Ron Randall

Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem 2 (September 2009)

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Eh. Dang it, Bendis.

He structures the whole thing around Jonah’s obituary for Spider-Man, flashing back to Spidey’s first meeting with the Hulk. Oddly enough, back when Peter ran into the Hulk at the end of the original series, he didn’t seem like he remembered this incident. Bendis rips off the school bus scene from Superman pretty well. It’s not the problem.

The problem is when Jonah’s article becomes the cake instead of the icing. The art is then a bunch of pin-ups, mostly by Bagley, which seems inappropriate given how much work Immonen’s done. Scott Hanna’s inks seem a little off on the flashback story too, like he forgot how to do Ultimate Spider-Man.

The finale, with Immonen, takes a couple pages. It’s predictable, without personality. If Immonen had more room, he might’ve been able to make it visually matter.

Bendis strikes again. He’s dreadfully uneven.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; pencillers, Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen, Trevor Hairsine, Ron Randall, Bill Sienkiewicz and John Totleben; inkers, Scott Hanna, Wade von Grawbadger, Danny Miki, Randall, Sienkiewicz and Totleben; colorists, Pete Pantazis and Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Mark Paniccia and Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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Predator 4 (March 1990)

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Street gangs versus the Predators. It’s actually a good battle scene. It takes up a good third of the issue; Verheiden definitely comes up with exiting visuals for the artists to realize.

The comic’s pretty lame though. Verheiden front loaded it with characters who disappear–the black police captain shows up again here; why’s he memorable? He’s black. It’s lazy writing and unbelievable.

The narration from the family man cop is pretty dang good though. Verheiden never gets into Schaefer’s head this issue and it works out. The family man has a lot better observations about the situation, far more emotionally charged.

There’s a fair amount of events in the issue, so it’s not a breezy read. It takes some time and has definite tension before the big battle scene.

I’m just trying to remember if anything else happens here. It’s build up, action, occasional good dialogue and no depth.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Verheiden; artists, Ron Randall and Chris Warner; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, Jim Massara; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Predator 3 (November 1989)

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So Schaefer gets kidnapped by a drug lord and has to break out. Meanwhile his partner is trying to let everyone know there’s an alien invasion coming. Lots of warships cloaked in Manhattan, you know… the norm.

Occasionally Verheiden will give Warner some awesome scene to draw–the Pam Am building being a meeting place for the aliens and the military–but a lot of the comic is the South American stuff. It’s a bridging issue is all and a four issue series shouldn’t need one.

Especially not since Verheiden contrives the whole thing with the drug lords. It would have been more natural if Schaefer had stumbled across them instead of being their nemesis.

The genial readability quality is going too. Verheiden has used up his good will. He’s stopped doing anything interesting and is now just trotting through a lame plot.

Hopefully the next (and last) issue’ll succeed.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Verheiden; artists, Ron Randall and Chris Warner; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, Jim Massara; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Swamp Thing Annual 4 (June 1988)

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The weirdest part of the annual–which is mostly a Batman story, which doesn’t suit Pat Broderick’s pencils as well as the Swamp Thing–is Chester getting stoned with Labo. I always understood Labo to be a stand-in for Alan Moore… so Stephen R. Bissette wrote a scene with Alan Moore getting stoned?

The scene doesn’t work. Labo’s presence is too strange at Chester’s, too much like a sitcom.

Otherwise, it’s a fairly okay issue. It’s not much of an annual. Bissette does write Batman as a violent madman, which is sort of interesting, but Swamp Thing’s got so little to do it’s never compelling. It’s especially distressing how little Alec cares about his neighbors.

Broderick has a lot of little art problems–very small heads on big people and so on.

The backup–with Mike Hoffman art–is fine. It’s just page filler, but Hoffman’s art is good.

CREDITS

Threads; writer, Stephen R. Bissette; penciller, Pat Broderick; inkers, Ron Randall and Eduardo Barreto. Traiteur; writer, Bissette; artist, Mike Hoffman. Colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Bob Pinaha; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

batman-moench

Batman 360 (June 1983)

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I can’t tell for sure, but it doesn’t seem like Doug Moench’s thrilled to have Batman saddled with Jason Todd. He writes the kid sympathetically–this issue is set approximately a month after his parents died–but Moench can’t wait to leave him behind at Wayne Manor.

Batman heads off on an urgent case and Jason doesn’t make another appearance.

The issue has a great pace. It opens with a teaser of the villain, moves to the next morning, then the rest of the issue takes place over the day. There’s a lot of Batman in the daylight (so much there’s exposition about how effective he comes off) before Moench tightens up the pace.

The villain’s fairly weak and the C plot with Gordon’s heart troubles is too obvious, but it’s pretty otherwise good. Don Newton comes up with some excellent action layouts and he matches Moench’s procedural pace well.

Swamp Thing 47 (April 1986)

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So the artists on the first appearance of the Parliament of Trees are Woch and Randall… They do a fantastic job and all, but it shows how comic book series are actually organic and susceptible to outside pressures; they do better loose, not planned.

Moore concentrates on the Parliament visit, which is dense with exposition and amazing visuals. Woch fills the panels with these astounding former plant elements; they’re eerily without speech and the art conveys the relative silence of the jungle setting.

Also in the issue is a developing subplot about Abby and Swamp Thing being photographed. Without it–and Constantine’s appearance–one could almost forget the issue is part of a longer, more traditionally minded narrative.

It’s also the first Swamp Thing-centric issue in a while and Moore juggles the character through tender relationship scenes, which are almost human, to the inhuman Parliament scenes.

It’s masterful work.

Swamp Thing 44 (January 1986)

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I never thought I’d be making this statement–but I can’t tell Randall from Totleben. Randall does some of the inks here and two inkers are seamless at first read. Maybe if I had been concentrating more on the art….

Instead, this issue of Swamp Thing is a big mishmash and, against the odds, it works.

I mean, there’s a scene with Batman bumping into Constantine and Mento (from Doom Patrol) on the street. Moore’s integration of Crisis is hilarious. He acknowledges it, but treats it as inconsequential. I guess they already knew Swamp Thing was safe from a relaunch.

There’s a great scene with Abby being rude to Swamp Thing, then him sulking. But it’s a small moment and the rest of the issue is about a serial killer.

His trip to Louisiana does not go well.

It’s a good issue; however, its parts are better than the whole.

Swamp Thing 43 (December 1985)

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Moore introduces Chester this issue; I’d sort of forgotten when he came into the series. Chester will be a member of the supporting cast, but for now, he’s simply the protagonist in a fill-in. He finds one of Swampy’s tubers and investigates it.

Now, Chester, in addition to being a hippie nature lover, is a drug dealer. His customers really like the idea of the tuber and take it.

It gives Moore a chance to not just have a lovely little story about a dying woman’s last night with her husband, but also one where an annoying jerk goes nuts off the tuber.

There are a bunch of visual references to the original Swamp Thing series, but it’s from fill-in artists Woch and Randall… which tempers my enthusiasm somewhat. They do some excellent work, but cameos from the first series deserve Bissette and Totleben.

It’s another great issue.

Swamp Thing 33 (February 1985)

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So while Swamp Thing has his adventure in “Pog,” Abby has her own one here. Except she’s mostly just in a framing sequence, not quite an adventure.

For whatever reason, Moore brought the original appearance of Swamp Thing into continuity with this issue. So there’s a few pages of Abby with Cain and Abel–Moore’s starting to explore the nature of storytelling a little, something he’d later expand on in Promethea–and then a reprint of the Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson House of Secrets Swamp Thing.

The end ties it all together, but the story isn’t consequential at all. It’s Moore mixing playfulness and good humor. He ends it on a joke. Moore’s often his most startling when he’s doing light comedy. It’s nice.

Ron Randall does the Abby bookend art. It’s the best work I’ve seen from him.

But he’s nowhere near Wrightson.

And Wein’s nowhere near Moore.

DC Retroactive: Justice League of America – The ’80s 1 (October 2011)

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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.

CREDITS

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.

Dark Horse Presents 137 (November 1998)

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So Nazis versus Predator and the best Marz can come up with is a story set in South America? Castellini’s art makes up for some of it—even though he can’t draw the Predator, the rest of it looks good. But Marz’s writing is pretty dumb.

Seagle and Gaudiano have another My Vagabond Days, this time about the space program. Sort of. Seagle seems to think doing a lyrical narrative about growing up in the Sixties is inherently interesting. Even with Gaudiano’s artwork, it’s not interesting. Seagle, it turns out, didn’t grow up in the Sixties as a teen… have I already mentioned that fact? Regardless, it’s still a waste of good art.

Randall and Verheiden finally finish The Ark here. It’s yet another double-sized installment and, wow, Verheiden’s writing is really awful here. Randall still manages to turn in some decent work (except on the aliens, they’re boring).

CREDITS

Predator, Demon’s Gold; story by Ron Marz; art by Claudio Castellini; lettering by Gary Kato. My Vagabond Days; story by Steven T. Seagle; art by Stefano Gaudiano; lettering by Charity Rodriguez. The Ark, Part Four; story by Mark Verheiden; art by Ron Randall; lettering by Kato. Edited by Randy Stradley and Terry Waldron.

Dark Horse Presents 136 (October 1998)

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Another endless installment of The Ark. Verheiden’s writing gets really padded here, especially with the conversations. With the long page count–sixteen pages an installment–I wonder if it was intended to be a limited series then someone at Dark Horse realized no one in his or her right mind would buy it. So instead they stuck it in Presents, figuring by the time the reader got to this issue–with The Ark taking up one half and the awful Western (I’ll get to it in a minute) taking up the other–it’d be too late for them to give up. Randall–who I just remembered used to do Trekker–is a fine artist at this point, sort of an almost Paul Gulacy.

As for Smith and Cariello’s Tres Diablos? I tried having an open mind and Cariello’s artwork’s quite good, but Smith is an awful writer.

This issue stinks.

CREDITS

The Ark, Part Three; story by Mark Verheiden; art by Ron Randall; lettering by Gary Kato. Tres Diablos, Spirit of the Badlander; story by Beau Smith; art and lettering by Sergio Cariello. Edited by Randy Stradley, Ben Abernathy and Terry Waldron.

Dark Horse Presents 135 (September 1998)

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Macan and Doherty finish Carson of Venus poorly. Doherty’s artwork this installment is particularly bad and, though Macan seems to be trying, the characters are all weak. Macan’s attempts at humor are a woman getting slapped around by her husband.

So it kind of goes well with Brubaker and Lutes’s finish to The Fall, all about a guy who wants to murder women. It’s a good conclusion, but it needs an epilogue. While I can understand why Brubaker finished without resolution, he still needs it. It doesn’t compare to the first few installments though.

I was excited to see early Reis on The Mark, but he’s not particularly good. He’s not bad, he’s just mundane. Barr tells the whole thing in flashback, which seems like a bad choice, especially for readers unfamiliar with the character.

Verheiden goes on, again, forever with The Ark. At least Randall has some good panels.

CREDITS

Carson of Venus, Part Three; story by Darko Macan; art by Peter Doherty; lettering by Ellie DeVille. The Mark, Bedtime Story; story by Mike W. Barr; pencils by Ivan Reis; inks by Rick Ketcham; lettering by Gary Kato; edited by Ben Abernathy. The Fall, Part Five; story by Ed Brubaker; art by Jason Lutes. The Ark, Part Two; story by Mark Verheiden; art by Ron Randall; lettering by Gary Kato. Edited by Randy Stradley, Jamie S. Rich, Abernathy and Terry Waldron.

Dark Horse Presents Annual 1998 (September 1998)

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The annual opens with Mignola doing a retelling of Hellboy‘s origin. I guess it’s all right. Kind of pointless, but fine.

Weissman finally gets a two page Phineas Page and shows why he should have stuck to a page.

Van Meter and Ross team for the first comic book appearance of Buffy. The writing is more lame than not, but it’s maybe the best Ross art I’ve ever seen.

Watson’s Skeleton Key is a fairly charming little story about a witch and a little kid. I’m assuming the character’s a witch, otherwise it’d be pointless. Some wacky art mistakes though.

The Ark is a long setup with aliens as pay-off. Verheiden’s got some okay writing and Randall’s art isn’t bad.

Guadiano’s art is the primary selling point on he and Seagle’s My Vagabond Days. It’s not terrible though.

Burke and Bolton’s Infirmary is confounding, but Boltan’s art is gorgeous.

CREDITS

Hellboy, The Right Hand of Doom; story and art by Mike Mignola; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Phineas Page, The Bookshelf Phantom; story and art by Steven Weissman. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, MacGuffins; story by Jen Van Meter; pencils by Luke Ross; inks by Rick Ketcham; lettering by Steve Dutro. Skeleton Key, Witch; story and art by Andi Watson. The Ark, Part One; story by Mark Verheiden; art by Ron Randall; lettering by Sean Konot. My Vagabond Days; story by Steven T. Seagle; pencils by Stefano Gaudiano; inks by Pia Guerra; lettering by Charity Rodriguez. Infirmary; story by Matthew Burke; art by John Bolton; lettering by Ellie De Ville. Edited by Randy Stradley, Jamie S Rich and Ben Abernathy.