American Brothers in Paris
Blah. This cover's probably the weakest one yet. Grifter and his brother both look ridiculously over masculine. Their muscles are bulging to the point that they should be bursting from their veins. Apparently the covers are already prepared for Liefeld to swoop in and ruin them, easing us into it. Grifter's been more creative and charismatic; not some macho macho muscle head.
This issue could've been great. It made me start worrying again about the new creative team, because its clear that this issue was meant to be drawn out a bit more, but had to be rushed in so Edmondson could at least finish the last big climax he was building to. Tsavo, Grifter's brother Max, the Black Curate, and Grifter's ability to elude the Daemonites have all been building to this issue, which isn't even a climax, more of a game changer. The Daemonites force Grifter into a corner, and.... actually, this is kind of a shame. I was hoping that after the climactic 'season finale' last issue, Grifter would FINALLY start going on the offensive like he said he was going to. But instead we get a super rushed beginning where the series stops bothering to give us a pre-tense for a conflict, and just starts with a conflict beginning. There's no juxtaposition here. It's fine that there's a jump between the last issue and this one, but it means you need to ease back into the action, keep things stable at the beginning of a new event, not just jump right into a new event. I mean, Cole and Sofia start on a plane, and 4 pages later Sofia's just dead. Its far too rushed, and stumbles back into the reactive approach that the previous issue countered. We never even got to see how Grifter met back up with Sofia, or if what, if anything, he told her about his experience in the Himalayas and his new goal.
It's like Edmondson knew he was about to be replaced and just threw his hands up saying 'Screw it! Let's just forgo pacing so I can go out with a bang. I mean, he DOES go out with a bang (and I DO understand having to cram some stuff for the sake of time, having only one issue left), but it can only change my opinion subjectively, and I try to be objective enough.
The artwork was good. It felt like some blend of CAFU and Scott Clark. I could just be paying weird amounts of focus, but it felt a lot like both previous art, so it was actually quite welcome as a fill-in.
In Conclusion: 3/5
The story was really rushed, even though I can fully understand why. The fight scene was great, the fill-in artist was actually great, and I could see the framework here for what this issue would've been. But mostly, it was the big plot twist at the end; and I REALLY hope Liefeld and Tieri keep up the same focus.