Travel Foreman

Animal Man 3 (January 2012)

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Foreman shows why he belongs on Animal Man this issue. Not because he’s a great artist, but because he can draw disgusting things without making them discomforting.

It’s an all-action issue featuring Animal Man turning into a mutant thing and fighting other disgusting mutant things and… Okay, there’s not much content. However, it’s the first issue where I felt like I should stick with the comic.

Lemire has this one scene–Animal Man’s wife is bitching about the son’s bloody video game, then she herself starts playing it. It’s a tiny little thing, a subtle pin in a haystack of the obvious, but it shows some imagination on Lemire’s part.

Whether Lemire can synthesize subtle character detail and big, gooey action remains to be seen. And he’s a little cheap–the comic’s compelling because a four year old is in danger–but Animal Man is finally rising above mediocrity.

CREDITS

The Hunt, Part Three: Totems; writer, Jeff Lemire; artist, Travel Foreman; colorist, Lovern Kindzierski; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Kate Stewart and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

Immortal Weapons 2 (October 2009)

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What a stinker.

The whole thing plays like a bad Marvel horror comic from the seventies, with a team of mercenaries (they have matching outfits, of course) out to retrieve a spider. It’s not any spider, it’s one of the Bride of Nine Spiders’s spiders. There’s a bit of a continuity break, showing the Bride to always be beautiful, when in Immortal Iron Fist flashbacks she wasn’t shown as such.

So, it’s an action horror comic instead of a kung fu horror comic.

Bunn’s writing is occasionally okay—his dialogue is fine—but he’s establishing all these characters in a single issue. The Bride he never gets around to establishing though. She’s barely in her own comic.

Also, Brereton’s problematic—his proportions are off.

It’s just a forced horror comic. Big mistake.

However, great Iron Fist backup. Gaudiano’s inks make Foreman’s pencils fantastic. Still, doesn’t make up for the feature.

CREDITS

The Spider’s Song; writer, Cullen Bunn; penciller, Dan Brereton; inkers, Tom Palmer, Stefano Gaudiano and Mark Pennington; colorist, Paul Mounts. The Caretakers, Part Two; writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Travel Foreman; inker, Gaudiano; colorist, June Chung. Letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Immortal Weapons 1 (September 2009)

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Could this story be more depressing?

Aaron does a decent job on Fat Cobra’s backstory—though he doesn’t go enough into defining Fat Cobra’s Heavenly City. He buys his way back into it at one point and buying one’s way back into a Heavenly City seems a little common.

Then there’s all the retconning of Fat Cobra into Marvel Comics history. He was almost an Invader, he was Ulysses Bloodstone’s sidekick and so on and so forth. Aaron’s trying to hard to be cute. When we get to the end of the story and find out the salient feature of Fat Cobra’s (forgotten) past… all the other stuff becomes silly.

That feature—Fat Cobra has no memory of his past—is similarly problematic. Aaron needed to explain it.

Good art from a variety of artists. It’s a fine package.

Swierczynski’s Iron Fist backup is the best Iron Fist he’s written.

CREDITS

The Book of the Cobra; writer, Jason Aaron; pencillers, Mico Suayan, Stefano Gaudiano, Roberto De La Torre, Khari Evans, Michael Lark and Arturo Lozzi; inkers, Suayan, Gaudiano, De La Torre, Victor Olazaba, Lark and Lozzi; colorists, Edgar Delgado, Matt Hollingsworth, Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic and Jodi Wolff. The Caretakers, Part One; writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Travel Foreman; inker, Gaudiano; colorist, June Chung. Letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 27 (August 2009)

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Swierczynski’s Iron Fist goes out with a whimper. He mimics Fraction’s last issue on the title. I’m not sure Swierczynski should have gotten to close, since he was just following Brubaker and Fraction–not to say his writing wasn’t occasionally quite good, it was just never original.

Foreman goes back to inking himself (I think) and it looks a little better than usual. It’s a dark, emotive style. Until the Lapham pages. They look out of place and, worse, lazy.

Swierczynski is more concerned getting Danny to the last page–expecting a baby, financially ruined–than doing it in any realistic manner. One has to wonder about editorial mandates, how much was about getting Danny set for his next series or whatever.

It’s too bad Swierczynski did ten or eleven issues on the series and never made an impression on his own. It’s still too much Brubaker and Fraction’s series.

The Immortal Iron Fist 26 (July 2009)

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Oh, come on.

I think Foreman’s the bigger problem, but Swierczynski really does completely fail when it comes to a good conclusion. He has a dramatic cliffhanger, but it’s a confusing one (one the previous page implies is unlikely).

But worse, he fails to deal with K’un-L’un. He changes the status quo again and abandons it. He really has no idea how to pace an issue. He goes for dramatic effect with brief, intense moments… then leaves them hanging. He doesn’t follow through to make them solid.

But, like I said before, the real problem is Foreman. Even with someone like Palmer on inks, he just can’t do a good mass action scene. I could barely follow it–is Cobra still alive? It’s a shame because the series was always so good looking, it’s unfortunate it got ugly when Swierczynski started.

Whatever Swierczynski’s problems, he doesn’t deserve confusing art.

CREDITS

Escape from the Eighth City, Conclusion; writer, Duane Swierczynski; pencillers, Travel Foreman and Juan Doe; inkers, Tom Palmer and Doe; colorists, Matt Milla and Doe; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 25 (June 2009)

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As usual, Swierczynski manages to pull the story around after a weak move. Here, he reveals the old impostor to be nothing but a temporary ruse, something to distract Danny (and the reader). Then we get the full story.

Then the Immortal Weapons start kicking butt.

Swierczynski is best when he utilizes the Immortal Weapons, so it makes little sense why he keeps them on the back burner for most of his issues. Danny’s a strong protagonist, but Swierczynski can do only so much with him. He’s still resolving old plot threads, he can’t go forward. So giving him people play off helps.

Not to mention the other Immortal Weapons are often a lot of fun.

Then we get the final page, which reveals Davos’s true mission. Hopefully Swierczynski will take the time to sell it; this issue, it seems another way to prolong the arc.

So, problematic, but good.

CREDITS

Escape from the Eighth City, Chapter Three; writer, Duane Swierczynski; pencillers, Travel Foreman and Juan Doe; inkers, Tom Palmer and Doe; colorist, Matt Milla; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 23 (April 2009)

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I think I’ll start with Foreman. He usually does an all right job, but he ends this issue on a terrible full-page panel of the (supposedly) first Iron Fist. He’s got this old guy warped to fit in the panel, his body proportions and perspective a complete mess. It’s terrible finish to the issue because it’s supposed to be scary. Instead it’s weak.

The issue opens with the revelation Davos is untrustworthy. It’s not clear if it’s just him or if it’s the Thunderer too. Swierczynski has a very strange storytelling method for Iron Fist. He contracts things Brubaker and Fraction introduced. For the most part, he sucks the potential out of them. He’s not predictable, he’s simply unoriginal. His Immortal Iron Fist feels like a copy of a copy of a copy. It’s dulled.

Every time Swierczynski seems to be getting better, he drops even further than before.

CREDITS

Escape from the Eighth City, Chapter Two; writer, Duane Swierczynski; pencillers, Travel Foreman, Tonci Zonjic and Timothy Green; inkers, Tom Palmer, Mark Pennington, Zonjic and Green; colorist, Matt Milla; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 22 (March 2009)

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This issue features the second time Swierczynski has taken some leftover Brubaker and Fraction thread and determined everyone knew about it except Danny.

The Eighth City? The Thunderer knew about it all the time–he could have told Danny about it, back when Danny told him what he was about to do.

This issue Davos shows up to send Danny and the Immortal Weapons to the Eighth City on a mission from the Thunderer. As the Thunderer forgot as well he and Danny had already talked about this quest.

But there’s a bit of a problem with the Eighth City, even as it fits into Swierczynski’s continuity–people can only go in, not come out. Well, it seems like bad guys have been coming out. So that doesn’t make much sense.

It’s a padded issue. Swierczynski’s Danny narration isn’t bad, but the plot’s just nonsense so far.

This series frustrates.

CREDITS

Escape from the Eighth City, Chapter One; writer, Duane Swierczynski; artist, Travel Foreman; colorist, Matt Milla; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 20 (January 2009)

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Okay, Swierczynski is finally back on track. Forgetting the special, he’s now written more good issues of The Immortal Iron Fist than mediocre or bad.

This issue resolves—maybe a little too conveniently (it should have taken eight)—Danny’s possible death at thirty-three. It also gets the search for the Eighth City back underway and brings in the Immortal Weapons to a more central role.

Not sure how much of it is Swierczynski’s fault for not plotting the arc right or if Fraction just left him with too much to do.

Swierczynski puts a solid bow on the whole thing, but all the stuff with Misty seems like a misfire. Though Foreman’s hat for her for her big farewell scene with Danny is brilliant. Swierczynski just never establishes their relationship as anything significant. It doesn’t feel like their goodbye has any real weight.

Still, I’m enthusiastically reading once more.

CREDITS

The Mortal Iron Fist, Conclusion; writer, Duane Swierczynski; artists, Russ Heath and Travel Foreman; colorist, Matt Milla; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Immortal Iron Fist 19 (December 2008)

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Oh, there are other Immortal Weapons? Wonder if their appearance has anything to do with the issue working.

Just as Swierczynski gets out of his writing rut—well, I’m not sure if that’s an accurate description—he returns to a decent approximation of Brubaker and Fraction’s run on the title, Foreman just plummets.

He goes through maybe four different styles here, but the unifying factor is his people look different from panel to panel. Not like he forgot a facial characteristic, more like in one panel he draws one as a toad and in the next as a butterfly. It’s awful looking.

While Swierczynski does underuse the other Immortal Weapons (just having them show up is nice), he does return some intelligence to Danny, some thoughtfulness. The opening scene works great, even with Foreman confounding the whole thing.

Not sure the series is back on track, but it’s much improved.

CREDITS

The Mortal Iron Fist, Chapter Three; writer, Duane Swierczynski; artists, Travel Foreman and Russ Heath; colorist, Matt Milla; letterer, Artmonkeys Studios; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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