Doomsday + 1 3 (November 1975)

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Joe Gill sure doesn’t have many ideas. Worse, the lack of them cuts into what Byrne gets to draw. For example, this issue has visuals out of the first issue–the space stuff–and the second issue–the robots. Gill gives it a different context (these robots are intergalactic peacekeepers investigating the destruction of Earth) but Byrne doesn’t really do anything new.

He still has some great panel compositions and has some wonderful layouts. Thanks to Gill’s writing inadequacies, Doomsday doesn’t have enough to offer without engaging artwork. There are maybe three character moments in the whole issue and all of them are dumb. Intentionally or not, Ken is completely unlikable–he nukes the aliens as a first resort–and Gill basically just has the women around for a love triangle (or quartet).

Doomsday should be a no-brainer to pull off, especially with Byrne, but Gill totally fumbles it.

CREDITS

The Peace Keepers; writers, John Byrne and Joe Gill; artist and letterer, Byrne; editor, George Wildman; publisher, Charlton Comics.

Fashion Beast 2 (September 2012)

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See, there you go, I had no idea the protagonist–her name’s Doll–worked at a nightclub. I thought she was working for the fashion guy, but no. Big fail from Johnston on that one.

This issue is a lot better than the last one, with most of the issue having Moore dialogue. There’s a nice expository opening–with people on the street filling the reader in on the ground situation–before Doll finally ends up at the fashion place.

Giving a transgender girl a masculine lesbian for a nemesis is a little odd, especially since not everyone is mean, just the villain fashion crones and the lesbian. There’s not enough texture to the supporting cast.

But, thanks to the dialogue and plotting, Doll comes through as a strong protagonist. She gets immediate sympathy thanks to the vicious bad girl, but her choices are also strong.

It’s getting better fast.

CREDITS

Death; writers, Malcolm McLaren, Alan Moore and Antony Johnston; artist, Facundo Percio; colorist, Hernan Cabrera; editor, Jim Kuhoric; publisher, Avatar Press.

Ultimate Spider-Man 79 (September 2005)

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Everything goes fine in this issue until the end reveal. Ultimate Moon Knight has just about the worst costume design ever and it’s hard to make it through his one page without giggling. He looks like Marvin the Martian.

Otherwise, Bendis skips back to the beginning of his previous Mary Jane issue and follows Peter instead. It’s a nice little move, though he doesn’t announce it, which seems like déjà vu.

It’s also a Kingpin and crime story, not a Peter Parker story (not yet anyway). There’s a lot with Ultimate Kingpin being in trouble and the guys out to usurp him. Bendis handles those parts really well.

He also writes some intense stream of consciousness stuff for Peter–it’s practically a jumping on point there’s so much exposition in it–but it works. It reestablishes Peter as the comic’s lead, something Bendis has ignored lately.

Good (except Moon Knight).

CREDITS

Warriors, Part One; 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 Half Men (March 2013)

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The Half Men is peculiar. Kevin Huizenga has three stories for it; the first involves this mythical land where every written word is transformed into the landscape. Very odd stuff. He doesn’t make it “realistic” so much as imaginative. The end may or may not imply it’s the brain.

Then he does two stories retelling old comic books. The first is about a family of explorers–updated to include Huizenga’s familiar protagonist, Glenn Ganges, but as an older man–off to save the Aboriginals. They end up on a lost world type island, which kicks off a caveman adventure thing. It’s striking because Huizenga retains the… politics of sixties story, which seems like it should be at odds with his sensitive art. The friction is wonderful. Some particularly lovely panels here.

The finale is strange hollow earth sci-fi but about sad men thing. It’s underwhelming; the story’s too simplistic.

CREDITS

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

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