Ultimate Spider-Man 66 (December 2004)

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When a comic opens with an illustrated version of the writer apologizing for the content… well, it’s not supposed to be a good sign, right? Bendis is going out of his way to ask the reader not to take the story seriously.

The story is Logan (you know, Wolverine) and Peter swapping minds. Peter wakes up in a dive hotel, has to get to Queens. Meanwhile, Logan insults Aunt May, makes out with Mary Jane, pervs on cheerleaders.

Bendis might be doing comedy to relieve the pressure from Gwen’s death–she’s not even mentioned in the issue–or he might just be goofing.

Either way, it’s constantly unexpected and inventive. Putting a character who doesn’t care at all in the place of one who cares too much is bound to create drama.

Even better, given Logan’s mishandling of things, there might be some good aftershocks in later issues.

It’s fine.

CREDITS

Even We Don’t Believe This; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 4 (November 2012)

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I went into this issue hopeful, I really did. I thought maybe Waid could do something besides Cliff flying around L.A. and killing a bunch of terrified animals.

He does do something else. It’s just not very good. Apparently Betty has been suspecting the sidekicks of being enemy spies–Sally and the black guy. It’s a little too subtle a suspicion because I didn’t get it until the wrap up of that subplot. I thought Betty was just being a shallow bitch.

Apparently, she’s a suspicious shallow bitch.

After four issues, she’s clearly one of the big problems with the franchise. She’s utterly unlikable at length and Cliff’s continued interest in her just makes him seem more shallow too.

IDW should’ve just released a single, wordless issue of Samnee’s Rocketeer versus dinosaurs art. There are some beautiful panels, page after page, in this issue.

Shame Waid’s words ruin it.

CREDITS

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

Before Watchmen: Rorschach 1 (October 2012)

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Wait, am I really supposed to take Rorschach seriously? Brian Azzarello’s writing of the narration suggests he’s never even seen the Watchmen movie, much less read the comic. It’s like he heard there was crazy narration and did a terrible job approximating it.

The series is set in 1977, in New York City. Taxi Driver would be the most obviously influence on Lee Bermejo’s art, except the art is slick and shiny. Rorschach looks desperately fake.

There’s an inexplicable, goofy lack of reality to the writing. Rorschach gets his ass kicked, but the bad guys don’t kill him. They don’t make sure he’s dead, even after they lay an elaborate trap to catch him. Instead of doing a hard boiled Rorschach comic, Azzarello writes one with less teeth than an episode of “Simon & Simon.”

The only teeth Azzarello gives this one are poorly constructed dentures.

And pirate backup is terrible.

CREDITS

Damn Town; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, The Evil That Men Do, Part One; writer, Len Wein; artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Mark Doyle, Camilla Zhang and Will Dennis; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 116 (February 1992)

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Guest writer Dick Foreman tries a little hard to be precious, but the issue’s still a success.

Foreman and Shawn McManus tell a traditional boys’ story. A kid with a crappy, absentee father discovers a Swamp Thing body and plants a still living tuber. The tuber grows into something magical–Foreman doesn’t mention it, but the anthromorphized plant inards suggest it’s too old a corpse… from pre-Alan Moore.

But Foreman’s not going for continuity, he’s going for a solid little story. McManus helps a lot with it, making the mom likable just through that sad but happy McManus face. And the kid’s sidekick is a lot of fun in his few pages.

Then the dad gets home and the story takes some predictable turns and some unexpected ones. The end should be better but Foreman tries to hard.

It’s still excellent stuff. Especially for Swamp Thing without Swamp Thing.

CREDITS

The Growing Season; writer, Dick Foreman; artist, Shawn McManus; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

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