Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 4 (September 1991)

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Going into this issue, I realized I not only did not care about the resolution, I didn’t even remember all the terms for the Atlantis artifacts. It has something to do with these little pearls of energy. They have a silly name.

Barry takes over writing completely this issue and it feels a little smoother. Maybe because there aren’t any attempts at anything or even hints Barry might attempt something. The comic is more secure in its status as complete nonsense.

At some point, around halfway in, the true problem with Atlantis becomes clear. It’s a video game adaptation. A video game where the player is an active participant, now turned into a comic book where the reader is passive. But that base story is still geared toward active instead of passive.

It’s also way too full of content–and never the most interesting parts.

Unsurprisingly I suppose, it fails.

D 

CREDITS

Writers, William Messner-Loebs and Dan Barry; artist and colorist, Barry; letterer, Gail Beckett; editor, Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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Star Trek 30 (February 2014)

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Besides Liang’s art problems–she can’t make the photo-referencing look good and the female McCoy is a disaster–and an illogical cameo, this issue of Star Trek has got to be the best in the series so far.

Johnson’s got a lot of easy jokes, except they’re still honest jokes, so he can get away with all of them. He’s also unconcerned with written–though visual ones get through–nods to the original series. The characters, confronted with their gender opposites, are fully defined. I only wish it were the start of an arc where Johnson traded Chekhov for her female counterpart. She’s less annoying.

A lot of the art is fine. Liang still does well with most of the female characters (except regular Uhura, of course) and she has positive, playful vibe to her work.

Johnson writes a bunch of good scenes.

The issue’s a very successful outing.

B+ 

CREDITS

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

The Incredible Hulk 43 (September 2002)

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Some people want to make a Hulk comic, some people want to talk about eighteenth century English poets. Some people want to do both. Jones is in the latter category. There’s a whole thing in this issue about Coleridge and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Why? Because Jones thinks it’s appropriate. Is he right… sort of.

It works for the story he’s telling. But it doesn’t work for the characters. There’s no reason Bruce Banner should be a poetry expert. Throw in a line about him loving Coleridge in college. There’s no reason the cop lady should be a Coleridge expert either. Maybe if her mom had been one….

But Jones doesn’t waste any time with establishing backstory or character knowledge. He goes for the best thing in the moment and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Weeks doesn’t draw for that philosophy though.

It’s ludicrous, but good.

B- 

CREDITS

The Beast Within; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Lee Weeks; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Furious 2 (February 2014)

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What a very strange comic book. It’s got a lot of humor; Glass writes some really funny details and rejoinders. Funny, funny guy. It’s got a lot of pop culture commentary. Glass makes some perfectly good observations about how celebrities get treated. It’s thought out too. He backs it up with good flashbacks. It’s got the Santos artwork. There are some problems I’ll mention later, but otherwise, very solid artwork. Santos handles motion beautifully and there’s a lot of motion in Furious.

It’s also a very cynical look at the world. Glass implies a certain misogyny involved in how the public interprets Furious as a superhero. He’s not obvious about it, but it’s a rather bold observation to make.

And the comic’s very violent. The protagonist is a vicious psychopath with control issues. She’s very sympathetic too.

Santos can’t handle the violence. His blood’s too cartoony.

Otherwise, Furious is impressive.

B+ 

CREDITS

Fallen Star, Part Two, A Dream of Flying; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Victor Santos; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Spencer Cushing and Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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