Miracleman 13 (November 1987)

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It’s an awesome issue. Not just in the flashback plotting and reveals, but with how Moore structures Miracleman’s narration from the present. Even though the present day stuff is all static and all summary, Moore manages to get in an amazing finish for this issue. Moore doesn’t try to frustrate the reader with foreshadowing, he instead overwhelms.

Miracleman and Miraclewoman go to the galactic council or whatever it’s called and there’s a bunch of political stuff set to Totleben’s trippy alien designs. Miracleman often has smaller panels, so it’s impressive how much Totleben’s designs resonate even if they don’t get close-ups.

But there’s also stuff with Billy and Liz and how it will all shake out to get the story to the future bookends. Moore juggles the otherworldly and the human; he brings them together in the soft cliffhanger.

It’s an outstanding issue. Definitely the best with Totleben’s art.

A 

CREDITS

Olympus, Chapter Three: Hermes; writer, Alan Moore; artist, John Totleben; colorist, Sam Parsons; letterer, Wayne Truman; editor, Letitia Glozer; publisher, Eclipse.

A Voice in the Dark 3 (January 2014)

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It’s an odd issue because it seems talkier than it actually plays out.

The protagonist has a meeting with her radio station boss, meets her roommates for lunch, meets her shrink… it feels like there might be another meeting in there, but maybe not. It’s a “state of the union” issue, with Taylor following up the previous issue’s big ending.

Only that ending isn’t really all that big of a deal. And this issue brings in the secrets of the small, quiet college town–it’s had more serial killers than anywhere else. All of a sudden Dark is getting silly. It’s turning into a slasher movie (what with an almost exclusively college coed cast, save one black cop); Taylor’s ambitions are either changing or developing poorly.

His enthusiasm for the series is still apparent and the art’s definitely improving in some areas. The pacing, and plotting, are not improving, however.

C 

CREDITS

Killing Game, Part One; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; publisher, Image Comics.

Batman 390 (December 1985)

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I think Mandrake draws Robin like a chimp in his scenes with Nocturna to show he’s a kid. Or he just draws really ugly expressions for kids. Everyone else has great expressions–this issue is the height of soap opera, yet incredibly effective. The whole “red skies” thing and how it plays into the daily lives of the extraordinary….

There are a lot of good scenes this issue. First, Batman and Nocturna. Moench finally gives Batman something reasonable to think about–his inability to settle down with women. Then there’s a great scene with Robin and Bullock. They’re a better team than Batman and Robin the way Moench writes them, with Robin being more honest with Bullock than anyone else. It’s the only time Jason has a personality.

The finish with Catwoman going after Nocturna? It’s awesome stuff.

Moench and Mandrake make a goofy superhero soap opera sublime.

A 

CREDITS

Women Dark and Dangerous; writer, Doug Moench; artist, Tom Mandrake; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Brother Lono 7 (February 2014)

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For the first time, I’m very unimpressed with Brother Lono. Azzarello is dragging things out–Lono’s getting tortured, the priest is trying to patch things up with the drug lords (or something, Azzarello is iffy on his actual motives), and the sister is going to get the sheriff. These subplots don’t come together. Azzarello races through each of them, with Lono’s being the worst because it’s a torture scene. Not particularly amusing. Or even engaging.

Even if Risso can draw some gross things.

It’s not exactly a bridging issue; it’s more like being stuck in the middle of a bridge you could see across before you started. It’s a dragging out issue and one with all big events. All that flavor Azzarello and Risso previously brought to Lono is gone.

The issue isn’t bad by any means, it’s just lacking and pointless. One could easily skip it, which is unfortunate.

B- 

CREDITS

¬°El Inferno Llega a Casa!; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Trish Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Gregory Lockard and Will Dennis; publisher, Vertigo.

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