Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 4 (September 1991)

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Going into this issue, I realized I not only did not care about the resolution, I didn’t even remember all the terms for the Atlantis artifacts. It has something to do with these little pearls of energy. They have a silly name.

Barry takes over writing completely this issue and it feels a little smoother. Maybe because there aren’t any attempts at anything or even hints Barry might attempt something. The comic is more secure in its status as complete nonsense.

At some point, around halfway in, the true problem with Atlantis becomes clear. It’s a video game adaptation. A video game where the player is an active participant, now turned into a comic book where the reader is passive. But that base story is still geared toward active instead of passive.

It’s also way too full of content–and never the most interesting parts.

Unsurprisingly I suppose, it fails.

D 

CREDITS

Writers, William Messner-Loebs and Dan Barry; artist and colorist, Barry; letterer, Gail Beckett; editor, Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 3 (July 1991)

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This third issue is the pits. Well, maybe not. Fate of Atlantis has been steadily sinking (sorry, had to do it) since the first page of the first issue. There’s no reason to think the last issue won’t be even worse than this one.

The problem, besides Barry’s pencils and composition, is the script. The writers tell most of the story in summary. One night, Indy is on watch so he talks to himself to fill in all the information the readers don’t know but should. He does it another time too. It’s past lazy, it’s incompetent.

Worse, the scenes the writers do concentrate on aren’t any good. This issue there’s a desert tribe and Indy and the girl spend a bunch of time with them. Why? Why is the desert tribe more interesting than the treasure hunt… no idea. It’s just another bad choice.

It’s all a bad choice.

D- 

CREDITS

Writers, Dan Barry and William Messner-Loebs; penciller, Barry; inker, Karl Kesel; colorist, Lurene Haines; letterer, Gail Beckett; editors, Diana Schutz and Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 2 (May 1991)

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I can’t tell if Barry helping with the script is making things better or worse. Probably worse, since this issue is a breakneck race around the world for artifacts from Atlantis without any texture whatsoever.

I take that texture remark back partially–there is texture in the New York scenes. It’s when the story gets to exotic locales things are too rushed.

Fate of Atlantis is a good example of a bad adaptation. Barry and Messner-Loebs turn the girl into the protagonist, which is fine–they write her a lot better than Indy, who comes across as a brutish numbskull–but they don’t commit to it. It’s either her or Indy, only when they use Indy, they pull back too far from him.

As for the art, Barry’s pencils continue to lack charm. The scenery, while period specific, looks like something out of a Gold Key comic.

Atlantis stinks.

D 

CREDITS

Writers, Dan Barry and William Messner-Loebs; penciller, Barry; inker, Karl Kesel; colorist, Lurene Haines; letterer, Gail Beckett; editors, Diana Schutz and Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 1 (March 1991)

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It’s very hard not to think William Messner-Loebs is just cashing a paycheck with Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. There are some incredible logic holes. First and foremost, Messner-Loebs can’t write Indy’s interaction with the female sidekick. Or, more accurately, her interaction with him. He severely damages her business and reputation and she just forgives him because he’s cute.

Except, the way Dan Barry draws Indy, he’s not cute. He’s got a long face, a funny nose and odd hair. I can understand not doing photorealistic renderings of Harrison Ford, but at least match what people think when they think of the character.

The story itself, based on a video game, is a little weak. Messner-Loebs is in a hurry and Barry doesn’t layout the pages very well. There’s not natural progression to the comic.

Uninspired, even for licensed material, might be the best description.

C- 

CREDITS

Writers, Dan Barry and William Messner-Loebs; penciller, Barry; inker, Karl Kesel; colorist, Lurene Haines; letterer, Gail Beckett; editors, Diana Schutz and Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 34 (March 1986)

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As far as a last issue goes, this one flops on all accounts. Except one. There are a lot of meta references to the series ending. Or maybe not. If so, kudos to Grant for the winks. If not, well, maybe it was subconscious.

The issue wraps up the latest story arc. Indy, the beautiful British cat burglar, the crazy English sorcerer dude. They go after each other all issue–lots of chasing. It’s an all-action issue a longer pace. Not sure if it’s a better approach.

Ditko does okay. His composition for medium and large panels–apparently Steve Ditko’s the only guy whose art I can talk about–is problematic, but he does these great close up small panels throughout. He makes sure these panels have enough personality to cover the pitfalls of the bad ones.

Further Adventures ended as a curiosity, which is better than nothing.

C 

CREDITS

Something’s Gone Wrong Again!; writer, Linda Grant; penciller, Steve Ditko; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Ken Feduniewicz; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 33 (January 1986)

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This comic book is not a good one. I do not recommend it to Indiana Jones fans or even thirties adventure comic fans and certainly not to comic collectors. However, I do recommend it to anyone who ever liked a Steve Ditko comic. I realize that category probably overlaps with the ones previously mentioned but, in that case, such people need to relax and enjoy.

It’s a familiar story–hero in a strange town–with the Indiana Jones and period dressings. That situation gives Ditko a lot to do, starting with talking head confrontations. Marvel must have been targeting younger teens with Further Adventures, but this story plays like an old chaste horror comic. Only it’s not and it’s got this lazy Ditko art, inked very roundly, and somehow it’s all magnificent.

There’s even an excellent moment from Grant in it; she’s learning how to present her characters.

It’s… worthwhile.

C 

CREDITS

Magic, Murder and the Weather; writer, Linda Grant; penciller, Steve Ditko; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Ken Feduniewicz; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 32 (November 1985)

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I hate to admit it, but I like this latter day Steve Ditko pencilling. It’s not good, but it’s still got enough Ditko to make the composition interesting. Shame Grant’s story isn’t up to the same level.

She has her supporting cast, but they’re all boring. There’s the annoying kid from Scotland, the jackass trustee making Indy’s life difficult, but nothing else. This issue Indy falls head over heels for a visiting British lady. Why? Because having him fall for a guest star means Grant doesn’t actually have to give him a romantic interest in the series’s new ground situation.

There’s a lot of action–a chase through a museum with booby traps, then a car chase (I think), then a lengthy sequence with Indy jumping between airplanes. Grant is pulling all the stops–though Ditko’s a lot less amusing on these action sequences than the talking heads stuff.

Eh.

C- 

CREDITS

Double Play!; writer, Linda Grant; penciller, Steve Ditko; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Ken Feduniewicz; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Craig Anderson and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 31 (September 1985)

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For a few pages, I thought maybe Villamonte had improved. Not really. Especially not at the end when a character is supposed to fall off a cliff and instead just isn’t around anymore. Villamonte’s terrible at establishing shots.

The story’s a doozy and not particularly digestible. Grant tries real hard though; she doesn’t seem to understand Villamonte is butchering her scripts. His incapable of pacing out the story visually. Or maybe Further Adventures was done Marvel-style, which would be even stranger given all the content.

Indy finds himself crashed in Washington state where he runs across a great white hunter–a female great white hunter–her Native American sidekick and a bunch of unpleasant townsfolk.

Grant writes a lot of dialogue for the issue. It’s a mystery and someone needs to explain it all. But Grant has maybe four people do that explaining.

It’s a mind-numbing comic book.

C- 

CREDITS

Big Game; writer, Linda Grant; penciller, Ricardo Villamonte; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, George Roussos; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Craig Anderson and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 30 (July 1985)

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Villamonte’s apparently sticking around with his terrible pencils.

The writing’s decent, but it’s hard to say how the issue should read with so much terrible composition. There’s a lot of talking about Villamonte can’t break out the conversations well. He does small panels–sometimes stylized, which is worse–and can’t fit all the dialogue. Letterer Diana Albers must have been thrilled.

The plot isn’t great either. Grant doesn’t bother with much of the archeology or even history (there are nods to it) and concentrates on the action. Given Villamonte is terrible with action–he’s entirely incapable of composing a comprehensible action panel–the issue is a chore.

The most lively moment has to be when Indy’s annoying young Scottish lad sidekick meets Marcus Brody and appears to flirt with him (given Grant’s use of an ellipses).

Otherwise, it’s a cruddy comic. Grant’s script deserves better. Not lots better, but better.

D 

CREDITS

Fireworks!; writer, Linda Grant; penciller, Ricardo Villamonte; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, George Roussos; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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