Detective Comics 787 (December 2003)

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Rick Burchett does about half well on this issue. Maybe more than half, but when he goes too cartoonish, it hurts the better stuff. And by cartoonish, I don’t mean his overall approach. His approach is fine–his Mad Hatter, for instance, is gloriously cartoonish and wonderful. I more mean things like Bullock not having eyes, just dots. It’s odd.

The script, from Brian K. Vaughan, is pretty darn good. It’s a nice done in one, with Batman tracking a kidnapped Kirk Langstrom. There’s the Hatter, there’s some Arkham stuff (unfortunately the issue’s weakest scene) and a dragon.

Vaughan overwrites the narration but his story is solid. He tries too hard with the dialogue and sometimes has weak details. His end reveal is sublime.

The Joker’s dog backup, from Spears and Rob G., continues. It’s excellent. There’s a lot of detail, enough personality for the protagonist and a great cliffhanger.

CREDITS

Mimsy Were the Borogoves; writer, Brian K. Vaughan; penciller, Rick Burchett; inker, John Lowe; colorist, Jason Wright; letterer, John Costanza; editors, Michael Wright and Bob Schreck. The Dogcatcher, Part Three; writer, Rick Spears; artist, Rob G.; colorist, Guy Major; letterer, Janice Chiang; editor, Matt Idelson. Publisher, DC Comics.

Fatale 11 (January 2013)

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Brubaker and Phillips excel at these done-in-ones. More Brubaker, I suppose. Though Phillips does excel too, it’s just Brubaker is particularly good when he’s conceiving and executing a one issue story. He always has been good at it.

This issue, set in late thirties rural Texas (Phillips does a wonderful job with the setting), has three things going on. First is a cop who Jo seduces to help her and he’s ruined his life. Then there’s Jo, who’s just found some writer she’s been looking for. Finally there’s the writer, who has clues into the big Fatale mystery but also some secrets of his own.

The great thing is how Brubaker gets actual surprises out of things in so short a time. Not so much with the cop, but the writer and Jo’s scenes are simply amazing. They’re economical and devastatingly well-done.

It’s masterful writing from Brubaker.

CREDITS

The Case of Alfred Ravenscroft; writer, Ed Brubaker; artist and letterer, Sean Phillips; colorist, Dave Stewart; publisher, Image Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 91 (May 2006)

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Bendis writes first person exposition rounded rectangles–there’s just no good description for them like word balloons–for Kitty Pryde. She’s Peter’s girlfriend, after all, and she guest stars in about half the issue. Probably more.

Oh, wait, Bendis never wrote those rectangles for Mary Jane. It’s a good issue and all, though the front is a lot better than the back, which has nothing of interest except maybe May going on a date, but it reveals something about Bendis as a writer.

He was always using Mary Jane as an unknowable side character, ever ready to use her for plot twists. Kitty, on the other hand, is an honest to goodness knowable side character. It makes her immediately more likable. I had to force myself to remember Mary Jane is part of the book.

And Peter having a superhero team-up? Awesome.

I didn’t even mind Dell’s inks here.

CREDITS

Deadpool, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, John Dell; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm 11 (July 2013)

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Big reveals, small reveals. Along with the biggest of them all–the twelfth issue is the finale, something I didn’t realize.

Bechko and Hardman have always have problems with their Apes series because they’re direct–sort of direct–prequels to the first movie and they still haven’t really got everything set up. The ape society is still too… believable. The movie didn’t have a believable thing going on. Bechko and Hardman are moving towards something similar to it, but haven’t gotten close yet.

They do resolve the talking human and a lot of the political intrigue, but none of it plays particularly well. They give Couceiro way too much to do in the second half of the issue. The riot scene and its resolution could have actually been an issue on its own. There’s just not room for it here.

The comic’s got its strong points, but it’s definitely stumbling.

CREDITS

Writers, Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman; penciller, Damian Couceiro; inker, Mariano Taibo; colorist, Darrin Moore; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

3 Guns 1 (August 2013)

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It’s amazing how Steven Grant can write such atrocious, painfully tough dialogue but still plot out a good comic.

I can’t possibly recommend 3 Guns because the dialogue is so silly but the story beats are pretty dang good. Guy on the run is discovered, made to do a job for some bad guys, discovers his former bromance partner is working for the other bad guys, has to agree to the job with his bad guys then Grant reveals the girl is actually playing both sides.

It’d be great film noir if Grant weren’t trying to turn it into an episode of “Miami Vice.” The art, Emilio Laiso, is technically fine. It’s not particularly artistic or good, but it’s competent… It just looks like “Grand Theft Auto” cutscene illustrations. I assume it’s intentional.

3 Guns probably needs good editing, which it’ll never get. So instead of being neat, it’s pointless.

CREDITS

Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Emilio Laiso; colorist, Gabriel Cassata; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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