by Keith Giffen, J.M. Dematteis (Writers), Scott Kolins (Artist), Mike Atiyeh (Colorist)

The Story: Stargrave meets the Wanderer, who explains her story and tempts him with an offer, as Larfleeze wakes up and cause even more chaos.

The Review: Bad comics are unpleasant. It is an obvious statement for those that enjoy sequential art and visual storytelling, yet it is something that is even more unpleasant for some that review comics. While my case is not universally so, I never particularly enjoy bashing a comic for its faults, as every creative team do try to tell something and every issue is the result of a lot of work coming from multiple persons. To come down on a title and write everything that is badly done is not something I am fond of, despite how much the issue itself had it coming. I never shy away from doing so, yet it is always more pleasant to recommend something rather than make it so people avoid it like the plague.

The latest issue of Larfleeze was certainly not the worst thing I had ever read in my life, yet it was quite bad with its repetitive jokes and its clumsy art. However, I do believe that any title can actually get better provided that the creative team does some effort of its own. Does this issue prove me right, though?

In many ways, it kind of does, as Giffen and Dematteis brings back the titular orange lantern to the forefront as they create a better mix of shenanigans, humor and cosmic that makes this issue significantly better than the last one. One of the aspect that is miles ahead from the last issue would be the humor, as the jokes get a bit more varied thanks to the introduction of the Wanderer, as the personalities of Larfleeze and Stargrave do clash well enough to provide for funny lines and situations. The running gags are also better used this time, as the conflicts and the problems gets a bit more varied this time around to provide new materials.

In terms of humor, but also in its general themes, the cosmic vibe is quite well done as it deals in a large scope despite the buffoonery of the cast, which comes attached t the character of the Wanderer. In a both an humoristic twist and a clever way to represent being living on a grander scale, the way she interacts with others as well as tell her story do make things seem larger, yet also quite close to home as we found out her name is quite apt in a number of ways, as she do tend to wander off in her own head.

It’s not a wholesome improvement, though, as some of the actions and some of the characters do seem to repeat the same mistake the previous issue iterated. Herbert, the board-certified lackey still repeat the same joke and Lou the dog, a character that had been interesting despite his lack of humor are both used in different ways that don’t really add up to much in the grand scheme of things or even as jokes. There is also the fact that Larfleeze summon his corps to help him, which does beg the question why he didn’t do it before in the previous issues. It is a moot point in this issue as it eventually turn against him, yet it’s always a bit disappointing to see something and wonder the logic about why this had not been used before in the series. It’s futile, yet it’s annoying.

What’s much less annoying in this issue than it was in the previous one would be Scott Kolins and his art. He can be chaotic in the worst ways sometimes, yet there are issues where he channels this style toward something better suited to it, which does happen here. He is best suited to the chaos of deep space as he does some beautiful rendition of the universe surrounding Wandered in some of her scenes as he also does some blocky, yet convincing alien technology. Some of the action scenes filled with energy blasts are still a bit problematic, yet much unlike the last issue filled with energy being drifting in endless space. The characters themselves are also prone to exaggeration in their expressions and poses, yet it suits the book quite well considering the tone. Over all, it’s a much better effort from his part.

It also amount to the same thing for Mike Atiyeh, who does a better job of simulating a controlled chaos through his colorization. The palette is an odd mix of very bright and dark colors that twist many of the other colors around to create a cosmic and psychedelic effect that does match the general vibe of the issue. It’s a weird, yet effective colorization for a book that could be described as such.

The Conclusion: With a better handle on the humor and what makes this title unique, Giffen and Dematteis provide a fun little book full of quirkiness with the chaotic yet fitting art by Kolins and Atiyeh. This is something that should please those in need of comedy and cosmic stories quite well.

Grade: B

Hugo Robberts Larivière