Now Jonathan Hickman’s not your average comic book writer. A bit more realistic, and intellectual. Sometimes I think he gets his ideas from reading histories and biographies and says, “this would make a great story”, when in fact they probably wouldn’t, but he does them anyway. And with some success. I mean who finds the drama in two competing corporations in an emerging market or the council of Nicea? But the are worth picking up simply because the subjects they choose. Hickman also has a habit somewhere in his books to dispense with pictures altogether and just prints 2 pages of script. At first I thought is was because someone missed an art deadline, and it might have been, but he’s since adopted it as staple in his books. There are two weakness of these books, 1.) The release schedule and 2.) the art. The books are so crammed with characters and ideas that after a three month or so delay it’s hard to catch up again.
And in books chock full o’ ideas and characters you really need a good artist who can keep things straight and characters distinct. In Pax Romana especially, except for the main character on account his eye patch (and maybe the guy in the hat) there is no character recognition at all. The art is also very 1970-1980 advertising style. Pax Romana is the strongest story, but the weakest art. Red Mass has the weakest story, but the strongest art, and Transhuman is right in the middle on both. Pax Romana B-, Transhuman B, Red Mass for Mars C. Obviously I weight a strong story higher than weak art.