Miracleman 11 (May 1987)

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Wow. Even with Moore’s overcooked prose–it’s from Miracleman’s memoirs–wow.

It opens five years later, with Miracleman somewhere above the Earth in a floating castle. I think (about the location, not the time).

Moore opens with these grandiose images and then brings things down again. New–and lovely–artist John Tolteben can do both fantastical and mundane with ease. The story Miracleman is telling is the continuation from the previous issue. This issue he has a run-in with the space aliens and Moore has a big reveal of a new character.

Except these are relatively small. The battle with the aliens is just a fight scene, Liz in danger is just a thriller scene. Totleben doesn’t let the visuals get too big, so as the bookends work better. He and Moore are off to a great start together.

Moore’s isn’t rigidly constrained; he might even be having fun.

A

CREDITS

Olympus, Chapter One: Cronos; writer, Alan Moore; artist, John Totleben; colorist, Sam Parsons; letterer, Wayne Truman; editor, Cat Yronwode; publisher, Eclipse.

A Voice in the Dark 2 (December 2013)

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Taylor does not give up. He starts out this issue with the some of the same problems as the last one–his dialogue is too cute, his banter too contrived. But he sells the concept through determination.

He goes very episodic. The protagonist is fielding a call on her talk radio show from a girl threatening suicide. The issue is them going back and forth, the girl’s story slowly revealing itself.

This comic raises a number of interesting questions–yes, Taylor has his writing problems, but he’s always fully committed to himself and to the work. He’s not half-assed, ever. The art isn’t great, but it gets the job done. So what else should Alone in the Dark be doing?

The most interesting thing should be the ending, which answers a question Taylor sneakily raises to the reader. Sadly it’s not. But Taylor’s ambitious and ambition counts for something.

B- 

CREDITS

Blood Makes Noise, Part Two; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; publisher, Image Comics.

Batman 389 (November 1985)

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Mandrake is getting better. The first half of the issue, except maybe some of the Batman stuff–the proportions are off–it’s good and Mandrake’s got some interesting expressions. They give the comic a lot more depth.

Why does it need help with depth? Maybe because Moench’s storyline–Bruce decides to get rid of all the women in his life in order to find a mother for Jason. You’d think he (and Moench) would be doing something like the dating game with all Bruce’s romantic interests… But no. Instead Moench even pushes to objectify Nocturna, who is in the book as Jason’s surrogate mother figure.

Yeah, but objectify I mean there’s a poorly drawn scene where Robin finds Nocturna seductively posing, cuddles to her, calls her mom.

It’s really messed up.

And Mandrake tanks on Robin’s expression. He looks like a chimp.

Still, Moench’s formula is reliable, refined and entertaining.

C+ 

CREDITS

Red Skies; writer, Doug Moench; artist, Tom Mandrake; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Afterlife with Archie 3 (February 2014)

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There’s something off about this issue, like Aguirre-Sacasa didn’t have a big event planned for it so he went with three smaller ones. Or two smaller ones, it’s hard to determine whether Archie’s jaunt around apocalyptic Rivertown will be a subplot or the main plot.

But the smaller events are a couple regular cast members turning into zombies and having a rather lackluster finish to their first attack and then a flashback to how the diner burned down and why.

Instead, Aguirre-Sacasa focuses on some human interactions. There’s a lot with Veronica’s dad about his feelings of concern over the teenagers in his care, there’s a little with Betty and Archie (barely enough to mention) and some more with Betty and Veronica.

Even though these characterizations are modernized, they’re famous characters with familiar relationships. They don’t need the same time as new characters.

Still, it’s a great read.

B 

CREDITS

Escape from Riverdale, Chapter Three: Sleepover; writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; artist and colorist, Francesco Francavilla; letterer, Jack Morelli; editors, Victor Gorelick, Carly Inglis and Paul Kaminski; publisher, Archie Comics.

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