Characters Appearing: Janet Ruiz, Jeff Piper, Kingpin
Code of Honor #4
Issue(s): Code of Honor #4
This issue is the first to have all the art done by a single artist. It's Brad Parker, who did some of the art on the first issue (otherwise it's been different, and multiple, artists each issue). The art on this series was originally supposed to be done entirely by Tristan Schane (the other artist on issue #1), and i wonder if deadline issues turned it into the jamfest that it became. That might also explain why the art on issue #4 feels less like paintings that are based on photo references and more like actual photos that have had a filter applied to them in Photoshop. The thing looks like a fumetti photonovel more than a comic book.
It makes the art look really stiff. If anything, it's a good argument for why comic book art is such a unique medium. It's not as simple as just stringing a bunch of pictures together.
And when something doesn't have an easy photo reference, like, say, the Sons of Muspell from the Casket of Ancient Winters story, we just get something random instead.
And here's our first glimpse of the events of Inferno. I don't know what that is supposed to be.
The book continues to muddle continuity as well, putting the appearance of Venom...
...before an appearance of the Beyonder.
This was the final straw for me in terms of worrying about placement based on the sequence of events shown in these books (previous issues had a Marvel Team-Up story from 1975 taking place before a Werewolf By Night issue from a year prior, for example, and Cloak & Dagger appearing way too early). As far as i can tell, Jeff Piper is just a completely unreliable narrator when it comes to the order of events.
As far as Jeff Piper's arc goes, he continues to carry around that $1,000 bill and ponder "accepting" it. It's a bit hard for me to find this compelling. He's already taken the money, and he's been carrying it around since about 1972 (publication wise) at this point. It's not like the Kingpin has been leaning on him daily to take more bribes or do favors for him. And it's not like it's a super amount of money; i mean it's probably a paycheck or two depending on how we calculate for inflation given the sliding timescale, but it's not like he can retire on it. It's meant to be symbolic of his indecision, but at this point time has decided for him. It's too late, dude. You effectively didn't accept the bribe, so just forget it. He eventually gives the money to a woman whose husband was abusing her. He also develops a romantic interest with his partner, but if that was going anywhere legitimate, it's ruined by Inferno. During Inferno, she becomes possessed by a demon, and he sleeps with her (he may also have been influenced by the events of Inferno). Afterwards, he asks for a reassignment.
The turning point for him comes when he's on duty when the Kingpin is brought in for vagrancy.
After that he goes back to his estranged wife.
A few times along the way during this series it seemed like Chuck Dixon was raising some interesting points about how regular citizens view the Marvel universe. In his books it seemed like Marvel's citizens had a different, and more uniformly negative, interpretation of Marvel's heroes than in Kurt Busiek's more nuanced Marvels. I was interested in learning how he saw things differently, and was waiting to see how things concluded. But in the end this really just fizzles out. Jeff gets back with his wife, which is the easiest, most formulaic conclusion, and the resolution to this and all of his other problems seem rushed through.
This final issue, especially, feels rushed in all aspects. The art looks more like the layouts that would have been developed into painted art, instead of the final product. And the story just flies through the time periods and barrels to a conclusion on Jeff's problems regarding his love life, his bribery dilemma, and his feelings regarding super-heroes. The art was pretty awful in all of the issues and the story seemed iffy, but i was holding my judgement until this final part. In the end, though, it seems like Code of Honor didn't really have anything to say.
Here is the picture of Angel for the issue. He's in Archangel mode, which makes for an easy symbol of the grim and gritty era compared to his images from previous issues.
But the issue actually ends with an image of an (extremely awkward; what is he, being pulled on a string?) Iron Man, i guess, as with the Punisher/Cap shirts, symbolizing Piper's commitment to traditional values in spite of the time period and what he's been through.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: As always with continuity inserts that span a long period, i'm placing this where it ends. And in this case since it spans such a long period of time, i'm only listing the characters that appear at the end. The main placement point is the Kingpin. Kingpin is seen as a vagabond in Daredevil beginning in Daredevil #307, so this likely takes place between Daredevil #300 and #307. I'm assuming that despite the fact that the police take his real name, he really is released as predicted instead of anyone searching for his record and realizing that he's wanted for more serious crimes. Doesn't make a lot of sense but that's par for the course for this series.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
I really don't like the photo stuff. It's lazy and unappealing to look at. Really distracting.
Posted by: Robert | November 23, 2015 11:35 AM
wow, thats bad. As you sat Fnord (see i read more than the scans) like a bad fumetti. it feels like the word balloons are pasted on.
Posted by: kveto | November 23, 2015 3:54 PM
Fnord, your synopsis is unclear- did Jeff sleep with his partner WHILE she was possessed?
Posted by: Michael | November 23, 2015 9:22 PM
Added clarification about when Jeff slept with his partner. They slept together during Inferno, while she is obviously (to the audience) possessed, and while he may also be under its influence ("I can feel the night burning all around me.")
Posted by: fnord12 | November 23, 2015 9:41 PM
That one scan looks like it was meant to be Crotus hauling Phoenix stuck as a mannequin in a wedding dress around...
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | December 7, 2015 10:12 PM
If we're talking about photos, that last panel of Iron Man looks like a painted over photo of Mego Iron Man from TTT.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 14, 2016 8:49 AM
Comments are now closed.
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