Dark Horse Presents 9 (July 1987)

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I’m trying to think of how much more lame Mattsson’s writing could be on Vitruvian Man. I guess it’s paced well. I mean, it does indeed have a bit of content. Mattsson writes atrocious narration–it’s kind of like if Batman were an egotist moron surfer dude (with a deaf sister–Mattsson loves putting that detail in neon here). Nichols’s indie-minded artwork doesn’t fit the writing, but it isn’t bad art, just rough.

Workman’s apparently totally run out of ideas for Roma, not just in terms of creating Love and Rockets stories of his own, but also in terms of writing. This issue’s story is a conversation and some very poorly conveyed action. Maybe it’s supposed to be experimental, but it’s not getting good results.

Salmons contributes a thoughtful little alien planet story. It’s hard to read because of his art, but the best easily thing in the issue.

CREDITS

Gene Shock: The Vitruvian Man, Contact!; writer, Steve Mattsson; artist, Art Nichols; letterer, David Jackson. Roma; writer, artist and letterer, John Workman. Fossil, or Perilous Archeology; writer and artist, Tony Salmons. Editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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Dark Horse Presents 8 (June 1987)

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I can’t believe I missed Concrete–well, actually, I can, given Vitruvian Man is in here, but I can’t believe I was “looking forward” to it. This issue’s story is… it’s hard to describe. Chadwick’s writing is kind of like if you took “Seinfeld” and made the characters care about other people’s feelings. This time, Concrete mouths off to some crappy little kids then gets so upset he has to apologize. Big whoop.

Chadwick’s art’s a little lazy here, so there’s not even that benefit.

Vitruvian Man is about an annoying jerk becoming superhuman. It’s of some note because the protagonist’s sister is deaf and Mattsson’s trying to convey that detail without ever specifically saying it. It’s lame, but it moves and the artwork from Badger and Nichols isn’t bad.

Roma, on the other hand, is lame and doesn’t move. Workman’s hit a wall on his Love and Rockets “homage.”

CREDITS

Concrete, Water God; writer and artist, Paul Chadwick; letterer, Bill Spicer. Gene Shock: The Vitruvian Man, Growth; writer, Steve Mattsson; artists, Mark Badger and Art Nichols; letterer, David Jackson. Roma; writer, artist and letterer, John Workman. Editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 7 (May 1987)

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I never thought I’d miss Concrete so much.

I guess Tony Salmons’s Monq is the best thing this issue. It’s a really dumb environment story, but the art’s interesting if not competent. Some of the writing is really bad, especially the conclusion, which literalizes the otherwise existential story.

Mattsson writes two crappy stories this issue.

First is The Vitruvian Man, with Mark Badger art. There are a couple good panels and it’s decent overall. Shame the story turns out to be some kind of xenophobic rambling. It’s easily one of the worst scripts I’ve read so far in Dark Horse Presents, just because it’s lazy. No effort at all. The other bad writing at least has integrity.

Doc Abtruse closes the issue. It’s probably a little better written than Vitruvian Man, but Mattsson’s still weak. The strip seems to be included to waste the reader’s time, which it certainly does.

CREDITS

Monq, Message From Earth; writer and artist, Tony Salmons; letterer, Bill Spicer. Gene Shock: The Vitruvian Man, The Coming; writer, Steve Mattsson; artists, Mark Badger and Art Nichols; letterer, David Jackson. Doc Abstruse, Explains Infinity (More or Less); writers, Steve Mattsson and Jim Bradrick; artist, Bradrick; letterer, David Jackson. Editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop 3 3 (November 1993)

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Actually, I’ve changed my mind about Nguyen’s art. It’s not, you know, in the artistic sense, any better, but it’s like he’s doing a Mad magazine adaptation here. He’s trying to fit everyone he can into each panel. Heaven forbid Dark Horse had tried some imagination with their Robocop license and turned this one into a six issue limited without all the truncating and maybe dealing with the kissy-kissy between Robocop and his doctor, but in lieu of that approach, they should have done it as a farce. They should have aped the movie, because Nguyen is geared toward it and you get the idea Grant knows the crappy dialogue he’s using from the script is crappy.

I’m kind of glad I stopped reading Dark Horse by this one; I don’t have a negative view of them. I’m sure if I’d spent $7.50 on this dreck, I would have.

F 

CREDITS

Writer, Steven Grant; penciller, Hoang Nguyen; inker, Art Nichols; colorist, Penny Zemaitis; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Dan Thorsland and John Weeks; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop 3 2 (September 1993)

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I always forget how ugly some nineties art can be. Nguyen’s fairly competent, I mean, I can recognize his characters, even if the facial details leave something to be desired and he’ll occasionally layout a panel well, but his Robocop is bulky and gross. It looks like a five year-old’s Robocop, certainly not a sleek, streamlined future machine. Nguyen’s way too expressive for this comic, way too loose, since Grant’s script is completely locked down.

The one moment where the comic is mildly interesting is when Robocop’s new girlfriend seems ready to make out with him. I don’t know if Grant got that from a script or if he came up with it himself, but it’s incredible and it’s a shame they don’t do anything with it. At all. I mean, it’s about as discreet as a daytime soap, but it’s at least interesting.

Otherwise, the comic’s a bore.

C- 

CREDITS

Writer, Steven Grant; penciller, Hoang Nguyen; inker, Art Nichols; colorist, Jim Sinclair; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Dan Thorsland and John Weeks; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop 3 1 (July 1993)

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I can’t remember the last time I read a comic book adaptation of a movie–they’re the opposite of the novelization, which expands on the source material (for the most part, since the writers are working with a script, not a final cut)–comic book adaptations truncate everything they can to tell a cohesive narrative. And they sometimes cut too much and don’t make any sense.

This issue makes sense, narratively speaking (the lame dialogue from the film seems right at home in the comic book form and some of the deliveries are far better here than in the actual film), but Grant and Nguyen aren’t pushing any envelopes, they’re cashing checks.

I didn’t figure on Dark Horse (I’d stopped reading their licensed properties by 1993) would do the obligatory crappy movie adaptation, but I was wrong.

The book costs $2.50 and you don’t even get a cool cover. Urgh.

D- 

Writer, Steven Grant; penciller, Hoang Nguyen; inker, Art Nichols; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Dan Thorsland and John Weeks; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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