The Rocketeer/The Spirit 4 (December 2013)

And there’s a nice happy ending with no resolution to any of the lame character subplots Waid brought into the series to try and give it some semblance of a story. But apparently all Cliff needs is a Zorro mask when he’s not in flight and life’s much easier for the Rocketeer. That idea (from the Spirit) comes during an odd heart to heart the characters have. Waid just can’t figure out how to do this series and someone at IDW should have noticed long before it got to series. There’s also the issue with Bone, who does a fine job in…

The Rocketeer/The Spirit 3 (November 2013)

So J. Bone takes over the art. Maybe the intention was always a different artist on each issue, but it doesn’t play particularly well. Bone does very nice homage to Eisner’s character design without being too literal. The story’s a little weak though… definitely a little weak. Waid definitely likes the Spirit and his supporting cast, but he casts Cliff as a buffoon. Betty’s a strumpet and Cliff’s a buffoon. Until the big action sequence–the two heroes’ different fist fights juxtaposed against each other–the Rocketeer doesn’t show up. Waid’s just got Cliff running around like an ass. It’s awkward and unpleasant. The…

The Rocketeer/The Spirit 2 (August 2013)

Waid continues full steam ahead with two characters who probably should have never crossed over. The result is more a Spirit comic guest starring the Rocketeer cast than anything else. Loston Wallace’s heavy on the Eisner influence for the character designs–except Betty to some degree–and, as a result, Cliff feels totally out of place. Peevy and Dolan getting along like aged pranksters is a whole different problem. But the comic also makes the Spirit feel way too literal. Waid’s got him fighting bad guys on biplanes, big crash sequences, on and on. It’s the Spirit in an action movie, with occasional Rocketeer…

The Rocketeer/The Spirit 1 (July 2013)

Does Mark Waid always write Betty so awful? Not poorly awful, but awful to Cliff awful. It’s inexplicable why Cliff would hang around such a terrible human being… makes him a weak character too. The Spirit and The Rocketeer aren’t exactly a good team-up, but Waid does find a decent connection for Peevy and Dolan–World War I–and the Paul Smith art at least looks really good. But a big airborne fight? Complete waste of time and pages. Having Ellen appreciate Cliff isn’t a bad move, but unless Waid has them run off together… he’s never going to make up for his Betty…

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 4 (November 2012)

I went into this issue hopeful, I really did. I thought maybe Waid could do something besides Cliff flying around L.A. and killing a bunch of terrified animals. He does do something else. It’s just not very good. Apparently Betty has been suspecting the sidekicks of being enemy spies–Sally and the black guy. It’s a little too subtle a suspicion because I didn’t get it until the wrap up of that subplot. I thought Betty was just being a shallow bitch. Apparently, she’s a suspicious shallow bitch. After four issues, she’s clearly one of the big problems with the franchise. She’s utterly…

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 3 (October 2012)

It’s a good thing Samnee’s drawing this series–but especially this issue–because without him I’d forget I was supposed to be reading a Rocketeer comic. The stuff at the hanger is all fine, but it’s the supporting cast jabbering to each other. Waid writes Peevy well, he even writes Betty well (though not enough to turn her into a real person) and Cliff’s new sidekicks continue to amuse. But Cliff? Fighting dinosaurs and teaming up with some bad guys? It’s a disaster. Waid’s only got two good moments on the Cliff side and one’s not even his own. The bad guy asks Cliff…

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 2 (September 2012)

While Cargo does give Cliff something he really needs–a stronger supporting cast–Waid’s approach is practically fanfic when it comes to the big reveal. Cargo of Doom is a (sly) sequel to King Kong, where the bad guys are going to loose captured dinosaurs as a terrorist act. The chief villain–dressed like a pirate no less–describes the Kong events from the movie, but acts as though the world forgot them. Giant apes aren’t big news in Rocketeer land. I’m a little shocked at Waid’s plot. It’s moronic. The Rocketeer versus a T. Rex? And IDW without a Kong license? The other stuff, particularly…

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 1 (August 2012)

In Cargo of Doom, Mark Waid does the most unexpected thing ever in a Rocketeer comic. He takes the focus–at least as far as females go–off Betty. He does it so much, I don’t even remember if Chris Samnee’s version of Betty is in the Stevens vein or his own thing. Because for once, Betty doesn’t get to be the most important thing. The lead female character is Peevy’s niece, who’s a pilot herself and has a major Cliff crush. There’s a great little scene with her and Betty talking and the niece very confused why Betty can’t shut up about the…

Rocketeer Adventures 2 (July 2011)

This issue’s loser comes courtesy Lowell Francis and Gene Ha. Well, not Ha. Ha does a fine job. Francis’s “script” consists of a boxing match radio broadcast juxtaposed with the Rocketeer fighting a flying bad guy. The gimmick quickly tires and the fight doesn’t really give Ha any interesting content. When there finally is dialogue, Francis flubs it something terrible. The best story is probably the first; Mark Waid writes, Chris Weston does the art. It’s Cliff at the World’s Fair having a misadventure. Waid tries a little hard setting it up, but once the action starts, it’s a fine time. Darwyn…

Daredevil 6 (January 2012)

I really like this issue, but seriously… is Waid going to soft relaunch the title every arc? Once again, he changes the entire Daredevil landscape, adding Daredevil being hunted by all the Marvel Universe terrorist organizations to the already full plate. It’s like he’s shifting A plots to B plots and vice versa; he hasn’t given Daredevil a chance to breath and get comfortable. Who knows… it might be a good approach to make a modern mainstream comic accessible from issue to issue. Waid also solves his big Daredevil problem here. This issue is all Daredevil (well, okay, Matt’s in his suit…

Daredevil 5 (December 2011)

Oh, come now, Mr. Waid… you don’t really think a reader is going to believe Daredevil drowns and dies at the end of this issue, do you? The end of the issue–the only problematic part of an otherwise charming outing–feels more than a little rushed. It’s like Waid needed to get his superhero fight scene in and he fell back on expository dialogue to get it done. There’s some great Martin artwork of Daredevil on the yacht and the yacht incident and it makes the scene passable. But it’s a heavy drop from the rest of the issue, where Waid not only…

Daredevil 4 (November 2011)

Is Martin regular on Daredevil now? If so, it makes sense this issue feels like a soft relaunch, like Waid’s introducing the new artist. If not… well, it makes no sense. But it’s a successful issue. Waid opens with some amusing action–Daredevil in a lion habitat at the Bronx Zoo–and then moves into this issue’s story. He just does it very slowly, very deliberately. There’s a lot of Daredevil in action, fighting the odd crime, there’s a lot with Matt bantering about not being Daredevil or bickering with Foggy. There’s none of the flirting, which is okay, since Martin doesn’t draw Matt…

Daredevil 3 (November 2011)

I’ll bet if Matt didn’t have the surfer dude hair he wouldn’t do so well with the ladies. Waid’s emphasis on Matt’s Lothario ambitions is maybe my favorite thing about his Daredevil. It doesn’t fit Matt, but somehow it does. And Waid delights in giving Foggy indigestion over all Matt’s new ideas. But those scenes come at the end of the issue, which is really strong. It’s the more comedic stuff, the montages of courtrooms… it’s where Waid makes Daredevil gleam. Where he doesn’t, this issue anyway, is with the actual Daredevil stuff. Klaw is the name of the sound guy. He…

Daredevil 2 (October 2011)

Oh, hey, it’s that sound guy from Secret Wars. I can’t remember his name–with the funny hand and the red outfit. Unfortunately, having the sound guy in the issue doesn’t save it. Waid’s pacing is disastrous. This story continues the same day from the previous issue and almost nothing happens. Daredevil fights with Captain America–Rivera doesn’t draw a good Cap, it actually makes the comic visually unpleasant–we find out Foggy’s got a girlfriend and Daredevil talks to a lawyer friend. But nothing happens. The implication some supervillain is behind Matt’s client having trouble is another weak point. Waid’s going to have to…

Daredevil 1 (September 2011)

With Paolo Rivera doing the feature and Marcos Martin doing the back-up, Mark Waid has great art on his Daredevil revamp. But great art can’t do all the lifting. Waid’s take on Matt is a little unexpected, but a lot of fun. The approach reminds a lot of TV, specifically “Life” and “The Mentalist.” Matt’a had some rough times so he’s going to be upbeat and eat unprocessed sugar and meet girls. As Daredevil, he constantly smiles. It’s like Waid is declaring the approach to the reader. And it basically succeeds. Waid’s Matt is a likable protagonist. It’s too early to talk…

Captain America: Man out of Time 5 (May 2011)

As Man out of Time finishes, it’s not clear if it’s the new continuity or if Marvel just gave Waid and company the chance to retell the Cap origin again. The series suggests it might behoove them to let other writers take a crack at it, because Waid does find a lot to talk about, a lot to look at. This issue finally returns Cap to the past, something I can’t remember having read before. The future, it turns out, has spoiled him in a lot of ways. Waid does take the easy way out—he doesn’t give Cap an Edith Keeler (the…

Captain America: Man out of Time 4 (April 2011)

It’s nice to read a Captain America comic where the writer isn’t afraid to be unabashedly liberal. Brubaker always keeps it on the back burner a little, like he’s not willing to alienate. Waid is willing to alienate. This issue might feature Molina’s best art so far, only because at one point I thought they might have brought someone else—someone competent onto the book. They haven’t, but for a few pages it seems like they do. Waid’s updating of Cap’s origin, if updating is what he’s doing here (it’s still not clear), leaves him far more alone in the present than any…

Captain America: Man out of Time 3 (March 2011)

Once again, Waid broaches a really interesting possibility for Man out of Time—Cap going back in time to WWII via Reed Richards’s time machine prototype, but then he closes it down again. Sure, it’s kind of cool to see Cap and Tony hanging out and the Martin Luther King Jr. stuff is excellent (I imagine it enraged a number of Marvel readers… oh, wait, I’m sure this series sold like crap). But Waid’s playing it really safe. He’s just setting the groundwork for what’s basically a movie template. He’s giving readers a modern Cap origin retelling—a good one—but it feels pointless other…

Captain America: Man out of Time 2 (February 2011)

I hate how I dull so quickly to bad art. Molina hasn’t gotten any better, but because I know what to expect (what not to expect, more like), I’m comfortable. This issue gets a lot more traditional. It’s not about Cap moving through time, it’s a retelling of him waking up; this time it’s when Obama’s President and Rick Jones has a gang of cyber-buddies helping him track supervillains. I’m not sure the Rick Jones and his Internet flunkies works though… Waid should have used Twitter. So, in other words, it’s not the awesome thing I thought it would be from the…

Captain America: Man out of Time 1 (January 2011)

Molina’s artwork is truly hideous. It’s goofy and bulky and… it’s indescribably awful. The crisp coloring doesn’t help either. That complaint made, Man out of Time is actually pretty interesting. Waid makes a serious goof with Cap dictating a report to his superior in his head during his first encounter with the Avengers, but otherwise… huh. I had no idea what to expect going into the series, but the first issue suggests it’s Cap unbound in time, moving from point to point; Waid’s dealing with the character primarily as an icon. The issue opens with him and Bucky and Bucky’s definitely the…

The Traveler 3 (January 2011)

Well, Waid has his big reveal… and it’s utterly predictable, which might have been his point. More importantly, the ending seems to be setting up the next issue to finally reveal what all the characters have to do with one another. It’s a brief read–Waid has a lot of pointless conversation and it fills pages without actually doing anything–but not a bad one. The evil villain reveals himself and then Waid introduces another evil villain. This evil villain he foreshadowed meeting in a contrived slip of the tongue… even I, as negative as I can be, didn’t imagine Waid would have the…

The Traveler 2 (December 2010)

Maybe I’m just overly sensitive to this kind of thing right now, but Waid refers to one of the characters as an “unemployed sales clerk.” Um, if she’s unemployed, she’s not a sales clerk. I guess it sounds better than token black character. This issue is actually leaps and bounds better than the first, even though it’s real silly in parts. Like when a Norman Osborn lookalike shows up (guess what, he’s the bad guy). And he’s in love with the Traveler’s girlfriend! Shocker! What’s cool is how Waid’s got everything weaved together. Even if the dialogue’s way too expositional and a…

The Traveler 1 (November 2010)

I’m a little confused to Waid’s approach with this series. He has a lengthy opening sequence introducing a completely unimportant character and then he brings in the titular character. The Courier’s Tragedy it ain’t. Maybe the character will be back because the Traveler did something mysterious to her before she left, but it’s too soon to say. Waid’s got a goofy cliffhanger–it’s more annoying than anything else, making the first issue not make any sense without going and buying the second. It’s also never clear if there are other superheroes in Traveler. Everyone reacts pretty calmly to the news except the FBI…

Irredeemable Special 1 (April 2010)

What a terrible comic. I’m used to Irredeemable running hot and lukewarm and Incorruptible being awful–Waid’s incredibly inconsistent–and this special is anything but. There are three stories. One’s a prologue, sort of, to the first issue of Irredeemable. It apparently hints at something the regular series will deal with. The second story might serve a similar purpose. For the third story, Waid just ran out of ideas and did a little Incorruptible story with terrible, terrible, terrible Howard Chaykin artwork. How Chaykin is still an attraction for readers is beyond me… his art is just awful here. The second story–with the Emma…

Incorruptible 5 (April 2010)

It’s a question of competence. Incorruptible is incompetent. Finally someone realized Jean Diaz was making the bad book already worse and brought in Horacio Domingues, who’s much less “realistic” and a lot more cartoon-influenced and, well, at least it’s fun. Domingues’s artwork doesn’t fit the script at all and it’s just a great time, at least for the first half, because it’s all bright and giddy–it’s like a Spirit homage almost. Until halfway, I thought Waid and Boom! realized what a turd they were printing and they’d decided to do something good with it. No luck. It’s actually an attempt at a…