Teen Titans 1 (November 2011)


I thought there was supposed to be a flamboyantly gay superhero in Teen Titans. There’s not.

There’s nothing here except some awful Brett Booth art and the writing stylings of Mr. Scott Lobdell. One must admire Lobdell’s consistent incompetence. I mean, one example is his narration from Tim Drake. Lobdell writes it like he’s got a character narrating a movie trailer.

Also of amusement is how Teen Titans basically just rips off Marvel’s Ultimates or, at least, did to when I fell behind in reading it. There’s this secret organization with an acronym who’s going to manage all the superhuman teenagers in the world. So a mix of the Pied Piper and Ultimate Nick Fury. Only Booth’s Nick Fury stand-in looks like a goth hipster.

Lobdell doesn’t even establish why all these teenagers have sidekick names; it’s doesn’t seem like Kid Flash is the Flash’s sidekick.

It’s truly awful.


Teen Spirit; writer, Scott Lobdell; penciller, Brett Booth; inker, Norm Rapmund; colorist, Andrew Dalhouse; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual; editors, Katie Kubert and Bobbie Chase; publisher, DC Comics.


Dark Horse Comics 14 (October 1993)


I realized, a few pages in to Mike W. Barr and Brad Rader’s Mark story, Rader’s a good artist. He’s at the beginning of his career, but he’s good. He does these Eisner-homage close-ups. Nice stuff. But The Mark looked bad at the start—because the character’s design is ludicrous.

It takes place in a pseudo-Nazi Germany or something. The writing’s generally okay, but the comics’s all about those close-ups.

Dorkin and Thompson finish their Predator story next and, wow, does Thompson get lazy. Dorkin’s script is dumb—his high humor is a dying guy making dumb jokes about being Ford-tough, but the art hammers in the nail.

Naifeh’s good on The Thing story, which really does seem to avoid any previous comic appearances. There’s some excellent writing… too bad it’s lines directly from the movie and not from Martin.

Besides Predator, it’s not bad.


The Mark, Part One: Taking Back the Streets; writer, Mike W. Barr; artist, Brad Rader; colorist, John A. Wilcox; letterer, Clem Robins. Predator, Bad Blood, Part Three; writer, Evan Dorkin; penciller, Derek Thompson; inker, Ande Parks; colorist, Robbie Busch; letterer, Pat Brosseau. The Thing From Another World, Questionable Research, Part Two; writer, Edward Martin III; penciller, Ted Naifeh; inker, Moose Baumann; colorist, Ray Murtaugh; letterer, Clem Robins. Editors, Bob Schreck, Chris Warner, Jerry Prosser, Randy Stradley and Martin; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Flash 1 (November 2011)


Why did DC hire Francis Manapul to write The Flash? I understand he’s a popular artist—even though his mix of sketchy backgrounds and slick foregrounds, to the degree it adds a false sense of focus, isn’t exactly mainstream—but did they need to keep him so much they gave him the writing chores?

Oddly, the writing is better than the art. I tired of the slick foregrounds after about three pages (the backgrounds are, falsely, interesting).

And the writing isn’t very good. Manapul and co-writer Brian Buccellato make a multi-ethnic Central City of the future. It looks like Metropolis.

Iris isn’t Barry’s wife or love interest; she’s Lois Lane.

And Barry? He hangs out on the police station rooftop like Batman.

It’s derivative and lacks any potential to get better. The cliffhanger is soft and boring. There’s no drama.

If I had any expectations, I’d be disappointed.


Writers, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato; artist, Manapul; colorist, Buccellato; letterer, Sal Cipriano; editors, Darren Shan and Brian Cunningham; publisher, DC Comics.

Dark Horse Comics 13 (September 1993)


So is Dark Horse Comics where Dark Horse stuck all their licensed properties once Presents’s sales dropped?

The creative teams are mildly interesting. Jim Woodring writing Aliens—nothing happens, it’s an all action story—with Kilian Plunkett on the art? It looks good anyway.

Ted Naifeh pencilling a Thing story? It’s more distinct because Edward Martin III’s script sort of ignores all the other Dark Horse Thing comics. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, but Martin’s a little less creative than one would like.

Then it’s an Evan Dorkin Predator story. It’s kind of funny—a Predator crashes a paint ball competition. But the humor doesn’t carry over to the dialogue; it’s just a funny idea. The Derek Thompson art is trying something different for a Predator story, lots of emotive, elongated faces.

It’s interesting to see these attempts, but none of them are good. Especially not the Aliens.


Aliens, Backsplash, Part Two; writer, Jim Woodring; artist, Kilian Plunkett; colorist, Matthew Hollingsworth; letterer, Ellie De Ville. The Thing From Another World, Questionable Research, Part One; writer, Edward Martin III; penciller, Ted Naifeh; inker, Moose Baumann; colorist, Ray Murtaugh; letterer, Clem Robins. Predator, Bad Blood, Part Two; writer, Evan Dorkin; penciller, Derek Thompson; inker, Ande Parks; colorist, Robbie Busch; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Editors, Ryder Windham, Randy Stradley and Martin; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men 1 (November 2011)


Reading Firestorm, I almost feel like… Gail Simone doesn’t like Firestorm. I mean, not really. It’s not a bad thing—the bad things about Firestorm are unrelated to it—but I was mildly excited, but then Simone and co-plotter Ethan Van Sciver flush everything distinctive about the original series. New York? Gone. Single dad? Gone.

It’s a teen boy book instead and Simone doesn’t shirk away from the racial stuff. I really did like how she’s dealing with it, how the charge of racism bothers one of the protagonists and so on.

Unfortunately, the thoughtfulness of that one social situation doesn’t carry over to the rest of the comic being any good. The plotting is lame—the whole Firestorm protocol thing is just stupid. Who knew Van Sciver and Simone secretly wanted to plot a bad cartoon?

But, Yildiray Cinar’s art is great superhero stuff.

Overall, it’s inoffensively bad.


God Particle; writers, Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone; artist, Yildiray Cinar; colorist, Steve Buccellato; letterer, Travis Lanham; editor, Rachel Gluckstern; publisher, DC Comics.

The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 4 (March 1994)


I’m sadly unimpressed with de Vries’s finish to Eternal Vows. It’s all supposed to be this great love story about this sailor and his squeeze in this little town. I thought de Vries was actually going to kill MacReady or something.

I swear I read these Thing comics back when I was a kid and they were a lot more sensical.

Gulacy does a fine job with everything. Davis continues to be a good inker for him. It’s too bad there wasn’t much to do. The monstrous aspects of the Thing are sort of tame in the comic book form. Without slime, it just doesn’t work.

It’s also unfortunate de Vries ran out of ideas and did yet another blood test with the flamethrower and the dishes. He moves the action to an anchored ship and rapidly repeats the same tropes.

The finale’s a disappointment. It seemed to be improving….


Writer, David de Vries; penciller, Paul Gulacy; inker, Dan Davis; colorist, Matthew Hollingsworth; letterer, Steve Haynie; editors, Randy Stradley and Bob Cooper; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Aquaman 1 (November 2011)


Ha, ha, Aquaman’s lame. He’s so lame bloggers make fun of him when he goes out for fish and chips.

Geoff Johns’s take on Aquaman is to make him into an ironic superhero. Everyone mocks him, but the women still want him and the men still want to be him. Because his staff makes a Wolverine “snikt.” Johns is actually just rehabbing Aquaman for a movie. Seriously, I’d go see a movie with this Aquaman in it.

He’s like Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man movies.

A lot like him.

Anyway, moving on. It’s not awful. Johns is being silly, but… who doesn’t like laughing at Aquaman? It’s mildly amusing junk.

Then, about halfway through the comic, I realized I’d be reading it even if it wasn’t part of the relaunch. And I realized why.

Ivan Reis’s fantastic artwork. Whether it’s people, Aquaman or the sea monsters, it’s awesome.


Trench, Part One; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Ivan Reis; inker, Joe Prado; colorist, Rod Reis; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano; editors, Sean Mackiewicz and Pat McCallum; publisher, DC Comics.

The Thing from Another World: Eternal Vows 3 (February 1994)


For someone who really likes explaining things, de Vries doesn’t go into how MacReady has become an international Thing hunter.

But while his presence is narratively ludicrous, de Vries uses the character well. Oh, there’s some lame dialogue, but the issue’s sort of good. de Vries cuts back a little on how the Thing operates and behaves, but only on the telling part. He still shows this one Thing spread its control over a town. The problem is with the infected having autonomy. It doesn’t fit with the movie, or even the previous comic books. Instead, it’s Body Snatchers with tentacles.

But sort of good.

Gulacy is a fine asset on the book—he brings some professionalism to it, but it’s still a difficult plot to visualize. The Thing in a small fishing town. It’s not a particularly interesting setting.

As a mix of action, suspense and horror, it works.


Writer, David de Vries; penciller, Paul Gulacy; inker, Dan Davis; colorist, Matthew Hollingsworth; letterer, Steve Haynie; editors, Randy Stradley and Bob Cooper; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Superman 1 (November 2011)


The “Ultimatizing” of the DC relaunch continues… with Samuel L. Jackson as the new Morgan Edge. Sorry, cheap shot, but Superman is the first book where there’s an effort to make the DCU more diverse.

I was looking forward to this comic because I figured George Perez could write a decent Superman comic and he does. There are some problems with the newspaper copy he uses as a narrative device (it’s a poorly written newspaper article) and then there’s the art, but otherwise, it’s good.

The art isn’t Perez’s fault. While he gets the breakdown credit, Jesus Merino handles the heavy lifting and Merino’s… Well, he’s problematic.

The action is all good—but I assume it was broken down. The problem is with the regular stuff. Merino’s people look terrible. He doesn’t draw the human head properly.

Still, that problem aside, Perez’s respectful scripting makes Superman a somewhat homely success.


What Price Tomorrow?; writer, George Pérez; pencillers, Pérez and Jesus Merino; inker, Merino; colorist, Brian Buccellato; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual; editors, Matt Idelson and Wil Moss; publisher, DC Comics.

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