Wednesday Comics 12 (23 September 2009

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. … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 12 (23 September 2009

Wednesday Comics 11 (16 September 2009)

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 … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 11 (16 September 2009)

Wednesday Comics 10 (9 September 2009)

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 … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 10 (9 September 2009)

Wednesday Comics 9 (2 September 2009)

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 … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 9 (2 September 2009)

Wednesday Comics 8 (25 August 2009)

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, … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 8 (25 August 2009)

Wednesday Comics 7 (19 August 2009)

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 … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 7 (19 August 2009)

Wednesday Comics 6 (12 August 2009)

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 … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 6 (12 August 2009)

Wednesday Comics 5 (5 August 2009)

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 … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 5 (5 August 2009)

Wednesday Comics 4 (29 July 2009)

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 … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 4 (29 July 2009)

Rocketeer Adventures 2 4 (June 2012)

John Byrne easily does the best story in this issue. Really. And he can even draw Peevy. He lays out his story well, though the details on the characters aren’t any great shakes. The Rocketeer’s funny looking, while Cliff looks like Snidely Whiplash. Still, Byrne’s clearly enthusiastic about the characters and the setting. The other creators this issue clearly aren’t. Well, maybe the Simonsons are enthusiastic but are incapable of conveying it. Louise Simonson’s plot isn’t terrible, but her dialogue is unbearable. From the first word balloon, it’s clear the story’s going to be a chore. And Walt Simonson’s art … Continue reading Rocketeer Adventures 2 4 (June 2012)

Wednesday Comics 3 (22 July 2009)

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. … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 3 (22 July 2009)

Wednesday Comics 2 (15 July 2009)

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 … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 2 (15 July 2009)

Rocketeer Adventures 2 2 (April 2012)

I’m having a hard time buying the Rocketeer as Captain America. The first story, from Tom Taylor and Colin Wilson, sets Cliff up as an official U.S. military superhero. It makes no sense. Especially not fighting giant robots. But the story’s good anyway. Taylor structures it well and Wilson’s art is great. Very effective work. Paul Dini and Bill Morrison’s story is not so effective. It’s actually rather annoying. It’s an unfunny episode of a Rocketeer cartoon–cartoon as a pejorative. Dini writes cheap jokes and weak characterizations. Morrison’s art isn’t terrible, but it’s nothing special. The last story, by Walt … Continue reading Rocketeer Adventures 2 2 (April 2012)

Wednesday Comics 1 (8 July 2009)

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. … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 1 (8 July 2009)

Marvel Super Special 18 (September 1981)

Adapting Raiders of the Lost Ark into a comic book ought to be a no-brainer, especially with a strong creative team. And Walt Simonson’s script does have occasional highlights–he tries hard to make the stunts seem reasonable, using a lot of interior monologue for the cast–but not as many as it should. More than anything else, actually, the comic shows how movie and comic action differs and why adapting one to the other isn’t simple. Simonson includes includes a lot of action bad for comics (car chases?) but he also ignores characterizations. Indy’s a vaguely generic lead, Marion gets the … Continue reading Marvel Super Special 18 (September 1981)

The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans 1 (September 1982)

I’m hard-pressed to think of a worse comic than The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans. Besides the Chris Claremont writing, which is atrocious, laughable and so on, there’s the Walt Simonson art. I’m not a big Simonson fan, but I’d never thought he was capable of being terrible or incompetent (he’s got some Liefeld body proportions here). So it’s not even pleasant to see. Terry Austin does his many dot backgrounds, which is cute, but he certainly doesn’t fix the awful art. The story involves Dark Phoenix and Darkseid teaming up. Big whoop. Claremont tries to introduce a … Continue reading The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans 1 (September 1982)

Marvel Treasury Edition 28 (July 1981)

Was Jim Shooter paying himself by the word, because I don’t think I’ve ever read more exposition in a comic book. It’s terrible exposition too, but I suppose the sentences are grammatically correct. For the most part. But what I can’t figure out is the artwork. The combination of John Buscema on pencils and Joe Sinnott on inks produces one of the worst eighties comic books I can remember seeing. Superman’s figure is strangely bulky, with a little head. But the facial features on everyone are awful. It’s a hideous thing to read. The story concerns Dr. Doom trying again … Continue reading Marvel Treasury Edition 28 (July 1981)

DC Universe: Legacies 5 (November 2010)

This one’s Crisis issue and easily the best writing Wein has done on the series. It’s hard to decide why it’s his best though. My first thought was because this period—late seventies to mid-eighties—is when Wein was writing comics and he’s able to work well in that period. My next thought had to do with his stupid narrator and his convict brother-in-law. This time, Wein gets it taken care of in the first few pages, so there’s no waiting for it to rear its ugly head. But maybe it’s even more simple—the majority of the issue is a “new” Crisis … Continue reading DC Universe: Legacies 5 (November 2010)

Dark Horse Presents 114 (October 1996)

Miller’s pseudo-anti-misogyny Lance Blastoff is back… it’s amazing how someone can turn in something so stupid and pretend it’s profound. I guess the sci-fi setting means Miller has to work a little harder on his art. Trypto gets weird this time. The dog develops superpowers and goes around (flying like Krypto) freeing and magically rehabilitating dogfighting dogs. And maybe killing the fight audience. Mumy and Ferrer’s script is fine. They turn their passion for the cause (anti-dogfighting) into a working story. Again, Leialoha bites off more than he can chew art-wise. Simonson copies and pastes a bunch of panels, zooming … Continue reading Dark Horse Presents 114 (October 1996)

Detective Comics 500 (March 1981)

For issue 500, DC went with something rather celebratory for Detective Comics–it’s very oversized (84 pages) and has many Detective Comics regulars–back to Slam Bradley–making appearances. The opening Batman story, from Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano, is fantastic one about Batman going Earth-3 to save his parents. It’s a great, touching story. I love it. I’ve probably read it, in one place or another, like ten times. The rest is mostly a mess. Len Wein’s Bradley story is atrociously written, the Mike W. Barr Elongated Man story is flat–the Hawkman story does have some beautiful Joe Kubert artwork and a … Continue reading Detective Comics 500 (March 1981)

The Mighty Thor 363 (January 1986)

Is this my first issue of Thor? It might be, at least as an adult. I thought there was a miniseries I read, but probably not. I’ve always just assumed they sucked. I mean, I don’t all of a sudden love Thor or something; it’s still really wordy and obnoxious and not even when it’s just Thor talking, Simonson has some really talky narration. And even with the lame story from Secret Wars II continuing–the Beyonder gave a Thor villain infinite power to see if the villain would be happy after killing Thor–and the Power Pack showing up (did Simonson … Continue reading The Mighty Thor 363 (January 1986)

Robocop vs. the Terminator 4 (December 1992)

Wow, so good old Frank Miller coming through here with a happy ending and a dumb joke and just an awful comic book. There’s so little story in this issue, you’d think it was coming out today instead of back in the early nineties. Miller’s script reads like fan fiction, if I understand what fan fiction reads like–my understanding being totally based on the jokes made about fan fiction. What’s most interesting about the entire series is how the Robocop licensing worked. The Terminator stuff, apparently Miller got to do whatever he wanted because who cares what one’s going to … Continue reading Robocop vs. the Terminator 4 (December 1992)

Robocop vs. the Terminator 3 (November 1992)

Let’s see if I can recap. The future lady doesn’t kill Robocop because he’s too human so Robocop goes off and kills himself. Wait, wait, I forgot the opening with the Terminators colonizing outer space (another thing Cameron wisely neglected wasting time on–what do the Terminators do once they take over the planet?). Ok, so then the future is okay and all the Terminators get erased from it and the people experience them getting erased, kind of like Back to the Future again. It’s very song and dance. But then the Terminators, as they’re being erased, race back in time … Continue reading Robocop vs. the Terminator 3 (November 1992)

Robocop vs. the Terminator 2 (October 1992)

This issue is definitely better. There’s very little of the future warrior woman’s narration and a lot of Robocop versus Terminator action. Miller’s sense of humor even works a little–even if he overwrites–with the ED-209s being, basically, Robocop’s obedient lapdogs. His exposition here is still terrible, laughable really. But he comes up with some really effective moments, rather cinematic (it’s a shame his Robocop 2 script wasn’t as good as his Robocop vs. the Terminator script). Even with the stupid flying through the internet (on dial-up) scene with Robocop and his squeeze (from Robocop 3, natch), it’s a decent job. … Continue reading Robocop vs. the Terminator 2 (October 1992)

Robocop vs. the Terminator 1 (September 1992)

I’m not sure what level this one is most amusing on–Frank Miller doing licensed properties? Robocop vs. the Terminator being a sequel to the dismal Robocop 3 movie? The female soldier from the future knowing everything about the past even though she wouldn’t have been born yet? All the goofy expository dialogue or all the goofy narration? The endless possibilities for snide rhetorical questions? Robocop vs. the Terminator is a crappy comic book; it’s not even an interesting crappy comic. It foreshadows everything Miller’s writing has turned into over the years–awful pacing–thirteen second action scenes taking two to three pages, … Continue reading Robocop vs. the Terminator 1 (September 1992)