Tom Strong 23 (January 2004)

Tom Strong #23

Sprouse is back for this fast-paced done-in-one with Tom, Tesla and Val on the moon helping Svetlana find her missing husband. There’s a nice opening with Telsa and Val–he’s still learning English and it’s frustrating her. Even though it’s Peter Hogan writing, he manages to continue Moore’s light comedic touch, but always with some seriousness behind the humor.

But then there’s a kidnapping and a flashback. The flashback offers some insight into new father Tom Strong, something I don’t think Moore’s ever really covered. Hogan gets to show some cracks in the impervious Tom Strong skin and then shows how they get sealed.

The resolution keeps all the humor, not to mention Hogan referencing a nineteenth century newspaper hoax, but it goes further. He shows the depth of the friendship between Tom and Svetlana, as Tom quietly digests a big surprise.

It’s a fantastic, tender outing.

A 

CREDITS

Moonday; writer, Peter Hogan; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

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Ghosted 12 (August 2014)

Ghosted #12

I’m having a little trouble counting the reveals in this issue. It’s either three or four. Two of the biggest ones come before the end of the issue and then the cliffhanger reveal doesn’t even have the inkling of context. Williamson is having some fun.

This issue is setup for the next arc–with Goran Sudzuka continuing on art–and Williamson goes all out. There isn’t just a little setup, it’s the entire issue. He opens with a ghost event out in the world and follows up on it, ties it into the discussion, for the end of the issue. It’s not cliffhanger material, just interesting material.

But while he’s doing all this setup, Williamson is moving his protagonists forward. It calls back to previous issues, but the comic is essentially a soft boot. It works out rather well.

Even the most hackneyed character comes off as charming and vibrant.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudzuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Helen Leigh and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 24 (June 1984)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #24

Even with some very questionable character design, a big action finale without any setting and a way too cramped issue in terms of panels, the issue is a considerable success. Conway takes some time to develop Ronnie–pairing him up with Firehawk’s alter ego, Lorraine–but also some time to work out their civilian relationship. It’s incomplete but it’s a good start.

And as problematic as the villains look this issue, Conway comes up with a good story for them and an even better resolution. Over half the issue is Ronnie trying to figure out the situation he’s in, which gives it a fresh feel.

Oh, I even forgot about the silly action sequence to setup Firehawk’s subplot. Even it can’t distract from the issue’s strengths. The Kayanan pencils make it look great, regardless of Conway forcing it into the comic.

The new Firestorm–with Kayanan and Firehawk–is excelling.

B+ 

CREDITS

Terminal Velocity; writers, Carla Conway and Gerry Conway; penciller, Rafael Kayanan; inker, Romeo Tanghal; colorist, Carl Gafford; letterer, Adam Kubert; editors, Janice Race and Gerry Conway; publisher, DC Comics.

Princess Ugg 3 (August 2014)

Princess Ugg #3

Naifeh partially recovers Ugg this issue with a fantastic flashback about Ülga’s motherhood and then he sets her up with a friend at school. One of the teachers is actually going to help her. That sequence, with her conversations with the teacher and the flashback, is excellent and it seems like the issue is going to go well.

Even the teacher’s assignment–Ülga needs to make friends with her enemy–is interesting and could lead to a decent plot line. But then he immediately reminds the reader this other princess is hideous. Not mildly hideous, but completely so. He’s never shown a single redeeming value to the character and he makes it worse here.

So the solution has to do with Ülga taming a unicorn; because all a comic needs is equestrian training.

There’s some really nice art and the flashback’s wonderful, but the comic is still on shaky ground.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Ted Naifeh; colorists, Warren Wucinich and Naifeh; letterer, Wucinich; editors, Robin Herrera and Jill Beaton; publisher, Oni Press.

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