The Mice Templar Volume II: Destiny 7 (February 2010)

The Mice Templar Volume II: Destiny #7

It’s hard to know where to start with this one because Glass comes up with a monster cliffhanger. Big twist and some interesting ramifications for what Glass has already revealed, not to mention whatever his explanation will be. It sort of overshadows everything else.

The issue starts with Karic being difficult. It’s the closest Glass has come in a while to him being an annoying teenager, but that sentiment passes quickly. Once it’s clear he’s got some really good ideas and it’s Cassius who’s being obtuse, the issue flows. It flows right into an awesome action sequence with the zombie cat as Karic reveals his plans.

Glass skips over to the castle and the setup for the arc’s grand finale. He hits on all the subplots he put in earlier and let sit–not too much exposition either; having royal dialect and mystical mumbo jumbo helps.

Once again, an outstanding issue.

A- 

CREDITS

Seizing Destiny; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Victor Santos; colorist, Veronica Gandini; letterer, James H. Glass; editor, Judy Glass; publisher, Image Comics.

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Vampirella 2 (July 2014)

Vampirella #2

It would be so much easier to read Vampirella if her costume weren’t so atrocious. I mean, come on–Collins writes her as an espionage agent for the Vatican. She should have appropriate attire.

The comic’s strangely not terrible, with Collins writing her protagonist a lot better than the book seems to deserve. There’s a whole bunch of exposition and it goes on way too long, but every few pages, Collins writes a good moment for Vampirella and it’s an acceptable read. More nonsense, good moment, once again acceptable.

Another problem is Berkenkotter’s lack of imagination. He does a Max Schreck Nosferatu visual homage only it’s not done with any humor or acknowledgement of doing a visual homage. It’s supposed to be serious and instead it flops. If it’s going to be goofy and nostalgic, make it goofy and nostalgic.

Collins reveals her setup for the arc; it seems fine.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Patrick Berkenkotter; inker, Dennis Crisostomo; colorist, Jorge Sutil; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Hannah Gorfinkel, Molly Mahan and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 2 (July 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #2

This issue of Firestorm is a perfect example of how to do superhero action. Even with Broderick’s questionable handling of the human, male cast–he does a lot better with the female characters–he does great with the superhero action. There are some really ambitious fight compositions at the end and Broderick and Conway open with a fantastic visualization to recap the previous issue.

There are some oddities, of course, given the somewhat strange subject matter–the villain, Black Bison, is a Native American shaman inhabiting a descendant through magic. While Conway tries to be culturally sensitive, he often will go for a bigot character to make a slight joke.

But the balance between character development and the heroics is perfect. The alter egos get just enough time on their own–and Conway’s working hard to develop Ronnie and the Professor’s rapport outside their Firestorm outings.

It’s outstanding superhero comics.

A- 

CREDITS

Rage; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Carl Gafford and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Star Trek 35 (July 2014)

Star Trek #35

I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to talk about this issue of Star Trek. Not because the comic is all of a sudden doing well or good–and not because new artist Tony Shasteen is doing anything special–but because the comic has finally given in to itself.

Here we have the new Star Trek franchise crossing over to the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” franchise and, if one can guess from the cliffhanger, its spin-offs. In other words, Star Trek the comic has become the desperate cash grab it was always meant to be.

This issue has Jean-Luc Picard in a small role. Johnson writes him great. You can hear Patrick Stewart. Similarly, Johnson writes Q great and he also writes the regular cast better than his usual too. He’s finally excited; he’s not updating something old.

Sadly, Shasteen’s photo-referenced, static, nonsense art can’t match the enthusiasm.

B- 

CREDITS

The Q Gambit, Part One; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Tony Shasteen; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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