While I do love me some Phil Winslade, he doesn’t draw distinct enough faces for a war comic where the tank crews all wear around headgear. I mean, he’s got this scene where its two tank crews standing around and it’s absolutely impossible to tell who’s who. Even from the dialogue, it’s confusing….
Otherwise, it’s a lovely comic. Winslade draws some great scenery and his action is all very strong. I suppose his expressions—regardless of being the faces being too indistinct to reveal identities—are good too.
Matthew Sturges’s script is pretty good. It’s just a Haunted Tank story—an apolitical one, which I do take some issue with in this day and age—and Sturges introduces the idea of another Haunted Tank-type situation. It’s cute and a little out of place.
But the rest—the tank crew procedural—is all solid.
It’s a fine enough war comic.
Listening to Ghosts; writer, Matthew Sturges; artist, Phil Winslade; colorist, Lovern Kindzierski; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.
Weird War Tales features something I never wanted to see… weak Darwyn Cooke.
His story is idiotic—famous war figures have a party—and his artwork is barely there. It’s a bunch of skeletons and stuff, so maybe it’s the subject, but it’s all so incredibly lame I couldn’t believe it was really Cooke. It’s not even amusing. I can’t figure out why he bothered. Oh, money.
The next story—from Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein—has good art from Klein and terrible writing from Brandon. It’s a sub story. Brandon’s dialogue is weak and his plot is worse. But that art’s quiet good.
For a finale, it’s Jan Strnad and Gabriel Hardman. The story is kind of weak, but Strnad can write the dialogue so it all moves through all right. The Hardman artwork is absolutely fantastic. This one nearly makes the issue worth a look, but not quite.
Armistice Night; writer, artist and letterer, Darwyn Cooke; colorist, Dave Stewart. Advance… and be recognized!; artist, colorist and letterer, Steve Pugh. The Hell Above Us; writer, Ivan Brandon; artist and colorist, Nic Klein; letterer, Steve Wands. Private Parker Sees Thunder Lizards; writer, Jan Strnad; artist, Gabriel Hardman; colorist, Daniel Vozzo; letterer, Wands. Editors, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen pre-eighties Jim Aparo before. It’s absolutely stunning. The tight faces are present, but there’s also a bunch of energy. I never would have thought he’d be a great Phantom Stranger—or any supernatural story—artist, but he excels.
Len Wein comes up with two good stories for the issue, though the Stranger one is better. This villain figures out a way to capture the Stranger and then takes out his heart, figuring transplanting it into his body will give him immortality. Of course, it doesn’t work out as planned (does the Phantom Stranger actually need a physical heart?). Wein has some purple narration, but the plot moves fast and Aparo makes it damned creepy.
The Doctor Thirteen backup is a little silly (Wein opens with a swamp monster and ends with a sci-fi thing), but Tony DeZuniga’s art makes it simply wonderful.
The Man with No Heart!; artist and letterer, Jim Aparo. The Spectre of the Stalking Swamp!; artist, Tony DeZuniga. Writer, Len Wein; editor, Joe Orlando; publisher, Marvel Comics.