Original Release Date: January 20, 2009
Briggs' line in the first panel is awful. It's AWFUL. It might be the worst line in the entire series. I don't know what I was thinking. Briggs' lines are typically pretty solid, but he threw up all over himself with this one. I guess I was looking for something other than "generic villainous response," but what I came up with is far from threatening.
On the other hand, I'm proud of Evil Bad Guy Ninja's line in the second panel. He's frustrated because Stu just got him shot in the back, and he takes it out on the fact that he can't figure out how Briggs is talking! He loses his cool over something relatively inconsequential to the action at hand. You know how when you have a bad day, and all these important things are going wrong, and then you spill a drink, or your cat throws up, or there's a squeaky door in your house, and that's the thing that tears it? That's the feeling I tried to convey. Briggs' response twists the knife. I like that exchange a lot. The fart noise and bad pun at the end of the page are perfectly cromulent jokes, and don't really add or take anything away from the page.
The main story happening on this page is that Evil Bad Guy Ninja thinks Stu has gone soft. Is this a running argument that is part of their rivalry? I don't have an answer to that. Stu proves he's still a force to be reckoned with, however, and he doesn't have to kill anybody to prove it. I doubt it earns him any respect with Evil Bad Guy Ninja, though.
Lastly, one small art nitpick in panel four: Briggs' hand is in the shot, but Briggs isn't in the background anymore. Laziness on my part.