Planet of the Apes: Urchak’s Folly 4 (April 1991)

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Coming to the end, Urchak’s Folly falls victim to a problem I hadn’t anticipated. Chaloner doesn’t do the finished pencils, just layouts. Gates takes over the pencil finishes and it shows. One could use this series, then, as an example of how inkers don’t always make an exceptional difference.

But Chaloner’s writing is still strong.

The big revelation this issue is unexpected. I had thought it’d be a dream, the entire Planet of the Apes franchise, but it’s not. Chaloner actually ties it all in to another famous work of science fiction, but I won’t spoil it… even though no one can find Folly outside of a back issue bin.

Chaloner’s focus moves around a little, away from the characters introduced the previous issue, then back again to them. It sweeps nicely, managing to cover the revelation organically. It all fits together perfectly.

Folly, even with lesser art, still wows.

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Justice League 2 (December 2011)

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Superman’s a dick.

And so is Cyborg’s dad.

Other than those two developments, I’m not entirely sure what new developments Justice League has to offer. Jim Lee and his funny new superhero outfits?

Towards the end, when Darkseid’s minions break through to attack, it almost works. Johns and Lee almost get the issue to the point where it achieves some kind of visceral moment. But it’s only a two page spread… the rest of the comic is totally ineffective visually.

Marvel Studios guy Kevin Feige describes the Marvel team-up style as heroes who “fight each other, then they fight together.” So, yet again, the new DC Universe is just the old Warner Bros. underwear washed with Disney-brand detergent….

It’s better than the first issue if only because Barry and Hal are slightly amusing together. They remind of better comics, whereas Batman and Superman remind of crappy Frank Miller.

CREDITS

Justice League, Part Two; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Jim Lee; inker, Scott Williams; colorist, Alex Sinclair; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Rex Ogle and Eddie Berganza; publisher, DC Comics.

Planet of the Apes: Urchak’s Folly 3 (March 1991)

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Chaloner doesn’t have too much quality drop, but there is a little. He’s delaying the revelations about the protagonist by introducing new material—stuff from the movies, actually—and then the titular Urchak going nutty.

But Urchak isn’t as interesting as the rest of the cast. He works far better when he’s silent and dangerous instead of loud and insane.

Still, Chaloner can get away with it, particularly since he opens the issue with a couple wonderful double page spreads. The art in this issue, like always with Folly, surprises me. It doesn’t fit with what I think of Adventure in general and its Apes franchise in particular. It’s way too good, way too creative, way too exuberant, for a licensed property.

After sustaining the quality this issue, I’m now excited for the final one. Chaloner, I name I was unfamiliar with before Folly, appears to be a great discovery.

Nightwing 2 (December 2011)

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Nightwing might be a little better. I mean, not a lot, but a little. Barrows, for example, gets positively ambitious when it comes to page layouts. Maybe he’s been reading some eighties Batman, since Higgins is still ripping them off.

Two big developments this issue—first, Dick Grayson now owns Haly’s Circus. Not sure if he owns the pre-Flashpoint Haley’s Circus too, or just the one with the inexplicably changed name. Second, Haly’s Circus has a secret.

Now, I’m pretty sure Dick once owned Haly’s in the eighties and, if he didn’t, he at least solved its big secret. It’s a shame DC didn’t just reprint the old eighties Robin backups covering the same material, as the art and writing were, you know, good.

Another strange element is all the gratuitous sex in the new DC Universe. Dick hooks up with a bimbo. Yippee.

Still, better than last issue.

CREDITS

Haly’s Wish; writer, Kyle Higgins; penciller, Eddy Barrows; inkers, J.P. Mayer and Paulo Siqueira; colorist, Rod Reis; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual; editors, Katie Kubert and Bobbie Chase; publisher, DC Comics.

Planet of the Apes: Urchak’s Folly 2 (February 1991)

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I’m a little taken aback by Folly. The first issue was shockingly good for a licensed property, but this one is even better.

Chaloner uses the franchise to tell this fantastic story of mismatched characters. The Apes setting is both a constraint and a device to bring the elements together.

This issue reveals, like everyone at Adventure, Chaloner plays fast and loose with continuity. Only here, who cares? It’s such a good comic, it’s too bad it’s tied to the rest of the Apes. It really ought to be collected.

Chaloner has set up this miserable expedition, with all sorts of infighting and machinations. The human protagonist is somewhat passive here, though his backstory seems incredible–it’s the one place where Chaloner might have set the bar too high.

He–and the reader–watches everything collide and explode. It’s great writing and excellent art.

Chaloner does fantastic work. Unbelievably good.

Catwoman 2 (December 2011)

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You know what… it’s not a bad storyline. Sure, Winick’s dialogue has a number of weak lines and his Batman narration is far better than his Catwoman narration, but this issue almost has me convinced I’d be reading Catwoman just for the plotting.

But only almost.

The single best thing in the issue is Winick’s handling of Alfred. Unfortunately, it’s not an Alfred comic.

There are some strange plot developments, especially looking at it as a second issue, where one would assume Winick’s still establishing the setting. Maybe he figures it’ll get cancelled before too long and is being safe.

The plot involves Catwoman playing tricks on Russian mobsters, but also on Bruce Wayne. He’s angry about it in general, and presumably more so because of their naughty time.

Winick identifies good external and internal conflicts and runs with them. If only he wrote better dialogue… Catwoman might approach good.

CREDITS

“I could say that I’ll sleep better, but that’s a lie.”; writer, Judd Winick; artist, Guillem March; colorist, Tomeu Morey; letterer, Sal Cipriano; editors, Rickey Purdin and Rachel Gluckstern; publisher, DC Comics.

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