2000 AD 11 (7 May 1977)

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It’s another less than impressive outing.

Ramon Sola does the art for both Invasion and Flesh, so those strips look good. Invasion’s really boring; I suppose Flesh would be too, except writer Kelvin Gosnell tasks Sola with drawing hundreds of dinosaurs. They make up for it.

Wagner’s Judge Dredd story isn’t bad (it’s the issue’s best), but Ron Turner’s art is a little weak. It’s not a hard story to tell–the robots go nuts and attack humans–but Turner is weak on the details. It’s never interesting looking.

Dan Dare finishes up its first storyline and threatens a second. It’s probably the best strip so far, but only because it promises to be over (then takes that promise away, unfortunately).

M.A.C.H. 1 is dumb, involving a fast car trip. Barry Mitchell’s art isn’t bad, but there are continuity gaffs throughout.

Terrible Harlem Heroes. Tully’s scripts are getting worse.

CREDITS

Invasion, Dartmoor, Part Two; writer, Kelvin Gosnell; artist, Ramon Sola; letterer, Peter Knight. Flesh, Book One, Part Eleven; writer, Gosnell; artist, Sola; letterer, Knight. Judge Dredd, Robot Wars, Part Two; writer, John Wagner; artist, Ron Turner; letterer, Bill Nuttall. Dan Dare, Part Eleven; writer, Gosnell; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterer, Knight. M.A.C.H. 1, Operation Death-Drive!; writer, Roy Preston; artist, Barry Mitchell; letterer, Jack Potter. Harlem Heroes, Part Eleven; writer, Tom Tully; artist and letterer, Dave Gibbons. Editor, Pat Mills; publisher, IPC.

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Fury: My War Gone By 12 (July 2013)

Fury MAX Vol 1 12

Ennis gives Nick his big chance and he blows it. Parlov’s expression on his face is just amazing.

The wrap up with Barracuda isn’t bad at all. Ennis comes up with a more interesting solution to the Nicaragua question than I was expecting; there’s even a good moment for the sidekick, who’s been superfluous for almost nine issues at this point.

There’s finally an conversation about aging, though shouldn’t the whole series been about it. Ennis either tried too much or not enough; he’s probably done the best he could with the concept, but it being Nick Fury… he could only do so much.

Maybe some of his decisions–no SHIELD, no Dum-Dum, no explanation of what Nick does in the decades between arcs–were bad ones.

He definitely has primed Fury for the final issue. I assume it’ll be good, though not enough to tie it all together.

CREDITS

Before Man Was, War Waited; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Goran Parlov; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Nick Lowe; publisher, MAX.

Ultimate Spider-Man 76 (June 2005)

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The Ultimate Spider-Man all action issue. Let’s see, do we have Peter’s internal dialogue going full steam? Yep. Is Mary Jane unexpectedly in danger? Yep. Is the threat lame? Yep.

First, Bendis does do a great job with the internal dialogue. Peter’s conflict over fighting Hobgoblin Harry is great. All the stuff he says? Great. But it’s ephemeral. Bendis isn’t building towards anything, just getting some words on the page in front of the fight scene. Hobgoblin’s real ugly too; not sure if Bagley’s lazy or it’s on purpose.

Mary Jane showing up is yet another wishy-washy thing Bendis is doing with her. She’s there to confront Harry, meaning she didn’t listen to Peter–who told her to stay away to stay safe.

As for Hobgoblin as a villain? He’s destroying Manhattan. Whoop-de-doo. All Ultimate villains destroy Manhattan. The heroes too.

And why’s Nick Fury M.I.A.?

CREDITS

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

Strange Heroes 1 (June 2000)

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Apparently Lone Star Press comics need contrived Texas connections. Bill Willingham isn’t from Texas, but both his Strange Heroes stories have Texan lead characters. The first is about a wizard in training and the location doesn’t matter whatsoever. The second is about someone stuck on a lost world island; particularly doesn’t matter there.

Neither story has much going for it. In the first, with Kelsey Shannon pencils and Sam de la Rosa, Willingham tries to get a lot of mileage out of a talking wizard cat. He doesn’t get any. Not even the punchlines work. Shannon’s layouts are excruciatingly boring. Terrible expository dialogue too.

The second story has somewhat better art from Bobby Diaz and Bill Williams. Diaz doesn’t have enough detail and his action pacing’s off, but it’s better. It’s all action, so even though the writing’s not great, it too exceeds the first story.

It’s a tepid effort.

CREDITS

Spellbinder, Chapter One; penciller, Kelsey Shannon; inker, Sam de la Rosa; letterer, Brad Thomte. Otherland, Chapter One; penciller, Bobby Diaz; inker and letterer, Bill Williams. Writer, Bill Willingham; editor, Williams; publisher, Lone Star Press.

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