savage she-hulk

The Savage She-Hulk 3 (April 1980)

The Savage She-Hulk #3

Well, Kraft certainly doesn’t turn things around this issue. He might make them worse–nothing this issue gets a full breath. The big ending, which should be an exciting fight between She-Hulk and her first superpowered villain, flops because of the setting. A beach house isn’t the place for a visually dynamic brawl.

There’s some subplot development with Jennifer’s dad and then a little bit more with the villain, but nothing with Jennifer herself. The idiotic “faked her own death” plot turn gets even worse with her opposing counsel, also a confidant in that plot, harassing her. And then there’s Jennifer’s good buddy, Zapper, who gets to play dude in distress.

The art, from Volsburg and Stone, is also weak. The action’s too small but they couldn’t handle anything more. Volsburg doesn’t have any sense of style to his composition either. It’s confused and unpleasant.

It’s a trying read.



She-Hulk Murders Lady Lawyer!; writer, David Anthony Kraft; pencillers, Mike Vosburg and Chic Stone; inker, Stone; colorist, Carl Gafford; letterer, Michael Higgins; editors, Mary Jo Duffy and Al Milgrom; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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Wayward 1 (August 2014)

Wayward #1

Wayward is awful. I wish it weren’t, because Steve Cummings’s art is awesome. With the single exception of the teenage girl protagonist looking about the same age as her mother. But otherwise.

So why is Wayward so bad I can’t even stick with it for the art?

Writer Jim Zub. Unless he’s trying to do a “girl power” comic with some deceptive objectifying of women and some really bad dialogue, all the writing is a disaster. Every word. Down to Marshall Dllon’s lettering choices.

The dialogue sounds like a combination of protracted, insincere soap opera expository writing and poorly translated subtitles. At times, Wayward really does feel like Zub is trying to mimic a bad subtitle job. There are some goofy plot developments–like the fantasy ninja girl wanting strawberry milk.

As for the sexism, Zub’s characters are generic, predictable fetish objects. Sadly, Zub’s serious and not mocking the genre.



Writer, Jim Zub; artist, Steve Cummings; colorist, John Rauch; letterer, Marshall Dillon; publisher, Image Comics.

firestorm v2

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 33 (March 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #33

Kupperberg sticks around this issue to ink Rafael Kayanan and it’s an interesting result. The figures and composition are still Kayanan’s, but–with a couple exceptions–Kupperberg’s really bringing the personality to the faces. While Conway does do a little character development on Ronnie and Martin, the newly expressive faces are what sell the scenes.

Though, they’re very likable scenes–Ronnie falling asleep studying, bonding with his dad, bonding with Martin–it’s like Conway finally realized giving Ronnie endlessly negative scenes wasn’t helping endear the character.

Conway also establishes a new A plot, B plot, C plot structure; hopefully he’ll keep with it. The A plot has Québécois terrorists threatening New York City. The B plot is the return of Killer Frost, then the regular cast gets a couple C plots. The visual disconnect–the playful inks from Kupperberg–gives Firestorm a much-needed boost of energy. It seems to have reinvigorated Conway as well. For now.



“Burn, Manhattan, Burn!”; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Rafael Kayanan; inker, Alan Kupperberg; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Phil Felix; editors, Janice Race and Conway; publisher, DC Comics.


Pop 1 (August 2014)

Pop #1

About half of Pop is awesome. The rest of it is rather good, given the gimmick. The gimmick–which the title fits but in no way applies–is the eugenic world of pop stars. Pop stars are grown in tubes by an Illuminati-type organization.

With any consideration, it seems like an obvious gimmick writer Curt Pires is using; if no one has done it exactly, someone has done it approximately. And the Illuminati scenes are the worst in the comic.

But the stoned guy saving the escaped “not yet fully grown” pop star? Awesome. Pires dialogue–in general–but for those two characters specifically? Awesome.

Unfortunately, the assassins and the Justin Bieber stand-in are predictable.

Like any other problems with the story, Pires gets away with them because of Jason Copland’s wonderful art. Even if the comic weren’t often great, the art would be enough to elevate it.



Eyes Without a Face; writer, Curt Pires; artist, Jason Copland; colorist, Pete Toms; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Roxy Polk, Aaron Walker and Dave Marshall; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

savage she-hulk

The Savage She-Hulk 2 (March 1980)

The Savage She-Hulk #2

If only writer David Anthony Kraft had a better artist, his first issue of She-Hulk would've been a lot stronger.

Even though the mob tried to have Jennifer Walters killed last issue, there's no proof. Except sworn witness statements. But those don't hold up in the Marvel Universe, so the mob makes another attempt on Jennifer's life. She turns into She-Hulk and tries to remedy the situation, which has her best friend their unintended victim.

So the big action is She-Hulk running after a car without brakes and trying to save her friend. Even with the incredibly problematic pencils from Mike Vosburg–who just can't compose panels to make the scenes intense enough–it's a good sequence.

Unfortunately, Kraft brings back in the Marvel Universe legal logic at the end–Jennifer Walters is legally dead, killed by the She-Hulk, yet still a practicing attorney.

It's not bad though. It's definitely an exciting read.



Deathrace!!; writer, David Anthony Kraft; penciller, Mike Vosburg; inker, Chic Stone; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Jim Shooter; publisher, Marvel Comics.


The Life After 2 (August 2014)

The Life After #2

Fialkov is keeping his cards covered but it certainly appears one possibility for The Life After is the protagonist is Jesus reincarnated in Limbo to free the souls imprisoned due to their earthly suicides. Or he's the anti-Christ and he's doing just about the same thing.

Or he's just some guy named Jude who's got a freakish monster who runs Limbo for a father. It doesn't really matter because it's Fialkov's pay-off for next issue, not this one.

Other than that hint this issue, however, there's not a lot going on. Limbo's a bad place and the protagonist doesn't like it. He doesn't like it to the degree he keeps interrupting Hemingway (as in Ernest), who is his sidekick, and Fialkov never gets around to revealing some basic details.

The writing's okay and the art's okay, but neither are trying too hard. Especially not Gabo, who tires during complicated sequences.



Writer, Joshua Hale Fialkov; artist and colorist, Gabo; letterer, Crank!; editors, James Lucas Jones and Ari Yarwood; publisher, Oni Press.

firestorm v2

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 32 (February 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #32

It's Firestorm versus an undead foe who's getting into the ethereal mix with Martin and trying to take over control. The Phantom Stranger is on hand to help out. Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier guest write this issue, which feels a lot more supernatural than it turns out to be. The only real supernatural elements–besides a ghost haunting Firestorm–are the strange settings where the possessed Firestorm ends up fighting the Phantom Stranger.

The writing, which is fine and does have more character development than the civilian halves of Firestorm usually get (and by more, I mean a scene as opposed to no scenes), is nothing compared to Alan Kupperberg's art. Kupperberg is rather cartoony and it brings a real energy to the comic. It's a strange story and a straightforward art style wouldn't get the job done.

So Kupperberg's the essential here.

It's silly and long, but not a bad comic.



Ghosts!; writers, Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier; artist, Alan Kupperberg; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Bob Lappan; editors, Janice Race and Gerry Conway; publisher, DC Comics.


Ms. Marvel 7 (October 2014)

Ms. Marvel #7

Events take a somewhat predictable turn in the finish, where Wilson reveals not just how Kamala got her powers–which perhaps more up to date Marvel Comics readers also figured out–but also how she’s part of the bigger world. Wilson goes from having a Wolverine cameo to dragging Kamala into the greater Marvel Universe.

It’s only an issue if it overshadows the organic character development–which does get a couple boosts this issue thanks to Wolverine’s presence. It’s impossible to anticipate how Wilson will handle it, because Ms. Marvel is actually a rather odd book and Wilson’s an odd superhero writer.

Great bit where Wolverine’s grossed out with Kamala’s stretchy, growing powers too.

Wyatt’s art continues to be a good fit for the book. He’s not detail heavy, but he handles the various complicated action sequences well.

It’s a rather good issue until the awkward finish. Lots of banter, lots of action.



Healing Factor, Part Two; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Jacob Wyatt; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

savage she-hulk

The Savage She-Hulk 1 (February 1980)

The Savage She-Hulk #1

It's not a good comic, but one's got to admire Stan Lee's ability to get a property established here in the first issue of The Savage She-Hulk. He introduces a new character in Jennifer Walters and manages to change her into She-Hulk before the end of the comic. He doesn't even waste time showing Walters's cousin, Dr. Bruce Banner, hulk out. Banner guest stars, the Hulk doesn't.

Banner's not a very smart guy; Jennifer becomes She-Hulk thanks to a blood transfusion Banner administers himself. He's supposed to be an expert in gamma radiation and its side effects. Maybe if Stan had just had Bruce think about the possibility, instead of skipping town once his part in the issue's done.

As for Jennifer and She-Hulk? Besides having some snappy dialogue and a job, Lee doesn't give her any character.

The John Buscema and Chic Stone is energetic, but otherwise rather unimpressive.



The She-Hulk Lives; writer, Stan Lee; pencillers, John Buscema and Chic Stone; inker, Stone; editor, Jim Shooter; publisher, Marvel Comics.


The Wicked + The Divine 3 (August 2014)

The Wicked + The Divine #3

Something is a little off this issue. Gillen has maybe run out of establishing stuff to do and he’s getting underway with the actual story. This young woman investigating the gods and just happening to see some amazing stuff like a god-fight.

The fight, which is full of banter between the gods, is just filler. Gillen’s strengths on the comic clearly aren’t going to be the investigative scenes and this issue doesn’t have much besides those. Except the protagonist and her sidekick recapping what they know at the end. It doesn’t go over well either.

A lot of the problem is McKelvie. Most of the issue feels like someone trying to carefully mimic his style and even when it does feel like him… it feels very rushed. And without solid art, Wicked + Divine’s problems start to show. You start looking behind the curtain for the Wizard.

It’s too bad.



Writer, Kieron Gillen; artist, Jamie McKelvie; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editor, Chrissy Williams; publisher, Image Comics.

firestorm v2

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 31 (January 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #31

George Tuska seems an unlikely guest penciller for Firestorm. He makes the whole thing look like a New Gods comic. But it works. Between Tuska's action-based take on the characters and events and Conway's willingness to cut around through the story, it's an exceptional issue.

In many ways, with Conway shedding the high school stuff and a lot of Martin's science stuff (but this issue does resolve the ex-wife subplot), Firestorm is a lot tighter. Sure, he's basically a supporting cast member in Firehawk's story (Conway really loves tying subplots together), but it works for the comic. It lets Conway do good superhero action without promising actual character development.

There's also the villain, Mindboggler, who gets a nice story arc this issue. Tuska doesn't do a lot of detail on faces, but somehow he and inker Alex Nino get the subtle emotions across.

It's an outstanding, rather unexpectedly produced issue.



A Mind of Her Own…; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, George Tuska; inker, Alex Nino; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Bob Lappan; editors, Janice Race and Conway; publisher, DC Comics.

manifest destiny

Manifest Destiny 9 (August 2014)

Manifest Destiny #9

There's just enough disgusting creativity to pull the issue through–even if it's far from original. Dingess still has he problems with pacing and plotting, but he does get around to a few characters this issue. He's got Clark and a bunch of people stranded, while Lewis tries to figure out how to get rid of the giant monster frog. So there are a few scenes for Lewis, but a lot for the landing party.

Clark actually doesn't get much to do until the end of the issue. Instead, there's a new friend for Sacajawea and then some more rumblings of mutiny. But the big thing (pardon the pun) has to be the giant insects; they bring back Manifest Destiny's pulse in the second half of the issue.

Dingess writes some good scenes for the cast, he's just taking too much time on everything. Roberts's art can't carry the comic alone.



Writer, Chris Dingess; artist, Matthew Roberts; colorist, Owen Gieni; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.


Letter 44 6 (April 2014)

Letter 44 #6

Alburquerque definitely does better on the art this issue. There’s not much action; there’s some running, when the landing party returns to the spaceship, and they don’t look good but there’s no other action.

Soule deals with the political stuff and the human interest story for the crew of the spaceship. The President has a really good scene and there are a few developments with the space side, but nothing significant on the latter. Or the former, really. Soule is sort of soft resetting the series, getting it ready for the next arc. It’s unclear why this issue is the end of an arc, however. Things have changed, yes, but the character development is all forced.

Still, there are some decent moments and a couple surprises. The surprises aren’t great, but one is for the characters so Soule is at least thinking about them.

It’s just an artificial pause point.



Writer, Charles Soule; penciller, Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque; colorist, Dan Jackson; letterer, Shawn DePasquale; editors, Charlie Chu and Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.