Detective Comics 785 (October 2003)

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This issue Gordon gets to do all the detecting and Batman gets to beat people up. Actually, Batman teams up with Alan Scott and they go beat people up together. They’re trying to get information and don’t get much. Gordon’s actual detective work pays off.

While, yes, Batman probably could have done the work in five minutes on the Batcomputer… the point of the issue is how Brubaker plays him off Alan Scott. Bruce admires the Golden Age Green Lantern, looking up to him as an ideal example of a hero. When the conversation turns to methods, it gets a little more complex, but Brubaker’s observations about Bruce are fantastic.

Great art from Zircher and Sowd too.

The backup, from Rick Spears and Rob G., is a nice day in the life of a Gotham City dog catcher. It’s a nice mix of urban reality and Batman strangeness. Good art.

CREDITS

Made of Wood, Part Two; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Patrick Zircher; inker, Aaron Sowd; colorist, Jason Wright; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Michael Wright and Bob Schreck. The Dogcatcher, Part One; writer, Rick Spears; artist, Rob G.; colorist, Guy Major; letterer, Janice Chiang; editor, Matt Idelson. Publisher, DC Comics.

Harbinger 9 (February 2013)

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Really nice art from Pere PĂ©rez. Probably the most consistently good art Harbinger has had so far.

On to the story. While Dysart certainly left the cast in dire straits last issue, this issue he plays out the worst possible scenario. Not a lot of character moments–I don’t think Flamingo even has any lines–except for Faith. Well, Kris gets a good moment, but it’s Faith’s issue.

One has to wonder if Dysart plotted the whole thing to get to that result–Faith as the series’s protagonist. He does the standard hero white guy, with a cute geeky girl, a stripper (it’s still a superhero comic book after all), but the real center of the comic is Faith. The overweight nerd.

Dysart doesn’t spend an eighth as much time on anyone but Kris. She and Faith run Harbinger… to great result too.

It’s utterly fantastic work, start to finish.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Dysart; artist, Pere Perez; colorist, Ian Hannin; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Ultimate Spider-Man 74 (May 2005)

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If one believes Mary Jane’s explanations this issue–and Peter’s memory–then Bendis was laying the groundwork for the Mary Jane and Harry thing from the start.

The revelation doesn’t just hurt Peter, it hurts the reader. The reader, who knows the Osborns are bad news, who know Mary Jane is the secretly beautiful smart girl wowed with the handsome rich kid, feels the same pain Peter feels. Only the reader has been duped. Bendis can deceive Peter all he wants, it’s part of making a dramatic narrative. Deceiving the reader too? It’s a little different.

It’s calculated and cheap and incredibly affective. At this point–what with Harry setting his evil plans in motion–one has to assume Mary Jane gets into significant peril for her to become sympathetic again.

The issue hurts to read at times.

There’s also a little scene with Jeanne De Wolf towards the finish.

CREDITS

Hobgoblin, Part Three; 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.

A Pocket Guide to the Pocket Guide to Series (2013)

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It’s fitting Kevin Huizenga loses it in his pocket guide, The Pocket Guide to Series. Not loses it in a bad way, but loses any pretense he isn’t just having a laugh with the form. The skill and talent comes from how well the laugh goes.

Series is ostensibly a guide to all Huizenga’s pocket guides–the last page, with ordering info, reveals all of the guides mentioned in the guide are out of stock, except the two actual other guides, which he doesn’t mention. This “index” is a cross between meta text about the reader reading and something like Borges’s potential literature. Maybe eighty-twenty, since Huizenga could never turn any of the indexed guides into actual guides; the point is their description here.

It’s a really breezy read; Huizenga had me grinning by the first actual page.

One reads it, smiles, laughs and marvels at Huizenga’s artistic processes.

CREDITS

Writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kevin Huizenga; publisher, USS Catastrophe.

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