The Shadow 3 (July 1986)

The Shadow #3

With his third of four issues, Chaykin gets around to showing what his Shadow comic is actually going to be like.

Tepid.

Lots of ribald talk, lots of innuendo (both verbal and visual) and not much else. There’s one good action sequence, where Chaykin’s sense of design and the toughness of the comic inform how the Shadow fights criminals. But it’s just one scene. Then Chaykin’s got a pointless montage of all the Shadow’s new contacts–he’s got a finite story he’s trying to tell but he’s also got a checklist of old Shadow references to make.

He also has way too big of a cast and sends around eighty percent of the good guy supporting cast off page because he doesn’t want to deal with them. He needs them for a line in a scene, then he disposes of them. It’s very messy and poorly designed.

But the art’s magnificent.

C 

CREDITS

Blood & Judgment, Part Three; writer and artist, Howard Chaykin; colorist, Alex Wald; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Andrew Helfer; publisher, DC Comics.

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Big Trouble in Little China 4 (September 2014)

Big Trouble in Little China #4

Even with some amusing jokes throughout, this issue is easily the weakest so far. It’s still pretty darn good–like I said, the jokes are amusing and Powell consistently rewards the reader with them, either big jokes or small. In some ways, Powell is making observations about Big Trouble to its fans, which is fine when the story’s good too.

And the story here isn’t particularly good. There’s a protracted conclusion to the cliffhanger with the stupid monkey guys in the other dimension, then it’s back to Chinatown for the big build-up. Powell awkwardly goes sincere for Jack’s flashback this issue too.

Churilla gets a few cool things to draw; not as many as he should.

The cliffhanger is predictable and unfortunate. It’s a bridging issue and Powell’s enthusiasm can’t maintain it. Powell also has way too many little plot twists and not enough actual content.

It’s entertaining instead of exceptional.

CREDITS

Writers, John Carpenter and Eric Powell; artist, Brian Churilla; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 38 (August 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #38

If it weren’t for the lousy inks from Akin and Garvey, this issue would be rather strong. It’s not wholly successful, but it does have Conway trying new things with the series. Martin gets his own adventure, far away from Ronnie; Conway isn’t entirely successful with Martin as lead–there are missteps, like an awkward pop culture reference–but he’s trying.

Conway’s also trying with Ronnie. He sends Ronnie out with his high school girlfriend (never mentioning Firehawk) and it’s nice to see an attempt at a regular scene. Sadly, the art runs a lot of the sequence.

Then there’s Ronnie’s dad and his romance. Again, bad art hurts, but so does Conway’s writing of the dad’s girlfriend. She’s a shallow witch.

Plus there’s a dumb villain called the Weasel menacing Martin. It leads to what should be great action scenes, but are instead atrocious due to the inkers’ ineptness.

B- 

CREDITS

Night of the Weasel; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Rafael Kayanan; inkers, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Duncan Andrews; editor, Janice Race; publisher, DC Comics.

Robocop 3 (September 2014)

Robocop #3

This issue is the best one Williamson’s written so far. It’s not Magno’s drawn; he’s better than last time but there are still a lot of perspective issues. They make the body proportions look off when they aren’t. It’s too bad.

The issue opens with a flashback to villain Killian’s youthful offending days. It’s a good move, since Williamson is able to use information from it to flesh out the character in the present action.

Williamson also gives the cops enough to do. He has a new supporting cast member, a detective–who I really hope stays because she plays off Lewis well–and some actual investigating for Lewis and Murphy. They banter sparingly; Williamson shows restraint but it’s also the most personality he’s given Murphy to date.

The issue’s an excellent mix all around. Williamson opens it up a little, peopling the comic.

Only the cliffhanger flops. It feels too familiar.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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