Batman: The Widening Gyre 5 (April 2010)

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Oh, no, it’s another one with potential.

Smith doesn’t resolve the cliffhanger–he just has Bruce running off to avoid it. Bruce and Silver in Aspen, even in the few scenes they have, is terrible. Their trip is juxtaposed against Tim Drake Robin narrating. Smith writes all the Robin narrations the same, so it’s bland but not terrible.

Silver barely has any lines, which is great.

And then Flanagan pays an homage to the sixties show and Smith has a Tim Burton movie line in the dialogue… They’re finally being as obvious as they should be. If Gyre’s just lucky fan fiction, Smith should be aware enough to embrace it.

There’s a slight hiccup towards the end, but it has a surprisingly effective close. Smith all of a sudden decides to be authentic with people’s emotions.

It’s the first nearly okay issue.

I’m going to regret making that compliment.

CREDITS

Mere Anarchy; writer, Kevin Smith; penciller, Walt Flanagan; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Art Lyon; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Janelle Siegel, Mike Marts and Dan Didio; publisher, DC Comics.

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Stumptown 3 (November 2012)

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Southworth has a co-coloring credit this issue, which might explain why all of a sudden the coloring has to do sixty percent of the art’s work. It’s not just shadows, it’s perspective on people, it’s depth, it’s terrible.

Sadly, the corresponding rise in writing quality–when Southworth’s art gets even worse–doesn’t happen here. So it’s not corresponding, last issue was a fluke.

Rucka breaks the issue out into scenes. There’s a big scene with multiple stages, a small scene, another small scene, then the cliffhanger. Maybe something else happens in between but the cliffhanger shows Rucka doesn’t get the downtrodden detective genre.

He ends the issue with Dex up. Except it’s issue three so clearly she’ll have a reversal of fortune.

Another odd thing about the book is the lack of personality to the setting. Southworth draws landmarks; Rucka doesn’t do anything with them, they’re just photo references.

CREDITS

The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case, Part Three; writer, Greg Rucka; artist, Matthew Southworth; colorists, Rico Renzi and Southworth; editor, James Lucas Jones; publisher, Oni Press.

Swamp Thing 140 (March 1994)

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Grant Morrison and Mark Millar take over the book, starting with Alec Holland–a human one–waking up in Peru. Swamp Thing was just a bad trip but he’s better now.

It’s a good idea of how to relaunch the character, only they don’t even keep the concept the entire issue. Abby shows up about halfway through, then some people in Chester’s house, then something looking like Swamp Thing.

All while Alec Holland is in Peru getting stoned.

The structure’s a mess–half the comic carefully exploring the new Alec, the other half a lot of action involving the old Alec. Morrison and Millar are obviously trying to get the reader curious, but they don’t actually do anything else.

Phil Hester’s art is nice. He handles the human scenes with a lot of emotion and the horror elements are definitely disturbing.

The lack of personality makes the writers seem desperate.

CREDITS

Vegetable Man; writers, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

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