Ultimate Spider-Man 70 (February 2005)

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Bendis must have been going light on the Gwen mentions to save up for this issue. Here we find out Peter’s studies have been even worse since her death–he’s cutting class to web-sling the grief away. This particularly day he runs into the Ultimates–which is a little odd, especially since Bendis tells most of it in summary–and gets a fresh assignment from Jameson.

The best thing about the issue is how Bendis layers in Jameson being pissed at Urich and saddling him with Peter as a sidekick. It’s the only thing subtle in the entire issue.

There’s an uncanny tone once Peter finds out the assignment–interviewing Dr. Strange (whose Ultimate origin is maybe the most inventive of any Ultimate character and it’s just a rip of DC’s eighties stuff). Bagley handles that tone far better than the Ultimates action scenes.

It’s okay, if thoroughly unrewarding.

C+ 

CREDITS

Strange, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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The Superior Spider-Man 4 (April 2013)

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Well, I’ll eat my rotten onions right off–I miss Stegman. Giuseppe Camuncoli takes over on pencils (John Dell on inks) and it’s not a good move. There are lots of regular people scenes this issue and Camuncoli draws them like it’s an absurdist comedy. He also draws Spider-Man in Batman postures, which works out, but, wow… Not nice art.

The issue skips a head a few weeks from the last with Otto having to deal with a psychopath who Peter let get away. The psychopath is spree killing and Otto vows to stop him. Even Ghost Peter is a little taken aback at what his decision has wrought (which would be Batman’s every day given how violent his villains get).

On the “normal” side, Otto goes back to school for his doctorate. Or Peter’s doctorate.

Slott does a great job writing; shame the art isn’t up to snuff.

CREDITS

The Aggressive Approach; writer, Dan Slott; penciller, Giuseppe Camuncoli; inker, John Dell; colorist, Edgar Delgado; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Before Watchmen: Comedian 1 (August 2012)

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I thought J.G. Jones was a better artist. I don’t know why exactly, but I did. His figures in Comedian are terrible. People change size, make no sense when standing next to one another. And his faces are even worse. It’s an ugly comic. I guess the editors didn’t think they could tell him to actually work at it.

Reading the creator team, I thought I’d have the problems with Brian Azzarello, but no. It’s all Jones. Azzarello does a really good job with the writing. Eddie’s still unlikable, but Azzarello gets how to make an unlikable character interesting to read.

There’s a great finish; the issue’s got a couple big historical moments. The first is somewhat slight, but Azzarello does wonders with the second.

I can’t imagine he’ll be able to maintain this level of quality plotting.

The pirate backup’s not the worst ever, but strangely annoying here.

CREDITS

Smile; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, J.G. Jones; colorist, Alex Sinclair; letterer, Clem Robins. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, The Devil in the Deep, Part Three; writer, Len Wein; artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Mark Doyle, Camilla Zhang and Will Dennis; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 120 (June 1992)

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Bad news, good news. Eaton’s the regular penciller. In addition to TefĂ©’s undocumented nanny, Lady Jane, not having a nose, none of the other female characters seem to have much of one either. Certainly not enough to make their faces three dimensional.

Good news is Collins can write, which I already knew, but she choses to do so here. She tells Lady Jane’s origin story and she does it a lot better than the rest of the issue. It’s an unhappy story of early industrial age England, told from a woman’s perspective; it’s excellent.

The stuff with Alec being unsympathetic to Abby? Not excellent. Collins skips establishing Alec approving of Lady Jane as a nanny so his position on the matter makes no sense.

It’s only a few pages in the issue, but enough to show–juxtaposed against the Lady Jane origin–where Collins’s storytelling interests lie.

It’s mostly great.

CREDITS

Lady Jane; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

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