Batman Family 17 (April-May 1978)

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This issue has a neat thread running through its three feature-length stories. The Huntress (from Earth-Two) comes to Earth-One for a visit. In the Batman story, she meets him and Robin. Then she teams up with Batgirl and Batwoman. For the finale, her going home sets off the events for Man-Bat and the Demon’s story.

Gerry Conway and Jim Aparo’s Batman story is okay. Conway pauses on some character stuff–Batman meeting his “daughter”–but ignores other obvious moments, like Robin’s girlfriend being a shallow mean girl. Dick’s upset most of the issue, so his Aparo brow fits. And the ending twist’s decent.

Bob Rozakis writes a lot better than Don Heck draws the three female superheroes teaming up. Lame villain characterizations, but great stuff with Batgirl.

The winner is the Man-Bat and Demon story. Rozakis’s script is fun and Michael Golden’s artwork is breathtaking.

CREDITS

Scars; writer, Gerry Conway; artist, Jim Aparo; colorist, Adrienne Roy. Horoscopes of Crime!; writer, Bob Rozakis; penciller, Don Heck; inkers, Bob Wiacek and Vince Colletta; colorist, Jerry Serpe; letterer, Clem Robins. There’s a Demon Born Every Minute; writer, Rozakis; artist, Michael Golden; colorist, Serpe; letterer, Jean Simek. Editor, Al Milgrom; publisher, DC Comics.

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Popeye 8 (December 2012)

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It’s a full-length adventure–Langridge breaks it out into three acts and follows through. I was a little surprised how carefully he plotted the third act; the issue runs on jokes, not the narrative, but Langridge keeps both going.

Popeye’s dad has fallen for a younger woman and Popeye’s suspicious (act one). It turns out she’s after his hidden treasure and Poopdeck Pappy finally sees the light, teaming up with his son–and Olive and Wimpy–to foil her plot (act two). Then there’s the action-packed finish.

Throughout, Langridge keeps the supporting cast fluid. People come in, people go–nice little Castor bit for the attentive reader. The issue feels nice and full, even though it’s a breezy read.

Vince Musacchia packs the pages with panels too. He works up these great little (in size) panels, which read a lot bigger than they measure.

Popeye’s delightful as usual.

CREDITS

Vamped! Or The Fall of Poopdeck Pappy; writer, Roger Langridge; artist and letterer, Vince Musacchia; colorist, Luke McDonnell; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizzia Gussoni ; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Swamp Thing 155 (June 1995)

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Millar shows off. Admittedly, the constraint of the “River Run” arc–it being a short story collection–let’s him be more writerly than one usually expects from a comic, but this issue is just a fantastic show of talent.

The story centers around a Golden Age hero who has grown old, but still does the superhero thing when needed. Millar doesn’t open with him though, instead setting up the ground situation for the first few pages. Slaughter Swamp is where people go to get rid of themselves and others. And Alec pops into Solomon Grundy’s mind in this place.

The hero shows up to stop Grundy, which leads to a reasonably good fight scene from Hester and DeMulder. It doesn’t read fast enough–Millar foreshadows the hero’s death, which makes one want the issue to read faster. Then there’s the revealation.

Again, not much Alec, but who cares… It’s great.

CREDITS

River Run, Chapter Four: The Secret of Slaughter Swamp; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

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