Nathaniel Dusk 2 (March 1984)

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It’s a fast issue, which is strange given there’s so much exposition. McGregor really gets into the private eye running monologue thing. It could go either way–and he does get long-winded during the action sequences (Colan’s pencils can handle them on their own)–but it works out by the end. McGregor writes Dusk really, really well and gives him a number of things to deal with.

There’s the big thing–the inciting tragedy to motivate Dusk for the rest of the issue (and presumably series)–but the little details are far more interesting. Dusk trying to relate to his girlfriend’s kid, Dusk realizing it’s the girlfriend who taught him a thing or two in the sack–those two are the most salient because they haunt the character throughout the issue, even in the big action scenes.

It’s an excellent, if wordy, comic.

The beautiful artwork from Colan continues.

B+ 

CREDITS

Lovers Die at Dusk, Part Two; writer, Don McGregor; artist, Gene Colan; colorist, Tom Ziuko; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Alan Gold; publisher, DC Comics.

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Hawken: Melee 5 (January 2014)

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So I guess–or I know, based on all the ads–Hawken: Melee is based on a video game. It’s apparently some kind of first person shooter in a mech. So, Battletech, right? Everything mech is Battletech, everything mech is Robot Jox. I know, I know, it’s not.

But I’m guessing Nathan Fox got to come up with his own characters and situation. It’s a future dystopia where some girl has to save the slightly dimwitted guy she’s dating by fighting bad guys and getting in mechs and saving the day with her brains.

Oddly, the story has more promise than Fox delivers because the protagonist is strong. He focuses on the action, which proves a mistake because he’s not really putting a lot of work into it. There are almost always white backgrounds with the action up front.

It’s fine. Fox has some good panels but not enough.

C+ 

CREDITS

Gadget; writer and artist, Nathan Fox; colorist, Michael Spicer; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Mike Kennedy; publisher, Archaia Black Label.

The Incredible Hulk 34 (January 2002)

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And here we have Bruce Jones trying to do a very gritty, realistic story and the art just not servicing it. John Romita Jr. does handle a lot of Jones’s cinematic influences okay, but his page design is too simple and his world is way too soft. Romita always safely curves his lines at some point.

The story has Bruce Banner on the run, as usual, and living in a crappy motel in a bad part of town. There’s a little about how close the cops are to catching him, but mostly it’s this story about Banner and a local tough. The kid’s fallen in with a gang, Bruce is trying to convince him to reform.

It’s decent with the Romita art–the issue overall–but the right style would have helped a lot more. Jones tries to focus on the collateral damage but, unfortunately, Romita doesn’t try to agree.

C+ 

CREDITS

The Morning After; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Coffin Hill 5 (April 2014)

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With the aid of Photoshop, Miranda takes Coffin Hill’s art down worse than anything in the script could save. Of course, Kittredge doesn’t have a good script so there’s no hope anyway. The way Kittredge is developing the story–Eve versus a hidden witch, fighting for the attentions of the one good looking guy in town–there’s probably no hope for the series either.

The plotting is bad. The art’s occasionally terrible (Vertigo never would have put out a book with such weak art a few years ago), but it’s occasionally just plain mediocre too. Kittredge’s plotting is continuously bad this issue. The flashbacks are the worst. Kittredge uses them to avoid having to move forward with her actual story.

The ending, which is supposed to be a big detective scene, is the worst. Kittredge can’t write it, Miranda can’t draw it.

It’s unbelievable this book started out strong.

D 

CREDITS

Newness of the Night; writer, Caitlin Kittredge; artist, Inaki Miranda; colorist, Eva De La Cruz; letterer, Travis Lanham; editors, Sara Miller and Shelly Bond; publisher, Vertigo.

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