Detective Comics 800 (January 2005)

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Gabrych writes and writes and writes and writes. His Batman narration goes on forever, hitting the same beats again and again. Batman’s alone–everyone left him, the cops hate him, it’s just like when he started out, only he’s older. On and on it goes. Gabrych got the job of summarizing all the “War Games” fallout. It’s a thankless task.

There’s a regular story too. Heroin has hit the streets again and Batman has to investigate. The investigation proves confusing because Gotham’s crime world has restructured, setting up Black Mask as the big villain. Gabrych sort of tells the issue in vignettes, but not enough. Batman keeps losing his train of thought.

The ending’s a little too weak, too forced. Gabrych tries to make Batman make sense and he can’t.

The backup is a depressing bit from David Lapham. It’s mean and nasty and rather well-done, if entirely unpleasant.

CREDITS

Alone At Night; writer, Andersen Gabrych; penciller, Pete Woods; inkers, Cam Smith and Drew Geraci. In the Dark; writer and artist, David Lapham. Colorist, Jason Wright; letterer, Phil Balsman; editors, Michael Wright and Bob Schreck; publisher, DC Comics.

Harbinger Wars 4 (July 2013)

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Dysart brings Harbinger Wars into the station and it’s entirely unclear why they bothered with the trip at all. Besides–apparently–cutting down on cast members, the crossover event did very little. Dysart doesn’t even seem to pretend it did anything. He leaves a lot unresolved so readers have to keep going with the main series (the point of a crossover book after all); it means there’s nothing to do the story itself. Dysart can’t fake it and make Wars seem worth it.

There’s some decent art; it’s a whole lot of action. There’s not even time for character moments, especially since Dysart only gives his regular Harbinger cast the slightest attention. Even the idiotic H.A.R.D Corps guys get more attention and they’re indistinguishable, despite codenames and different physical characteristics.

Dysart tries hard to keep the battlefronts clear, but it still doesn’t work.

I’m just glad the series’s finally over.

CREDITS

The Battle for Las Vegas; writers, Duane Swierczynski and Joshua Dysart; artists, Clayton Henry, Pere Perez and Mico Suayan; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editors, Josh Johns Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker 5 (November 2011)

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Mallory shows up–the first time Robertson has drawn him–and the series becomes about what I expected in the second half. Sadly the first half mostly consists of Butcher reading his wife’s diary where she talks about the Homelander attacking her.

The diary goes on and on for pages. Not sure why Ennis thinks anyone would believe Mrs. Butcher had no idea what Butcher saw in her, which is how he ends the diary reading. It’s like he had the diary as one thing and then the character in two issues of the comic as someone else entirely. It’s weak writing.

The finish, with Butcher on his first mission for Mallory, is pretty good stuff. It’s Robertson doing something more akin to regular Boys, which is nice. Candlestickmaker hadn’t been giving him exercise lately. This issue lets him shine.

Still, it’s unclear why Ennis needed more than two issues.

CREDITS

Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony AviƱa; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 4 (December 2013)

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This issue doesn’t really have enough content to be a full issue, except Hogan has decided he wants to do a couple serious things and they’re going to be worth the cover price.

And they are worth that cover price.

Without spoiling, the first thing has to do with Tom Strong, the character. Hogan makes a quiet, direct statement about what makes this comic different. He sort of drops Tom and Val into the middle of The Road Warrior and finds a different result. Why? Because with Tom Strong, anything is possible.

The second thing has to do with heroism and aging. It also relates back to Tom, who both ages and performs acts of heroism, but they’re ingrained into the character, not often discussed. Hogan figures out a way to talk about them a little.

Hogan is enthralled with writing the character, which really does set the comic apart.

A 

CREDITS

The Cavalier’s Attitude; writer, Peter Hogan; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Jessica Chen, Kristy Quinn, Ben Abernathy and Shelly Bond; publisher, Vertigo.

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