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.

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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.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 29 (May 1985)

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Whew, I thought something happened to Dikto and since the previous issue he forgot everything he knew about composition completely and replaced it with the inept angles of someone without dimension vision.

But it’s a new penciller–Ricardo Villamonte–and he’s awful. He ruins a bunch of good action set pieces in Grant’s script. She’s got a lot of material in the issue. Not enough for two but enough for one and a half easy. Indy meets up with an old flame, an old friend, dueling gangsters–it’s practically Yojimbo. It’s not, but it’s closer to it than I’d have expected from Grant.

Villamonte can’t do the talking, he really can’t do action, he can’t do much of anything. He can’t even draw Indy’s face the same size from panel to panel. It’s a shame Marvel is giving up on the book once they’ve got an okay writer in place.

C 

CREDITS

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

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 28 (April 1985)

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For her first issue as regular writer, Linda Grant turns in a rather tepid issue. Even though Indiana Jones has endless sidekicks from the movies, Grant introduces a new one for him here. Alec Sutherland, white guy. Sutherland’s maybe a Brit… or maybe he’s secretly the Sutherland who’ll someday show up in Swamp Thing, but right now he’s just a dumb, rich white kid.

The adventure involves Indy going to Iran–during semester break–to investigate some journal the kid brought him. It’s pretty lame stuff, but Ditko and Bulanadi do okay with it on the art. Maybe the writing’s just boring enough to make mediocre Marvel art seem better.

Grant’s decent on the actually scenes, except maybe her new sidekick guy. He’s too annoying. It’s her plotting–and she writes Indy kind of stupid. His philosophical musings on archeology are inane.

It’s trying to read; there’s no other word.

D+ 

CREDITS

Tower of Tears; writer, Linda Grant; penciller, Steve Ditko; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Robbie Carosella; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 27 (March 1985)

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While the Ditko art does leave a lot to be desired–the huge action finale, which takes up about half the issue, is a mess–it’s not a bad comic at all. You just have to get used to people not being in the right place in panels and some terrible action choreography.

Oh, and the female protagonist looking pensively off into space a lot.

But the story is fine. Indy and the woman are in Russia to recover Buffalo Bill’s golden guns (there are other phallic symbols too, presumably unintentional) and they team up with Cossacks to attack a fortress. Michelinie doesn’t waste time with flirting between Indy and his partner. He finds more interesting things to do–the Cossacks are on a suicide mission, for example.

It’s all action, no character, so it moves briskly. The series has been sorely missing Michelinie’s writing. He’s got the formula down.

C 

CREDITS

Trail of the Golden Guns, Chapter Two; writers, Ron Fortier and David Michelinie; penciller, Steve Ditko; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Robbie Carosella; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 26 (February 1985)

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David Michelinie is back. Maybe Marvel figured since they just had to adjust for Temple of Doom they would want someone competent on the book.

It’s still Ditko and Bulandi on the art and they’re fine.

I’m bummed out they waited so long to bring him back. Marion went stale as a character after Michelinie left and now, post-Temple she’s gone forever. At the end of the previous issue she even writes Indy a Dear John, but it’s unclear why. Now, however, it is… and is there going to be an actual Short Round meets Martin Brody scene?

Anyway, the rest of the issue is fairly standard silly stuff. Indy and Buffalo Bill’s granddaughter go to Russia to try to get back stolen pistols. Michelinie has a fine level of detail for their adventure, even if the girl’s really annoying.

The series might be interesting again for a while.

C 

CREDITS

Trail of the Golden Guns; writers, Ron Fortier and David Michelinie; penciller, Steve Ditko; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Robbie Carosella; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 25 (January 1985)

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I like this issue and it’s not for particularly good reasons. Linda Grant rips off a bit of Raiders and sends Indy to help some woman with a translation. They bicker, there are bad guys–in a lot of ways, Grant has tapped into what became the Indiana Jones standard. But there is one sincere moment and it throws everything off. Grant’s doing the comic pulpy and it makes the Ditko art a perfect match.

There are some great bad panels in this comic. Ditko manages to try and not try simultaneously and frequently. If so much of the detail weren’t shaky, one might even wonder if the pulp feel is intentional. Bad but still high adventure, highly entertaining.

And Grant does write good banter. It’s bad dialogue, but it’s very amusing banter. There’s a lot of story and the pace is fantastic.

Like I said… I like this issue.

B- 

CREDITS

Good as Gold; writer, Linda Grant; penciller, Steve Ditko; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Robbie Carosella; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 24 (December 1984)

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Well, having Danny Bulandi on the finishes certainly helps the Trimpe art. It’s not good and the panels are still boring, but the level of detail is at least adequate. The opening page of Indiana Jones walking through a rainswept street might even be nice.

But then there’s Trimpe’s script. Trimpe manages a done-in-one, but only because he removes a lot. He takes out character development–not only is there a new villain for the issue, there’s also a new damsel in distress–and he takes out the artifact. Jones has stumbled onto something and just finishes it.

And the finish? Well, Trimpe rips off the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I sort of think someone else has already done on this book. Maybe not.

Needless to say, Indiana Jones’s Further Adventures are getting rather tiresome. Trimpe’s endless, talky thought balloons alone could cure insomnia.

D+ 

CREDITS

Revenge of the Ancients; writer and penciller, Herb Trimpe; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Rob Carosella; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 21 (September 1984)

Indy 21

There are a bunch of inkers on this issue. They stay consistent until the finish, when it’s very obvious the inker has changed. The final inker changes Steve Ditko’s pencils so much, it barely looks like the same comic.

Ditko doesn’t do a great job on Jones, but it’s really cool to see his old standard panel arrangements used again. And the eyes. Love the eyes. It’s a shame Priest didn’t write the issue as a retro thing to match Ditko, but given the number of inkers, I’m sure no one at Marvel had any idea who was drawing it when Priest was writing it.

The story itself is lame. It’s a lot of action and some silly villains. Priest continues to flush the romance between Indy and Marion… Not to mention playing up Marcus Brody being tough.

Priest is also really bad with the setting. He writes too modern.

CREDITS

Beyond the Lucifer Chamber; writers, David Michelinie and Christopher Priest; penciller, Steve Ditko; inkers, Bob Wiacek, Steve Leialoha, Jack Abel, Al Milgrom, Carl Potts, Edward Norton and Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Rob Carosella; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Eliot Brown; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 20 (August 1984)

Indy 20

The issue opens with a full page spread–Indy looking at an artifact with a magnifying glass–but it’s the only uneconomical use of page space in the issue. Luke McDonnell has to pack panels on the page to get through all the action in Priest’s script.

David Michelinie gets a story credit, but it feels like a different comic without him. Even the art. McDonnell draws Marcus Brody younger than anyone else has before–and younger than Denholm Elliot; probably because Priest’s script implies Brody was once much like Indy in the adventuring department.

And Priest does have a lot of time for the romance between Indy and Marion. He dials it down quite a few notches but does at least acknowledge it.

In many ways, the issue doesn’t feel like a licensed property. But feeling more original doesn’t help–the creators are generally competent but the comic’s charmless.

CREDITS

The Cuban Connection; writers, David Michelinie and Christopher Priest; penciller, Luke McDonnell; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Rob Carosella; letterer, Rick Parker; editor, Eliot Brown; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 18 (June 1984)

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It’s an interesting issue for a number of reasons. It’s a mix of Lost Horizon and Edgar Rice Burroughs with Indy and Marion finding their way to a lost city in the Himalayas. Yeti-like creatures protect the city, which has many secrets.

One of those secrets is the presence of Abner Ravenwood; Michelinie doesn’t resolve that mystery–probably not allowed to do it under the license–but his solution for it is fantastic.

There’s a lot of action and almost no story. The revelations about the lost city are mostly just to move the action along. After one moment of introspection from Indy, Michelinie solely concentrating on the action.

The writing makes it work.

The awful art is sometimes incredible. Trimpe’s little heads are something to see. He doesn’t even do well on the landscapes–but he gets better inks on those panels.

It’s an ugly comic, but decent.

CREDITS

The Search for Abner, Chapter Two: The City of Yesterday’s Forever!; writer, David Michelinie; penciller, Herb Trimpe; inkers, Vince Colletta, Danny Bulanadi and Ernie Chan; colorist, Robbie Carosella; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Eliot Brown; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 10 (October 1983)

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It’s an adequate, underwhelming resolution. Michelinie handles the cliffhanger from last issue well then sends Indy off into the jungle. It’s the jungle from the beginning of Raiders, but there’s no fanfare to its return. There is another Raiders connection–the villain has a secret–but it’s lame.

Michelinie also gets history very wrong concerning when the Nazis starting plotting against the United States. Maybe it’s different in the Indiana Jones universe.

Like I said, the opening is fine. Reed does much better with two people in his action panels. So when it’s Indy alone, while the panels are sometimes good, there’s no excitement. It’s just Indiana Jones in another jungle, fighting another couple bad guys.

Michelinie’s steam runs out just after Indy gets back to the jungle too. He figured out how to resolve the issue and wrote the rest of the pages to fit.

Still, it’s not terrible.

CREDITS

The Gold Goddess, Chapter Two: Amazon Death-Ride; writers, Archie Goodwin and David Michelinie; penciller, Dan Reed; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 9 (September 1983)

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Michelinie–writing off a plot from Archie Goodwin–does a direct sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s practically a reunion issue too. While Marion and Marcus show up all the time, a slimmed down Sallah is in the first half of the issue (Michelinie sticks to the established Further plot structure).

Sallah and Indy are after the gold trinket from the beginning of Raiders. They run afoul of bad guys, of course, who turn out to be the natives with the blowguns from the movie. Only Michelinie’s dialogue for them makes them sound like cartoon radical Muslims; a South American native wouldn’t call a Westerner the infidel.

Meanwhile, Sallah and Indy’s friendship is a great example of how Muslims and WASPs can get along. Very strange.

The finish has Indy fighting the natives on a skyscraper.

Nice pencils from Dan Reed.

As usual, Michelinie delivers an okay comic.

CREDITS

The Gold Goddess, Chapter One: Xomec’s Raiders; writers, Archie Goodwin and David Michelinie; penciller, Dan Reed; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 5 (May 1983)

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Michelinie finishes his first two-parter quite well. The issue has a frantic pace with an interlude or two, usually for humor (sometimes for romance). Frenz keeps it moving in the art too; there aren’t any gradual segues for most of the action scenes. Michelinie and Frenz race through a bunch of action, pause for a bit, race again. Maybe there are three pauses, not two.

The issue has some sightseeing in England–Stonehenge, of course–along with some general tourism. It’s perfect for the license–“locations,” time period and action. Michelinie really gets how to make it work, especially when it comes to Indy. He’s not just not infallible, sometimes he’s not particularly strong either. Dumb luck plays a factor in his actions and his love interest proves to be made of stronger mettle when it comes to certain situations.

Again, Michelinie’s writing makes Jones a thoroughly decent read.

CREDITS

The Harbingers; writer, David Michelinie; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 4 (April 1983)

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I really hope David Michelinie is the new regular writer on this one. Like, really, really hope. I’ve never been a big Michelinie supporter before, but coming after O’Neil, he clearly gets Indiana Jones. Even with the expository stuff, Michelinie makes it seem like natural dialogue from an academic.

This issue puts Indy in London, which is full of anti-Nazi sentiment and war fears (see, Michelinie cares about the setting), working on something related to Stonehenge. The quest is secondary to all the action–there’s a fantastic chase sequence through the city. Michelinie and penciller Ron Frenz keep it all very exciting.

Frenz and inker Danny Bulanadi do decent work overall, but excellent when it comes to the action pacing. Frenz will slow down the funny moments and hurry through the boring stuff.

The cliffhanger doesn’t really work, but it’s easy to forgive. Michelinie’s enthusiasm makes Jones acceptable reading.

CREDITS

Getaway to Infinity; writer, David Michelinie; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 3 (March 1983)

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There’s not a single woman in this issue; it helps O’Neil’s writing immensely.

The plot itself isn’t too bad. Indiana Jones saves a kid from getting lynched, then discovers the kid is really (or attests to be) 200 years old and his grandfather has the secret of immortality. Indy fights with the older one and there are a lot action set pieces. O’Neil really packs the issue with action scenes, can’t complain about him there.

But he sets the issue somewhere in the United States. Indy’s fighting Deliverance rednecks on one side and warmongering U.S. Army goes on the other. And O’Neil never reveals the location, even though Indy asks someone. Probably trying to cover a dumb answer.

O’Neil’s narration for Indy shows his continued disinterest in the comic; I’m being polite, he’s either disinterested or incompetent.

The multiple artists do decent work.

For period adventure, it’s nearly passable.

CREDITS

The Devil’s Cradle; writer, Denny O’Neil; pencillers, Gene Day and Richard Howell; inkers, Mel Candido and Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Janice Chiang; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 300 (October 1984)

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I don’t think I’ve ever read such an overwritten comic book. Mantlo’s endless expository narration is, no pun intended, incredible. It’s not well-written narration–it does get better after a while, once he’s done introducing guest stars (I’m pretty sure he retcons out Daredevil getting doused in radioactive goo).

The story–if the issue has a story–is the Hulk going nuts and destroying New York City and everyone trying to stop him. It ends with Dr. Strange exiling him to live between worlds… or somewhere along those lines. It’s not an all action issue in the modern sense, since those read in four minutes at the most. With Mantlo’s narration, this issue is a time commitment.

Luckily, there’s Sal Buscema to pull it together. There’s occasional awkwardness in the art, but Buscema’s design–his panel composition–is wondrous. This comic book moves; with that narration, it has to.

CREDITS

Days of Rage!; writer, Bill Mantlo; penciller, Sal Buscema; inkers, Gerry Talaoc, Alan Kupperberg and Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterers, Jim Novak and Janice Chiang; editors, Jim Massara and Carl Potts; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop 16 (June 1991)

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Wow, what an issue. The villain has a TV for a head. Luckily, Robocop kills him without thinking much about it and so there won’t be any further appearances by… oh, right, Furman doesn’t even give him a name. Umm… Mr. TV Head.

And then there’s the really stupid part where Furman decides “The Old Man” from the movies doesn’t have a real name, which is maybe the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard. Or if he does have a real name, he doesn’t remember it… right….

The issue’s content–television shows beamed directly into the viewers’ minds–reminds a little of Batman Forever. It’s the first time Furman’s concepts have predated the more known pop culture items. Grant usually had one such item an issue. I guess Furman wasn’t as innovative.

It’s not a terrible comic–art’s pretty weak, but not incompetent–just useless; hard to stay conscious during.

CREDITS

TV Crimes; writer, Simon Furman; penciller, Andrew Wildman; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Ken Lopez; editor, Rob Tokar; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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