Day: 12 November 2011

Ka-Zar the Savage 5 (August 1981)

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It’s a flashback issue, but only flashing back to right before the first issue of the series. Jones gives the reader an insight into what’s made Ka-Zar so thoughtful about his place in the world (other than being the protagonist in a thoughtful comic book).

Jones gets away with a lot here because he realizes he needs to make Ka-Zar feel identifiable to the reader. There are quizzical pop culture references, making one wonder if all Ka-Zar’s time in the civilized world is spent watching TV or movies. But it works, because Jones has to make his struggles (as the protagonist) matter. They’re also pretty funny.

The issue is split between resolving the opening arc and the flashback, about half and half. Jones and Anderson’s trip, in the flashback, through the Savage Land is utterly fantastic. It mixes action and humanity.

I can’t believe this series isn’t more well-known.

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Demon Knights 3 (January 2012)

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Previously, I thought I could at least rely on the art in Demon Knights to be good, but Neves and Albert are slipping. Too much detail here, too little there. Some of it appears positively disjointed–one page looks like George Perez and the final page (the super soft cliffhanger) looks rushed. I wonder if they had to do a less gory version at the last minute.

This issue is the cast under siege and Cornell finally starts to recognize his problems. Besides the Shining Knight, the Demon and Vandal Savage, the cast all blurs together. There’s even a joke about it in dialogue.

Unfortunately, just because Cornell recognizes it doesn’t mean he does anything to alleviate it. This issue of Demon Knights is probably the best–the Shining Knight gender jokes alone give it that status–but it’s still not any good.

Cornell’s apparent lack of enthusiasm sinks it.

CREDITS

First Sacrifices; writer, Paul Cornell; penciller, Diógenes Neves; inker, Oclair Albert; colorist, Marcelo Maiolo; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Chris Conroy and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Ka-Zar the Savage 4 (July 1981)

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Lots more Robert E. Howard influence to detail again. This time it’s lost Atlantean machinery. Now, it works great as a plot detail–and as machinery, apparently Atlantean devices are easier to use than Apple ones–but it’s got me confused.

Ka-Zar is in Marvel continuity, right? Their Antarctica is all funky with these lost lands. But Namor’s from Atlantis, isn’t he? In other words, it isn’t hard to find Atlantean technology. And why’s it in Antarctica?

But those are small detail problems and the issue’s still another great one. Ka-Zar and Shanna meet up with one of his other love interests and have some problems. There’s also a dinosaur and a cute flying bat creature.

It’s the closest Jones has done to an all-action issue, with barely any time for Ka-Zar to pause to reflect. Anderson’s art carries the reader through.

Ka-Zar continues to impress.

Batman and Robin 3 (January 2012)

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What’s up with the cliffhanger? Batman and Robin have been kidnapped and tied up and the supervillain is going to make them watch a movie at the drive-in.

It’s so out of place with the rest of the comic, I flipped the pages, wondering if there’d been some incredible misprint. Nope… they’re really just tied up and about to watch a movie.

It’s an okay issue otherwise. Gleason has some nice action sequences, but the lengthy talking scenes seem to bore him. Damian has some funny moments with Alfred and poor Ace the Bat-dog is still sadly unnamed.

Bruce–even as Batman–barely factors into this issue and it’s a problem. Tomasi doesn’t have the content for it just to be Damian’s issue. Damian’s problems with Bruce don’t make it compelling. The better written beginning is dramatically pointless once the second half’s events occur.

It’s sort of messy.

CREDITS

Knightmoves; writer, Peter J. Tomasi; penciller, Patrick Gleason; inker, Mick Gray; colorist, John Kalisz; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Harvey Richards, Katie Kubert and Mike Marts; publisher, DC Comics.