Dead Inside 5 (May 2017)

Dead Inside #5

Arcudi brings Dead Inside to a rather unsatisfactory conclusion. He’s got a big reveal for the mystery, he’s got a resolution for the ongoing prison riot; neither come off well, especially not when he ties them together so absurdly. Fejzula runs a little wild with the art–the loose lines don’t matter because the resolution is already taking the book off its rails. And the awkward, happy-go-lucky denoument doesn’t help anything either.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; artist, Toni Fejzula; colorist, André May; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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Dead Inside 4 (March 2017)

Dead Inside #4

It’s an unpleasant issue; well, it’s more rough than unpleasant. Bad things happening, page after page, as Arcudi moves Dead Inside towards its conclusion. And it’s hard to say where it’s going after this issue. Some really nice art Fejzula, some nice twists from Arcudi. Again, not reinventing the wheel, just solidly rolling it.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; artist, Toni Fejzula; colorist, André May; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dead Inside 3 (February 2017)

Dead Inside #3

It’s another completely solid issue. Arcudi does the police investigation well–there’s a lot left over from previous issues, but he’s able to get in a big surprise from material just introduced here. And Fejzula’s art looks a little different–a little rushed maybe–but it comes together pretty quickly. It’s downright sweet and sincere at times. I started this issue unimpressed with the professionalism of its production, ended it very happy to have it.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; artist, Toni Fejzula; colorist, André May; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dead Inside 2 (January 2017)

Dead Inside #2

The comic continues to be interesting and diverting. Arcudi knows how to write this mystery, he knows how to work in all the cop stuff; Dead Inside does its job, so long as its job is just to be a decent cop comic. However, having Fejzula on the art sort of promises something else, something more. And this issue doesn’t deliver. Fejzula loses personality as the thing goes on and hits Arcudi’s too cheap cliffhanger.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; artist, Toni Fejzula; colorist, André May; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dead Inside 1 (December 2016)

Dead Inside #1

While Dead Inside doesn’t reinvent the wheel–the protagonist is a divorced, hard-drinking female detective who can’t get anyone (male or female) to listen to her about a suspicious death and possible conspiracy–it’s solidly executed. John Arcudi’s script moves things around, has some surprises. Toni Fejzula’s art style is different–the mundane is visually disturbing. It works out well enough.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; artist, Toni Fejzula; colorist, André May; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Rumble 1 (December 2014)

Rumble #1

Right off, it’s fairly clear the focus of Rumble isn’t going to be the writing. Not for the reader, anyway. Writer John Arcudi does have some amusing, incisive dialogue. The opening exchange between a bartender and customer has its high points. But it isn’t going to be a talking heads comic.

It’s also not going to be an action comic, because artist James Harren doesn’t spend a lot of time on the act. His panels are somewhat static, very much snapshots in how Harren catches the characters moving.

In those panels, Harren creates an expressive world for Arcudi’s slightly off characters to inhabit. There’s a whole lot of mood; even though Harren’s style is playful, there’s an ever present danger. Maybe because of the giant swordsman chasing down a barfly.

There’s not a lot of meat to Rumble. Arcudi does fine, but Harren is the reason to read the comic.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; artist, John Harren; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; publisher, Image Comics.

Batman: Black and White 1 (November 2013)

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With the exception of the Neal Adams story, this first issue of Batman: Black and White is excellent.

Sure, the Chip Kidd story–with some nice Michael Cho art–is a little much on the Silver Age cuteness, but it’s a decent story.

The Adams one is about Bruce Wayne realizing the criminal justice system is unfair. It’s undercooked in both the art (though Adams’s pencils are nice, they’re not inked) and definitely the story. He just tries too hard.

The Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy story from Maris Wicks and Joe Quinones is probably the biggest surprise. It’s delightful.

John Arcudi and Sean Murphy do a “Batman loves his car” story, which has some great art and nice Alfred banter.

Finally, Howard Mackie and Chris Samnee do the most traditional story. Mackie’s got a good villain reveal, but he tries too hard. Lovely Samnee art though.

It’s good stuff.

CREDITS

Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When; writer, Chip Kidd; artist, Michael Cho; letterer, Dezi Sienty. Batman Zombie; writer and penciller, Neal Adams; letterer, Erica Schultz. Justice is Served; writer, Maris Wicks; artist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Rob Leigh. Driven; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Sean Murphy; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Head Games; writer, Howard Mackie; artist, Chris Samnee; letterer, Jack Morelli. Editors, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 12 (23 September 2009

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One should never hope for too much from finales. Especially not from an extremely uneven anthology series like Wednesday Comics.

Batman’s bad. Kamadi flops. Superman apparently only remembered after twelve installments he had a wife at home.

Deadman is okay. One of the better mediocre strips. Green Lantern is bad. Metamorpho is lacking; Gaiman tries too hard for nostalgia.

Teen Titans is awful, Adam Strange is great. Supergirl is cute again, but Metal Men goes out too dreary. I still have no idea what story Caldwell told with Wonder Woman.

Sgt. Rock’s lame again, but in a syrupy way now. Good Flash comic, though confusing, and an almost okay finish to The Demon and Catwoman. Hawkman is severely lacking too.

The winner of Wednesday Comics is easily Paul Pope for Adam Strange. The losers are just as easy–the inept team of Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway for Teen Titans.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 11 (16 September 2009)

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Azzarello writes Batman as a rube while Risso tries to ape Sin City as a Batman. Gibbons once again summarizes the action too much on Kamandi. Sook’s barely got anything to do.

Superman is bad. As usual.

Deadman’s okay, Green Lantern’s awful. Ditto, respectively, for Metamorpho and Teen Titans. Hope respectively, in that sense, means Titans is the awful one.

Good (not great) Adam Strange. Poor (not terrible) Supergirl.

For the first time, Garcia-Lopez is too busy on Metal Men. All the large scale action hurts it. And Caldwell breaks out of his little panels for Wonder Woman. It’s a mistake.

Sgt. Rock is okay, The Flash is great. Demon and Catwoman sucks–it’s Simonson’s fault. Stelfreeze just doesn’t have anything good to draw.

Awesome Hawkman–the art’s astounding. Baker really outdoes himself.

Wednesday Comics is wrapping up. Shame most of the creators have no idea how to close.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 10 (9 September 2009)

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Batman versus dogs, Azzarello’s inspired and Risso can’t even draw a cool Batmobile. Kamandi comes back a little; there’s a big battle scene, lots of panels. Arcudi misses a great Superman: The Movie homage on his dumb Superman strip.

Deadman’s okay, though all the action seems inappropriate. Green Lantern is lame; Busiek doesn’t understand weekly one page pacing. Metamorpho is competent but lame. Teen Titans is awful. Galloway’s a terrible writer.

Pope’s Adam Strange rocks. He’s clearly wrapping it up. Supergirl’s weak again. Too much plot, not enough cute. The Metal Men has some great art and a touching final couple panels. The Wonder Woman is once again confusing but still good. Maybe Caldwell just needs more space to tell the story.

The Sgt. Rock is okay. Far better than the strip’s worst. Decent Flash; very sci-fi.

Predictably lousy Demon/Catwoman and great Hawkman.

Comics is almost over.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 9 (2 September 2009)

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The art on Batman’s good. Risso’s aping Frank Miller, but it’s a stylish fight regardless. Kamandi continues to have story problems and poor Sook has nothing active to draw. Crap Superman. Nice Deadman. It might be Comics’s underdog strip.

It’s the best Green Lantern, which says little for the strip. Metamorpho‘s periodic table gimmick is so tired in its second week, Gaiman’s even bored writing it. I think someone told Berganza he was writing a kids’ cartoon for Titans, not a comic strip.

Good Adam Strange. Pope hasn’t topped his Earthbound Adam development so it’s kind of underwhelming.

Lame Supergirl (too wordy), okay Metal Men. Wonder Woman’s fine, Sgt. Rock’s not awful.

Oh, The Flash. Fletcher and Kerschl homage various comic strips. It’s fantastic. Best thing this issue except Baker’s Hawkman versus T-Rex panel.

And The Demon/Catwoman is awful again. Its quality’s plummeted.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 8 (25 August 2009)

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Batman’s bad; Azzarello’s desperate to make it a noir and he just can’t. Kamandi’s mediocre. Still nice art but the story’s stalling. Superman has no story and is bad too. Deadman’s got some great art.

Oh, Green Lantern. It’s weak again. Metamorpho’s fun, with a periodic table gag, but there’s no story. Teen Titans is inexplicable and bad. Adam Strange is confusing and fantastic. Supergirl’s tiresome. Very nice art on Metal Men from Garcia-Lopez, even if Didio’s run out of character moments.

Wonder Woman’s nearly comprehensible, even if Caldwell wastes most of his page. Sgt. Rock’s lame but not bad, The Flash is good. Oh, The Demon and Catwoman. Stelfreeze is wasted on such big panels. His work looks better when it’s precise, not emboldened.

Baker’s got a neat Hawkman, spanning two or three genres. Interesting Batman rendering too.

Comics’s moving along.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 7 (19 August 2009)

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Batman is a little better than usual. Not the art, but at least Azzarello writes two scenes. On the flip, this Kamandi strip is probably the weakest. Still good, but pointless.

Superman’s crap, Deadman’s pretty but slight, the Green Lantern is pointless. The Metamorpho, however, is weird in a good way. Crappy Teen Titans, but amusing–Berganza says Starfire is almost seven feet tall, Galloway draws her shorter than Robin. Great Adam Strange. Pope has really made the strip his own thing. Supergirl–with the Aquaman guest appearance–is weak again.

The Metal Men strip is still charming, but it’s starting to drag on. There’s a bunch of stuff in Wonder Woman but I’m not sure I understand it. Caldwell writes a great Etta.

Sgt. Rock is a little better, The Flash’s interesting again. Demon/Catwoman is lacking.

Baker rips off Jurassic Park but Hawkman’s still wonderful.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 6 (12 August 2009)

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Let’s get started. Batman–Risso’s artwork is weak. It’s loose when it needs to be strong and vice versa. Fun Kamandi but Gibbons isn’t giving Sook enough room for the content. Superman’s the opposite. Too much room, too little content. Deadman’s mediocre, probably its worst strip (it’s a wee trite).

Green Lantern’s continuing to sink too. Busiek’s Hal is an unlikable narrator. Gaiman and Allred cheat on Metamorpho–half the page is a board game. It’s cute, but clearly there’s not much story.

Oh, Berganza’s Teen Titans. He gives Blue Beetle the internal monologue of the Taco Bell chihuahua. It’s offensive in addition to awful.

The Adam Strange is amazing. Bringing him back to Earth, Pope finds a great twist. The Supergirl’s weak (relying on Aquaman jokes). Metal Men’s good, Wonder Woman’s half-amazing, half-incomprehensible. Weak Rock, okay Flash, weak Demon, great Hawkman… Baker’s artwork is absolutely phenomenal here.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 5 (5 August 2009)

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Lame Batman, good Kamandi (Sook does a good Planet of the Apes), lame Superman (though Bermejo’s a little better), okay Deadman (one of the book’s steadiest strips), lame Green Lantern (after always being mediocre before)….

I’m trying something different since these comics usually provide so little to really talk about.

Metamorpho’s a little better, Teen Titans is a little worse. Great Adam Strange, just featuring Alanna. Pope gives her a nice strip to herself. And Supergirl’s turning into one of the better strips in the series overall. Palmiotti’s tone for it is perfect and Conner’s art is engaging. Another good Metal Men, another interesting and confusing Wonder Woman, another crappy Sgt. Rock. I wonder if Joe Kubert just wasn’t willing to draw very much.

The Flash is fine, ice art from Kerschl. The Demon and Catwoman is completely passable. Hawkman recovers too, great action page.

The quality’s plateaued.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 4 (29 July 2009)

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Baker gets awkwardly jokey on the Hawkman, which is otherwise all right. He’s got a great looking space battle involving the JLA satellite.

Speaking of art, Bermejo’s Superman is particularly awful this issue. He’s apparently incapable of drawing Ma Kent. He draws her for three or four panels, each worse than the last.

Metamorpho makes a slight recovery; at least Gaiman’s got actual panels and something of a narrative. It’s all a tease, but it’s better than it has been.

The most reliable strips are Pope’s Adam Strange, Bullock and Heuck’s Deadman (it’s never great, but always decent), Gibbons and Sook’s Kamandi and some others. Metal Men, by Didio and Garcia-Lopez, continues to impress. Didio really does fit in some good character dialogue, even with all the action.

Berganza and Galloway’s Teen Titans actually manages to be worse, which seems unimaginable.

The issue’s quality’s up. The strips are stabilizing.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 3 (22 July 2009)

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This issue has even less good strips than before. Sgt. Rock in particular falls off, with Joe Kubert’s art getting way too loose. Gaiman and Allred’s Metamorpho doesn’t recover either.

In other words, at issue three, Wednesday Comics is already downhill.

Azzarello and Risso’s Batman manages to be worse, as does Arcudi and Bermejo’s Superman. Kamadi by Gibbons and Sook, however, is awesome. It’s perfect as a comic strip.

Nice Adam Strange by Pope, nice Metal Men by Didio and Garcia-Lopez. Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s Supergirl is rather cute; being well-intentioned and competent compensates for its lack of ambition.

Sadly, Kerschl and Fletcher’s Flash falters. They concentrate on a dramatic cliffhanger instead of an amusing one.

Kyle Baker quizzically turns his Hawkman into an “aliens were behind 9/11” thing. I hope that theme doesn’t stick.

The issue’s tiresome. The standouts don’t make up for the failures.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorists, Jose Villarrubia and Lovern Kindzierski. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 2 (15 July 2009)

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So even some of the better ones from the previous issue are losers this week. Specifically Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred’s Metamorpho. They flop on the format.

Still strong are Pope’s Adam Strange, Baker’s Hawkman, Dan Didio and Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez’s Metal Men (no, really) and Catwoman by Walt Simonson and Brian Stelfreeze. Oh, and Kamandi by Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook. The biggest surprise has got to be The Flash from Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl. They split it between Iris and Barry and have a very unexpected, but fun, twist.

Deadman, from Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock, is another nice one.

The lousy ones remain lousy (or worse). Azzarello and Risso’s Batman stinks; Risso’s art wastes the large size. Arcudi and Bermejo’s Superman is probably worse, just because it’s so poorly written. Berganza and Galloway’s Teen Titans has to be the worst one overall.

Another mixed bag.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 1 (8 July 2009)

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Wednesday Comics really needs a stronger editorial hand. While some of the creators get the concept, others completely fumble it. The successes (and the mediocrities) make up for the bad patches.

In the “no idea how to do the format” section, the issue has Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso on Batman, John Arcudi and Lee Bermejo on Superman (thumbs down to Bermejo’s interpretation too), Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway on Teen Titans (Galloway’s art is atrocious) and the Kuberts on Sgt. Rock. At least the art’s good on Rock from Joe.

The best entries are–no shock–Paul Pope and Kyle Baker’s. Pope does Adam Strange, Baker Hawkman. They both gleefully approach the newspaper sized medium, pacing their entries differently–though most of the better stories don’t spend this page setting up a plot. The worst ones do.

The issue’s interesting, but barely half successful. There are some real stinkers.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Rocketeer Adventures 4 (August 2011)

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Even with some of the art, this issue’s a complete stinker. None of the writers actually exhibit any love (or respect) for the characters.

Hampton does a nice mix of bright pulp and his static painting; as a result, the first story is very pretty. But Dave Gibbons’s script gives Cliff a dumb adventure, makes him slightly unlikable and Betty a strumpet.

But those characterizations are nothing compared to Joe Pruett and Tony Harris’s second story. Pruett and Harris re-imagine Cliff as half-weasel, half-dweeb and Betty as the shallowest person in America. They’re repugnant characters.

The third story, from John Arcudi and Brendan McCarthy, is better than the second and probably the first. McCarthy’s art is sort of boring, given his usual style. It’s the Rocketeer versus the female Nazi Rocketeer. It could be a lot worse, but it’s nothing special.

This issue’s actually unpleasant to read.

CREDITS

A Day at the Beach; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist and colorist, Scott Hampton. Waterlogged; writer, Joe Pruett; artist, Tony Harris; colorist, JD Mettler. The Flight of the Aeronaut; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Brendan McCarthy; colorist, Jamie Grant. Letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 4 (December 1992)

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Here’s one thing about comic book sequels to movies. Look, I know you can do things in a comic book you can’t do in a movie, but respect the level of reality in the source. You shouldn’t all of a sudden have a giant monster just because Somerville can draw it badly.

In other words, Climate of Fear kind of limps to its finish. Arcudi gets in a good final moment, something not as good as the Thing movie, but a tonal homage.

And most of the issue isn’t bad. Arcudi’s pacing is great. He takes his time establishing and following through. He just can’t get away with a giant monster.

Instead of a sequel to The Thing, it becomes an awful fifties radiation monster movie with bad special effects.

There is more of that sparse third person narration. Arcudi uses it sparingly and well.

I nearly recommend this comic.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, Jim Somerville; inker, Robert Jones; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 3 (November 1992)

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Arcudi gets to the cliffhanger I imagine readers had been waiting for since the end of the movie. I won’t spoil—which is not to recommend the series, I really can’t with Somerville’s artwork. He ruins the cliffhanger. It looks like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon, not a horror comic.

But Arcudi tries some different things this issue—he’s got third person narration, location tags, and some close third person examining the female doctor. It’s not exactly insightful—she’s got the hots for MacReady (there’s a hilarious line about her not knowing MacReady’s first name—it wasn’t in the movie either). But Arcudi’s trying something with the comic, he’s being ambitious with a licensed property. Doesn’t happen often.

As the series goes, I’m less excited to see how the cliffhanger resolves (since it was inevitable) than to see how Arcudi develops the series in terms of narrative devices.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, Jim Somerville; inker, Robert Jones; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 2 (September 1992)

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It’s shocking how much better Climate of Fear reads when it’s not about MacReady and Childs (from the movie).

Arcudi continues—for the majority of the issue—his version of The Thing, only in a warm climate with a female scientist as the protagonist. It’s mostly a talking heads book, with the tensions rising among the people as they get more and more scared.

Somerville is still a bad artist, so the book must succeed because of Arcudi’s scripting. He twists the tension tighter and tighter and the explosion, cinematic and bloody, works great.

Even his immediate follow-up is good. But then MacReady comes back into it. Or, actually, doesn’t, because Somerville doesn’t know how to establish the absence of someone in his composition.

Once the confusing moments are aside, the issue has a big chase and then has a big cliffhanger.

Unfortunately, Somerville’s art ruins the cliffhanger’s effectiveness.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, Jim Somerville; inker, Robert Jones; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 1 (July 1992)

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It didn’t occur to me until I read the letters page… but here you’ve got a comic book with grotesque graphic violence and still the %@!!$ for curse words. Kind of funny.

Anyway, Arcudi doesn’t do bad with a Thing series. He moves the action to some remote Argentinean peninsula and provides a whole new cast of morons who ignore MacReady (Kurt Russell from the movie) and his warnings.

Politely speaking, it’s an unlikely sequel… but not one without its merits.

Arcudi gets how to pace the thriller aspect and the action aspect. His MacReady is a joker card, able to screw up the predictable behavior.

Still, penciller Jim Somerville and inker Brian Garvey bring a new level of incompetence to how to convey a visual thriller. These guys are silly when they should be serious and cartoonish when they should be frightening.

It’s pointless licensed Dark Horse comics.

Totally harmless.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, Jim Somerville; inker, Brian Garvey; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 149 (December 1999)

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Who is Isaac Buckminster Owens and why didn’t he work more? He opens the issue with this future wasteland story and this female soldier hunting for a tank. The plotting isn’t great—he reveals her goal at page five or six—but his artwork is utterly fantastic. He reminds a little of Cameron Stewart, with some Paul Pope thrown in. He’s just great.

Still, even though writing isn’t Owens’s strength, he’s still a lot better than Amara’s script on The Nevermen. This issue introduces more characters, more unspoken backstories and more nonsense. Davis’s artwork makes me wish Dark Horse had just printed it without the word balloons (it probably would have made more sense). Just some gorgeous art.

Finally, Ragnok ends. Arcudi’s scripting doesn’t get any better and Sook has a full Mignola panel here. I guess the ending is sort of all right. It’s more lame than anything else.

CREDITS

Wunderkind; story, art and lettering by Isaac Buckminster Owens. Ragnok, Part Three; story by John Arcudi; art by Ryan Sook; lettering by Mike Heisler. The Nevermen, Part Two, Never Again; story by Philip D. Amara; art by Guy Davis; lettering by Steve Haynie. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 148 (November 1999)

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Something about this issue is just very indistinct.

It opens with Amara and Davis’s The Nevermen. It’s got some fabulous art—Davis is illustrating all these different pulpy heroes and villains with some sci-fi elements. It fabulous looking. The writing is awful. Amara’s plotting is confusing and his dialogue is wooden. Art’s great though.

Then there’s another Xena story, maybe the silliest license I can think of. Wagner manages a decent job on the script—except for the TV stuff, it feels like Roman history for a bit. Deodato does great—except on the TV characters, who he carefully draws to look like the actors. It’s a pointless story.

Arcudi and Sook’s Ragnok closes the issue. Arcudi’s writing is still confusing. It’s not clear if it’s supposed to be “real world” and just feature weirdos, because the fantastic elements aren’t here this installment. And, unfortunately, Sook’s still aping Mignola.

CREDITS

The Nevermen, Part One, And the Night Sings; story by Philip D. Amara; art by Guy Davis; lettering by Steve Haynie. Xena: Warrior Princess, Ghost; story by John Wagner; art by Mike Deodato; lettering by John Workman; coedited by Dave Land. Ragnok, Part Two; story by John Arcudi; art by Ryan Sook; lettering by Mike Heisler. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 147 (October 1999)

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I wanted to like Ragnok—not because Arcudi’s writing, but because Sook’s on the art. But it’s dark and indistinct. Lots and lots of black—very Mignola-lite. If Arcudi maybe had an interesting script, it would work. Unfortunately, the script seems to be going for something eccentric; Sook’s art doesn’t fit it. Maybe it’ll get better….

The last Ghost installment is a waste of time. Luke’s writing has gotten steadily worse as the installments went on (this time, when he tries to talk about sexism, it’s painful). Worse, Baker and Kolle’s art suffers from the script. There’s this waste of a full page panel. Still, it has a funny conclusion.

And Aliens vs. Predator finishes awful. Thompson and O’Connell’s weak art certainly doesn’t help it, but the fault is the script. Edginton goes a different route than expected—he ignores the heavy continuity and just writes a dumb story.

CREDITS

Ragnok, Part One; story by John Arcudi; art by Ryan Sook; lettering by Mike Heisler. Ghost, The Woes of Sinful Bachelors, Part Three; story by Eric Luke; pencils by H.M. Baker; inks by Bernard Kolle; lettering by Steve Haynie. Aliens vs. Predator, The Web, Part Two; story by Ian Edginton; art by Derek Thompson and Brian O’Connell; lettering by Clem Robins. Edited by Randy Stradley and Chris Haberman.

Dark Horse Presents 146 (September 1999)

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I was really expecting more from Edginton here. His Aliens vs. Predator starts out as a rip of Alien—bickering crew, uncharted planet—only adding in aliens once the people land (they don’t have spacesuits either). But then it turns out to be a poorly conceived “thirty years in the future” sequel to the first Aliens vs. Predator series. Doesn’t help Thompson and O’Connell’s art is weak. Though I guess the spaceship looks all right.

Shabrken continues with enthusiasm from artists Henry and Lieber (though the scale of the events gets out of control). It’s not terrible—Hartley’s writing is solidly mediocre—it’s just pointless.

Arcudi scripts the Glack strip for Blickenstaff. Considering it’s two lines of dialogue, not sure why it needed a separate writer.

Then Ghost continues. Baker and Kolle’s art is crisp, but Luke is trying to write her as a pulp hero. It doesn’t work out.

CREDITS

Aliens vs. Predator, The Web, Part One; story by Ian Edginton; art by Derek Thompson and Brian O’Connell; lettering by Clem Robins; co-edited by Philip D. Amara. Shabrken, Dark Exorcism, Part Two; story by Mark Henry and Welles Hartley; pencils by Henry; inks by Gary Lieber; lettering by Amador Cisneros. Glack; story by John Arcudi; art by Stephen Blickenstaff. Ghost, The Woes of Sinful Bachelors, Part Two; story by Eric Luke; pencils by H.M. Baker; inks by Bernard Kolle; lettering by Steve Haynie. Edited by Randy Stradley and Adam Gallardo.

Dark Horse Presents Annual 1997 (February 1998)

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For a Presents annual (or oversized special), this one has a lot of solid work.

Pearson’s Body Bags is a fun diversion. The art’s great and the story moves. It gets a little visually confusing, but it’s good.

And Verheiden (with Marrinan) finally produces a decent installment of The American. It’s a thoughtful story, very well written.

Arcudi and Musgrove’s The Oven Traveler is dumb. It’s a one page story dragged to four.

Aliens (from Smith and Morrow) is atrocious. It’s Aliens meets Westworld. If it weren’t terrible, it’d be an interesting genre mix—plus, Morrow can’t draw the aliens. They look awkward and goofy, not at all frightening.

Jillette and French’s Rheumy Peepers and Chunky Highlights is overwritten but mildly diverting….

Stephens and Allred’s The Stiff is decent, if too silly.

Then there’s a decent Pope finish. It’s a talking heads story, which seems like a waste of Pope.

CREDITS

Body Bags; story and art by Jason Pearson. The American, The Big Deal; story by Mark Verheiden; art by Chris Marrinan; lettering by Sean Konot. The Oven Traveler; story by John Arcudi; art by Scott Musgrove. Aliens, Tourist Season; story by Beau Smith; art by Gray Morrow; lettering by John Costanza; edited by Bob Schreck. The Adventures of Rheumy Peepers and Chunky Highlights; story by Penn Jillette; art by Renée French. The Stiff, Disappearing Act; story, inks and lettering by Jay Stephens; pencils by Mike Allred. Four Cats; story and art by Paul Pope. Edited by Jamie S Rich.

Dark Horse Presents 123 (July 1997)

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Imago‘s finish opens the issue. Arcudi might have needed more time–this installment just gives up, admitting the concept was more interesting than the execution. O’Connell’s art is okay. His faces aren’t distinct enough, but it’s fine for a short story.

Nixey continues the issue’s lackluster vibe with Trout‘s conclusion. In it, Trout (the character) gets his big moment. Except Nixey hadn’t been building toward it except in this installment, so it sort of misfires. Nixey was best when he brought the questing aspect to the story. Without it, like here–an all-action installment–Trout has some good artwork and design, but nothing compelling about it.

Jack Zero reverses the issue’s negative tide a little. It’s got a problematic end, but Zero Boy and Pander do come up with a fantastic resolution to Jack’s trip to the west. Better, they continue coming up with unexpected developments. It’s fine work.

CREDITS

Imago, Part Two; story by John Arcudi; art by Brian O’Connell; lettering by Sean Konot. Trout, Nicky Nicky Nine Doors, Part Five; story and art by Troy Nixey. Jack Zero, Part Three; story by Arnold Pander and Zero Boy; art by Pander; lettered by John Costanza. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.

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