2000 AD 5 (26 March 1977)

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It’s a distressingly tepid issue. Even with Judge Dredd fighting a giant robot gorilla–or maybe because of that emphasis on absurd bigness. The Dredd story does look good though–Carlos Ezquerra bakes dry humor into every panel.

The opening Invasion story is a bore. Finley-Day’s just writing dialogue for action scenes and he’s not particularly good at it. Sarompas’s art on the story is lacking.

At least the art on Flesh is good. Nothing happens in the story except dinosaur rampage (including raptors before anyone knew to call them raptors). Sola’s artwork is beautiful, which makes up for a lot. But it’s still pointless.

Harlem Heroes finishes the first game and then Tully speeds up the overall plot. The plot’s more interesting than the game coverage, but not much.

Dan Dare and M.A.C.H. 1 are both lame, but M.A.C.H. 1 is much worse. It’s exceptionally bad this programme.

CREDITS

Invasion, The Resistance, Part Five; writer, Gerry Finley-Day; artist, Sarompas; letterer, John Aldrich. Flesh, Book One, Part Five; writer, Studio Giolitti; artist, Ramon Sola; letterer, Bill Nuttall. Harlem Heroes, Part Five; writer, Tom Tully; artist and letterer, Dave Gibbons. Dan Dare, Part Five; writer, Kelvin Gosnell; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterer, Jack Potter. M.A.C.H. 1, Probesnatch; writer, Nick Allen; artist, John Cooper; letterer, Jack Potter. Judge Dredd, Krong; writer, Malcolm Shaw; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; letterer, S. Richardson. Publisher, IPC.

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The Superior Spider-Man 9 (July 2013)

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Whew. There I was, having to take back some negative comments about Slott’s pacing last issue and how well he sold the story overall… and now I’m validated.

This issue reads in something like two minutes, maybe three if you take a bathroom break.

Otto zooms down into his own mind to fight the collected memories of Peter Parker–Ghost Peter isn’t a ghost as much as congealed memories–and there’s a big street fight out of Superman II.

Lots of guest stars. Pretty much every supporting cast member, friend and foe. Ryan Stegman must have had a great time drawing it, but there’s no story. It’s a scene out of a bad Matrix knock-off. Slott gets in one moment at the end where Ghost Peter is revealed as selfish (just like Otto) but he doesn’t do anything with the duality.

The issue’s pointless. Slott wastes the reader’s time.

CREDITS

Troubled Mind, Part Three: Gray Matters; writer, Dan Slott; artist, Ryan Stegman; colorist, Edgar Delgado; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Swamp Thing 146 (September 1994)

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Millar goes for as disturbing as possible. There’s no humor in it, no smiles, it’s just Alec trapped in a decaying human form in Amsterdam, surrounded by perversions, desperate to escape.

Meanwhile, there’s the big game hunter, who’s a caricature, out to get him. But the big game hunter is the only caricature–the rest of the supporting cast fits into the comic’s tone. There are psychics for the government, there’s the weird magic of the Traveller, it all feels appropriate.

As for Alec… Millar’s pushing to make him as sympathetic as possible. But the sympathy doesn’t ground the comic. Swamp Thing is all over the place, with Millar questioning the reader’s understanding of current events as much as he does Alec’s.

It’s an unpleasant read; Millar needs a big pay-off to succeed.

Hester and DeMulder’s art is excellent. Even the mundane appears horrific. It’s a horror comic again.

CREDITS

Murder in the Dark; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

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