Batman 306 (December 1978)


Conway does a riff on High Noon with Batman protecting a drug dealer from the vigilante, the Black Spider. Because Conway keeps all Batman’s plans from the reader, it does have some successful plot twists.

Except maybe when Batman falls down the entire Wayne Foundation tree and lives. The only real damage is to his costume–the cowl and pants survive, but it’s shirtless Batman for the final showdown. Very, very odd.

Calnan continues to be ambitious, particularly during action scenes and they still don’t come off. But it’s not a bad feature.

Rozakis’s backup, with Batman trying to discover the identity of his master blackmailer, is pretty good. It ends unsatisfactorily for Batman, which one has to assume would happen a lot. There are some great summary panels from Newton too.

I think the backup might have more subplots than the feature… Conway’s story is professional, Rozakis’s is passionate.


Night of Siege; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, John Calnan; colorist, Jerry Serpe. The Mystery Murderer of “Mrs. Batman”!; writer, Bob Rozakis; penciller, Don Newton; colorist, Adrienne Roy. Inker, Dave Hunt; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, E. Nelson Bridwell and Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.


Fury: My War Gone By 7 (February 2013)


Ennis jumps ahead nine years to Vietnam. Nick’s sidekick is all of a sudden out of joint about the events in the last issue–a rare misstep from Ennis in this series–so Frank Castle comes in.

Much like Nick, Ennis is just using Frank to exploit a brand. He hasn’t done anything Punisher-like to make his identity essential. He’s just a good sniper and Nick’s just a good spy who’s having an affair with a senator’s wife.

Ennis has had to remold the Nick Fury character for this series. Gone is all the flash to make him memorable; Ennis goes with the patch, the cigar, some of the history and the personality. But he’s now got a character who isn’t going to exist beyond this series (presumably), which makes it a little hard to care about him.

I suppose the brand makes up the difference.

As usual, excellent.


Mister Chained Blue Lightning; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Goran Parlov; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Nick Lowe; publisher, MAX.

Swamp Thing 163 (February 1996)


It’s a nice, full issue. Alec meets the son of one of the Cajuns he killed–not his fault, of course, Parliament of Trees banished his human side–and has a very interesting encounter. He bonds with the kid, but also gets to talk to some of his victims.

Millar has almost made the victims a Greek chorus; they’re stuck in trees, apparently immortal, but also part of the Green. They tell Alec a lot he doesn’t want to hear–and it becomes clear Millar isn’t using Alec as a reliable narrator.

But then the last third or so of the comic is this run up to an invasion from another dimension. The three mystical beings who support Swamp Thing magically banished superhero involvement in the saving the world from destruction.

And now Alec doesn’t want to play ball.

Very good stuff, with very evocative art from Hester and DeMulder.


Trees of Knowledge; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

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