Miracleman 15 (November 1988)

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What’s incredible–and possibly singular–about how Moore approaches Miracleman is his distance. There are moments this issue where another writer might wink at superhero comics. Moore doesn’t. Even in those moments, he’s only writing this one. More so, he’s only writing this moment, even though it’s technically a flashback.

London is destroyed, decimated. There is no happiness. Moore pulls Miracleman away from humanity even more; tellingly, Totleben doesn’t do any of his “beauty of Miracleman” panels. The visual poetry is violence and blood. Even in the small panels.

Moore caps it off with Miracleman’s final shedding of his human self, possibly through the most humane act possible. It’s so sad it makes one despondent. Not the act or event itself, but how Moore and Totleben tell it.

I think there are slow parts to the issue. Maybe too much time spent on filler. But it doesn’t matter… it’s amazing.

A 

CREDITS

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

Manifest Destiny 3 (January 2014)

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It’s a fast issue. Only after I finished it did I realize all the pseudo-science takes up a lot of space–not just in the issue, but in the reader’s imagination. Dingess doesn’t spend any time trying to provoke the reader to consider this issue, not until the end and then it’s only for a pay-off.

Lewis or Clark–they’re basically still interchangeable, since Destiny is more an action thriller than anything else–one of them, anyway, talks about the girl they’re supposed to meet. And how are Dingess and Roberts going to introduce Sacagawea into this alternate history?

It’s like an easter egg reward for people who have taken grade school United States history.

The green zombie stuff is cool–though reminds a little of a Swamp Thing arc from the early nineties–everything is cool. It’s a good issue. The creators are seemingly priming to wow.

CREDITS

Writer, Chris Dingess; artist, Matthew Roberts; colorist, Owen Gieni; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

Batman 391 (January 1986)

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I could kind of guess the finish. Not all of it–Catwoman coming into play is a surprise, especially after Moench gives her a nice farewell with Batman at the open–but it’s predictable. I wonder if it was editorially mandated or if it was always Moench’s idea.

Mandrake is really impressive this issue. There are no scenes with Robin looking like a chimp; there are some crazy “Batman with eyeballs” panels full of despair. Mandrake also draws Batman as something of a behemoth in the action scenes. It’s visually compelling to be sure.

And Moench writes an effective script. He’s able to whitewash the things he never spent enough time on and turn them into backstory for better moments. He’s sort of fixed his two big problems–Robin and Batman as realized characters. These last few issues, he’s fixed them. Jason too.

Maybe not Bruce, but baby steps.

B 

CREDITS

Death Comes as the End!; writer, Doug Moench; artist, Tom Mandrake; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Skyman 1 (January 2014)

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Skyman is real close to being in my “why would I want to read this” stack. It’s generally okay. The art is strange–mainstream superhero with angst; it’s unclear if Manuel Garcia isn’t doing enough on the pencils and Bit has to fill in on the inks or if Bit is inking in the Sturm und Drang.

But the art isn’t why Skyman is unpleasant. Joshua Hale Fialkov–presumably under instruction (I didn’t realize Skyman was actually part of some existing superhero continuity)–is doing a lot with race. Racist white guys in the military, about a week from staging a Neo-Nazi coup–these are all the white guys in the military, by the way–give hell to the nation’s official superhero, who’s a black guy.

So it’s mostly Skyman’s supervisor being sneakily racist and not-so sneakily racist around him. It’s cynical and realistic. But why read it?

C- 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Hale Fialkov; penciller, Manuel Garcia; inker, Bit; colorist, Marta Martínez García; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Spencer Cushing and Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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