Atari Force 3 (1982)

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Even though the characters are still visually bland, Atari Force gets Gil Kane on the art and he knows what he’s doing. It’s a big read instead of a long one. Writers Conway and Thomas split the issue into three chapters, but it’s more like two–there’s even a cliffhanger mid-point.

For this issue, there are no more flashback introductions. Instead, there’s a somewhat weak flashback explaining the alien planet they find. It’s bumpy but passable.

Conway and Thomas to continue their rather serious look at what should be a goofy comic. One of the characters is a pacifist, burnt out by all the warring on Earth, and he doesn’t give up his convictions. There’s not a lot of fallout from it, but the writers do return to it a few times and the guy does turn out to be right.

With Kane, Force is all around competent now.

B 

CREDITS

Enter — the Dark Destroyer!; writers, Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas; penciller, Gil Kane; inkers, Dick Giordano and Mike DeCarlo; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Giordano; publisher, DC Comics.

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Juice Squeezers 3 (March 2014)

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Lapham sets up a perfectly good–by perfectly good, I mean predictable–cliffhanger and doesn’t use it. He doesn’t even use it when he’s building up to the cliffhanger. Instead, he goes with a logical choice. It’s not the most dramatic he could, it’s just the right one to do.

All of Juice Squeezers plays out similarly. Lapham never goes for the big money shot or the most drama. He’s patient with it, patient with how he develops the character relationships and the subplots. He’s restrained. It’s never cheap. Not once.

This issue has huge developments with a new member joining the team, some investigation into gossip about the teacher and one of the kid’s moms, not to mention the romance subplot actually taking off. And Lapham puts all these behind the giant bug plot, which also has some new developments.

Juice Squeezers’s fabulous. Great vibe to the art too.

A 

CREDITS

The Great Bug Elevator, Part Three: Going Down; writer and artist, David Lapham; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Nate Piekos; editor, Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 50 (April 2003)

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Oh, Bruce Jones, did you really set Bruce Banner up with the Abomination’s wife? It’s kind of a spoiler–though not really because Jones reveals it before the end of the issue (going out on a soft cliffhanger instead)–but it’s just about the most contrived thing one could imagine.

So long as Jones owns the contrivance, I imagine it’ll work out. And new artist Mike Deodato Jr. does draw Bruce rather handsome and heartthrob so I guess it’s conceivable the woman’s going to go for him. Hopefully it’s all part of the giant conspiracy I don’t really like.

Those obvious complaints aside, it’s a solid issue. Not much happens–secret agents go see the Abomination, Bruce finds the woman in a roadside cafe–but Jones gets a full issue out of it. I think he gears up to cliffhangers, ratchets down, does more story, ratchets up again.

It works.

B- 

CREDITS

Dark Mind, Dark Hearts, Part One; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Warren Simons, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

She-Hulk 2 (May 2014)

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I wanted two more pages of content in this book. There’s a double-page spread for effect and it and really good effect but I still wanted two more pages. Pulido does this tour of Jennifer’s new offices where he has her and her landlord walking through a long panel… backwards, actually. They walk backwards, getting the reader to the starting point for the bottom row of panels.

In other words, even though I want two more pages, everything in the book is excellent. Pulido does an outstanding job.

And Soule does a great job writing the issue. But a lot of it goes to Patsy Walker, which is fine. Soule seems to be setting up a supporting cast for the comic and he sets up two supporting members this issue. Unfortunately it’s instead of really developing Jennifer’s currently situation.

It’s a small quibble. The comic’s skillful, outstanding and fun.

B+ 

CREDITS

…And?; writer, Charles Soule; artist, Javier Pulido; colorist, Muntsa Vicente; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editors, Frankie Johnson, Jeanine Schaefer and Tom Brennan; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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