Blackhawks 1 (November 2011)


I thought I was going to hate Blackhawks, but it’s sort of so dumb I can’t.

Mike Costa’s not a terrible writer. Heck, I wish DC had put him on about six other relaunch books. Again, he’s not good, but he’s not terrible.

The art’s not so good either, but I guess if you like action you might like it.

No, what makes Blackhawks so undeniably interesting is that action. It’s G.I. Joe. It’s DC’s version of a G.I. Joe comic. It has nothing to do with the Blackhawks. It’s DC thinking people buy G.I. Joe comics because it’s about dumb nicknames and action scenes with big guns.

Blackhawks sums up everything wrong with DC (and parent company Warner Bros.). You can’t ape G.I. Joe.

Of some additional interest is the revelation in the new DCU, the U.N. has secret superhero prisons set up in other countries. Super-rendition, anyone?


Writer, Mike Costa; pencillers, Graham Nolan and Ken Lashley; inker, Lashley; colorist, Guy Major; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Janelle Asselin and Mike Marts; publisher, DC Comics.


Planet of the Apes 3 (July 1990)


Looking at Burles’s “art,” I’ll bet he really likes Kirby. He sort of draws Kirby bodies, but poorly. His faces too… Kirby-esque, only horrendous. I wonder if inker Kaalberg helps or hinders.

Again, Marshall comes up with some great action scenes and Burles butchers them. There’s one of a gorilla—the good gorilla, named Grunt—taking down a horse. Should be epic. It isn’t.

Marshall runs into a lot of logic holes this issue, even when he comes up with good material. For example, he has a couple chimps find the Statue of Liberty. They think it’s cool and interesting and whatever. It shows the inhabitants existing in the world, something the movies were really bad about.

Unfortunately, he also has the weird unspeaking human thing. It’s like Marshall never saw the fifth Apes movie. He’s inventive enough I wish he’d explain it.

So, besides the art, it’s fine.


Conquest; writer, Charles Marshall; penciller, Kent Burles; inker, Barbara Kaalberg; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Dan Danko, Chris Ulm and Mickie Villa; publisher, Adventure Comics.

The Savage Hawkman 1 (November 2011)


An adult came up with the name Morphicius? Or does Tony Daniel have some really dimwitted nine year olds working for him? Writing his dialogue, coming up with his logic… no, I imagine a nine year old dimwit would do better.

I didn’t realize Hawkman was Daniel. Right away, the terrible writing started cluing me in. As for the art, the terrible painted style confused me—than I checked the cover and saw it was Philip Tan. In Tan-land, no one has eyeballs, just empty sockets. It’s clearly a style thing.

Hawkman is kind of funny because it’s not just crap, it’s derivative crap.

Imagine Hawkman mixed with Spider-Man’s alien costume and you’ll be on the right track. I guess Daniel felt bad he missed out on “Venom-Island” or whatever the Spider-Man Venom crossover was called. Because he’s got lots of Venoms here.

Hawkman’s putrid garbage.


Hawkman Rising; writer, Tony S. Daniel; artist, Philip Tan; colorist, Sunny Gho; letterer, Travis Lanham; editor, Janelle Asselin; publisher, DC Comics.

Planet of the Apes 2 (June 1990)


I feel bad for Marshall.

He comes up with this conflicted tale—the gorillas are the bad guys, yes, but not all gorillas. It’s lack of proper nurturing (there are no gorilla females in the Apes franchise, are there?), not their nature. Then there’s the humans behaving very badly.

And he has a big action scene to show these issues colliding… and Burles can’t do it at all. I wonder what Marshall’s scripts look like, because he’s got a flashback visually juxtaposed with two different contemporary scenes, all connected. If Burles came up with that composition—wouldn’t one think he would know how to actually render the images?

Anyway, there are some more dramatic incongruities, but it’s a lot better of a comic than I was expecting. The Marvel series showed Apes could be good comics. This one seems to show the potential exists, even when the art is lousy.


Escape!; writer, Charles Marshall; penciller, Kent Burles; inker, Barbara Kaalberg; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Dan Danko, Chris Ulm and Mickie Villa; publisher, Adventure Comics.

All-Star Western 1 (November 2011)


Probably foolishly, I always ignored Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti’s Jonah Hex. They relaunch the title here, in All-Star Western and it’s one of the best DC relaunch books.

Maybe because Gray and Palmiotti aren’t really relaunching anything.

The issue takes Hex to Gotham City as it’s being founded and gets him involved in a mystery with Professor Arkham. Or Doctor Arkham. I can’t remember. Arkham narrates to great effect, spinning his wheels about Hex’s psychology while laying out the developments in their investigation too.

It’s really… neat. Gray and Palmiotti sort of embrace the idea of being a DC fan. There’s all sorts of mentions of ancestors to familiar cast members–Mayor Cobblepot, a Wayne, maybe something else. It feels more like a DC limited series from the nineties, Jonah Hex travels through DC’s history, and it works really well.

Of course, having Moritat’s excellent artwork doesn’t hurt.


Writers, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Moritat; colorist, Gabriel Bautista; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Kate Stewart and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

Planet of the Apes 1 (April 1990)


Charles Marshall sets his Apes maybe sixty years after the last movie. This time period avoids continuity problems, I suppose, but Marshall also makes a bunch of strange decisions.

Most humans can no longer talk, even though in the future epilogue of the final movie… they can.

He also has an excerpted quote from the 1982 World Book, but it’s from the real World Book, not one from the Apes universe. I get what he’s trying to do in the scene, it’s just a missed opportunity for better detail.

Marshall gets around to having an ape finally going power mad–a gorilla, of course–and it’s one of the better developments in this issue.

Adventure didn’t have a good production budget–Kent Burles’s pencils are awful–but “mistakes” aside, Marshall does show some ambition.

He also knows how to pace a comic. Lots happens here, it’s not a skimpy read.


Beneath; writer, Charles Marshall; penciller, Kent Burles; inker, Barbara Kaalberg; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Dan Danko, Chris Ulm and Mickie Villa; publisher, Adventure Comics.

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