The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 28 (April 1985)


For her first issue as regular writer, Linda Grant turns in a rather tepid issue. Even though Indiana Jones has endless sidekicks from the movies, Grant introduces a new one for him here. Alec Sutherland, white guy. Sutherland’s maybe a Brit… or maybe he’s secretly the Sutherland who’ll someday show up in Swamp Thing, but right now he’s just a dumb, rich white kid.

The adventure involves Indy going to Iran–during semester break–to investigate some journal the kid brought him. It’s pretty lame stuff, but Ditko and Bulanadi do okay with it on the art. Maybe the writing’s just boring enough to make mediocre Marvel art seem better.

Grant’s decent on the actually scenes, except maybe her new sidekick guy. He’s too annoying. It’s her plotting–and she writes Indy kind of stupid. His philosophical musings on archeology are inane.

It’s trying to read; there’s no other word.



Tower of Tears; writer, Linda Grant; penciller, Steve Ditko; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Robbie Carosella; letterer, Diana Albers; editor, Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Bad Blood 1 (January 2014)

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And here we have the opposite of the “pilot” issue. Bad Blood reminds of a nineties Vertigo series, where the publisher knew they had a reader base to try out a series and the reader wouldn’t give up because what were they going to do… read Spider-Man?

Writer Jonathan Maberry has a hook–a vampire bites the protagonist, who has cancer, and is out to ruin the protagonist’s life for having tainted blood. Yeah, the vampire’s thought process isn’t clear. Tyler Crook draws the vampire practically aquatic, gills and all. Very cool.

But Blood makes a big point out of being post-Twilight. The main character is familiar with that franchise–which makes him rather unlikable, actually–and just being terminally ill isn’t enough to make the guy worth reading about.

While it’s not a slam dunk concept, Maberry should’ve been able to get better mileage out of it.



Writer, Jonathan Maberry; artist, colorist and letterer, Tyler Crook; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Batman 392 (February 1986)


I’m not sure how I feel about Jan Duursema inking Mandrake. Somehow the vibrancy of the art is gone; the action scenes feel static. Maybe the best sequence is a car accident, just because of the motion has to be included.

That quibble aside, it’s a genial issue. Batman and Catwoman–she’s a vigilante now, much to Bullock’s chagrin–spend a night on the town. It’s supposed to be romantic, but they end up having to fight crime. Moench doesn’t get the tone deafness of it–they have a cute banter scene, are about to kiss, have to stop and go prevent an incredibly violent rape.

Not cute stuff.

Moench’s trying though, he’s definitely trying. The issue is all one night, so there’s no opportunity to see what he’s doing with Bruce Wayne. Bruce seems downgraded, but who knows.

Good characterizations–Bullock and Catwoman especially.

The comic’s bland and fine.



A Town on the Night; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Tom Mandrake; inker, Jan Duursema; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Velvet 3 (January 2014)

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I wanted this issue to be better. It’s decent, but Brubaker is moving things along quickly. He’s changing the narrative structure up, which is a little confusing, and Epting doesn’t really have any indicators to make it a seventies setting. I forgot it didn’t take place in the present until a line about Soviet Russia.

Brubaker’s confident and enthusiastic, which is great for him–who’d want to read a comic the writer isn’t jazzed writing–but it’s iffy for the reader. The series isn’t episodic, it needs some cohesion and a couple flashbacks don’t cut it here.

The story itself is simpler than it all appears. Velvet has a sidekick now–Burke, I think–but he doesn’t make much impression. Brubaker writes from Velvet’s perspective; none of the men are interesting, including her allies.

The lack of cohesion will probably lead to good, but not great, issues. Like this one.



Before the Living End, Part Three; writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Steve Epting; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor; David Brothers; publisher, Image Comics.

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