2000 AD 9 (23 April 1977)

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What a stinker of an issue. I think the M.A.C.H. 1 might actually be the second best story, which is sort of unbelievable.

It opens with a tepid Invasion. Not terrible, but not very good. Carlos Pino’s art is decent. Then a poorly written Flesh about family vacations through time. Studio Giolitti’s writing (whoever it is) is atrocious. Boix’s art isn’t bad though.

Awful Harlem Heroes. Tully can’t pace it for four pages. I guess Gibbons does draw a cool evil cyborg but he wastes a page on the cyborg’s reveal.

The Dan Dare is bad and visually confusing. Belardinelli is stuck drawing epic space battles in tiny panels; writer Gosnell doesn’t seem to understand what psychic means.

The aforementioned M.A.C.H. 1 has decent Cooper art. It’s dumb, but not bad.

The Dredd is crud. John Wagner front loads it with robot-related morality and doesn’t deliver any good action.

CREDITS

Invasion, Ships; writer, Gerry Finley-Day; artist, Carlos Pino; letterer, Jack Potter. Flesh, Book One, Part Nine; writer, Studio Giolitti; artist, Boix; letterer, S. Richardson. Harlem Heroes, Part Nine; writer, Tom Tully; artist and letterer, Dave Gibbons. Dan Dare, Part Nine; writer, Kelvin Gosnell; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterers, Potter and Peter Knight. M.A.C.H. 1, Our Man in Turkostan; writer, John Wagner; artist, John Cooper; letterer, Tony Jacob. Judge Dredd, Robots; writer, Wagner; artist, Ron Turner; letterer, John Aldrich. Publisher, IPC.

Popeye 11 (March 2013)

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Bluto’s back in town, this time touring as a magician. Popeye and company go to the show, Wimpy gets a ventriloquist act going (show business means hamburgers) and general mayhem occurs.

The issue’s as close to all-action as Langridge’s gotten on this series. There’s nothing else going on except Olive’s occasionally inappropriate comments about Bluto’s manliness.

The pacing is a little odd because there’s so much Bluto throughout the issue. He’s being a very nasty guy and then Langridge forces the reader to spend time with him. There’s no good explanation why Popeye goes so easy on him in the first place….

Still, there’s a lot of charm to the story. Langridge excels at writing Wimpy; Pappy and Toar have good moments too. It’s just Langridge doesn’t know how to keep Bluto present without it being awkward.

The end gag is excellent, especially since Langridge builds it so carefully.

CREDITS

The Conniving Conjurer; writer, Roger Langridge; artist and letterer, Vince Musacchia; colorist, Luke McDonnell; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizzia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Swamp Thing 166 (May 1996)

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Millar brings in Jason Woodrue, who hasn’t been around for quite a while, and Constantine, who Millar hasn’t written in this series before.

He also jumps ahead a year in the present action. Alec had built himself a Hearst Castle and cut himself off from the world. Woodrue’s journals fill the reader in on the changes while Constantine and Abby–in separate scenes–show how cut off Alec has become. Cut off and quite dangerous.

When Alec finally does appear, Hester has designed him a new look to take the air elemental bit into account. He’s unrecognizable for the most part, except maybe the eyes.

It’s a big issue, dealing with a big question–the end of the world–and Millar does a good job. Even though the issue’s regular length, it feels very full. I haven’t even mentioned the Phantom Stranger has his own subplot this issue.

It’s good.

CREDITS

Trial by Fire, Part One: Golden Days before the End; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

The Private Eye 1 (19 March 2013)

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While there’s nothing new under the sun, there’s especially nothing new in The Private Eye. Brian K. Vaughan does come up with some interesting details for his future setting–cloud computing imploded, everyone’s secrets came out, now the news media has been nationalized and reporters are cops.

Paparazzi are outlawed and basically are the new private detectives. Pretty sure a paparazzi is a person who takes pictures of famous people to sell them freelance, but not someone who has a client and investigates, but whatever. It’s got Marcos Martin art and a lot of it so who cares.

The story for the first issue is pretty familiar too. Maybe Vaughan kept cutting to old film noir posters to foreshadow. Again, doesn’t matter. Martin more than makes up for it.

Since it’s digital-only, Martin does these 16:9 panels, a little less wide than traditional double page spreads. They’re beautiful.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian K. Vaughan; artist, Marcos Martin; colorist, Muntsa Vicente; publisher, Panel Syndicate.

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