The Maze Agency 18 (February 1991)


Scott Clark has the most ambitious layouts of a Maze artist for a long time. There are all these different little sequences, sometimes only taking a half page, where he crams in visual information and sometimes important scenes.

It’s a shame he doesn’t draw better, or have a better inker than John Tighe. Forget people not looking alike, there are some panels where entire noses disappear. But there are a few good panels, which makes one wonder if Clark didn’t put in the time.

The mystery’s strong; Barr has some good twists. The major one is how none of the suspects really suspicious. Instead, they’re all bland suspects without much motive to misdirect. Kind of. At one point I didn’t even think anyone involved had committed the crime, like Barr would bring in some surprise guest.

It’s a reasonably successful issue, with Barr ignoring his tepid subplots for the regular cast.


This Murder Comes to You Live; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, Scott Clark; inker, John Tighe; colorist, Susan Glod; letterer, Vickie Williams; editor, David Campiti; publisher, Innovation Publishing.

Ultimate Spider-Man 113 (November 2007)


Finally, the Norman Osborn narrated issue no one’s been waiting for….

Someone really should have told Bendis Ultimate Norman is not one of his finest creations, much less an interesting narrator. Especially not with Immonen on the art.

Bagley always drew his stuff in some kind of a vacuum, like there wasn’t other modern comic making going on at the same time. Bagley did what he did. Immonen, intentionally or not, has turned Norman into Dark Knight Returns Joker. And Bendis’s narration fits it too.

It doesn’t work, especially not since lengthy periods go without action. The action Immonen does draw is in little panels, even though they’re big events. He and Bendis are making it as personal and quiet as possible and who wants to read that comic starring Norman.

The arc’s premise–Norman versus Fury–would be far more compelling if Bendis hadn’t just done it with Otto.


Death of a Goblin, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Wade von Grawbadger; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber, Bill Rosemann and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Sheltered 3 (September 2013)

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Brisson finally gets around to the fact kids are dumb in this issue of Sheltered. It starts with one of the teenagers coming across two younger kids eating up cereal they weren’t rationed. Turns into a fight. Sadly, it doesn’t really go anywhere else because Brisson has to get to the A plot of the issue.

Now, the issue takes place over a couple hours at most. One of the lead girls–one drawback to these short present action issues is their names don’t stick–gets into it with the leader of the cult. Why did he decide they had to kill their parents? Because he’s a moron kid reading conspiracy newsletters about Yellowstone erupting. Absolutely hilarious and tragic scene.

Christmas’s art has some perspective problems during the indoor scenes–rooms are just way too big–but it’s still fine. Sheltered could be better, but it’s still pretty darn good.


Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.

Hit 1 (September 2013)

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I thought Boom! was a real publisher now and didn’t do unofficial knockoffs of movies. Hit is a comic book “mockbuster” of Gangster Squad. Not sure why it’s coming out so long after the movie did, especially since the movie was a bomb.

It’s a terrible comic book. If I tried really hard, I think I could come up with some okay things to say about artist Vanesa R. Del Rey. At first glance, her art appears to be Edward Hopper-esque, but it doesn’t hold up sequentially. Particularly not when she’s doing dark scenes and there are a lot of them.

As for writer Bryce Carlson… well, if Hit rips off Gangster Squad and that movie rips off James Ellroy… Carlson certainly didn’t go back to Ellroy for actual writing tips. Awful dialogue and lame characterizations. It’s simply dreadful.

I’m shocked and dismayed Boom!’s still publishing stuff like Hit.


Writer, Bryce Carlson; artist, Vanesa R. Del Rey; colorist, Archie Van Buren; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Star Trek 23 (July 2013)

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So Johnson doesn’t reveal the human female who is conspiring with the Romulans. It’s probably that chick Khan hooked up with in Space Seed but who cares. He comes up with a wacky way for Spock to get out of Pon Farr without having to fight Kirk (a sad oversight) or get busy with his Vulcan lady (and upset Uhura).

Chekhov–why’s he such a genius in the new Star Trek again–and Carol Marcus come up with the solution. Only Carol Marcus doesn’t really get any lines. Not sure why they put her on the Enterprise if she’s not going to have anything to do except play second chair to Chekhov, who’s really annoying.

It’s not terrible, though Fajar’s art gets tiring almost immediately. Badly painted comic art doesn’t seem appropriate for Star Trek.

The Romulan and Klingon thing is particularly lame as it doesn’t impact the main story.


After Darkness, Part Three; writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Erfan Fajar; colorists, Ifansyah Noor and Sakti Yuwono; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Satellite Sam 3 (September 2013)

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Fraction goes all out. It’s also the loosest Chaykin art so far; still looks good, but there’s definitely a hurried “quality” about it.

But the story? Amazing. Fraction’s bringing all the pieces together. He’s got Michael–Satellite Sam’s son–teaming up with Kara–the former squeeze–talking and finding out a bunch of things, making a mystery story all of a sudden.

He’s also running full power with the TV plot and machinations going on. There are the guys fighting about the FCC coming to power–with some tawdriness thrown in, which actually is the closest the issue comes to humor, even it’s sad at the same time.

One of the studio guys gets transfixed on video feedback; that one might be funnier, though it’s a tad disquieting too.

Plus Fraction’s got a flashback of the titular (dead) guy and the girl’s awful trip back from Mexico.

Full, awesome issue.


Percha; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

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