The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 29 (May 1985)

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Whew, I thought something happened to Dikto and since the previous issue he forgot everything he knew about composition completely and replaced it with the inept angles of someone without dimension vision.

But it’s a new penciller–Ricardo Villamonte–and he’s awful. He ruins a bunch of good action set pieces in Grant’s script. She’s got a lot of material in the issue. Not enough for two but enough for one and a half easy. Indy meets up with an old flame, an old friend, dueling gangsters–it’s practically Yojimbo. It’s not, but it’s closer to it than I’d have expected from Grant.

Villamonte can’t do the talking, he really can’t do action, he can’t do much of anything. He can’t even draw Indy’s face the same size from panel to panel. It’s a shame Marvel is giving up on the book once they’ve got an okay writer in place.

C 

CREDITS

Shot by Both Sides; writer, Linda Grant; penciller, Ricardo Villamonte; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, George Roussos; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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The Illegitimates 2 (January 2014)

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I tried, I really did try. But Sharpe’s lame, generic buff figures are just too much. He’s got no style, no finesse. The script is full of James Bond winks and Sharpe can’t bring personality to stereotypes much less settings.

But it’s not all Sharpe’s fault. Andreyko and Killam do a fine job with all the James Bond stuff–the villains conspiring, the crisis station–they just don’t do a good job with their lead actors, the James Bond Squad or whatever.

The writers go for cheap gags instead of actual scenes. Not one of the presumable main cast members has any personality in this issue, not a one. It’s like reading a movie trailer and getting all the worst parts of the movie left in. I’m sure the creators–and IDW–are hoping for a movie deal on the concept.

Because they sure don’t have it on the story.

D+ 

CREDITS

We Are Family; writers, Marc Andreyko and Taran Killam; penciller, Kevin Sharpe; inker, Diana Greenhalgh; colorist, Pete Pantazis; letterer, Thomas F. Zahler; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Detective Comics 562 (May 1986)

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It’s hard to recall the feature story after the fantastic art on the Green Arrow backup. Moore does an amazing job. It’s packed with content too, so there’s a lot of variety. It’s not good content; since adding Black Canary, Cavalieri is struggling with a storyline and the basic characterizations. But great art. Just great.

On the feature, Colan continues his downward slide. There are occasionally good panels and often great composition in long shots and medium shots, but Colan and Smith aren’t bringing the detail anymore.

It’s a tense issue. Moench writes his villain to be more of a spree killer than a supervillain, which is a nice change. There’s a lot more talk about Robin’s jealousy over Catwoman, but no sign Moench knows where to take it. Not even Robin and Bullock are amusing together.

The feature has some moments; Batman and Catwoman do make a good team.

B- 

CREDITS

Reeling; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Bob Smith; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Workman. Green Arrow, The Criminal Element; writer, Joey Cavalieri; penciller, Jerome Moore; inker, Dell Barras; colorist, Jeanine Casey; letterer, Agustin Mas. Editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Pretty Deadly 4 (January 2014)

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A real cast list. All I ask for is a real cast list. It’s got to make sense–and even I figured out the main girl’s destiny–but a cheat sheet would be so helpful. I probably could look online, couldn’t I?

But I like being off balance with Pretty Deadly. Something about Rios’s art makes discovering story connections, instead of worrying about them before reading, a more pleasing reading experience.

This issue might have DeConnick’s first tranquil scene in the series–Death talking to his love (more her talking to him). It’s a strange, beautiful, sad scene.

There’s also a big fight scene. Rios does fine with it, but it goes on way too long. Rios has a lyrical quality to her action, especially this fight–told mostly in long shots–and the horizontal panels get a wee long in the tooth.

DeConnick’s setting up for something rather big.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick; artist, Emma Rios; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editor, Sigrid Ellis; publisher, Image Comics.

The Legend of Luther Strode 6 (August 2013)

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The big finale is pretty much what I expected. It’s a setup for the next series; so if Jordan’s writing this series just as a lead-in… well, it shouldn’t have been six issues. It could have been three and been much, much better.

It’s another fight scene. Moore gets to do a mall fight, kind of Dawn of the Dead. It’s cool looking enough.

Jordan opens the issue trying to build up the characters. There’s more conversation from Luther Strode on the first two pages of this issue than in any of the previous ones. It’s too little, too late. Jordan’s managed to exhaust all his goodwill from the first series and start chopping away at the goodwill Moore is still garnering.

On the other hand, another sequel couldn’t have much to do with this series so Jordan might turn things around. Legend is nicely drawn and totally useless.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Justin Jordan; artist, Tradd Moore; colorist, Felipe Sobreiro; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

EGOs 1 (January 2014)

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I don’t know where to go on EGOs. On one hand, writer Stuart Moore does a great job with the sci-fi universe setup. Gus Storms’s art is kind of a friendly Prophet. It’s never gross, never too bloody.

But it’s not just a sci-fi story, it’s a superhero sci-fi story. It’s the Legion of Super-Heroes getting the “grown-up, grim and gritty” treatment. It’s goofy. Is it going to be goofy in a good way? It’s hard to say, as Moore did put in all that sci-fi setup work. It’s like he takes the science fiction future part of it far more seriously than the superhero stuff.

The characters seem like they could be good. The protagonists are a fighting married couple, retired superheroes with nothing else to do. And Moore doesn’t wink at them. It’s all straightforward and sincere.

I’m hopeful, but shouldn’t be.

B- 

CREDITS

Dead Worlds; writer, Stuart Moore; artist and colorist, Gus Storms; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Marie Javins and Moore; publisher, Image Comics.

Batman 395 (May 1986)

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Moench tries for way too much this issue. First, he’s got a new villain for Batman to deal with, then he’s got Batman and Catwoman smooching at the Bat-signal. Robin’s jealous so he teams up with Harvey Bullock. So both teams are investigating, Robin’s being nasty to Catwoman, but then it all turns out it’s a Hitchcock homage with Vicki and Julia.

Any number of those items could fuel its own issue–or easily half issue–but Moench throws them all in here. Oh, I forgot his lame, film-quoting villain. Moench overstuffs the issue; it comes as a surprise even, which is a plus. At first, it seems like Julia and Vicki are around as filler for a scene, not the protagonists of the cliffhanger.

Another problem is Mandrake. He’s too loose this issue, his figures too exaggerated. Hurried might be all right, but the art seems rushed.

C+ 

CREDITS

The Film Freak; writer, Doug Moench; artist, Tom Mandrake; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterers, John Workman and John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Hawkeye 16 (February 2014)

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Once again, why is Matt Fraction even writing Clint Barton issues of Hawkeye when he’s got the opportunity to write these Kate issues.

It’s a done-in-one, “Rockford” style detective issue. Kate comes across a guy walking down the freeway, discovers he’s got a story (sixties rock legend turned burnout) and tries to help him. Things do not go particularly well, but they go badly in very amusing ways. Plus, Kate develops as a character throughout, between her neighbors, the angry police chief and her supermarket P.I. mentor. It’s all so awesome, one would think Fraction wouldn’t want to write Clint anymore either.

I won’t even get into how movie-ready a nineteen year-old, female superhero would be for Disney.

Nice art from Annie Wu, who gets in some nice psychedelic poster art influences–doing a flashback with a guy’s face as the guide, for example.

Excellent stuff.

A- 

CREDITS

Recording Tape; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Legend of Luther Strode 5 (May 2013)

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Luther just hit the exasperating point. So far, Jordan has established exactly one important event in five issues of this series. It could have been a single issue and ended where this one ends and the series might be setup for something good.

Giving Moore a place to showcase his ultra-violent art is fine, but Jordan tries to slap on a narrative. Had this series just been one very long fight sequence–really, six issues of one fight, I mean it sincerely–they would have been trying something. And doing it just before Shaolin Cowboy.

Instead, there’s this loose attempt at a story. The crime bosses, the other Highlanders (what else should they be called at this point), Jordan actually feigns turning the boss’s lackey into a character. It’s pointless because this comic doesn’t need characters.

Worse, there’s a lengthy fire sequence and the fire looks terrible.

Luther’s redundant.

C- 

CREDITS

Writer, Justin Jordan; artist, Tradd Moore; colorist, Felipe Sobreiro; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

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