Dick Giordano pitches in to help ink (or finish) and it’s a small disaster. This issue takes a completely different tone thanks to the art change. It’s the faces, really. The detail is gone from them.
After what’s so far the series peak last issue, Barr returns the comic to a middling affair. Arthur and Guinevere are getting married, which brings in questions about Arthur as the savior of the human race. Barr hasn’t thought it out. He also mucks around with the duality between being a regular person and a reincarnated one. Like I said, middling.
Barr doesn’t even keep up the tension through the comic. There’s a lot of drama, but it relieves, then tenses again. Barr never gives the reader enough information to know what’s going on with all the characters.
Camelot 3000 was DC’s first twelve issue maxi-series; I think Barr needed some more issues.
Royal Funeral; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, Brian Bolland, Bruce Patterson and Dick Giordano; inker, Patterson and Giordano; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.
This issue is weird. It’s great too–I wonder if Moench created Nocturna with Colan in mind, since she basically looks like a vampire–but it’s weird.
There’s some action at the end, but the most striking parts of the comic aren’t the action scenes. Moench is serious about his rumination on darkness and he follows through with it at the end. It’s unexpected, but quite good.
The other striking scene is when Nocturna talks to Jason Todd. It’s a contrived encounter, but Moench sublimely makes the scene work. It’s also interesting to just hear Jason Todd try to explain his living situation. It pairs well with Bruce’s later order to Alfred–Alfred’s not allowed to report Jason missing.
The art from Colan and Giordano is fantastic. Moench’s securely in his stride now.
Cavalieri’s Green Arrow is, once again, incredibly lame. New penciller Adrian Gonzales has big problems with perspective.
I try to be open-minded about Cavalieri and Cullins’s Green Arrow back-ups, but this one peeved me. Moench doesn’t get enough time with his Batman story–which is his fault for not pacing it out right–but come on. Who carries about Green Arrow’s lame villain? Though inker Frank Giacoia does ruin Cullins’s pencils in sometimes amusing ways.
Moench and Colan (joined by Dick Giordano on inks), on the other hand, do a fabulous Batman story about Bruce losing. He loses in a fight (the bad guy has better costume material), he loses Vicki Vale and he’s about to lose Jason Todd. His life, as much as a billionaire’s life can, is falling apart.
And Moench and Colan nail it. There’s a slick noir tone–Colan excels–with Moench expounding on the idea of nighttime habits as they relates to Batman.
It’s great. Shame it runs too short.
The issue opens with Len Wein’s nearly incomprehensible expository narration. While the comic is written almost more as a tie-in to the “Hulk” TV show and an introduction to Batman, one almost needs an English degree to figure out what Wein’s trying to say.
But his plotting isn’t much better; in fact, it’s worse. At one point, Batman teams up with the Joker. You know, instead of arresting him for the mass murders and so on. Not to mention the big Marvel villain (the Joker’s partner) is this stupid space alien who looks like a jack in the box.
Actually, it’s too bad—the Hulk and Batman go together because they’re so different. The Hulk’s all about lack of control, Batman’s the opposite. A better writer would have found a good story.
However, the Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez art makes the comic worthwhile. It makes up for the writing.
It’s too bad this one doesn’t work out better, but at least it fails in an interesting way. Superman and Spider-Man simply can’t work together. It’s not so much the problems with them not matching powers—Lex Luthor zaps Spidey with some red Kryptonite powers to even the odds at one point—it’s the characters themselves, they’re too different.
The comic’s split into four parts. First is a Superman prologue, then a Spidey, then Doctor Octopus and Lex teaming up before the culminating team-up between Spidey and Superman. The first three parts work great. The fourth part barely works at all. Peter Parker and Lois Lane meeting up, professionally, it works great. Morgan Edge and Jonah getting hammered? Also great.
Superman calling Spidey “web-slinger?” Not great. Though Spidey gets away with calling him “Supes.”
The art hodgepodge makes it visually interesting, but not good.
It’s sadly charmless.
Posted in DC, Marvel, Spider-Man, Superman
Tagged Bob Wiacek, Dick Giordano, Gerry Conway, John Romita, Josef Rubinstein, Neal Adams, Ross Andru, Terry Austin
Thank goodness Marvel felt the need to recolor the first two appearances of Iron Fist with some terrible glossy digital coloring from Andrew Crossley. Someone with time on his or her hands should do a comparison between Crossley’s “modern” colors here and the originals from Marvel Premiere.
Oddly, there’s a classy opening from Fraction and Kano–I think that opening must be Fraction’s last work on Iron Fist–and Kano does his own, non-glossy colors.
The origin issues hold up pretty well. Both Thomas and Wein write in the second person, which makes the whole experience–learning about K’un-L’un, Iron Fist’s origin, Danny Rand’s traumatic childhood–palatable. Kane pencils the first part, Hama the second, Giordano inks them both smoothly. Even the silly coloring can’t mess up Giordano inks on a kung fu comic.
The reprinted stories aren’t classics in the quality sense, but they’re solid seventies stuff.
The Origin of Danny Rand; writer, Matt Fraction; artist and colorist, Kano; letterer, Dave Lanphear. The Fury of Iron Fist!; writer, Roy Thomas; penciller, Gil Kane; inker, Dick Giordano; colorist, Andrew Crossley; letterer, Gaspar Saladino. Heart of the Dragon!; writers, Thomas and Len Wein; penciller, Larry Hama; inker, Giordano; colorist, Crossley; letterer, Saladino. Editors, Cory Levine, Thomas and Jeff Youngquist; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Well, Batman is having a freakout–over women he decides. Having to decide between Selina and Vicki (mind you, Selina hasn’t appeared since the last really good issue Conway wrote) has made Bruce lose it. It’s why he let Killer Croc go he decides.
There’s a bunch of eye-rolling logic this issue and the Dan Jurgens art doesn’t provide much diversion from them. With the Giordano inks, the comic looks good enough, it’s just really boring. Besides the Batman stuff, there’s Killer Croc consolidating his power (still) and his origin. Jurgens and Giordano do a good job drawing him, scary but palatable.
Then there’s the Todd family stuff. Jason Todd’s parents here are complete morons and Batman’s fine with them getting killed to further his hunt for Killer Croc (because he let him go… because of Selina). It’s amazing how little responsibility Bruce takes for himself. He’s a jackass.
Hunt; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Dan Jurgens; inker, Dick Giordano; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, Nicola Cuti and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.
Hmm. Young Dan Jurgens. Guess it’s why Bruce looks like Clark Kent without glasses.
I’m curious to see Conway’s original script–he includes expository scene after expository scene, all the fill in space–and there only good scene is incomplete. Bruce breaks it off with Vicki by acting like a thoughtless ass, but it’s never made clear if he’s really just being an ass or if it’s to get rid of her.
The Killer Croc stuff is also a problem… Batman’s convinced his subconscious keeps letting Croc win. His suspicion is based on Croc letting him escape from the Squid’s gang–Batman thinks he can’t let himself take Croc in.
Apparently, Croc being a savage murderer doesn’t bother Batman in this circumstance.
Jurgen’s has some good layouts–his Batman is weak–and the art’s passable superhero stuff.
The Green Arrow backup continues to offend. At least Ollie keeps the unions safe following a rousing speech.
Confrontation; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Dan Jurgens; inker, Dick Giordano; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda. Mob Rule!, Part Three: The Irresistible Rise of Machiavelli; writer, Joey Cavalieri; penciller, Irv Novick; inker, Ron Randall; colorist, Tom Ziuko; letterer, Phil Felix. Editors, Nicola Cuti and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.
Once again, if Bruce, Dick and Alfred weren’t stupid enough to leave the door unlocked with Vicki Vale, Jim Gordon and a bunch of strangers in Wayne Manor, they wouldn’t have to kill Jason Todd’s mom for finding out Bruce is Batman….
Oh, wait, some of that statement is incorrect. I guess they don’t decide to kill her, just Dick is going to talk her into keeping it a secret. Thank goodness she’s going to get killed in an issue or two anyway.
The story is otherwise indistinct. Killer Croc shoots the Squid, which is a sad sendoff for Conway’s Eisner homage, though it’s not like the character worked in a serious setting.
Beautiful art from Newton and Giordano makes it a fine issue… though the ending leaves something to be desired.
The Novick art is better than usual on the Green Arrow backup, which is too silly for words.
Deathgrip; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Don Newton; inker, Dick Giordano; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Todd Klein. Mob Rule!, Part Two: Heat of the Moment!; writer, Joey Cavalieri; penciller, Irv Novick; inker, Ron Randall; colorist, Tom Ziuko; letterer, Phil Felix. Editors, Nicola Cuti and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.
It’s a somewhat anti-climatic end to the Hugo Strange storyline Conway had been working on for… a couple years? Hugo shows up, back from the dead, with an army of androids, and Batman doesn’t bat an eye.
The art is so gorgeous, it doesn’t really matter. I’m not sure if Giordano is my favorite inker for Newton, but he does a great job with it. The issue even has a full page panel, the first I can remember from Newton, and it works… the art makes the story work.
The problem is with the pacing. Conway didn’t develop Strange as a villain, just as a shock guest star. So this issue needs to be beautiful to see, because the story is really just a perfunctory aside.
Though there is Bruce suspecting he’s probably lying to Vicki about his feelings for her. I like Conway acknowledging Bruce’s indecisiveness; it brings humanity.
The Double Life of Hugo Strange; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Don Newton; inker, Dick Giordano; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, Nicola Cuti and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.
Beyond Who’s Who, I don’t think I’ve read much regular DC Human Target. This special only partially counts as it was a tie-in for the failed nineties television adaptation.
It’s decent, far better than I was expecting. The art from Burchett and Giordano is good and Verheiden’s writing is fine. There’s a lot of humor–Christopher Chance does his work because it’s fun–and Verheiden harps on endlessly with the anti-drug message, but it’s a rather violent book. It opens with someone shot in the head and Chance goes on to kill a bunch of bad guys.
Unfortunately, since Verheiden is mimicking the TV show and assuming the reader has some familiarity with the cast of characters, there’s not much for the supporting cast to do but tell jokes.
If the comic’s any indication, the show might have been decent, Rick Springfield or not.
The comic does go on too long though.
The Mack Attack Contract; writer, Mark Verheiden; penciller, Rick Burchett; inker, Dick Giordano; colorist, Julianna Ferriter; letterer, Albert DeGuzman; editor, Brian Augustyn; publisher, DC Comics.
So this crappy story is dedicated to the memory of Bill Finger. I guess it’s best to have a crappy story dedicated to your memory rather than you, since if you’re still alive, you might have to read it.
This second team-up between Batman and the Shadow is amusingly weak (but better than the first, which was so awful I never even got around to mentioning the Shadow in my response). Novick and Giordano are very strong on the art–better doing real people than Batman, actually. There’s a jewelry store robbery at the beginning and it’s just fantastic.
O’Neil’s writing is lousy. My favorite is Batman almost getting beat up by a fit ex-con–because Batman isn’t very fit. Not as fit as this fit ex-con, anyway.
Bad dialogue, stupid revelations of Batman’s psychosis.
But at least O’Neil didn’t plagiarize any Oscar winning movies this time.
The Night of the Shadow!; writer, Denny O’Neil; penciller, Irv Novick; inker, Dick Giordano; editor, Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.
What an awful comic book.
Not the art, the art is absolutely fantastic, making something of an Irv Novick convert out of me… but the writing is just hideous.
O’Neil writes Batman as a thuggish cross between Spencer Tracy and a beach movie surfer–the Spencer Tracy imitation makes sense, since O’Neil “pays homage” to multiple set pieces from Bad Day in Black Rock, but the surfer speak is… to make Batman seem cool?
The comic’s from 1973 and there’s no Robin in it so I’d assume it’s not being done to fit in line with the TV show version… so there’s got to be some other explanation for the godawful dialogue. What’s initially stunning is the use of exclamation points. It’s the standard for the era, but O’Neil doesn’t seem to understand how silly all of his bad, but quiet dialogue looks with them.
It’s a truly awful read.
Who Knows What Evil?; writer, Denny O’Neil; penciller, Irv Novick; inker, Dick Giordano; editor, Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.
Batman fighting a werewolf with Neal Adams on art. It’s incredibly great looking. I don’t even remember the last time I read an Adams illustrated comic, so everything was a joy. His panel layouts here are just fantastic. It’s both action and horror (at the beginning) oriented and it’s simply masterful.
Len Wein’s script is rather solid too. It’s got a lot of exposition, but none of it is ever useless. Even Batman’s thought balloons during the end fight scene work.
But Wein doesn’t spend a lot of time with Batman before that finish. He does open with Batman but he doesn’t stay with him, instead he goes into the werewolf’s story. There’s a neat introduction to the changeover.
Unfortunately, it’s not entirely successful. A great deal of the story depends on Batman being kind of stupid. For instance, he goes to the werewolf’s house on a social visit.
Moon of the Wolf; writer, Len Wein; penciller, Neal Adams; inker, Dick Giordano; editor, Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.