The Maze Agency 1 (July 1997)

Maze agency v2 1

The Maze Agency returns in black and white and it really fits that format. The inherent moodiness offsets the genial romance stuff. The mystery itself is an odd riff on Brandon Lee’s death on the Crow set, which seems a little close to home in a comic book.

Mike W. Barr does a direct continuation from the previous series–Caliber put out this second volume–and he’s definitely writing for the familiar reader. The banter with the characters is strong, even if the mystery itself goes on a little long. Barr’s enthusiasm carries a lot of it.

The art, from Gene Gonzalez and David Rowe, is relatively good. There are some rough spots, particularly with Jennifer in her silly stealth costume, but it’s decent.

Barr doesn’t spend much time establishing the suspects–they’re more scenery than guest stars. That approach probably makes it read a little slower than it should.

CREDITS

The Death of Justice Girl; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, Gene Gonzalez; inker, David Rowe; letterer, Caliber Graphics; editor, Joe Pruett; publisher, Caliber Comics.

Half Past Danger 6 (October 2013)

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Mooney brings Half Past Danger to a reasonably good conclusion, though the whole thing just feels like a setup for a sequel series. Hopefully, if Mooney does a sequel, it won’t end with a setup for another series.

The issue is all action until the epilogue. The good guys each have their own adversary (or adversaries) to deal with before there’s the big decision about how to escape the Germans. Mooney isn’t reinventing the wheel with this stuff either, just getting it to roll well. The payoff scenes–there are multiple ones–are safe but rewarding.

But the finish is a little too thin. Mooney puts off resolving some plot lines because he’s setting up a sequel. He does have a nice moment for the good guys, however, who haven’t really had a chance to bond in a few issues.

It’s an fantastically fun comic. It’s just a little light.

CREDITS

Killing with Kindness; writer and artist, Stephen Mooney; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; editors, Christopher Schraff and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Detective Comics 541 (August 1984)

Detective 541

It’s a strange issue with Batman chasing the Penguin down to Antarctica to stop him from selling military secrets to the Russians. Moench throws in a couple twists, both of them vaguely amusing, but they come after his two instances of Batman overcoming impossible odds to succeed. They aren’t as amusing after Moench’s sapped all the suspense from the comic.

There’s a little with the subplots–family services is after Jason, Vicki Vale has an unwanted suitor–but I don’t think Bruce Wayne even makes an appearance this issue. I should have been keeping track of how often Moench gave him a scene.

The art’s decent. The Antarctic setting isn’t much, however; it’s not Colan’s fault, Moench just doesn’t have much good action for it.

Speaking of bad action, the Green Arrow backup is inane again. Worse, there aren’t even the now regular three excellent McManus panels. It’s a drag.

CREDITS

C–C-Cold!; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Bob Smith; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda. Green Arrow, The Nightfly; writer, Joey Cavalieri; penciller, Shawn McManus; inker, Sal Trapani; colorist, Jeanine Casey; letterer, Bob Lappan. Editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

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