2000 AD 19 (2 July 1977)


This issue has about fifty percent good stuff. Maybe even a little more. It feels like more.

Invasion is fine. Finley-Day comes up with a gruesome way for the lead to kill the bad guys. Dorey draws it well. There’s a little humor at the expense of the military “resistance” too.

Flesh is, for the first time, entirely awesome. Mills comes up with a great finish for the series and he’s got Ramon Sola back doing the art. So it’s gorgeous and hilariously fun. Wish Sola’d just done a dinosaur series.

Harlem Heroes and Dan Dare are both in the crap pile; at least Heroes is shorter than usual this time.

Robert Flynn writes a strange M.A.C.H. 1 with a Japanese soldier left over from World War II. Even though there’s not much action, it’s all right stuff.

John Cooper starts ambitious with Dredd, ends not, but it’s fine.


Invasion, The Road to Hell; writer, Gerry Finley-Day; artist, Mike Dorey; letterer, Tom Frame. Flesh, Book One, Part Nineteen; writer, Pat Mills; artist, Ramon Sola; letterer, Jack Potter. Harlem Heroes, Part Nineteen; writer, Tom Tully; artist and letterer, Dave Gibbons. Dan Dare, Hollow World, Part Eight; writer, Steve Moore; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterer, Potter. M.A.C.H. 1, Corporal Tanaka; writer, Robert Flynn; artist, Luis Collado; letterer, John Aldrich. Judge Dredd, Mugger’s Moon; writer, Finley-Day; artist, John Cooper; letterer, Potter. Editor, Kelvin Gosnell; publisher, IPC.

Harbinger Wars 1 (April 2013)

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I’m not sure what I should be getting out of Harbinger Wars. Dysart thinks things out–he structures the issue around some government types interrogating some bad corporation types. Some psiot kids got free or something, kind of has to do with Harbinger–oh, right, the good guys from Harbinger need to protect the kids from the bad guy. Bloodshot is in it too, working for the bad guy right now but I’ll bet he switches sides eventually.

It’s all prologue to something, which is pretty much the problem. It’s all setup. The Bleeding Monk tells Peter to save the kids, there’s a lot of flashbacks with the kids being mistreated, Harada pops in, but it’s mostly exposition scenes. Exposition scenes under an already expository structure.

Dysart’s writing is good, the art’s all generally fine, but there’s nothing going on yet. The first issue grabber is missing, which is unfortunate.


Writers, Duane Swierczynski and Joshua Dysart; artists, Clayton Crain, Clayton Henry and Mico Suayan; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Josh Johns and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Trillium 2 (November 2013)

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The first issue of Trillium didn’t impress me much. I’m glad I stuck with it for the second. It’s an utterly charming little bit of comics, if Lemire can maintain the emotional quality of the finale… he’ll really have a nice series.

William, the British explorer, and Nika, the future diplomat (or whatever), try to communicate in the Amazon jungle in 1921. She doesn’t know where she is, he doesn’t know where she’s from–he’s actually got a crisis going on–and her universal translator doesn’t work. Lemire does a back and forth where they slowly start to understand each other, complete with some very cute coincidences as far as their impressions of one another.

For over half the comic, Lemire keeps up the back and forth. Then there’s the big communication scene, which he handles beautifully, and then the finale.

I feel bad I dismissed this one so soon.


Binary Systems; writer and artist, Jeff Lemire; colorists, José Villarrubia and Lemire; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual; editors, Sara Miller and Mark Doyle; publisher, Vertigo.

Ultimate Spider-Man 114 (November 2007)


As usual, Bendis redeems himself an issue later. He sticks to Peter–Norman doesn’t even get a live appearance; the villain turns out to be Electro (who seems real powerful in his Ultimate version). Sticking to Peter works wonders, as he gets to interact with both Mary Jane and May.

Immonen is a slick artist, but I really do like how he handles Mary Jane’s panic attack. He lets himself get loose to show her utter terror. Then there’s the suburban scene with her mom, which works quite well too.

The stuff with Aunt May’s good, but her man is way too suspicious. He’s Norman’s shrink maybe? Doesn’t matter.

The fight’s good, the cliffhanger’s good. It’s just a good, solid issue, which Bendis has way too much trouble writing. It even manages to overcome being the stalest plot (Norman convincing people he’s the good guy) in Bendis’s bag of tricks.


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

Reality Check 1 (September 2013)

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Reality Check is a strange one, simply because it’s so mired in not just comic fandom–complete with the protagonist recounting dressing up as Batman and Robin as a kid–but also the comics industry. The protagonist has grown up to become an aspiring comic book creator.

The first issue involves him finally hitting it big. He’s got a Batman knockoff who’s unlucky in love and wears around a costume very similar to Red Robin, with a mix of the John K. Snyder Doctor Mid-Nite. The art’s okay–Viktor Bogdonavic plays up the humor aspects quite well–and writer Glen Brunswick definitely engages the protagonist’s sadness.

Shame it’s exceptionally misogynistic. There are five female characters and all of them are awful in one way or another. Brunswick tries to rationalize a few with–they’re would-be Hollywood starlets, they must be awful.

It’s oddly still worth a look though.


Writer, Glen Brunswick; artist, Viktor Bogdanovic; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Rus Wooton; publisher, Image Comics.

God Is Dead 1 (August 2013)

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God Is Dead is godawful.

The comic’s concept is simple–the ancient, mythological gods return to Earth in the present day and wreck havoc. Zeus, Odin (writers Jonathan Hickman and Mike Costa are gleeful in their Norse god usage, presumably to stick a finger up at Marvel and Thor), the Egyptian gods, the Aztec god… no Native American spirits, however.

The execution is hideous. There’s a human resistance movement, of course. The resistance is the smart people but there are only five of them. One’s a cute, acerbic witted girl. Got to have her. The lead’s apparently the new member of the resistance.

But Hickman and Costa–how they split writing tasks is unclear, but Hickman’s the credited creator in case Hollywood comes knocking–stick with Odin and his god party.

Indescribably bad. Di Amorim’s art isn’t good but even he deserves a better script.

It’s Edith Hamilton for morons.


Deus. Rex. Terra.; writers, Jonathan Hickman and Mike Costa; artist, Di Amorim; colorist, Juanmar; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Star Trek 24 (August 2013)

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No way, decent art from Balboni? It’s unbelievably acceptable, probably due to Marina Castelvetro’s pencils. Now, it’s not great but it’s far from the usual Balboni eyesore.

This issue is a done-in-one episode, which is kind of nice. The Enterprise finds a ravaged colony of prospectors; turns out the Gorn are back (from the “Star Trek” video game no one liked earlier this year) and Kirk’s holding a grudge.

Johnson tries hard to split the comic between Kirk and Spock, but he just gives Kirk way too much action stuff to do. I’m still confused how they lose track of Sulu when they should have communicators. I don’t even think he gets a line.

It’s not bad stuff, just a little too quick a read. I can’t remember Johnson doing a done-in-one issue like this one before; it’s how the series should go so probably won’t.


Writer, Mike Johnson; penciller, Claudia Balboni; inker, Marina Castelvetro; colorist, Arianna Florean; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Star Wars 1 (September 2013)

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I went into The Star Wars expecting nothing. It’s Dark Horse’s adaptation of George Lucas’s original Star Wars script, with the sillier character names and less character twists, but it’s also pretty engaging stuff. Some of it’s a curiosity, seeing how things changed, but it works out to be perfectly acceptable sci-fi.

It feels less like the original Star Wars and more like a smarter version of The Phantom Empire–except they kill off the annoying kid early on. Have to make the reader care as soon as possible, after all.

J.W. Rinzler’s sequential adaptation of a film script is surprisingly good. The comic moves right along; there’s a lot of expository dialogue, way too many characters introduced, but it’s digestible enough. Rinzler’s enthusiastic, which helps a lot.

Mike Mayhew’s art style is too static for action, but it’s fine.

I can’t wait for the next one. I’m shocked.


Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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