The Maze Agency 3 (February 1989)


The art is good here, it doesn’t even matter when it doesn’t make sense. Hughes comes up with these lovely pages for the investigation scenes–Gabe and Jennifer are touring New York state to question people–and the pages are simply wondrous. There’s this amazing condo in the middle of nowhere; Hughes’s page composition makes the mundane extraordinary.

As for the mystery, things get lost but it’s still decent. A prototype car disappears. Murder plays a factor eventually, since there’d be no danger otherwise. Barr and the artists handle all that aspect just fine. But Maze’s other plot–the romance–gets downgraded.

Gabe is something of a puppy dog here, following Jennifer around. Barr goes out of his way to make Gabe likable, but Jennifer’s just better than her colleagues. She’s not soluble enough.

Barr also reveals the issues take place a month apart, which is a nice device.


The Case of the Vanishing Vehicle; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, Adam Hughes; inker, Rick Magyar; colorist, Julia Lacquement; letterer, Deborah Marks; editor, Michael Eury; publisher, Comico.

Rocketeer Adventures 4 (August 2011)


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.


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.

Swamp Thing 89 (November 1989)

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The issue’s beautiful to be sure–Tom Yeates drawing Alec’s adventures in a far flung past, before the continents have even shifted, meeting with the first three trees in the Parliament. At the same time, Abby is preparing to have the baby and Constantine is trying to get back.

But Wheeler’s way too ambitious. His enthusiasm is unchecked–I’m shocked his editor didn’t have him rein it in.

Swamp Thing, traveling so far back in time, becomes the starter of life on the planet Earth. As time travel arcs go, it’s dumb and way too convenient. Worse, Wheeler doesn’t have a handle on Alec’s monologue. He’s the only sentient creature on the planet and he’s boring to hear. So Wheeler just writes a lot of interior monologue, saying nothing.

This particularly trip back also messes up the pacing of the present day story in the comic.

It’s a pretty misfire.


Founding Fathers; writer, Doug Wheeler; penciller, Tom Yeates; inkers, Yeates, Ken Hooper and Mark McMurray; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

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