The Maze Agency 2 (December 2005)


It’s a beauty pageant mystery–with Jennifer oddly chosen as one of the judges (are detective agency owners really such community figures)–and I’m surprised Barr hasn’t already done this one.

All of the previous issue’s problems are here, Padilla’s lack of personality, the rendering of the leads as twenty-somethings off “Buffy” (which might just be an IDW thing), but there’s another problem in the mix….

Barr tries too hard on the banter. Instead of actually talking, Gabe and Jennifer exchange quips. Barr’s got a real problem with a revival series–appeal to the existing fan base while being accessible to new readers. Only his existing fan base is from the eighties; it’s impressive he was able to mount a revival almost twenty years later, but comics readership might have changed too much. Or maybe he shouldn’t have tried for bland.

A compelling mystery would have helped a lot.



A Beautiful Crime; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, Ariel Padilla; inker, Ernest Jocson; colorist, Romulo Fajardo Jr.; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Dan Taylor; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Coffin Hill 3 (February 2014)

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It’s getting bad how often the art is falling off after the first issue or two in Vertigo series now. Coffin Hill falls victim to the same thing. Miranda is letting the colorist do way too much shading on the faces and also getting way too loose on the lines. It’s occasionally an ugly comic to read. It should be unpleasant, it’s a horror book, but it should never be ugly.

As for the story, Kittredge does okay, not great. There’s a lot of new characters and a lot more setup of the plot. It feels jumbled and hurried, especially how Eve does the investigating. Kittredge wastes pages too, with romance and family stuff. She goes for big events to make people memorable as opposed to gradually introducing things for later on.

If the art gets any worse, Kittredge might not be able to save the series. It’s too bad.



A Fitting Grave; writer, Caitlin Kittredge; artist, Inaki Miranda; colorist, Eva De La Cruz; letterer, Travis Lanham; editors, Sara Miller and Shelly Bond; publisher, Vertigo.

Detective Comics 547 (February 1985)


Moench partially redeems his amnesia storyline this issue with the suggestion it’s not going to go on for too long. He also does some decent work teaming up Robin and Nocturna, which he doesn’t play out as well as he could–is it really any odder to have a woman and her ward fighting crime than Batman and his ward?

Eventually it goes bad, with Moench falling back on Jason’s cruelty (the kid really hasn’t got any depth), but for a few pages it works out all right.

Plus, the art from Pat Broderick and Klaus Janson is good. They keep the story moving and put in a lot of mood. Moench has a lot of scenes; each supporting cast member gets some attention. He’s rushing but it’s fine.

Then the Green Arrow involves a Vietnam vet strong-arming Vietnamese businesses in the states. Goofy dialogue, but good mainstream art.



Cast of Characters, Sequence of Events; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Adrienne Roy. Green Arrow, Clash Reunion II: Most Likely to Die!; writer, Joey Cavalieri; penciller, Jerome Moore; inker, Bruce D. Patterson; colorist, Jeanine Casey. Letterer, Ben Oda; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

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