The Man-Thing 3 (March 1974)

The Man-Thing #3

I almost want to cut this issue slack for the art; Jack Abel inking Val Mayerik is an interesting thing. Abel adds not just a lot of detail–to Man-Thing in particular–but comic expressions for most of the characters. Man-Thing all of a sudden seems to recognize its humor.

And a good deal of the issue has Gerber dealing with his human civilian cast. While they aren’t the most engaging people ever, Gerber’s coming up with new situations for them and plotting these situations well. It’s like he can’t ever screw up too much because his storytelling instincts are strong.

But then there’s Foolkiller, who makes his first appearance this issue. Gerber runs him through the issue, tying together all the subplots, but it’s all too obvious. The character feels way too artificial.

The worst part of the issue might be the cliffhanger–because Gerber doesn’t make it a rewarding one.

C 

CREDITS

Day of the Killer, Night of the Fool!; writer, Steve Gerber; penciller, Val Mayerik; inker, Jack Abel; colorist, Linda Lessmann; letterer, Jean Simek; editor, Roy Thomas; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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The Private Eye 7 (19 June 2014)

The Private Eye #7

It’s a bridging issue. It’s got beautiful art, but it’s a bridging issue. Having a bridging issue on The Private Eye seems very strange because it’s self-published and digital and I’ve always assumed bridging issues were to meet some kind of publishing requirement or editorial mandate. Yet Vaughan does one here; maybe once you start doing them, you can’t stop.

A few things happen, I suppose. The kidnapped girl is still kidnapped. The P.I. fires a gun for the first time. There’s a nonsensical pop culture reference. And then the chase sequence, action set piece.

Like I said before, it’s beautiful. Martin does a great job with the chase scene in particular, just because he finally gets to let loose with something besides future design.

But Vaughan has run out of cool things to do with the story. It’s a really light issue and the series can’t support it.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Brian K. Vaughan; artist, Marcos Martin; colorist, Muntsa Vicente; publisher, Panel Syndicate.

The Flash 295 (March 1981)

The Flash #295

Heck gets lazy on the strangest stuff for the feature in this issue. It’s not the super gorillas or all the different locations in Bates’s script… no, it’s the people. Whenever Heck is drawing a person, it just doesn’t work out. It’s like he spent all his time on everything else and rushed through the faces.

The feature story has an odd structure too and it never quite recovers from it. Bates relies on deceiving the reader to get create drama at the end, but he also weighs down the front of the story. There are a couple lengthy action scenes as Grodd is brainwashing Flash and the good super gorilla; these scenes are quick and pointless and Bates gives them too much time.

He just moves too fast through the story, which is too slight anyway.

The Firestorm back-up has Conway suffering pacing problems too. And the art’s mediocre.

C 

CREDITS

In Grodd We Trust; writer, Cary Bates; artist, Don Heck; colorist, Gene D’Angelo. Firestorm, By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Dangerous Sea; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Jim Starlin; inker, Bob Wiacek; colorist, Jerry Serpe. Letterer, Ben Oda; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Ms. Marvel 5 (August 2014)

Ms. Marvel #5

It’s not often I’m reading a superhero comic and think, why don’t they just call the cops, but really… they should have just called the cops.

There’s a kidnapped teenager and house full of deadly robots. You can call the cops on that one. They may just call the Avengers, but you can call the cops. Instead there’s a montage where Kamala trains to save the kidnapped teen. Wilson doesn’t specify how long it takes, but it seems like at least two or three days.

During those two or three days, she’s grounded, which Wilson never talks about once quickly establishing it and the kid could be killed too.

It’s lazy plotting. Wilson’s going for cool sequences instead of a solid plot. And the ending, featuring the reveal of the villain, is an awkward one. Either the villain’s goofy or just looks dumb.

Still, it’s fine–Kamala’s a great protagonist.

B 

CREDITS

Urban Legend; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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