Rick Veitch

Miracleman 10 (December 1986)

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John Ridgway returns to ink Veitch and it works out nicely. Veitch has fine composition, with the Ridgway inks the panels all have a lot of personality. I love how Mike looks so ancient and tired.

Most of the issue is spent with two aliens who have come to Earth to check on the miracle-people. Turns out there are more of them than Moore previously revealed (at least one more) and the aliens use the alternate universe in a similar way.

The stuff with the baby, while beautifully rendered, gets a little tiresome. Moore amps up the pressure on the characters only to immediately release it when a scene is winding up. The baby’s also not visually around a lot and sometimes when Liz and Mike talk about her, it sounds like there’s a monster in the crib.

Moore uses some lovely storytelling devices here too. Really lovely ones.

B 

CREDITS

Mindgames; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, John Ridgway; colorist, Ron Courtney; letterer, Wayne Truman; editor, Cat Yronwode; publisher, Eclipse.

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Miracleman 9 (July 1986)

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That is one ugly baby.

Sorry, getting ahead of myself.

This issue features Moore’s returns after a reprints issue and fresh artists. Rick Veitch pencils, Rick Bryant inks. It’s a major improvement over Austen–the panel compositions are once again ambitious–but it’s not particularly great art. Veitch and Bryant do a little Mick Anglo homage and things of that nature, but it’s too broad. Miracleman thrives on visual realism.

The story, which has Liz giving birth to her miracle baby, is pretty good. She goes into labor the first page, then Moore resolves the last of the story arc (more like clean-up) while getting the delivery done. It’s a cute narrative, with Miracleman thinking about the beautiful of life and his place in the universe. Moore manages to sell it too. He’s got an amazing amount of rope on Miracleman.

Oddly, the last panel is the best drawn.

B 

CREDITS

Scenes from the Nativity; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, Rick Bryant; colorist, Ron Courtney; letterer, Wayne Truman; editor, Cat Yronwode; publisher, Eclipse.

Swamp Thing 87 (June 1989)

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This issue has huge vertical double-page spreads from Yeates. Swamp Thing ends up in Camelot and the big pages give Veitch and Yeates a lot of space for their story. It’s not even a particularly big story, just very full of medieval imagery.

Veitch lets the art do all the heavy lifting. There’s nothing particularly complex to the plotting, but Veitch does get in some funny stuff. For instance, King Arthur’s a blithering idiot–a head injury has impaired his intelligence and has him searching for the Holy Grail. Swamp Thing spends a good deal of the issue potted, talking to Merlin.

I suppose Vetich’s decision to have the time travel be so matter-of-fact–the Shining Knight’s around and he’s a frequent traveller–cuts down on plot intrigues. It also makes it much more fun.

It’s also the first time in a while Alec gets interior dialogue.

CREDITS

Fall of the House of Pendragon; writer, Rick Veitch; artist, Tom Yeates; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 86 (May 1989)

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Veitch and artist Tom Yeates do a lovely job on this issue. Veitch constructs a rather complex narrative, where Swamp Thing’s import isn’t even explained until over halfway through the issue, and then in a layered exposition. He transitions from one kind of story to another and by the time Alec makes a visual appearance… not only has Veitch leapt ahead to the modern day, he’s able to make it devastatingly effective.

Great plotting. Just great.

The issue’s also rather amusing; most of it involves a British spy, circa 1800, who’s out to spoil the Americans’ new country. He’s got various disguises–and the disguises become such a device, Yeates never fully visualizes the character. The only time there’s a clear shot of him is when he’s impersonating one of the other characters. Apparently, Veitch and Yeates just came up with it for fun.

The time travel arc’s working out.

CREDITS

Heroes of the Revolution; writer, Rick Veitch; artist, Tom Yeates; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 85 (April 1989)

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This issue’s extremely confusing. Veitch writes it assuming people know Hawk is Tomahawk’s son. In other words, a specialized audience at the time of its publication and an even more specialized one as time goes on. There are probably eight characters–all of them DC Western characters (except a couple for a surprise)–and Veitch has to introduce them all and their ground situations. And it gets slippery.

For example, the unseen German princes–who hire all the Western heroes–don’t make any sense. In the end, they do, once Veitch reveals everything, but when he’s hinting at it… nope, doesn’t work. He also goes too fast in those character introductions.

The issue’s about the Western heroes, not Alec. It’s too bad too; Alec’s story in the issue is a lot more interesting than anyone else’s. And he’s only in the story for a day.

It’s fine enough, just bewildering.

CREDITS

My Name is Nobody; writer, Rick Veitch; penciller, Tom Mandrake; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 84 (March 1989)

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Veitch really puts Abby through the wringer this issue. Instead of supervillains, she gets to deal with the American healthcare system. Comatose ex-husband (and government operative) Matt is now ringing up ten thousand a day and the hospital expects Abby to pay up.

It’s a distressing issue. Without Swamp Thing, there’s not a lot of fantastic in Abby’s life–when Adam Strange shows up to check on her, he’s in regular clothes even–and the assault from the hospital drains her. Mandrake and Alcala show her cornered in small spaces.

All the strengths make up for the lack of resolution in Veitch’s script. He’s even got Matt Cable meeting the Sandman–who tells Cable to make things right–but there’s no explanation how things got right. Maybe there was a page missing in my issue.

Still, the “real world” horror aspect of it gives Veitch a chance to flex.

CREDITS

Final Payment; writer, Rick Veitch; penciller, Tom Mandrake; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 83 (February 1989)

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This issue of Swamp Thing continues the time traveling further into the past, with Swamp Thing meeting up with Enemy Ace. Except it’s not Alec’s story, nor is it Enemy Ace’s story… it’s Abby’s grandmother’s story. The issue belongs to Anton Arcane’s mother–she narrates it, she has the biggest story arc–and it’s downright disturbing.

She’s a war wife; her husband is off fighting (she assumes) and she’s writing to him about her and their children’s struggles. Veitch does a fantastic job with the little World War I things, especially the scene at the front. He also writes a great Enemy Ace. But Countess Arcane loves little Anton–who’s experimenting on people already (along with some other awful things). It makes for an unpleasant read; she’s sympathetic, but she enables him.

Great stuff–Veitch amusingly makes the barely present Alec cute. Mandrake pencils, Alcala inks, the issue looks fantastic.

CREDITS

Brothers in Arms, Part One; writer, Rick Veitch; penciller, Tom Mandrake; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 82 (January 1989)

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Veitch sends Swamp Thing back to Easy Company, which works out quite well. The pacing is key–Veitch introduces Sgt. Rock, a medic, a bad guy and then a surprise bad guy for the finish. In the meantime, Alec is inhabiting the recently deceased body of an ancestor (or just someone with the same name… it’s unclear).

While there are some big Swamp Thing moments, it’s more a war comic and Veitch seems thrilled to be doing it. He and Alcala’s art is outstanding, especially the mundane activities the troops go through.

Veitch also makes Alec more unaware of the situation than the reader. It’s a nice move and makes the time travel related moments play a lot better. The reader gets some buffer room to better enjoy them.

It’s a fun issue; Veitch acknowledges it’s not a series altering trip through time, just a device to make good comics.

CREDITS

Brothers in Arms, Part Two; writer and penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 81 (Holiday 1988)

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Veitch does a sequel to one of the first Swamp Thing issues–I think back in the Wrightson days–and he captures some of that series’s cynicism. Mind you, he’s doing it with a superhero guest star and part of a big crossover event. I almost wish he hadn’t done it because it’s so downbeat. But it’s good.

Most of the issue is spent with Abby and Chester meeting an alien, but there’s a little of Roy Raymond recovering from his ordeal. Veitch doesn’t hint why Raymond gets the attention, but it gives he and Alcala a Louisiana hospital to draw and it looks fantastic.

The issue shows how essential Abby is to Veitch’s approach on the series. Alec doesn’t even show up this issue, but the issue’s outstanding anyway. Maybe even because Veitch gets to tell the story through Abby.

Veitch handles the required big event crossover issue sublimely.

CREDITS

Widowsweed; writer and penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 80 (Winter 1988)

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Poor Veitch. Swamp Thing is about to take part in another big DC crossover–they don’t announce it on the cover or in the text, but it’s Invasion!–and he’s got nothing. He basically sends Alec off into space again, or something like it. The finish, with Swamp Thing forced to escape Earth, looks exactly like the last time he did.

What’s different? Well, Abby’s pregnant and the issue opens with a funny scene of them putting together the baby’s room. Then there’s some rather good stuff with the Parliament of Trees. Veitch just can’t organically incorporate the invading aliens (even though he never shows their faces, just their hands). It’s like the Flash Gordon movie and Ming….

Crossover issues are rarely any good and often incredibly problematic, so it’s a testament to Veitch’s handle on the series he was able to get a few good scenes in the issue.

CREDITS

The Longest Day; writer and penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Tatjana Wood; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 79 (December 1988)

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There’s something immediately compelling about Veitch’s take on Superman and Lois Lane. His Lex Luthor, fat and mean-spirited, is a little less interesting (if competently done), but his Lois and Clark are positively realistic. But Veitch also loves playing with the Superman standards–Clark changing into his costume while falling off a building, putting back on his suit while running up it–it’s a lot of fun.

Of course, it’s a Swamp Thing comic where Alec plays second fiddle to the guest stars. In some ways, even Chester and Liz make more impact than Alec does here. They’re at least moving forward–Alec is just responding to events outside his control. He’s reacting, they’re growing.

Veitch returns after two issues off Swamp Thing with a good Superman comic. The issue, even cleaning up old plot threads, doesn’t feel particularly rooted. It’s fine, but it’s cooler looking than anything else.

CREDITS

Waiting for God (Oh!); writer and penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.


Contemporaneously…

Swamp Thing 76 (September 1988)

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The issue opens with a couple surprise guest stars, who provide a little commentary on the events. Mostly they inform the reader of things going on in Hellblazer, for those who aren’t reading both series.

For such a momental issue, not much happens. Not much in a good way, however. Veitch includes a little scene with a friend of Constantine’s who manipulates fights between superhumans to profit off marketing and land redevelopment. It’s a throwaway scene, texture here, but I’m sure someone at Marvel said they came up with it in the oughts and broke his arm patting himself on the back over it.

Arcane shows up, in Hell, for a bit too. It’s a big issue after all–of returning cast, only Liz is stuck off panel, but there’s a sight gag related to it.

Veitch writes Abby really well. She might be his best work on the book.

CREDITS

L’Adoration de la Terre; writer and penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 75 (August 1988)

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Veitch goes on a nutty little tour of the DC Universe–then the universe–with this issue. The art’s fantastic. I love how Veitch, ably assisted by Alcala, manages to be psychedelic while his artwork is still concerned with being grounded in reality. It looks amazing and deserves a bigger size. He beautifully utilizes effect and arrangement.

Alec’s observations on the world–and his problems–guide the trip, though I assume Veitch knew what he wanted to touch on. Still, it feels like an organic thought process.

It’s a long sequence, with a couple charming Abby and Alec bookends. Veitch’s Swamp Thing, at least when they’re in the swamp, feels a little like a sitcom (in a good way).

Unfortunately, knowing where Veitch takes the series next makes it hard to judge how well he foreshadows. While it’s a bridging issue, Veitch tells the story so well, it supports itself.

CREDITS

The Thinker; writer and penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 74 (July 1988)

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Veitch’s Swamp Thing run should be called “the convenience of communication problems. Alec discovers, but without context, something Constantine saw in his investigations many issues ago and it’s going to have a big impact. Shame Constantine didn’t just tell him. And, wait, Constantine told Abby something but she didn’t realize the full implication.

Why didn’t she? Because Veitch wouldn’t have as many issues filled if he actually had his characters communicate.

The issue’s got some really great moments, however, all bitching aside. There’s a couple pages on Mars, there’s a lot with Alec and the Parliament, there’s a bunch for Abby to do. While the pacing’s not great, Veitch does find the right mix of attention to pay his characters.

The art’s off a little. The figures are stocky. It almost looks like a different inker, but, no, it’s still Alcala.

The ending, which resolves a running B plot, misfires.

CREDITS

Center of the Cyclone; writer and penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.