Conway does a riff on High Noon with Batman protecting a drug dealer from the vigilante, the Black Spider. Because Conway keeps all Batman’s plans from the reader, it does have some successful plot twists.
Except maybe when Batman falls down the entire Wayne Foundation tree and lives. The only real damage is to his costume–the cowl and pants survive, but it’s shirtless Batman for the final showdown. Very, very odd.
Calnan continues to be ambitious, particularly during action scenes and they still don’t come off. But it’s not a bad feature.
Rozakis’s backup, with Batman trying to discover the identity of his master blackmailer, is pretty good. It ends unsatisfactorily for Batman, which one has to assume would happen a lot. There are some great summary panels from Newton too.
I think the backup might have more subplots than the feature… Conway’s story is professional, Rozakis’s is passionate.
Night of Siege; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, John Calnan; colorist, Jerry Serpe. The Mystery Murderer of “Mrs. Batman”!; writer, Bob Rozakis; penciller, Don Newton; colorist, Adrienne Roy. Inker, Dave Hunt; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, E. Nelson Bridwell and Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.
There’s something off about the art in the feature story. John Calnan is actually really ambitious–interesting composition, lots of dynamic movement–but none of it works. There’s no depth; someone’s hand–gesturing–will look affixed to his or her face.
Not sure if it’s inker Dave Hunt or Calnan, but since Hunt does all right inking the backup, I’m assuming Calnan.
Gerry Conway writes the feature. It’s Batman versus terrorists with a subplot about Gotham millionaires losing their fortunes. Are these two plots somehow related? Sadly, yes. Actually, Conway pulls off the connection relatively well, he just has a goofy resolution for the terrorists. There’s the reality of a terrorist threat and the unreality of a giant slot machine.
Bob Rozakis’s backup has beautiful pencils from Don Newton and goes through Batman’s investigative process. It’s pretty cool, with Batman following leads without them panning out.
Incredibly weak cliffhanger though.
Death-Gamble of a Darknight Detective!; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, John Calnan; colorist, Jerry Serpe. With This Ring Find Me Dead!; writer, Bob Rozakis; penciller, Don Newton; colorist, Adrienne Roy. Inker, Dave Hunt; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, E. Nelson Bridwell and Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.
This issue has a neat thread running through its three feature-length stories. The Huntress (from Earth-Two) comes to Earth-One for a visit. In the Batman story, she meets him and Robin. Then she teams up with Batgirl and Batwoman. For the finale, her going home sets off the events for Man-Bat and the Demon’s story.
Gerry Conway and Jim Aparo’s Batman story is okay. Conway pauses on some character stuff–Batman meeting his “daughter”–but ignores other obvious moments, like Robin’s girlfriend being a shallow mean girl. Dick’s upset most of the issue, so his Aparo brow fits. And the ending twist’s decent.
Bob Rozakis writes a lot better than Don Heck draws the three female superheroes teaming up. Lame villain characterizations, but great stuff with Batgirl.
The winner is the Man-Bat and Demon story. Rozakis’s script is fun and Michael Golden’s artwork is breathtaking.
Scars; writer, Gerry Conway; artist, Jim Aparo; colorist, Adrienne Roy. Horoscopes of Crime!; writer, Bob Rozakis; penciller, Don Heck; inkers, Bob Wiacek and Vince Colletta; colorist, Jerry Serpe; letterer, Clem Robins. There’s a Demon Born Every Minute; writer, Rozakis; artist, Michael Golden; colorist, Serpe; letterer, Jean Simek. Editor, Al Milgrom; publisher, DC Comics.
Posted in Batgirl, Batman, Batwoman, DC, Demon, Man-Bat
Tagged Bob Rozakis, Bob Wiacek, Don Heck, Gerry Conway, Jim Aparo, Michael Golden, Vince Colletta
I’m sure writer Gerry Conway wasn’t trying for a “Scooby Doo” homage, but he doesn’t quite come up with anything better. This issue features Batman and the mystery gang. Or something along those lines. Mystery Adventurers Club maybe.
It’s a bunch of Gotham citizens and celebrities who solve mysteries together, with Batman sitting–in cape–on a sofa having cookies with them. But not here, because here–with a real murder to solve–Batman is very angry with everyone. Lots of yelling.
It’s low blood sugar Batman.
Conway spends his time setting up the mystery, the clues, the solution, but no time making it an interesting comic. All of the mystery gang is disposable and forgettable, except perhaps the eventual damsel in distress.
The Michael Golden art almost makes the comic worthwhile. He’s got some great composition and some lovely panels.
It’s a fast read too, which helps a lot.
The Adventure of the Houdini Whodunit!; writer, Gerry Conway; artist, Michael Golden; colorist, Jerry Serpe; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, E. Nelson Bridwell and Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.
Really, really bad figures from Chan. Just awful. There’s one page recapping the previous issue in ten or so panels and Chan mangles the miniatures even.
It’s an ugly story.
There’s not much to the writing either. Conway hasn’t got any real subplots–the Commissioner Reeves thing goes nowhere. Batman having a hooker snitch is a little amusing, especially since she’s dressed like a chaste flasher.
And then the villain. Got to love seventies comics–the Black Spider is, you guessed it, black. I didn’t, as he has a mask so who’d know.
Conway doesn’t even seem to be trying. Some sensationalism would help.
The Rozakis Black Canary backup is terrible. Grell and Austin do okay enough on the art, but the writing’s awful. Both in the dialogue and thought balloons. There’s not a single well-written moment.
It’s a bad comic. One should avoid it if at all possible.
The Doomsday Express!; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Ernie Chan; inker, Frank McLaughlin. A Hot Time in Star City Tonight; writers, Bob Rozakis and Laurie Rozakis; penciller, Mike Grell; inker, Terry Austin. Editors, E. Nelson Bridwell, Bob Rozakis and Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.
Ernie Chan leaves a lot to be desired on the pencils. His figures are bad but his composition’s worse. He fills his panels with this terribly distended Batman. The legs move unnaturally and it looks like Chan puts in the feet last, wherever they’ll fit.
Gerry Conway’s story concerns the Black Spider killing drug dealers. Batman’s out making busts, but the collars keep getting murdered.
There’s some investigation, some brawls, a fight with the Black Spider. The most interesting aspects are Gordon quietly resenting mopping up after Batman and Bruce taking a timeout to get patched up before heading right back out.
With a different penciller, it’d probably be serviceable.
On the other hand, The Atom backup is awesome. Mike Grell and Terry Austin’s art isn’t perfect, but they handle action well. Bob Rozakis sets up the story in half a page, then just has great miniature-sized action throughout.
Death-Web; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Ernie Chan; inker, Frank McLaughlin. Crimes by Calculation; writer, Bob Rozakis; penciller, Mike Grell; inker, Terry Austin. Editors, E. Nelson Bridwell, Rozakis and Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.
If Herb Trimpe spent as much time on his figures as he did on the shading lines, his Ka-Zar story might not have been hideously ugly. It’s actually passable–ambitious at times even–until the dinosaurs show up. Trimpe can’t draw dinosaurs.
Roy Thomas scripts the story, which is an extended chase and fight scene. The narration’s weak and the dialogue’s weak. Ka-Zar is annoying with his Tarzan speaking, but he also lacks any personality. Sure, he’s got a sabertooth tiger for a sidekick… but it doesn’t make either compelling.
And Thomas’s conclusion is inept.
Then Gerry Conway and Gene Colan do Black Panther versus Doctor Doom. Frank Giacoia isn’t the best inker for Colan, but he’s not bad either. Sadly, Conway’s script is annoying beyond belief. He constantly questions the characters in the narration. I’m not even sure what person it is.
Overall, aside from Colan, it’s a waste.
This issue Daredevil fights a guy whose power is creating optical illusions. Instead of just kicking his butt, Daredevil falls victim to the optical illusions. It’s like Steve Gerber doesn’t realize Daredevil’s actually blind. His powers might make it seem like he can see… but he can’t. Unless I’m missing something.
I mean, I had no idea Matt Murdock once lived in San Francisco with Black Widow. The domestic side of the issue is actually pretty nice. Gene Colan and Ernie Chan take a lot of time on the San Francisco setting and Gerber writes Matt and Natasha reasonably well together.
Sadly, the scenery is the best part of the art. Colan’s figures are incredibly bulky–I’m assuming it’s Chan’s inks–and while they’re still fluid in movement, they look silly when motionless.
Gerber also makes Daredevil really personable. He’s practically Spider-Man he’s so personable.
It’s mildly charming though.
I guess since Marvel started their Planet of the Apes magazine after the final movie, they didn’t worry about mixing up the magazine. For example, this issue starts with a story by Doug Moench and Mike Ploog (Gerry Conway gets story credit) set after the final movie… in the new Apes timeline. But the second half of the magazine is an adaptation of the first movie by Moench and George Tuska, with Mike Esposito inking. It’s set before the new timeline.
Or I’ve completely wrong.
Moench’s got a human protagonist in his original story (with a chimp buddy). He gets in some analogies to the KKK and human racism; it works okay. Ploog’s art is great. Moench has strong dialogue here.
But he also has it in the adaptation, which he makes into a simple story of bickering astronauts. He does it well. Tuska’s better on scenery than people though.
Terror On the Planet of the Apes; writers, Gerry Conway and Doug Moench; artist, Mike Ploog. Planet of the Apes, Part One; writer, Moench; penciller, George Tuska; inker, Mike Esposito. Editor, Tony Isabella; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Conway goes out of his way to remind the reader this Justice League isn’t the real Justice League. It’s the eighties Detroit League no one likes.
But then his script presents this team overcoming a lot of odds not just to save the day, but to save the kids on a school trip to visit their headquarters. Just because the Detroit League is a dumb idea, it doesn’t mean the scene-by-scene execution is going to be dumb.
More than any other Retroactive title, in fact, this one has me wanting to check out the old issues. I assume Conway didn’t have the same negative take on the team when he was writing them originally.
All in all, it’s a good issue.
The Ron Randall art isn’t great, but Randall knows how to tell a story.
It’s fine, though way too unnecessarily negative about itself. Conway should have some pride.
Siege; writer, Gerry Conway; artist, Ron Randall; colorists, Carlos Badilla and Tony Avina; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual; editors, Chynna Clugston Flores and Jim Chadwick; publisher, DC Comics.
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.
The Battle of the Century!; writer, Gerry Conway; pencillers, Ross Andru, Neal Adams and John Romita; inkers, Dick Giordano, Terry Austin, Josef Rubinstein, Bob Wiacek and Romita; colorist, Jerry Serpe; letterer, Gaspar Saladino; editors, Roy Thomas, Julius Schwartz, Marv Wolfman, E. Nelson Bridwell, Carmine Infantino, Stan Lee and Conway; publishers, DC Comics and Marvel Comics.
Posted in DC, Marvel, Spider-Man, Superman
Tagged Bob Wiacek, Dick Giordano, Gerry Conway, John Romita, Josef Rubinstein, Neal Adams, Ross Andru, Terry Austin
Poor Alec Holland… he finally regains his humanity, hooks up with a girl (who seems to be excited at the idea of seducing a widower) and then his comic gets cancelled.
The final issue of Swamp Thing is a hideous affair—so bad no one’s ever revisited it, not even as a joke. These last two issues establish an all new secret organization out to get Swamp Thing and this issue reveals more about them. Hostess Fruit Pie advertisements had better villains.
The art—from Ernie Chan and Fred Carrillo—is a little better than I expected. It’s genial DC seventies stuff (about as good as a Hostess ad); Swamp Thing never actually shows up so they only have flashback shots of him. Otherwise, the pair’s art looks like they’re aping Infantino.
David Anthony Kraft’s script is bad, but not in any extraordinary way… nothing could make this comic good.
The Earth Below; writers, Gerry Conway and David Anthony Kraft; penciller, Ernie Chan; inker, Carl Gafford; colorist, Carl Gafford; editors, Paul Levitz and Joe Orlando; publisher, DC Comics.
Who could predicate this turn of events… Alec Holland’s got a brother no one has ever mentioned before and he cures Swamp Thing….
Maybe the lame Ernie Chan cover sets it up. Or maybe Conway bringing in some obscure character from ten issues previous—I remember the name, but not the character—to turn into this idiotic villain with a sword for a hand.
It’s incredibly lame.
Most of it, anyway. Actually, the stuff Conway does with the smarter Dr. Holland’s female assistant—it turns out Alec is the dumb brother—is quite good. Conway brings some humanity to the comic, even as he slowly returns the physical manifestation of it to Swamp Thing.
Conway fills pages like mad too—pointlessly retelling Swamp Thing’s origin.
Redondo does okay, but more in his panel composition than in the actual art. The other Dr. Holland, for example, never gets a consistent face.
Rebirth and Nightmare; writer, Gerry Conway; artist, Nestor Redondo; colorist, Carl Gafford; editors, Paul Levitz and Joe Orlando; publisher, DC Comics.
Conway gives Bolt a first name (or, at least, uses it), which is nice. In fact, Conway gives Bolt a whole reflective moment here, a lot more than any writer has done before. Abby and Matt, however, are incredibly distant. It doesn’t much matter, because the ending of this issue suggests Swamp Thing is done with its supporting cast for a while.
There are a lot of plot threads this issue and it’s unfortunate they didn’t publish it as a deluxe issue as planned. It would have been somewhat more impressive. Conway’s not as concerned with the Swamp Thing parts of the story—the Alec Holland parts—as putting together the rest of his narrative. It makes for a better comic book, but not really a Swamp Thing one… It’s hard to explain.
Redondo does a great job.
The finish is a little weak though; Conway doesn’t have enough space.
The Mirror Monster; writer, David Michelinie; artist, Nestor Redondo; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Marcos; editors, Paul Levitz and Joe Orlando; publisher, DC Comics.