The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 30 (July 1985)

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Villamonte’s apparently sticking around with his terrible pencils.

The writing’s decent, but it’s hard to say how the issue should read with so much terrible composition. There’s a lot of talking about Villamonte can’t break out the conversations well. He does small panels–sometimes stylized, which is worse–and can’t fit all the dialogue. Letterer Diana Albers must have been thrilled.

The plot isn’t great either. Grant doesn’t bother with much of the archeology or even history (there are nods to it) and concentrates on the action. Given Villamonte is terrible with action–he’s entirely incapable of composing a comprehensible action panel–the issue is a chore.

The most lively moment has to be when Indy’s annoying young Scottish lad sidekick meets Marcus Brody and appears to flirt with him (given Grant’s use of an ellipses).

Otherwise, it’s a cruddy comic. Grant’s script deserves better. Not lots better, but better.

D 

CREDITS

Fireworks!; 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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Star Trek 29 (January 2014)

294469 20140129172203 large

All it takes for a great Star Trek is a gimmick. And I don’t want to give away the gimmick, so it’ll be a little difficult to talk about. The gimmick alone makes for a fun comic, but somehow Johnson manages to find all these great insights into the characters through the gimmick.

Some of there insights are slight and for fun, but he’s got one profound one. Loved it. Maybe even teared up a little.

Johnson gets to the story at the end and it’s not bad–running with this gimmick actually would be a better series than the regular one–but it’s disappointing it’s ending soon.

The art helps a lot. Until the likenesses become important, Yasmin Liang’s art is rather strong. It’s somewhat cartoonish, but that tone doesn’t hurt Johnson’s script at all. Liang also pays attention to expressions, which is important.

It’s a shockingly good issue.

B+ 

CREDITS

Parallel Lives, Part One; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Yasmin Liang; colorist, Zac Atkinson; letterer, Gilberto Lazcano; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Batman 396 (June 1986)

2858

Robin is such a little punk this issue Gordon finally yells at him. Moench has given up on Bruce Wayne and Jason Todd the past few issues–given up on any Robin characterization besides him being impertinent–but it doesn’t actually hurt the comic much. Moench wasn’t good at the regular people stuff anyway.

Mandrake’s art has a lot of energy. I love the work he puts in on expressions, whether they’re full panel or just a medium shot.

This issue finishes the “Film Freak” story–probably the worst of Moench’s villains and most of them are so terrible, being worst is an accomplishment (the Night-Slayer was a doozy). There’s a lot of action, a tight pace, a surprise third act… right after a surprise in the second. Moench’s on his plotting game at least.

It took him too long to find the partner dynamics he could write well.

B- 

CREDITS

Box-Office Smash; writer, Doug Moench; artist, Tom Mandrake; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Empire of the Dead 1 (January 2014)

Portrait incredible

There’s something perfect about this comic. The medium gives George Romero a great way to do exposition, with two characters meeting each other, talking about their worlds. But it wouldn’t work without Alex Maleev. Romero’s kicking around ideas he’s been using for thirty years or so, but Maleev makes it all seem so fresh.

This first issue, set after the zombie apocalypse, after the rebuilding has started, is a great start. There’s a particularly awkward moment where Romero retcons Night of the Living Dead, almost half a century after he made that film. Yeah, exactly… Romero should have been writing comics for years, apparently. It’s an awkward fix, but not bad. Maleev makes it work.

The end has a big surprise and instead of finding it cheap, because it is definitely gimmicky, I find myself fully trusting Romero. He sells some lengthy exposition here. He can handle McGuffins I’ll bet.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, George A. Romero; artist, Alex Maleev; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Jake Thomas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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