Secret Wars II 7 (January 1986)

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The Beyonder sits around this entire issue. What fun. Mephisto plots against the entirely passive Beyonder–who doesn’t even speak a full paragraph until the final two panels–while the Thing is basically the main hero in the issue.

Not surprisingly, Shooter doesn’t discuss Mephisto’s apparent homosexual relationship with the now-male Death. I guess Mephisto hasn’t checked the groin area yet or just doesn’t care.

There’s a really strange sequence with the Molecule Man presumably knowing a third of the galaxy is about to be destroyed–including his freaking girlfriend–and plays Trivial Pursuit (poorly) instead.

Milgrom’s artwork here is occasionally funny. There’s Mephisto about to cry (why does he have a costume, should the Devil be wearing a costume), there’s the Beyonder either looking like a white Michael Jackson or just some burly chick… Lots of fun to be had.

Wow, only two more issues to go. Whee!

CREDITS

Charge of the Dark Brigade!; writer, Jim Shooter; penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Steve Leialoha; colorist, Julianna Ferriter; letterers, Joe Rosen and friends; editor, Bob Budiansky; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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Robocop: Mortal Coils 1 (September 1993)

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How to start… maybe licensing Robocop 3 instead of Robocop is a bad idea. I mean, it’s not like The Terminator, where licensing got all split up, sequel after sequel. Dark Horse could have gotten Robocop and not had to do sequels to Robocop 3, right?

This issue is Robocop in Denver. It’s kind of like Passenger 57 is Die Hard on an airplane. No, it’s not. Look at how hard I’m trying to figure out how to talk about this tripe.

Denver is apparently worse off than Detroit, which is stupid and doesn’t fit into the movie mythology–it’s another Judge Dredd lift, or maybe a Road Warrior one. I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s amazing how lifeless licensed properties got for Dark Horse just a few years after they revolutionized the genre with Aliens.

Mortal Coils is going to be awful; banal and inane. Three more issues….

CREDITS

Writer, Steven Grant; penciller, Nick Gnazzo; inker, Bruce Patterson; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Patrick Owsley; editors, Anina Bennett and Bob Cooper; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop 11 (January 1991)

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According to the letter pages, Robocop is going through an editorial shift with this issue and the next ones. Way from Grant’s sci-fi based future and into… well, they don’t exactly say.

This issue almost seems like a direct sequel to the first movie, only with a giant robot running around with a guy’s brainwaves in it trying to kill Robocop.

The Alex Trimpe slash Herb Trimpe artwork is pretty nasty. Robocop’s enormous and goofy looking. Skolnick tries to make the comic serious, with Robocop and partner Lewis obsessing over Robocop’s transformation from man to machine and lots of thought balloons for Lewis. It’s okay, I guess, but it’s not really serious. There’s still the giant green robot with rocket launchers for arms or whatever.

It’s a nice try, but it feels like a total wrong direction, especially since Grant had finally found a nice balance for the series.

CREDITS

Unfinished Business; writers, Stephen Rupinski and Evan Skolnick; pencillers, Alex Trimpe and Herb Trimpe; inker, Herb Trimpe; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Brad K. Joyce; editors, Gary Barnum and Bobbie Chase; publisher, Marvel Comics.

X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas 2 (January 2010)

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Wait, what?

Okay, I get it. Agents of Atlas can’t make the grade sales-wise so there need to be team-ups–Parker’s the best writer Marvel has working on their mainstream stuff right now (sorry, Ed, but I can’t forgive some of the Daredevil and X-Men lows)–someone realizes it and doesn’t want him to jump ship to DC, who wouldn’t appreciate him, but he more jibes with their stuff anyway.

This issue reveals the whole series just to be an Atlas comic. It’s got nothing to do with X-Men other than as a McGuffin. I mean, whatever, I get it… but still, it’s shameful Atlas can’t get a solid reading audience.

What am I saying? I should be grateful for any good comic books at all, given the depths of idiocy pop culture has descended to in the last fifteen years.

Oh, yeah. Great comic book.

CREDITS

The X-Heist, Part 2; writer, Jeff Parker; pencillers, Carlo Pagulayan, Gabriel Hardman, Chris Samnee and Carlos Rodriguez; inkers, Jason Paz, Hardman, Samnee and Terry Pallot; colorists, Will Quintana and Veronica Gandini. Godmarked; writer, Parker; artist, Hardman; colorist, Quintana. Letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Michael Horwitz, Nathan Cosby and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas 1 (December 2009)

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Ok, so I’m not sure it’s really a “versus” book. I mean, sure, it’s got the Atlas guys fighting the X-Men, but it’s really just an Agents of Atlas issue with an X-Men crossover (much like the New Avengers crossover early in the Atlas series).

Parker does an unsurprisingly fantastic job, though I wish there’d been a little more recap–I can’t remember if Venus got snatched in the Atlas finale, though I know for sure Parker did start laying the groundwork. He mixes the unfunny X-Men brilliantly with the humorous, but serious, Atlas team.

Pagulayan’s artwork is excellent as always, a slick modern Marvel style without sacrificing expressiveness. The backup, which is just a fun insert instead of dramatically important, has lovely art from Samnee. Along with the other Atlas backups, it does more to establish the series’s perceived playfulness than anything in the modern stories.

CREDITS

The X-Heist; writer, Jeff Parker; penciller, Carlo Pagulayan; inker, Jason Paz; colorist, Will Quintana. Atomic Age Heroes; writer, Parker; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Veronica Gandini. Letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Nathan Cosby and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Power Man and Iron Fist 121 (January 1986)

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So apparently Christopher Priest could always write. This issue of Power Man and Iron Fist makes me wish I had the rest of the series, or at least Priest’s work on it. The really strong part about the comic is how well Priest paints the ranges of characters’ motivations. When S.H.I.E.L.D. is about to blow-up the Beyonder’s fortress, they aren’t necessarily bad–just like when the Falcon essentially puts them up to it.

But when Iron Fist realizes it’s wrong, he’s definitely the good guy. I never knew the series was so packed with guest stars–besides the two main characters, there’s Fury, Falcon, the Beyonder and Captain Hero (a DC hero trapped in a Marvel universe)–but Priest makes it clear it’s Luke and Danny’s book.

Obviously, being a Secret Wars II crossover hampers it a little, but there’s a lot of good stuff going on here. Lots.

CREDITS

Heroes… And Other Strange Cats…!; writers, Mark Bright and Christopher Priest; penciller, Bright; inker, Jerry Acerno; colorist, Janet Jackson; letterer, Janice Chiang; editors, Don Daley and Denny O’Neil; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop: Prime Suspect 4 (January 1993)

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It’s finally over. I’m sure no one thought, seeing this series, Leon would go on to do anything good. Or draw anything competently. I mean, the art in this issue is the worst so far. It’s absolutely atrocious. I guess Dark Horse was being mindful of Robocop as a children’s property at this time, which might explain the goofy artwork, but some of it’s worse than goofy, it’s just plain bad. For instance, the female sidekick, Leon’s rendition of her is laughable. She might as well have been a trapezoid with a wig.

There’s only action in this issue; it’s hard to tell what’s Arcudi’s fault and what isn’t. It’s terrible, but it’s a terrible approach to the property and not necessarily Arcudi’s doing.

See how nice I am, giving him the benefit of the doubt? It makes me feel better when I say kindergartners could make a better comic.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, John Paul Leon; inker, Jeff Albrecht; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Edward Martin III and Barbara Kesel; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop 10 (December 1990)

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In one of the letter pages, the editor said Robocop would never meet up with any Marvel superheroes (I guess the licensing worked differently than that Spider-Man crossover with the Transformers) and this issue kind of shows why it wouldn’t work.

The last two issues have been about costumed vigilantes. Some of them are silly, some of them aren’t. And in the issue, it turns into a huge bloodbath. Grant tells this story without making any kind of comment on the superhero comic other than generally–he doesn’t point out the absurdity in the superhero comic as a concept–it’s not like there’s a scene where the Joker just shoots Batman.

It sets up Robocop a little different than the traditional comic book, as these issues sort of dismiss the idea of Robocop as a “comic book superhero.” Instead, it’s something else.

It’s a good issue, though occasionally obvious.

CREDITS

Vigilante! – Part 2: Rough Justice; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Bobbie Chase; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Incorruptible 3 (February 2010)

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Wow, it’s best issue so far. It’s still a complete piece of crap, but it’s the best issue so far. Why’s it the best issue? I have no idea, maybe I’m just being generous. Maybe the art is a little bit (we’re talking on the microscopic level) better. Or maybe because Waid isn’t having his protagonist giving speeches Sarah Palin would think are stupid?

Speaking of the protagonist, isn’t Max Damage a standard character name for everything? You’d think Boom! would have wanted something they could trademark.

So the big cliffhanger is that Max became a good guy because instead of him killing a bunch of people, the Plutonian did it.

Lame, but about on par with what I’ve come to expect from this comic book.

There isn’t anything to Incorruptible at all, except to see a smaller publisher exploit a property as selfishly as one of the big two.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; penciller, Jean Diaz; inker, Belardino Brabo; colorist, Andrew Dalhouse; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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