Black Orchid 3 (January 1989)

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Gaiman wastes a bunch of time on the bad guys hunting the Black Orchid sisters through the rain forest. Sure, McKean paints a pretty rain forest, but it goes on for half the issue and the series is double-sized. On and on the hunt goes while the Black Orchid sisters frolic.

The issue opens and closes stronger than the middle. The evil husband character is a waste of time (why Gaiman included him is beyond me) and he even forgets one of Luthor’s minions hunting the sisters.

But there’s an awesome cameo from Swamp Thing. Gaiman writes a really funny moment for he and Abby. It’s a shame he didn’t use them more–it would have been rather amusing. And the finish is beautiful, between McKean’s art and Gaiman’s gentle look at the fantastic nature of the sisters.

It’s good–exceptional from the art standpoint–but it’s incredibly problematic.

CREDITS

Yes…; writer, Neil Gaiman; painter, Dave McKean; letterer, Todd Klein; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Hawkeye 5 (February 2013)

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Pulido has a great panel of Clint getting shot. He splits it into three slivers and has the movement sort of turn in on itself. It’s very confusing, sure, but it’s also great artwork.

The wrap-up to the series’s first two parter isn’t as good as it should be. Fraction finally has a reveal, something he’s avoided until now, and it doesn’t pay off. The reader doesn’t have enough information for it to mean anything. However, thanks to Kate’s presence, it still works out.

Of course, since I don’t enough about Hawkeye I didn’t realize Kate’s supposed to be so young (like twenty). Does the age make Clint a big brother or father figure? It’s not clear and it doesn’t have to be clear… but her age does need clarifying.

And I’ve now read a comic with Black Nick Fury. He’s mad at his dad.

Good, not great, issue.

CREDITS

The Tape, 2 of 2; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Javier Pulido; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill 1 (March 2013)

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It’s Steve Rude doing forties superheroes, so Dollar Bill always looks phenomenal. But it’s Len Wein writing and apparently he had a bunch of homophobic statements he wanted to make so he gave them to this forties superhero so he could get away with them. Lots of anachronisms–oh, and some good, old fashioned Jewish banker jokes.

But besides being mildly offensive, Bill isn’t a bad comic. The story of a newsreel superhero pretending it’s for real makes for an interesting read. Rude has beautiful compositions, whether static shots or action scenes. It’s just occasionally offensive. Well, maybe more dumb than offensive.

And the finale suggests magic in the Watchmen universe. Very special unoriginal narrative device magic. Wein’s a lazy guy.

It’s surprising all the Minutemen didn’t get one-shots. This guy isn’t even particularly interesting but they got a decently paced, beautifully illustrated, bad mainstream comic out of it.

CREDITS

I Want To Be In Pictures; writer, Len Wein; artist and letterer, Steve Rude; colorist, Glen Whitmore; editors, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 126 (December 1992)

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Dick Foreman coming in to do a guest writing spot gives Swamp Thing the break it needs. Even Eaton does a little better, since he’s not drawing people as much as grandiose cosmic events. Though he does take the chance to mess up Linda Holland.

Alec stalks a cartoonist he used to read–or Alec Holland used to read–and gets him stoned in hopes of inspiring him. That Swamp Thing would take the time to do such a thing is out of character for what Collins is doing, but who cares. A book needs something different occasionally and Foreman provides it.

The only time he loses track is when he has Alec explain the cartoonist’s place in the universe. It’s a real “show, don’t tell” moment; Foreman botches it. Can’t rightly blame Eaton.

Still, the rest is good–and the finish is great. It’s a rather successful fill-in.

CREDITS

The Big Picture; writer, Dick Foreman; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

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