Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 2 (May 1991)


I can’t tell if Barry helping with the script is making things better or worse. Probably worse, since this issue is a breakneck race around the world for artifacts from Atlantis without any texture whatsoever.

I take that texture remark back partially–there is texture in the New York scenes. It’s when the story gets to exotic locales things are too rushed.

Fate of Atlantis is a good example of a bad adaptation. Barry and Messner-Loebs turn the girl into the protagonist, which is fine–they write her a lot better than Indy, who comes across as a brutish numbskull–but they don’t commit to it. It’s either her or Indy, only when they use Indy, they pull back too far from him.

As for the art, Barry’s pencils continue to lack charm. The scenery, while period specific, looks like something out of a Gold Key comic.

Atlantis stinks.



Writers, Dan Barry and William Messner-Loebs; penciller, Barry; inker, Karl Kesel; colorist, Lurene Haines; letterer, Gail Beckett; editors, Diana Schutz and Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Vandroid 1 (February 2014)

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I was hoping Vandroid was going to be about a van with the mind of a killer HAL or Colossus, but apparently it’s just a Terminator knock-off. As knock-offs go, it’s not bad at all. Writers Tommy Lee Edwards and Noah Smith do an excellent job with the eighties setting. Their dialogue’s funny and they’ve got a great roving eye for some of the issue. It’s when the reveal happens, just over halfway through, it becomes clear the comic doesn’t have enough gas.

The art, from Dan McDaid, is good and appropriate for the content. Vandroid feels more fully realized than the narrative suggests. There might be something better to come along, it’s just too soon to tell. The next issue will be the decider.

It’s hard to know what to make of a comic where so little gets established the first issue, especially for a limited series.


Writers, Tommy Lee Edwards and Noah Smith; artist, Dan McDaid; colorist, Melissa Edwards; letterer, John Workman; editors, Ian Tucker, Daniel Chabon and Jeffrey Mariotte; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 41 (August 2002)


Maybe two things happen this issue. Or three. Jones’s use of “decompressed” storytelling is somewhat interesting–not effective, but interesting–in how he plots the story around it. He’s being intentional here. There’s no way to do this story with any other pacing, it would miss the point.

And Jones gets pretty obvious with the point here. He’s got a couple moments of way too much exposition from the cast. It’d be hard to miss.

But the comic’s not bad at all. Weeks does a great job with the expressions and his pacing of the events is flawless. There just aren’t enough events for a filling read.

Jones remains unsure how to present Banner to the reader. Once again, he doesn’t let Bruce run the comic. Instead, Bruce reacts to everyone else. And when he finally does show enough agency, the issue ends.

It’s problematic to be sure, but serviceable.



Poker Face; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Lee Weeks; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The White Suits 1 (February 2014)

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I’m trying to imagine worse writing than Frank J. Barbiere’s dialogue in The White Suits. There’s got to be some out there but it’s so shockingly terrible, my mind is clouded over. Lines from this issue repeat themselves, kind of like a hammer to the temple.

And it’s a shame, because Toby Cypress does a really solid Paul Pope impression. I can’t say he’s Pope-lite, like a lot of people these days, because much of his detail work is an impression. His dollar bills look like Pope’s dollar bills in One Trick. But whatever, Cypress makes it all look good.

I actually thought the art would make the book tolerable. Like it could somehow overshadow the lousy writing. It can’t.

I’m beginning to think all these highly affected dialogue and narration styles are just to hide the bankruptcy of ideas. Suits’s Dark Horse; I inexplicably expected more from them.



Writer and letterer, Frank J. Barbiere; artist and colorist, Toby Cypress; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Chris Warner; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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