Oh, I get it, the bad guy keeps calling Gabe “black man” because he’s a racist and it (hopefully) makes the reader take an immediate dislike to the character.
But Moench did basically the same thing with Dum Dum in the last issue and the reader’s not supposed to want Godzilla to step on him.
Huh. Misfire there.
The racial stuff is awful, regardless of Moench’s intention. When Gabe makes a “We Shall Overcome” reference, Moench’s gone off the deep end.
Sutton’s still on pencils, with Klaus Janson of all people joining him on inks. This issue’s almost impossible to follow, but it’s gloriously vibrant and full of movement. Janson’s inks can’t make Godzilla or the other giant monsters look any more proportional but he sure does make the issue fun to read.
When I say it’s impossible to follow… seriously, I haven’t got a clue about half the story.
The Isle of Lost Monsters; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Tom Sutton; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Phil Rachelson; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Archie Goodwin; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Wow, Dum Dum’s not just an unlikable jerk, he’s also a racist. And a complete idiot who ends up helping the evil Dr. Demonicus.
With good guys like these….
Tom Sutton guest pencils this issue; did Marvel decide to stop punishing their readers with Herb Trimpe? Sutton’s not very good on the monsters–there’s nothing interesting about two giant monsters fighting each other in an empty ocean, sorry–but he’s a lot better on the people.
As for the story? Well, Moench introduces tis Dr. Demonicus guy who steals oil from tankers, using his giant monsters to cause distraction. No one’s caught on to his plans yet–certainly not SHIELD, because Dum Dum runs the place and Dum Dum’s too busy bitching about blacks and social progress.
Demonicus wears a goofy costume and enslaves a bunch of Inuits. It’s kind of disturbing, really… especially since Moench doesn’t take it seriously.
Godzilla versus Batragon!; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Tom Sutton; inker, Tony DeZuniga; colorist, Phil Rachelson; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Archie Goodwin; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Tony DeZuniga’s inks help a lot, but even he can’t make what should be an awesome page–Hercules toppling Godzilla–work. Not with that Trimpe perspective.
This issue, Moench and Trimpe do let Godzilla destroy an American landmark–the Golden Gate Bridge. I guess someone at Marvel decided it could go, while the Space Needle in the last issue got to stay. Hercules also knocks the SHIELD helicarrier (or one of them) out of the sky in an apparent fit of rage.
Oh, I forgot–the Champions guest-star in this issue and their presence (except Black Widow’s) breathes some life into Godzilla. Instead of just being a crappy licensed comic, it’s a goofy, crappy licensed comic. The addition of Marvel superheroes makes it a lot more entertaining.
Though Moench does have a big problem (besides Trimpe). Protagonist Dum Dum Dugan’s completely unlikable. Moench writes him as a fascist pig.
A Tale of Two Saviors; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Herb Trimpe; inker, Tony DeZuniga; colorist, Don Warfield; letterers, Gaspar Saladino, Denise Wohl and Irving Watanabe; editor, Archie Goodwin; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Trimpe’s got a shot right between Godzilla’s legs (on the second or third page too!). It feels kind of dirty.
Moench goes on to expand on the Marvel 616 version of Godzilla–turns out the ocean floor held a lot of other monsters (including giant flying birds). The nuclear blast opening the crevice for Godzilla opened the crevice for them too.
Including a giant bird.
In the ocean.
Did anyone read Moench’s script before it went to Trimpe?
Or was Marvel still doing it the other way, vice versa?
Trimpe’s got some amazingly bad work in this issue, including a giant foot (not Godzilla’s) about to stomp a miniature wine glass.
Besides as an example of terrible art, there’s not much to recommend Godzilla. He goes after the Seattle Space Needle but doesn’t destroy it. The rest of Moench’s action set pieces are similarly impotent.
It’s awful; best as humor.
Thunder in the Darkness!; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Herb Trimpe; inkers, Frank Giacoia and George Tuska; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Archie Goodwin; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Given the goofiness of the seventies Godzilla movies, Herb Trimpe might be the perfect choice for this comic book. I mean, his name’s almost spelled tripe, which is a good description of his artwork. While there are a handful of iconic panels (small ones), Trimpe can’t even maintain perspective on a guy putting out his hand, much less a giant monster.
And let’s not get started on Trimpe’s characterization of Japanese people. His only reference materials seem to be early forties spy thrillers. The one guy even has the coke-bottle glasses.
As for Doug Moench’s story, there isn’t much of one. He comes up with a silly new origin for Godzilla (an undersea Japanese atomic test opens a fissure, releasing a prehistoric giant monster), which goes against all the Japanese movies.
He does get in a good crack about Americans and their oil though.
It’s dreadful, but amusingly so.
The Coming!; writer, Doug Moench; pencillers, Herb Trimpe and Jim Mooney; inker, Mooney; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Archie Goodwin; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Some weirdness this issue. First off, Moench reveals Jason Todd doesn’t want to be called Robin either. It’s peculiar enough it doesn’t feel like more padding from Moench on the subject, even though it probably is just more fluff.
Then there’s Commissioner Gordon. He’s back at work and he’s a complete jerk. Moench shows the legal aftermath of Batman apprehending a suspect and it gives the impression no one Batman apprehends ever ends up in jail for a long time. Moench’s trying to be realistic, which sort of works. The scene’s good as long as one doesn’t think too hard.
Colan doesn’t spend a lot of time on the layouts–some pages are really spare–but with Alcala back, the art’s great.
The Green Arrow backup gets worse, with Cavalieri introducing a lame biker gang. The McManus inks aren’t interesting this time around, he’s barely visible. It’s embarrassingly bad stuff.
Moench makes an endless amount of strange narrative choices this issue. Only a couple of them are bad, but the rest might go either way.
The lesser bad one is how he handles Poison Ivy’s return. The issue is a direct sequel to her last appearance but there’s no flashback and almost no explanation of the previous events.
The worse bad one is the lame soft cliffhanger. Bruce brings Jason along on patrol and calls him Robin, even though Bruce previously said he couldn’t be called Robin. Big yawn. Moench’s fumbling the pair every issue now. He’s pacing it all wrong.
The strange bits include Bruce’s lack of interest in Alfred’s problems, Gordon’s recovery and the continued presence of Vicki Vale. Moench seems to be building these elements towards more importance, but he’s not giving any hints.
It’s a shame he’s not as effortlessly subtle with Bruce and Jason.
It’s an issue of inappropriate inking. Smith is so reductive on Colan’s Batman inks, the story loses any visceral impact. Instead, it becomes almost academic–seeing where Colan’s pencils have been too diluted for a page to work. The layouts are still fantastic, but not the finished art.
Moench resolves his Gordon storyline–while still stoking the Jason and Bruce one (and no one misses Alfred, which is strange)–and it’s a flop. It’s like no one told Moench Barbara Gordon was also Batgirl. And Moench attempts at inspirational flop painfully. It doesn’t help he’s got a bunch of hackneyed thugs out of a forties comic.
Still, great Colan layouts.
Then there’s the Green Arrow backup. Truly lame writing from Cavalieri can’t overshadow the odd art. Chuck Patton is a boring, superhero penciller. But Shawn McManus inks him, adding a lot of McManus lines. The story’s artistically interesting, if terrible.
While this issue isn’t bad–the Newton and Alcala artwork is fabulous as always–all the things Moench has been playing fast and loose with build up and collapse here.
The first example is the Joker. Here, Moench’s Joker is a self-aware loon, out to have fun while he kills people and torments Batman. Only he doesn’t really kill anyone so there’s no danger. He’s just acting like a twit… one with a deep understanding of Guatemalan politics.
Next is the whole Jason Todd thing. This issue features Jason Todd in costume, freaking Batman out (because he thought Dick suddenly shrank, apparently) and another argument. There’s an argument every issue between Bruce and Jason about it; Moench’s drug it out way too long at this point.
It’s also unbelievable Jason could leave the country on his own.
However, the two subplots Moench’s been nursing–Gordon and Alfred–are blooming.
Bob Smith is not the best inker for Colan. He reigns him in way too much. There’s still some great Colan panel layouts this issue though and his Joker has to be seen. Colan’s Joker is hideous with insanity, an awkwardly lump figure, not the usual anorexic. Every Joker panel is great in some way or another.
Moench’s story involves the Joker wanting to start a rival to Disneyland. It’s too absurd and contrived, but the art sells it and Moench’s writing of Batman and the Joker is strong. The humor’s good too. Moench has some good jokes here, especially those involving the Joker.
Alfred’s subplot is revealed and, once again, Moench seems to be rehabbing Harvey Bullock. Both are still too undeveloped to make much impression.
The Green Arrow back-up again has decent enough Moore art, but Cavalieri’s banter is terrible. The seven pages can’t end soon enough.
Lame cover and predictable villain reveal aside, this issue is pretty good. It’s Batman meets Indiana Jones, with Batman jetting down to South America to save Vicki Vale, who’s on assignment.
Moench takes the time to work on his Bruce and Jason storyline, which is mostly just Bruce giving in on the argument. Though, as he’s Jason’s guardian, it seems odd he should leave him unattended (Alfred’s off on his still unrevealed subplot).
There’s also enough time for some more on the Gordon storyline. And Moench’s trying to make Harvey Bullock sympathetic, but he’s cried wolf too much. It’s impossible to believe. That sequence, which should feature Bruce’s despondence over Gordon’s coma, goes too fast. Moench has trouble juggling the human and superhero elements in the book.
The end, Batman in the jungle, is fine. It’s Newton and Alcala. It’s absurd content, but beautifully illustrated.
The issue works surprisingly well.
One could just read this issue for the art. Alcala beautifully complements Gene Colan. He sort of brings out the lusciousness, but reigns it in just enough. Colan’s never too lush; Alcala is never reductive.
The story’s not bad, but Moench doesn’t quite sell Jason Todd, detective. He investigates, but without any finesse. The scenes where Jason’s talking to potential witnesses flop; no one would talk freely considering Jason’s suspicious behavior.
For the finish, Moench makes an incredibly odd choice–he doesn’t reveal the villain’s face. I had to reread it to make sure I wasn’t missing it.
Moench’s ambition outpaces his skill on the difficult Bruce and Jason character drama.
The Green Arrow backup has decent, if strangely constrained art from Jerome Moore and Mike DeCarlo. Joey Cavalieri makes a funny Superman peanut butter joke. It’s nowhere near as bad as usual.
In hindsight, there’s not much mystery to Doug Moench’s new villain. He has a limited pool of suspects–though it’s seemingly larger–but his execution of the investigation is so strong it doesn’t matter.
The issue opens with Jason Todd, run off with the old circus, feeling depressed. He’s investigating a series of home invasions in the towns the circus visits. It almost seems like the issue will be his, but Moench contrives to bring Batman in. It’s hard to get upset, because Don Newton and Alfredo Alcala do an amazing job bringing Batman to the circus.
The final half or so of the issue is just a long chase scene. Batman and Jason separately chasing the bad guy. Moench loses track of Jason for a little too long, but it’s a fantastic sequence.
Moench paces out the ending well. He devises a final, unexpected twist and a solid cliffhanger.
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.