2000 AD 15 (4 June 1977)

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It’s another weak issue.

Mike Dorey’s art is real lame on Invasion, but the writing’s worse. Finley-Day actually relies on a huge truck of acid to solve the problem.

Flesh is weak too; Sola’s art is distressingly underwhelming. It might just be too rushed–all the art this issue is rushed in some way or another–dinosaurs driving cars should be funny.

More Harlem Heroes. Tully explores the way ties are resolved in the game. It’s getter even harder to care about the fake sport.

Moore’s Dan Dare is really contrived. He does indicate, however, there might be an origin recap, which would be nice.

M.A.C.H. 1 has awful art from Marzal Canos. Peter Harris’s goofy story involves bloodthirsty yeti and a dope-dealing Dalai Lama.

Dredd, as usual, is the winner. Wagner’s got some funny stuff amid the robot rebellion. Sadly, McMahon is light on the robots’ details.

CREDITS

Invasion, The Doomsdale Scenario, Part Three; writer, Gerry Finley-Day; artist, Mike Dorey; letterer, Jack Aldrich. Flesh, Book One, Part Fifteen; writer, Kelvin Gosnell; artist, Ramon Sola; letterer, Bennsberg. Harlem Heroes, Part Fifteen; writer, Tom Tully; artist and letterer, Dave Gibbons. Dan Dare, Hollow World, Part Four; writer, Steve Moore; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterer, Peter Knight. M.A.C.H. 1, Yeti; writer, Peter Harris; artist, Marzal Canos; letterer, Tony Jacob. Judge Dredd, Robot Wars, Part Six; writer, John Wagner; artist, Mike McMahon; letterer, Jack Potter. Editor, Pat Mills; publisher, IPC.

Fatale 15 (June 2013)

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Now there’s a comic book. Brubaker opens with his first protagonist, Nick (I think it’s Nick) meeting with his lawyer after being in jail. Brubaker works a little with the book, which used to be the A plot but is now probably the C plot at best, before some weirdo breaks Nick out.

After some amazing low action jail break scenes from Phillips, Brubaker takes the issue back to nineties Seattle. Presumably the flashback protagonist is the jail breaker in the prologue.

This guy’s a failed rock star, amateur bank robber. It’s maybe the closest–when the guy’s hanging out in a mansion with the rest of his failed band–Brubaker has gotten to calling back Lowlife in his mainstream career. Utterly wonderful character stuff. Great Phillips mundane art. Just awesome.

Then Jo shows up and it gets even better.

Who knew Brubaker could fit so much variety into Fatale?

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Sean Phillips; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser; publisher, Image Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 95 (July 2006)

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I’m sure Bendis and Jimmy Palmiotti are buddies but come on… no one could think Palmiotti is a good inker for Bagley. I thought Dell was weak, but Palmiotti is something else. You have these pleasant Bagley high school panels and Palmiotti makes them dreary. And the hands… don’t get me started on the hands.

Otherwise, it’s a pretty darn good issue. Peter has a friend fight with Mary Jane, he talks to Kitty on the phone (with Storm offering hilarious audio commentary) and works at the Bugle. Bendis writes the Bugle stuff rather well, it’s too bad he doesn’t use it more.

But this arc is the Morbius one and dang if he doesn’t go for disturbing. The vampires aren’t cute, they’re evil and scary. For the first time–maybe ever–I was worried about Peter’s safety. It’s bad stuff going on.

Maybe I wrote off Bendis’s ambitions early.

CREDITS

Morbius, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Richard Isanove; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Nicole Boose and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Trillium 1 (October 2013)

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Trillium might be a lot more innovative if it weren’t for, you know, Stargate.

Jeff Lemire starts out with some really boring sci-fi with a female scientist lead who is trying to stop the spread of a sentient virus. It’s unclear why a thinking disease would eradicate its possible hosts, but it’s an emergency.

She goes to meet with this alien race who have magic flowers to stop the disease. Only she ends up going through the aliens’ star gate to reach Earth in the past.

Lemire splits between the scientist and the explorer in the past. The past stuff is far better. Lemire writes exaggerated twenties dialogue a lot better than his future dialogue.

The art is gorgeous when Lemire’s not drawing people. He’s rough with all the people; it’s just not interesting. The sketchy, watercolor alien landscapes? Nice.

But Trillium’s a lot of work for nothing.

CREDITS

The Scientist/The Soldier; writer and artist, Jeff Lemire; colorists, José Villarrubia and Lemire; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual; editors, Sara Miller and Mark Doyle; publisher, Vertigo.

Sidekick 1 (August 2013)

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Tom Mandrake is an odd choice for a superhero comic. He does an excellent job and all, but he’s so identified with horror, it’s strange to see him do capes and tights.

Sure, there’s more to Sidekick than capes and tights but it’s not horror. It’s more “realistic” superhero stuff. J. Michael Straczynski mixes Batman, Captain America and maybe Captain Marvel for his superhero pair. The superhero dies in and the sidekick has to take over.

Only things don’t go well for the sidekick. His girlfriend left him, the city makes fun of him, he extorts favors from sex workers… He’s a great guy.

Straczynski never commits to making the character a bad guy, just a conflicted soul. It’s amazing how Straczynski manages to demean the hooker the guy just extorted. Having Robin go bad might be an interesting story, but Sidekicks ain’t it.

Besides Mandrake, it’s pretty much pointless.

CREDITS

Ever Again; writer, J. Michael Straczynski; artist, Tom Mandrake; colorist, Hi-Fi Colour Design; letterer, Troy Peteri; publisher, Image Comics.

The Superior Spider-Man 15 (October 2013)

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I think with so many Spider-Man issues a month, sometimes Slott gets too disposable with the single issues. There are usually two Superior, I think, then a bunch of others, right? This issue is on the right track again though.

Slott opens with the fallout from Otto taking out Shadowland, with maybe the only weak scene in the issue. He’s trying to explain himself to the suspicious lady cops and one of them reveals she’s got a costumed identity to investigate him. It’s goofy.

Otherwise, there’s a lot of chase the Hobgoblin going on with a fantastic cliffhanger. Slott keeps the series fresh thanks to Otto’s innovative nature.

There are some character pages–Anna Maria is worried about Otto (so are Peter’s friends but who cares about them). One has to hope Slott sends her off well, she’s a lovely character.

Plus, Slott finally readdresses the Goblin hacking stuff.

CREDITS

Run Goblin, Run!, Part One: The Tinkerer’s Apprentice; writer, Dan Slott; penciller, Humberto Ramos; inker, Victor Olazaba; colorist, Edgar Delgado; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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