The Maze Agency 2 (January 1989)

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Barr uses Gabriel–the amateur detective slash novelist-for-hire (there’s a great joke about Friday the 13th adaptations)–to bring the reader to the mystery. Then he has to bring Jennifer–the professional detective–into it. The approach lets him do some more character development without having to use too much exposition, but Barr often errs on the side of subtlety.

Maze is, at this point in the series, about the chemistry between Gabriel and Jennifer, who aren’t exactly dating. Not steady, anyway. So when Gabriel meets another suitor, it should give Barr the chance to explain some things. He doesn’t. He just lets it raise more questions.

The mystery this issue involves an old TV show, modeled on “The Honeymooners,” I think. It’s a solid mystery, with the ending unexpected (and, frankly, unexplored) and a good read.

The moody but exact art from Hughes and Magyar is lovely.

CREDITS

Murder–The Lost Episodes; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, Adam Hughes; inker, Rick Magyar; colorist, Julia Lacquement; letterer, Deborah Marks; editor, Michael Eury; publisher, Comico.

Rocketeer Adventures 3 (July 2011)

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Rocketeer Adventures really needs some editorial guidance. Or at least the stories need to make sense in relation to one another.

The first story, from Ryan Sook, is pretty good. But Sook makes a big point of how Cliff gets the fame Betty so desperately wants, only he never indicates whether she’s jealous about it. His finish, while beautifully done, could go either way.

Then there’s the Joe R. Lansdale short story. Lansdale writes a pulpy text–nothing particularly special and he doesn’t describe the action very well. Bruce Timm’s occasional illustrations ignore the pulpy quality. Timm does G-rated art for an R-rated story. It’s a complete disconnect.

The final story, from Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards, is easily the best. Ross has a fun setup and, refreshingly, concentrates on the female characters. Edwards’s stylized art suits it well.

Even with the pluses, the issue feels unsubstantial.

CREDITS

A Rocketeer Story; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ryan Sook. Heaven’s Devils; writer, Joe R. Lansdale; plotter, artist and colorist, Bruce Timm. Junior Rocketeers; writer, Jonathan Ross; artist and colorist, Tommy Lee Edwards; letterer, John Workman. Editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Boys 29 (April 2009)

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I think I reread the finish to this issue five times. You want to go through and pick out the people dying so you can enjoy it.

Ennis never did find a story for this arc. It’s seven issues to have a brief conversation between Butcher and the evil corporate. The whole G-Men thing is something of a red herring; Ennis even finds a way to make the reader feel bad for enjoying it.

His ability to suck the humor out of the situation–and even the memory of the previous issues’ humor–is astounding.

Robertson’s art is great. He’s got a big sequence at the end, but the whole issue is a very difficult talking heads scene. He nails it.

There’s not much to say… It’s an excellently produced comic book; Ennis and Robertson know what they’re doing. The Boys has been serious before, but never this serious.

CREDITS

We Gotta Go Now, Conclusion; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Avina; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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