The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 5 (May 1983)


Michelinie finishes his first two-parter quite well. The issue has a frantic pace with an interlude or two, usually for humor (sometimes for romance). Frenz keeps it moving in the art too; there aren’t any gradual segues for most of the action scenes. Michelinie and Frenz race through a bunch of action, pause for a bit, race again. Maybe there are three pauses, not two.

The issue has some sightseeing in England–Stonehenge, of course–along with some general tourism. It’s perfect for the license–“locations,” time period and action. Michelinie really gets how to make it work, especially when it comes to Indy. He’s not just not infallible, sometimes he’s not particularly strong either. Dumb luck plays a factor in his actions and his love interest proves to be made of stronger mettle when it comes to certain situations.

Again, Michelinie’s writing makes Jones a thoroughly decent read.


The Harbingers; writer, David Michelinie; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 3 (October 2012)


It’s a good thing Samnee’s drawing this series–but especially this issue–because without him I’d forget I was supposed to be reading a Rocketeer comic.

The stuff at the hanger is all fine, but it’s the supporting cast jabbering to each other. Waid writes Peevy well, he even writes Betty well (though not enough to turn her into a real person) and Cliff’s new sidekicks continue to amuse.

But Cliff? Fighting dinosaurs and teaming up with some bad guys? It’s a disaster. Waid’s only got two good moments on the Cliff side and one’s not even his own. The bad guy asks Cliff to save his crew. It’s a neat moment.

The other is Cliff talking back to a supportive crowd. Very funny, but not really specific to the character. Feels more like a Spider-Man moment, actually.

And the way Cliff deals with the dinosaurs is just mean.


Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan 4 (April 2013)


More 2001 visual references–heck, maybe even a 2010–and Hughes gets over his aversion to Jon’s big blue penis… but it’s a lackluster finale issue.

Straczynski has to tie into the original series, which means bringing in Adrian, and the whole thing becomes a bore. He not only doesn’t do anything interesting with Jon–the monolith epilogue should have been the whole issue–he writes a very annoying Adrian.

For the first time in the series, Dr. Manhattan feels like just a tie-in comic. All the originality Straczynski previously showed is gone. It becomes perfunctory. It’s too bad.

The series’s big question–what does Jon want out of his existence–never gets addressed. And unlike Moore, Straczynski doesn’t play it like a precisely choreographed graphic narrative experience–Jon has too much character to just get pushed aside for Adrian.

Still, the series’s previous successes outweigh the lame finish.


Changes in Perspective; writer, J. Michael Straczynski; artist, Adam Hughes; colorist, Laura Martin; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Chris Conroy, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 115 (January 1992)


This story eventually has a very familiar feel… ghosts in the swamp fighting. It’s unclear if Collins meant to pay homage to Wein and Wrightson. One hopes, because otherwise it just seems like a repeat episode.

There’s a really cute short at the end about the Cajun Santa, which cements the domestic feeling Collins has given Abby and Alec. It has some very nice art from Mandrake and DeMulder; their art on the main story’s good too, but it’s a lot more precious on the Santa story.

Collins brings in Constantine for an extended stretch this issue and gives he and Alec a long scene of squabbling. It’s amusing (if too domestic–Swamp Thing is practically a sitcom now) and contributes to the concern for kidnapped Abby and TefĂ©.

Once again, unfortunately, Collins relies on Alec’s limited omnipotence. He doesn’t know the obvious, just the essential for a neat finish.


Rum, Necromancy, & the Lash. Papa Noel. Writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Tom Mandrake; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Todd, The Ugliest Kid on Earth 4 (April 2013)

Todd The Ugliest Kid on Earth 4

Some things can never be unseen. I’m pretty sure Todd’s dad naked in bed covered in money is one of them.

Kristensen and Perker doesn’t introduce any new characters this issue, I don’t think, but many of the series’s smaller players reappear. Even though Todd will return as an ongoing, this issue feels like a finish.

There’s a lot of plot development, maybe even more of it than there is humor. The issue has a lot of action, often funny, but the action humor is black. Kristensen only has a handful of really funny lines.

He brings all of the plot threads together to resolve the story pretty well, while still introducing little things and setting up the big development for the ongoing series. One has to wonder if it would have ended the same without its success.

It’s a moderately satisfying finish, but probably the series’s least successful issue.


Writer, Ken Kristensen; artist and letterer, M.K. Perker; colorist, Cemal Soyleyen; publisher, Image Comics.

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