Atari Force 2 (1982)

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This issue covers two more team members–both new members whose little origin stories come right after their introductions–and both of their stories are, once again, rather rough.

First there’s the Indian guy, who only got out of poverty because some British guy mistakenly accused the kid of theft and a tragedy followed. Then there’s the head of security. For her, Thomas and Conway have a really depressing war story. Atari Force, for all its jumpsuits and Atari lingo, is a rather grown-up comic. Not what one would expect from a game tie-in geared at kids (were Atari consoles aimed at kids?).

There’s also the bigger story. The team comes together to travel between alternate realities to find a world for the benevolent Atari corporation to colonize. So no big sci-fi action yet, but soon.

The art’s still a little off, but it’s fine enough.

B 

CREDITS

Berserk; writers, Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas; penciller, Ross Andru; inkers, Dick Giordano and Mike DeCarlo; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Giordano; publisher, DC Comics.

Five Weapons 7 (February 2014)

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I love the way Robinson is able to use exposition–not to mention Enrique’s internal monologue–the draw the reader’s attention to particular facts. In the most extreme examples, it’s the thought process–showing the reader what they missed by not paying enough attention (though, if the reader did pay enough attention, the pleasure of the lesson wouldn’t be there). But he also uses it for the cliffhanger this issue. He agitates the reader quietly, then ends the comic. It’s a neat device.

Keeping the reader focused on how Enrique experiences the comic’s events also helps with the suspension of disbelief. He changes his mind about something being true between two panels and Robinson’s able to sell it with the presentation of the follow explanations. It’s kind of like Robinson understands how to do an educational comic and applies those rules to Five Weapons.

It’s a rather neat reading experience.

B+ 

CREDITS

Tyler’s Revenge; writer, artist and letterer, Jimmie Robinson; colorist, Paul Little; editor, Laura Tavishati; publisher, Image Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 49 (March 2003)

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There’s something wrong with this issue and I’m having trouble pinpointing it. Maybe how Jones bookends with what he’s doing next, maybe with how he does a talking Hulk going nuts without any explanation. I can’t believe I’m wanting for exposition, but Jones’s keeping the reader way too far away from what’s going on in Bruce’s head. Especially after an issue like this one.

The design problem remains with the villain; the Immonen and Koblish Hulk make up for it a little, but there aren’t any money shots in this issue. Even the splash page of the transformed Banner is more for mood than it is reader gratification. It’s a dangerous, constantly shifting world. And Jones is just make it more so… and every shift make the characters more distant.

They aren’t just superheroes, they’re corrupt supervillains and the like. Jones has removed the humanity for the sake of narrative.

C+ 

CREDITS

Pratt Fall; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Comicraft; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Trillium 7 (May 2014)

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Until the hard cliffhanger, which is just too jarring both in the narrative and visually, Lemire finally gets back to fulfilling Trillium’s potential.

He makes a decision about his characters too. He’s been wishy-washy on assigning a protagonist lately–not just for issues, but for the whole series; letting his time and star crossed lovers share the position wasn’t working. He decides well.

What’s most impressive is how he lets himself go with the sci-fi spectacular visuals. Lemire’s been doing a lot with trying to dictate how the reader approaches the book (the vertically flipped pages, reading back to forth, practically choose your own adventure). This issue had grandiose visuals (many tying to previous issues’ imagery). It works beautifully without any artificial attempts to control how the reader digests it.

Lemire does well with the B plot too.

As far as penultimate issues go, this one’s outstanding.

A- 

CREDITS

All the Shadows Have Stars in Them…; writer and artist, Jeff Lemire; colorists, José Villarrubia and Lemire; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual; editors, Sara Miller and Mark Doyle; publisher, Vertigo.

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