M.K. Perker

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth 8 (January 2014)

292177 20131231120547 largeAt this point, Kristensen and Perker have fully embraced the bit. Every scene, even if it eventually ties to another scene, is a bit. There’s a Santa bit, there’s a Joan Crawford bit, there’s a Satan’s nice kid bit. It’s all a bunch of bits strung together. The regular cast members no longer have anything to do in Todd.

Is it bad, but I’m sort of hoping for another break from the series. The creators need to reorganize, rethink. Perker tries something of a new art style this issue. It’s interesting, but there’s no point for it. The issue opens–after the lengthy new cast introductions–and seems like it might be a Christmas thing. It’s not.

As for those opening introductions. Kristensen is now using them–instead of the actual issue proper–to tell parts of the story.

Todd has pretty much run out of its accrued good will.

C 

CREDITS

Writers, M.K. Perker and Ken Kristensen; artist, Perker; colorist, Sedat Gosterikli; letterer, Pat Brosseau; publisher, Image Comics.

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth 7 (November 2013)

289562 20131120121320 largeTodd doesn’t jump the shark with this issue; instead, Kristensen and Perker sort of hop the boat. They send Todd to Hell–literally–and he has to take Charon’s boat across the River Styx.

So, the creators aren’t exactly being exclusive–River Styx knowledge isn’t particularly high, but it’s smart. It’s a smart reference, it’s a smart turn of events. Similarly, there’s an opening reference to Jonah Hill. They just as ably make a solid pop culture reference.

Then there’s the story, which they split between Satan (in the prologue), Todd and his father and then Todd’s mother. Except the last two don’t really relate–it’s not, for instance, Todd trying to rescue his kidnapped mother.

Because Perker and Kristensen come up with something much better.

This issue has a lot of good laughs. Even better, the creators never go for the easiest joke; they always aim for higher ones.

CREDITS

Writers, M.K. Perker and Ken Kristensen; artist, Perker; colorist, Sedat Gosterikli; letterer, Pat Brosseau; publisher, Image Comics.

The Unwritten 35 (May 2012)

860552Maybe Tom seems like an action hero because of his outfit. He’s got suspenders for some reason, looking a little like Bullitt.

It’s a Tom and Pullman issue. There’s some action, but there’s mostly just Pullman messing with Tom. Pullman–and Carey–promise some great revelation, but it’s unclear how much of it Pullman is just keeping to himself. The issue doesn’t exactly raise questions about Leviathan and the nature of the universe, but it doesn’t answer any either.

There’s a big change–possibly two–for the series at the end (and maybe even some little ones throughout). Carey, Gross and Perker do such a good job throughout, one can ignore the entire arc has basically just been a way for Carey to soft reboot the series. He could just as easily done a “One Year Later,” since he doesn’t even bother with subplots this arc.

Still, it’s fine stuff.

CREDITS

Tommy Taylor and the War of Words, Part Five; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; pencillers, Gross and M.K. Perker; inker, Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

The Unwritten 34 (April 2012)

860551Perker’s finishes over Gross lead to a somewhat different look for the book. Besides Tom looking more like an action movie star than a twenty-something, there are some weird panel transitions. It’s not bad art, it just doesn’t feel like Unwritten at times.

It’s a combination of an action issue and a revelation one. The leader of the Cabal’s a good Bond villain who explains everything–multiple times–and there are a lot of explosions.

Carey weaves in a surprise–cheating, since the characters know about it but the reader doesn’t, but it plays well. Tom’s maturing as a character, the exposition is good, Lizzie and Richie have a good time. It’s a fine issue, but it just doesn’t wow.

It’s like Carey was giving more thought to the concurrently running .5 issues and letting the main story run on autopilot. Good material, smooth sailing, but not really engaging.

CREDITS

Tommy Taylor and the War of Words, Part Four; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; pencillers, Gross and M.K. Perker; inker, Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

The Unwritten 33 (March 2012)

853275Something’s off about the art this issue. I can’t tell if it’s Gross or Perker, but something’s definitely off. Tom looks like a bland underwear model.

This issue features Tom’s assault on the Cabal. Lizzie and Richie both tell him he’s going too fast, which is also advice for Carey. There’s quick montage of Tom invading the headquarters–as the Cabal prepares their counterattack (based on Pullman’s obtuse advice)–but it’s rushed. No one seems like they’re enjoying themselves, particularly not Carey.

The issue gets some mileage out of Tom beating up the bad guys with magic–which Carey’s been hinting at for thirty issues–but the issue runs out of gas long before the finish.

Carey’s disinterest suggests the arc itself is for bridging, not just the issues. He needs to get Unwritten somewhere else and he’s not enjoying taking it there.

Even worse, Carey totally forgets Frankenstein’s Monster.

CREDITS

Tommy Taylor and the War of Words, Part Three; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; pencillers, Gross and M.K. Perker; inker, Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

The Unwritten 32 (February 2012)

853273I’m perplexed. Pullman does something bad, but I can’t figure out what he’s done or why it will put Tommy and the gang in danger.

What’s incredibly frustrating is Carey spends about half the issue with Pullman talking about what he’s going to do; I thought I’d understand it once he got to it… but no.

Otherwise, it’s a very solid bridging issue. Carey resolves the previous cliffhanger–not in a happy way, either–and sets up for the next challenge. Lizzie and Richie spend most of the issue trying to figure out how to survive without magic, which raises some interesting questions about Tommy’s powers while also providing drama.

There aren’t any big action set pieces, so Gross just excels at the dramatic pacing. Carey sets up a problem and gets to a resolution by the end; Gross has to make it frightening. He does.

It’s all quite good.

CREDITS

Tommy Taylor and the War of Words, Part Two; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; pencillers, Gross and M.K. Perker; inker, Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

The Unwritten 31 (January 2012)

843000Frankenstein’s Monster does join the gang, but he doesn’t really do anything. He’s muscle, without a lot of dialogue; it’s too bad.

This issue features Tom wielding the magic, Lizzie and Richie freaking out and a lot of action. Carey and Gross and M.K. Perker (who finishes) do a great job with the changing genres. Well, not so much genres. It’s always action-oriented, but there are some calm periods with the characters regrouping.

But, as an action issue, not a lot really happens. Lizzie argues with Tom about him not knowing enough about his magic, she tells Richie about it, she turns out to be right. Carey doesn’t go much for character development, he goes for big action set pieces. And those action set pieces work. It feels like Carey’s priming for something big.

Oddly, the issue’s most intriguing moment might just be a throw away line of dialogue.

CREDITS

Tommy Taylor and the War of Words, Part One; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; pencillers, Gross and M.K. Perker; inker, Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth 4 (April 2013)

Todd The Ugliest Kid on Earth 4Some things can never be unseen. I’m pretty sure Todd’s dad naked in bed covered in money is one of them.

Kristensen and Perker doesn’t introduce any new characters this issue, I don’t think, but many of the series’s smaller players reappear. Even though Todd will return as an ongoing, this issue feels like a finish.

There’s a lot of plot development, maybe even more of it than there is humor. The issue has a lot of action, often funny, but the action humor is black. Kristensen only has a handful of really funny lines.

He brings all of the plot threads together to resolve the story pretty well, while still introducing little things and setting up the big development for the ongoing series. One has to wonder if it would have ended the same without its success.

It’s a moderately satisfying finish, but probably the series’s least successful issue.

CREDITS

Writer, Ken Kristensen; artist and letterer, M.K. Perker; colorist, Cemal Soyleyen; publisher, Image Comics.

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth 3 (March 2013)

IMG120813Well now… Kristensen saves the issue’s biggest laugh for the final page. It’s a small panel, but it’s Todd’s panel and Todd isn’t in the issue much and it’s a damn good joke. It’s kind of a dumb joke, but the way Kristensen tells it is smart, which isn’t the way Todd usually goes, but here it does and it works.

Kristensen splits the issue between Todd, his mom and his dad and the police chief. The police chief is fighting the serial killer, which is hilarious; the mom and dad are both having extramarital encounters. The mom’s is sad and depressing, but the dad’s is Kristensen telling Scientologist and Internet jokes.

The change in tone–and pace (the issue seems to take place over an hour or so)–makes Todd entirely unpredictable. The beautiful, preciously careful Perker makes the comic even more of an oddity.

Todd continues its excellence.

CREDITS

Writer, Ken Kristensen; artist and letterer, M.K. Perker; colorist, Cemal Soyleyen; publisher, Image Comics.

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth 2 (February 2013)

IMG120739AKristensen really runs with the Todd in jail angle. It’s a busy issue–Todd’s parents get their own subplots, the moron cop who arrested him gets a little page time and, of course, the real serial killer gets a scene or two.

There’s some wonderful about the panels of Todd running around the prison yard playing with a butterfly. Perker’s art perfectly captures the innocence of the act, but also all the danger around Todd.

There are a lot of jokes this issue. Not just the prison jokes, which start at inappropriate and get funnier, but also digs at Oprah, Scientology, celebrity worship… other stuff. Perker is able to turn all these things into sight gags, even Todd’s mom picking up a sleazy guy at the bar. The writing and the art synthesize beautifully in Todd.

The only problem is the ending. Kristensen stops the issue, rather than ending it.

CREDITS

Writer, Ken Kristensen; artist and letterer, M.K. Perker; colorist, Cemal Soyleyen; publisher, Image Comics.

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