Detective Comics 784 (September 2003)

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Oh, look it’s Batman actually detecting things in Detective Comics. Ed Brubaker sets up a very interesting case, with a serial killer from Green Lantern Alan Scott’s days in the forties apparently returning. He splits the issue mostly between Jim Gordon and Batman, but Scott gets some pages too.

Toggling between Batman and Gordon proves a nice juxtaposition–something Brubaker even comments on in Gordon’s narration–but it’s still Batman’s issue. Brubaker’s got a nice moment for him at the open too (both he and Gordon, Brubaker reveals, like the city at daybreak).

The art, from Patrick Zircher and Aaron Sowd, is good. It’s grimy enough to be realistic, but enthusiastic enough for the fight scenes to be visually rewarding. It’s all buildup, but it’s good buildup.

Judd Winick and Cliff Chiang do a tie-in with their Josie Mac character to Gotham Central. It’s okay cop comics, great art.

CREDITS

Made of Wood, Part One; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Patrick Zircher; inker, Aaron Sowd; colorist, Jason Wright; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Michael Wright and Bob Schreck. Trading Up; writer, Judd Winick; artist and colorist, Cliff Chiang; letterer, John Workman; editor, Matt Idelson. Publisher, DC Comics.

Harbinger 8 (January 2013)

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What a downer. Dysart opens with Harada mentally torturing a Harbinger he’s already exiled to a desert. Harada might be the comic’s biggest problem–he’s such an evil bastard, he’s not interesting. One could make the greater good argument, but there’s not enough material for it. Just sound-bytes.

Then, when Dysart gets to the renegades–Kris gets the biggest scene, her and Flamingo the stripper–they’re activating some poor kid with a physical disability. Dysart doesn’t spend a lot of time establishing the kid, just his daydreams. It means he gets to do a reveal, but it also means the issue is less effective.

The finale, with everyone in some kind of danger, comes after a big fight scene. It’s rather depressing, since the cast fights and fights yet still loses.

Realism’s unsatisfying.

Nice enough art from Lee Garbett. He’s occasionally loose but always competent.

It’s another good issue.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Dysart; artist, Lee Garbett; colorist, Mouse Baumann; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Ultimate Spider-Man 73 (May 2005)

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Eh.

Bendis delves into Harry’s return, setting him up to be a teenage supervillain. He’s rich, he’s got secrets–he now remembers all the bad stuff, thanks to a hypnotically placed phrase–and he’s probably got the Green Goblin formula.

It’s a waste of an issue though, as Bendis is showing his hand early. He’s delaying dealing with Peter and Harry; giving Harry the whole issue, but one where he’s suspicious–Bendis never gets into Harry’s mind past some nightmarish flashbacks–just primes the reader for Harry’s evil plan.

Why will Harry have an evil plan? Like father, like son? Or maybe I’m wrong and Bendis has something else planned. But he’s setting the foundation for another of the Ultimate Goblin stories. They all sort of run together and having an orange teen goblin won’t distinguish this one.

I hope I’m wrong; I hope Bendis does something interesting with Harry.

CREDITS

Hobgoblin, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Superior Spider-Man 12 (August 2013)

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Gage (and the plotting Slott) put Otto in an interesting place. Given the standard superhero trope of having to save one person or another, Otto apparently goes from the villain himself instead of bothering to save anyone.

Apparently, as it’s the hard cliffhanger.

Otherwise, some of the issue goes to Jameson, who decides to hunt down the Spider Slayer himself. Making Jonah sympathetic always seems impossible but then one remembers the dead wife.

There’s a fun scene with Otto and the Spider Slayer rambling about their master plans. Having a hero who goes on and on about it is pretty fun–especially since Otto gets called on it–but it really just distracts from the issue’s lack of content. Nicely, sure, but obviously.

And Gage gets to write an Otto who doesn’t have the best plan too. He doesn’t have everything planned out. It’s a good read, only too fast.

CREDITS

No Escape, Part Two: Lockdown; writers, Dan Slott and Christos Gage; penciller, Giuseppe Camuncoli; inkers, John Dell and Terry Pallot; colorist, Antonio Fabela; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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