Star Trek 6 (September 1980)

Star Trek #6

Barr gives the Enterprise crew a mystery to solve. Unfortunately, it’s almost the same mystery as one of the television episodes. It’s like Barr took out one part just to make it fit better in a comic.

There’s an almost amusing scene for Sulu and Chekhov–the issue otherwise centers around the big three. Uhura never gets a scene. But it might be a more accurate representation of the television show. Barr clearly knows how to structure the issue like the show. That feat sometimes is more impressive than what’s going on in the story.

Cockrum and Janson are really on the ball. Their faces have a lot more depth and have similar expressions to the source actors. Overall, the art just feels less rushed.

I’m still waiting for a lengthy subplot or some sign of character developments. Even for a licensed property, Star Trek feels too restrained, practically stifled.

B- 

CREDITS

The Enterprise Murder Case!; writer, Mike W. Barr; pencillers, Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson; inker, Janson; colorist, Carl Gafford; letterer, Rick Parker; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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C.O.W.L. 1 (May 2014)

C.O.W.L. #1

There’s something really neat about C.O.W.L.. Writers Kyle Higgins and Alex Siegel don’t mess around with the setting–it’s early sixties Chicago and there’s a unionized team of superheroes defending the city. But it’s less a superhero comic than a police procedural.

For example, there’s not a lot of emphasis on explaining the characters’ powers. Artist Rod Reis does an awesome, probably digital paint thing, and his panels move fast. There’s no time to waste with exposition about who can do what. Higgins and Siegel seem happy to let the reader figure out the powers when needed, but just to fill pages.

The issue jumps around a lot, from the costumed heroes to the plainclothes ones, and it all has to do with this one case. So there’s that procedural aspect.

There are way too many balls in the air at the end of the issue, but it’s definitely impressive stuff.

CREDITS

Principles of Power, Chapter One: Motivation; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Andy Schmidt; publisher, Image Comics.

Stray Bullets 37 (March 2005)

Stray Bullets #37

Okay, so the high school arc is apparently all about Virginia going up against that kid who went insane because he had a gay encounter. Actually, it’s rather homophobic. Not just that event and the outcome, but the series overall. This issue has the guy raping another kid (another guy).

Lapham’s nothing if he isn’t cheap. And vaguely homophobic. And really lazy on the art. It’s the worst art in the series ever.

But he’s also got Virginia stirring the pot and investigating and it’s hard not to appreciate having her around. Even if all the high school stuff is idiotic and somehow getting worse. This Bullets arc is set in the early eighties so maybe you didn’t go to jail as a teenager if you murdered someone, which is the implication with the villain.

And why does the comic now have (another) shallow villain? Because Lapham’s given up entirely.

C 

CREDITS

Fiddlesticks; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editors, Renee Miller and Maria Lapham; publisher, El Capitán Books.

The Woods 2 (June 2014)

The Woods #2

Tynion loses a lot of momentum with all the characters. He’s got two things going on–he’s got the kids who went into the woods and he’s got the school. The school has kids and adults. He splits the issue into two and a half–the kids in the woods, the adults at the school, then less on the kids at the school.

The school stuff is sociologically interesting. A nebbish principal letting a psychopath jock of a gym teacher pull the strings on him. It’s probably not going to go well, but it’s also very different than the kids in the woods who are encountering alien creatures.

Actually, the issue doesn’t have enough alien creatures–they’ve stopped attacking the school for some reason.

There are just too many characters moving around, especially with Dialynas not being so great on distinctive faces.

It’s still working, it’s just not working smoothly.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, James Tynion IV; artist, Michael Dialynas; colorist, Josan Gonzalez; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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