Detective Comics 798 (November 2004)

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It just keeps getting sillier. It’s hard to blame it on Gabyrch–he’s writing a company crossover issue, he had to not reveal the mystery villain, he had to move the pieces. The piece he moves the most here is Tim Drake. He’s quit being Robin because it’s dangerous or something, but then he decides to become Robin again.

Not quite “Spider-Man–No More!” Not quite Superman II. Not quite anything, actually. Gabrych doesn’t have any time to spend with Tim, since he’s got the villains to deal with, the action scenes, Batman and Oracle arguing.

Worse, the whole “urban legend” thing with Batman gets brought up at least twice here. It’s moronic.

Woods does okay on the art, except the panel revealing Tim as Robin. Woods can’t bring dramatic effect to a lame moment.

The terrible Riddler backup consists of Poison Ivy making fun of him. Big yawn.

CREDITS

War Games, Act 2, Part 1: Undertow; writer, Andersen Gabrych; penciller, Pete Woods; inker, Cam Smith; colorist, Jason Wright; editors, Michael Wright and Bob Schreck. Low, Part 2; writer, Shane McCarthy; penciller, Tommy Castillo; inker, Rodney Ramos; colorist, Tony Avina; editor, Wright. Letterer, Pat Brosseau; publisher, DC Comics.

Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde 2 (October 2013)

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Again with the pacing issues. There’s nothing with the government subplot, which almost makes it seem like Dark Horse okayed Hogan and Parkhouse for another limited series after this one (for Hogan to work out his b plots) and nothing with the characters either. Maybe a little with Asta. But not a lot.

Instead, there’s a little investigating going on. Harry and Asta meet and question three people who knew the titular victim. Wait, I forgot–Harry seems to be crushing a little on Asta. But Hogan only mentions it once.

Anyway, they question three people. Hogan could have probably done this entire limited series in one issue. There’s not much to it, just geographic travel–and if he dropped the b subplot he’s not using, he’d definitely have room.

Alien remains a very likable comic, it just has really flimsy plotting for a monthly series. Hogan’s not pushing himself.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, colorist and letterer, Steve Parkhouse; editor, Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker 2 (August 2011)

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This issue is a bit of a summary nightmare. The opening stuff with the Falklands is okay, though Ennis has covered a lot of the same territory with Born. Butcher turns out to be a natural born killer, which should get him in more trouble than it does–and it might even do so, but Ennis falls back on summary for the last half of the issue.

When his family–not the dad though–shows up in the last few pages, I’d forgotten they were still around, like maybe they’d died at some point between the first and second issues and Ennis just forgot to cover it.

As always, the war history stuff is decent. It’s not great because it does center around Butcher and Ennis is trying to make it all fit together, but it’s decent.

With the Robertson art, the issue’s rather digestible, just not filling at all.

CREDITS

Harriet; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony AviƱa; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Velvet 1 (October 2013)

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If I have to talk about Velvet in terms of good and bad, I don’t think I’ll enjoy the conversation very much. In this first issue, Ed Brubaker brings in one of his familiar tropes–the person with the secret, extraordinary past; one problem with writing a lot of comics, your standards become very, very obvious.

The title character, Velvet, seems to be a mild-mannered secretary at a super-secret spy agency who sleeps with all the agents before they go out on dangerous missions. The truth? Well, it’s not clear yet, but I’ll bet she was the greatest spy the agency ever had and now she’s fighting to save her colleagues, who all suspect her of a crime she hasn’t committed.

The period art–sixties and seventies–is quite good. Steve Epting obviously likes it a lot and his enthusiasm helps.

It’s a fine outing, just dangerously shallow.

B 

CREDITS

Before the Living End; writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Steve Epting; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; publisher, Image Comics.

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