The Maze Agency Special 1 (1990)

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It’s a busy day for Gabe and Jennifer in this Special issue. What makes it special–besides the three interconnected stories, the reprint of Barr’s ashcan for Maze Agency and the extra pages–is the art. Each story has incredibly different artwork.

The first has Joe Staton (inked by Rick Magyar). Shockingly, it works out well. His story looks very fifties or sixties crime comic. His detail isn’t great, but it’s all consistent. Never thought I’d be so impressed.

Magyar takes over the art himself on the second story. He has a beautiful, moody style. It’s a shame he usually just inks the book.

Then the Pander Brothers do the last one. They’re wonderfully crazy. Seeing a straight mystery comic in their style is awesome.

And Alan Davis does the ashcan. His art’s the least impressive, which is a surprise.

The mysteries are fine but the art’s the thing here.

CREDITS

Morning: What Goes Up…; penciller, Joe Staton; inker, Rick Magyar; colorist, Scott Rockwell; letterer, Vickie Williams. Afternoon: Murder by a Hair; artist, Magyar; colorist, Rockwell; letterer, Williams. Evening: The Dog That Bit Backā€¦; artists, Arnold Pander and Jacob Pander; colorist, Alicia Basil; colorist, Williams. The Mile-High Corpse!; artist, Alan Davis; letterer, Todd Klein. Writer, Mike W. Barr; editor, David Campiti; publisher, Innovation Publishing.

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Harbinger 7 (December 2012)

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Barry Kitson on pencils makes for a better looking Harbinger overall, though inkers Lee Garbett and Khari Evans could’ve picked up the slack more when Kitson gets bored. He’s always got a rushed, unfinished feel to his faces in particular.

This issue features the renegades trying to recruit more Harbingers. Dysart splits the story between Harada at the open and then this new character–Flamingo–for the rest of the issue. Flamingo’s a stripper and has had a bad life up until Peter, Faith and Kris find her.

Oh, before I forget, it’s interesting how Dysart is positioning Kris against Harada–the two masterminds.

Back to the stripper. Dysart does a good job telling her history, though the ending seems off. Faith shows up and Faith’s so naive, it’s hard to determine if people are taking advantage of her. Good or bad.

So, besides the last couple pages… great issue.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Dysart; penciller, Barry Kitson; inkers, Lee Garbett and Khari Evans; colorists, Ian Hannin and Dan Brown; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Ultimate Spider-Man 72 (April 2005)

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Big time revelation this issue… Mary Jane was dating Harry Osborn (secretly) when the series started. Not sure how well this retcon fits in or if Bendis had it planned all the time.

But it definitely changes one’s perspective on Mary Jane. After all the issues of Peter telling her his secrets… she never told him a big one.

Otherwise, the issue just has Harry coming back. Peter’s got an action scene, but it’s probably unconnected to the bigger plot.

Bendis front loads the issue with the Mary Jane and Harry thing, then brings it back at the end to surprise the reader. Harry and Peter have the beginnings of an honest conversation–though nothing explains why Bagley draws Harry like he’s twenty-eight–but Bendis is mostly just trying to entice the reader.

He introduces a handful of rather big questions to answer; maybe even fundamentally rocking the boat.

CREDITS

Hobgoblin, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Superior Spider-Man 11 (August 2013)

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Giuseppe Camuncoli and John Dell make Otto look so positively condescending it’s wonderful. He only has a couple scenes outside his Spider-Man adventures, one with Anna and then one with his boss. I didn’t pay attention to the credits so I didn’t realize it was Christos Gage scripting from a Slott script; a lot more makes sense now.

Gage spends a lot of time writing maniacal Otto narration, which is always fun, and also goes far in establishing the revised ground situation since Ghost Peter is gone. Also gone are Peter’s supporting cast members. This issue–save Jameson–is just Otto.

Except, of course, the villains. There are lots of them and they’re really dumb looking. It feels very early nineties once the Spider Slayer gets his armor on.

As usual, the best stuff is Otto’s personal journey. The action is simply the cost of getting that peculiar story.

CREDITS

No Escape, Part One: A Lock For Every Key; writers, Dan Slott and Christos Gage; penciller, Giuseppe Camuncoli; inker, John Dell; colorist, Edgar Delgado; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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