With Ben Templesmith off Ten Grand, let’s see how things fly in this the latest issue. Is It Good?
Ten Grand #5 (Image/Joe’s Comics)
Despite the disappointment of finding out my favorite artist was off this book, I will continue on with this series. You should too. J. Michael Straczynski is a fucking powerhouse. He’s a giant gladiator in this arena of a man named Joe stuck between life and death, who fights for just five minutes of time with his former love, Laura. This issue, Joe is in Purgatory. He has quite a walk. J. Michael gets deep, and heavy, yet it digests well. It works. The tone works. The pacing works. The inner monologues work. The writing on this book is amazing.
Now we come to the artist, C.P. Smith, who will be taking over for Templesmith from this issue until issue #12. Though I had extreme misgivings with seeing another artist tackle this series, Smith does a fantastic job. His style is very different from Templesmith’s, and though I do not enjoy his particular art style as much, I can still appreciate his panels and his drawings without it detracting from my enjoyment of the book. Another thing on C.P.’s side is Joe is now in Purgatory. So, switching from one artist to another, from when Joe was on Earth drawn by Templesmith, to when Joe is in Purgatory drawn by C.P., works very well as a way to show the reader visually that we have left what is known.
The color work was nice. Good use of the colors white, with tiny bits of red and black, switching to large amounts of red. It’s nowhere near as good as Templesmith’s color work. The loss of the background color work is what I lament the most with Templesmith being off the project.
- J. Michael Straczynski is a fine wordsmith.
- C.P. does a great job drawing where Templesmith left off.
- The colors and the background aren’t anywhere near Templesmith quality.
Is it Good?
This issue is worth picking up to see the exchange between Joe and the skeleton in charge of letting souls, and Joe, cross the river in Purgatory. By and large, this issue is just as good as the last four. Yet, there is obviously a big Templesmith-shaped hole in the work. I applaud J. Michael for going with a different artist with a different style, but it gives the work a whole new tone. This isn’t a bad thing per se, but it will take a little getting used to if you have been following the series thus far.
Mainly, it is the lack of those backgrounds seeped in shadow which is the hardest thing to get used to, but then, we are in Purgatorio now, ain’t we? Despite all the nit-picking, I liked this issue a lot. This is a must read for fans of the supernatural, and fans of well executed monologues by an executioner who can’t die.