The Amazing Spider-Man 255 (August 1984)

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It’s a perfectly decent done-in-one.

The issue opens with the Black Fox (I thought he was the Black Cat’s father, but maybe not) and he introduces the issue’s main story, the Red Ghost wanting to rob a bunch of stores so he can afford to build his death ray (or whatever it’s called). There’s some painful dialogue until that conversation, but then it gets amusing–the supervillain in hiding, needing to resort to breaking and entering to fund his devious device.

It’s funny.

The Spider-Man stuff is awkward. Most of the Peter Parker scenes are spent going over all the events of previous crossover titles. Then the black costume takes him out for a day and keeps him unconscious (which he doesn’t know yet, of course).

It’s a breezy read and Ron Frenz does a good job of the action. He gives Spidey some needed physical levity.

CREDITS

Even A Ghost Can Fear The Night; writer, Tom DeFalco; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Joe Rubinstein; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Detective Comics 526 (May 1983)

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It’s a gorgeous issue. Newton and Alcala doing Batman’s rogues gallery is possibly an unsurpassable event. Maybe eight pages in, they have this incomparable Joker close-up. DC ought to reprint the issue oversized just so one can really look at it.

But it’s also a really good issue. Besides Jason Todd’s endless thought balloons–not bad, just too many of them–it’s a perfect Batman comic. Conway splits the action–Batman, Talia and Catwoman go one way, Batgirl and Robin go another. They meet at the end with Jason Todd, in a Robin outfit, joining.

Batman with the two women makes for good stuff (oh, Vicki Vale gets dismissed without a thought from Bruce), since they’re all very aware of each other. Similarly, Robin and Batgirl work well as a team.

The end, with Bruce, Dick and Jason Todd, brought a tear to my eye. It’s way too simple, but also undeniably effective.

CREDITS

All My Enemies Against Me!; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Don Newton; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, Nicola Cuti and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman 359 (May 1983)

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Well, Batman is having a freakout–over women he decides. Having to decide between Selina and Vicki (mind you, Selina hasn’t appeared since the last really good issue Conway wrote) has made Bruce lose it. It’s why he let Killer Croc go he decides.

There’s a bunch of eye-rolling logic this issue and the Dan Jurgens art doesn’t provide much diversion from them. With the Giordano inks, the comic looks good enough, it’s just really boring. Besides the Batman stuff, there’s Killer Croc consolidating his power (still) and his origin. Jurgens and Giordano do a good job drawing him, scary but palatable.

Then there’s the Todd family stuff. Jason Todd’s parents here are complete morons and Batman’s fine with them getting killed to further his hunt for Killer Croc (because he let him go… because of Selina). It’s amazing how little responsibility Bruce takes for himself. He’s a jackass.

CREDITS

Hunt; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Dan Jurgens; inker, Dick Giordano; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, Nicola Cuti and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Marvel Team-Up 143 (July 1984)

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Michelinie being a competent writer aside, I really loathe nonsensical inter dimensional stories. Spidey and Starfox have to go into another dimension to figure out why Captain Marvel is all messed up.

So the two mismatched heroes (we know they’re mismatched because of Spidey’s constant thought balloons on the subject) meet these two warring tribes, one female, one male, and have to defeat the bad guys (the male tribe) to save Captain Marvel. Whew, long sentence.

But the journey doesn’t have any weight or wonderment–Spidey’s totally nonplussed at the strange alien world surrounding him… not to mention all the human inhabitants.

LaRocque’s art is better here than last issue, as there are nice panels and nice movement on Spidey, not to mention during the big fight scene. But it all feels a little too contrived and a little too dumb. Michelinie sells it, but only at cover price, no more.

C 

CREDITS

Shifts and Planes; writer, Dave Michelinie; penciller, Greg LaRocque; inker, Mike Esposito; colorist, Christie Scheele; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvel Team-Up 142 (June 1984)

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Michelinie writes a good issue here. Ten pages in and he’s had two action sequences, one for Spidey, one for Captain Marvel; it feels like you’re spending the day with the characters. Not in some fun sense, rather as though Michelinie is approximating real time in summary. It’s impressive pacing and it makes up for some of the weaker expository moments.

The only real problem is the artwork–LaRocque’s Peter Parker is some kind of awful, though it’s hard to dislike the scene too much… since it’s got a nice mention of Milt Caniff. It’s the kind of reference I don’t remember ever seeing in a Marvel comic.

The real strength of the comic is Captain Marvel. From what I’ve seen of her appearances in this era, the character always manages to rise above bad writing. So with a solid script, like here, she’s fantastic.

It’s a good, readable superhero outing.

CREDITS

Foiled!; writer, Dave Michelinie; pencillers, Greg LaRocque and Mike Esposito; inker, Esposito; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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