Black Orchid 2 (October 1993)

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If so inclined, one could admire Foreman’s commitment with the second issue. He takes everything bad about the first issue and enhances it. Except maybe the bad narrator.

Instead, he has a bunch of villainous military industrial guys who talk a lot. No pop culture reference, which is both a surprise and maybe Foreman’s best move as a writer, but their dialogue is awful. And there’s lots of it.

There’s also a strange sequence where Black Orchid’s working girl friend is identified on the street as a working girl by some toughs. Only she’s not wearing anything provocative; it’s like Thompson refused to play into Foreman’s weak plot choice.

Black Orchid’s presence brings the comic’s only pulse. Thompson and Woch draw her better than anyone else and the mystical realism aspect is neat. Foreman doesn’t go for that angle, however; he’s committed to doing a realistic superhero comic.

He’s not.

CREDITS

Black Orchid; writer, Dick Foreman; penciller, Jill Thompson; inker, Stan Woch; colorist, Digital Chameleon; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Julie Rottenberg, Tom Peyer and Lou Stathis; publisher, Vertigo.

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Fury: My War Gone By 3 (August 2012)

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It’s a disquieting issue. Disquieting is about the only word for it.

Ennis opens with a talking heads scene between Nick and his sidekick. They talk about the modern world, the Nazi, patriotism. Ennis does well with the sidekick. Nick needs someone to argue with over ideology. Makes for good dialogue too.

Then there’s the big battle scene. Except the big battle only last three pages; Ennis deals more with the lead-in to it. There’s a lot of detail in the lead-in. The battle is all for effect, to show how Nick experiences it.

The finish has a couple more unexpected turns. The bigger one comes at the end with the soft cliffhanger, but there’s the way Ennis brings in the girl and the senator too. He’s taken all the glamour of out Nick Fury and he still manages to strip off a few more layers.

Excellent work.

CREDITS

And Some People Left for Heaven Without Warning; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Goran Parlov; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Sebastian Girner and Nick Lowe; publisher, MAX.

Swamp Thing 158 (September 1995)

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As much as I like Hester and DeMulder, the beauty of the art this issue surprised me. Alec finds himself meeting the Parliament of Waves, who themselves are quite wondrous, but the art is also very expressive as Millar reveals the secret of “River Run.”

Even though there are a couple big forced foreshadowing moments, it’s one of Millar’s best issues. It’s all so tranquil; his narration for Alec is perfect. One can practically hear running water when rereading it.

The issue itself is actually almost entirely talking heads. Alec and the Parliament–there are a couple continuity breaking moments in the conversation, but Millar’s nicely earned breaking the long continuity. He maintains the important things.

It’s also surprisingly successful because of the short time–the last issue and this one–Millar’s had to fully establish the Anna character. He creates and sets free a fabulous new creation with her.

CREDITS

River Run, Conclusion: The Parliament of Waves; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

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