Dark Horse Presents 86 (June 1994)

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The issue opens with a sci-fi story–from Watt-Evans and Robinson–about a female space traveler who finds a world filled with adorable little creatures out of a Disney cartoon. It turns out they’re very amorous to the human female, which provides for a rather amusing story. Watt-Evans’s story is well-paced and always thoughtful. There are the technical problems of the protagonist, but she’s always around the funny little green guys. It’s too bad Robinson’s art isn’t better.

Star Riders is weak. Everything good about the first installment is missing here. Gagnon complicates everything with technical jargon and sci-fi details. Racine’s art gets real lazy–quite an achievement considering he appears to have photocopied his pencils and called them inked.

Janes and Plunkett’s Eighth Wonder is too short and too slight this issue. Some nice Plunkett art, but unfortunately Janes’s narrative seems to have stalled.

CREDITS

A Breath of Fresh Air; story by Lawrence Watt-Evans; art by Andrew Robinson; lettering by Vickie Williams. Star Riders, Part Two; story by Étienne Gagnon and Edward Martin III; art by Alex Racine; lettering by Williams. The 8th Wonder, Part Two; story by Peter Janes; art by Kilian Plunkett; lettering by Williams. Edited by Randy Stradley.

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Dark Horse Presents 85 (May 1994)

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This issue might be the first where there’s nothing great, but nothing bad. Everything is just solid. In fact, everything is ambitious too. Well, except maybe Star Riders, which appears to be a tie-in to a roll playing game.

Johnson and Dringenberg’s opener is about an Imperial Japanese artist who’s a little too good at his work. Dringenberg’s emotive artwork–and especially his panel designs–do well. Johnson’s a little pretentious, but it’s a ghost story set in Imperial Japan appearing in an American comic… not much chance it wasn’t going to be pretentious.

Janes and Plunkett’s Eighth Wonder is about a scientist aiding in the construction of a huge bridge. It’s in a steampunk setting and it’s generally fine. It goes on a little long though.

Star Riders (from Gagnon and Racine) is harmless space adventure stuff. It’s not too technical; it worries more about being fun instead.

CREDITS

The Painted Horse; story by Kij Johnson; art by Mike Dringenberg; lettering by Steve Dutro. The 8th Wonder, Part One; story by Peter Janes; art by Kilian Plunkett; lettering by Vickie Williams. Star Riders, Part One; story by Étienne Gagnon and Edward Martin III; art by Alex Racine; lettering by Williams. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Immortal Weapons 5 (January 2010)

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You know who David Lapham can’t write? Danny Rand. You know who he has as his de facto protagonist? Danny Rand.

John Aman—the Prince of Orphans—is secondary to his own issue. Lapham even writes an adventure for Danny and Luke with a wacky miniature villain. I guess Aman gets the opening scene but….

Worse, it’s like Lapham never even read Brubaker and Fraction’s Immortal Iron Fist issues with Aman and Danny to get the relationship down. He just makes Danny a pest—it’s like he’s writing Spider-Man as Danny Rand.

I guess it’s an okay story for not being any good and Lozzi’s art is lovely.

This whole Immortal Weapons series is a waste of time.

And the Swierczynski Iron Fist backup, which started so nice, is a waste. Swierczynski lost hold of the narrative—it’s obvious. And Diaz’s artwork is even worse than before. He’s awful.

CREDITS

Prince of Orphans: The Loyal Ten Thousand Dead; writer, David Lapham; artist, Arturo Lozzi; colorist, June Chung. The Caretakers, Conclusion; writer, Duane Swierczynski; artist, Hatuey Diaz; colorist, June Chung. Letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Immortal Weapons 4 (January 2010)

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There’s the Swierczynski I was expecting… turning in a completely useless issue.

Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter gets the feature. Swierczynski’s so wrapped up in his Amazon warrior women story he neglects to mention a) the name of the Heavenly City and b) how they could possibly have an Immortal Weapon. It’s nonsensical, but also bad.

Swierczynski tries real hard not to be sexist, but fails miserably. I also like how he borrows the reasoning for some Muslim women taking the veil (so their features aren’t their defining factor) as the warrior women putting on face guards. However, these warrior women are running around in bikinis so I’m not sure what difference the face guard makes.

Also… if Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter is supposed to be beautiful, did someone forget to tell Evans? The character’s funny looking.

The Iron Fist backup is, again, too short and too unbearably ugly (thanks to Diaz’s art).

CREDITS

Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter; writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Khari Evans; inkers, Victor Olazaba and Allen Martinez. The Caretakers, Part Four; writer, Duane Swierczynski; artist, Hatuey Diaz. Colorist, June Chung; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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