August 2012)

874371In Cargo of Doom, Mark Waid does the most unexpected thing ever in a Rocketeer comic. He takes the focus–at least as far as females go–off Betty. He does it so much, I don’t even remember if Chris Samnee’s version of Betty is in the Stevens vein or his own thing.

Because for once, Betty doesn’t get to be the most important thing.

The lead female character is Peevy’s niece, who’s a pilot herself and has a major Cliff crush. There’s a great little scene with her and Betty talking and the niece very confused why Betty can’t shut up about the Rocketeer when she has Cliff.

Waid paces the issue well. There’s some action, a few dialogue scenes (more than it seems) and the entire bad guy subplot too. Unsavory folks are smuggling a mysterious creature into L.A.

As for Chris Samnee? He does great work.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 8 (February 2011)

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Cornfields. It ends in a cornfield. I’m not sure there’s anything more perfect. Well, obviously, not being canceled would be more perfect, but for what they have to do… Langridge and Samnee end it beautifully.

The issue does not play like a final issue (I’m assuming Marvel did not give them time)—the big bad is left unresolved (Bunson and Beeker make it) and, you know, Odin never makes an appearance—but Langridge finds a balance.

What becomes important is how people regard Thor (sort of) and Langridge gets it resolved. Also, the relationship with Jane needs permanence and Langridge brings that aspect too.

Samnee gets to draw “Mighty” Iron Man and it’s an interesting approach (suggesting there’s a place to take it for going).

It’s an excellent issue with a great last few pages. It’s awful to think there isn’t going to be any more of it.

Thor’s wonderful.

A 

CREDITS

The Man in the Iron Mask; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz, Sana Amanat and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 7 (February 2011)

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It’s hard not to be depressed. And not just because Langridge ends on the series’s first (and last) real cliffhanger. This issue is the second-to-last Thor: The Mighty Avenger.

Langridge opens the issue with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beeker (I suppose Samnee does have something to do with it). Things weren’t working out in the Muppet Labs so they changed their names (slightly) and are now building robots to attack Thor.

Maybe more importantly, this issue is the one where Thor and Jane… ahem… how to make it appropriate for an all ages book… start sharing the same bed. It combined with Thor as a public figure in the small town, make for some great material.

The scene where Jane sends Thor off the work is a favorite; Langridge and Samnee sell it without cynicism or sentimentality. It just works beautifully.

Very upset there’s only one issue left.

CREDITS

Robot; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz, Sana Amanat and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 6 (January 2011)

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The issue ends with Thor and Jane’s first kiss. I wasn’t sure it was going to because Langridge was hinting at it a couple times and it didn’t happen.

The last few pages, leading up to the kiss, are some great talking heads stuff. Except Samnee doesn’t just do talking heads, he does these medium shots and it really brings a lot of charm to it. Of course, Samnee just doesn’t get to do the big kiss scene, Langridge gives him a lot of other stuff….

Thor dukes it out Heimdall, who has different shapes, giving Samnee a lot of action scenes to illustrate. What’s interesting about this episode is how it comes before the present action of this issue (and the last issue). Langridge never refers to it, but it turns out Thor’s been preoccupied this issue and last.

It’s wonderful. Samnee’s expressions alone put it over the top.

CREDITS

Thursday Night; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz, Sana Amanat and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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