Batman: The Widening Gyre 3 (December 2009)


This issue’s easily the best and I’m not entirely sure why. It’s a romance montage–Bruce and Silver off in paradise during the day, Batman out at night. There’s some stuff with the goat vigilante, who Smith writes like Brody from Mallrats and that scene is awful… and Smith writes Silver awful and the whole thing of unbelievably rich people romancing is lame… But, somehow, the issue is a lot better than expected.

It’s awful to be sure, but Smith’s trying something in his Batman narration. Bruce is learning. These self-observations are trite and beneath Dr. Phil, but Smith is trying.

Flanagan’s art doesn’t help. He gives all the superheroes besides Bruce long, dirty nineties hair. Tim Drake Robin looks like a girl.

Smith does get in an extra guest star–Aquaman–who he writes a little better than Batman, but not much.

I still loathe the comic though.


Things Fall Apart; writer, Kevin Smith; penciller, Walt Flanagan; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Art Lyon; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Janelle Siegel, Mike Marts and Dan Didio; publisher, DC Comics.

Stumptown 1 (September 2012)


I was trying to figure out what was wrong with this issue of Stumptown–other than Greg Rucka being really too excited with the idea of a rock and roll case for his detective (he and Matthew Southworth pace the comic like a detective show) and then I noticed.

Southworth drew this comic on a computer. A tablet computer, one of those tablet things you plug into a computer, whatever… His line work is atrocious. It’s boxy and there’s no attention to detail.

It’s really ugly looking.

As for the story, Rucka does a little character work with Dex, the detective, and some bad work with the supporting cast. In the text back matter, he talks about “The Rockford Files” but he’s got Southworth creating his actors. And Southworth doesn’t create interesting actors.

The case, which is seemingly innocuous, immediately becomes dangerous. It’s poorly paced and way too busy.



The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case, Part One; writer, Greg Rucka; artist, Matthew Southworth; colorist, Rico Renzi; editor, James Lucas Jones; publisher, Oni Press.

Black Orchid 5 (January 1994)


Oh, good grief. This issue ties in to Swamp Thing, with Black Orchid and Sherilyn the hooker with a heart of gold heading to Louisiana. Black Orchid, it turns out, is a Swamp Thing expert and thinks she can help him through his relationship troubles.

Foreman doesn’t even try to explain how Black Orchid knows so much about Swampy. Maybe she’s been reading the comics.

But until the lame walk through the swamp mind of Swamp Thing (he’s physically creating his thoughts out of plants), Foreman has Sherilyn narrating the issue. Except, however, when he opens it with his idiotic reporter guy.

The reporter falls victim to a laughing fit; a Joker cameo, unfortunately, does not materialize.

Thompson and Woch do okay in the swamp, but all the human scenes–Foreman centers on Sherilyn–are rather rough going. The artists being bored with the writing is never a good sign.


The Mind Fields, Part One; writer, Dick Foreman; pencillers, Jill Thompson and Rebecca Guay; inker, Stan Woch; colorists, George Freeman and Digital Chameleon; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Julie Rottenberg and Lou Stathis; publisher, Vertigo.

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