Lois Lane 1 (August 1986)

Lois Lane #1

Writer Mindy Newell gives Lois Lane a serious story to cover–a murdered child–which sends her into an obsessive panic. Newell shows not just Lois’s investigative work, but also how the pursuit affects her and those around her.

The Gray Morrow art is elegant and disturbing. It’s a perfect combination; he’s able to handle the talking heads parts and the more emphatic, quiet parts. Newell and Morrow push on the informative angle, but they compensate it with the rest.

Newell explores how disturbed Lois becomes, how single-minded. There are some plot contrivances–problems at work, Lucy in town–but Newell still just uses them to emphasize Lois’s irrationality and drive.

The comic’s also got a great domestic scene with Clark and Lana. Newell’s very deliberate when it comes to the characters, particularly in their thought balloons.

The comic is awkwardly paced, but Newell and Morrow execute it successfully.

B 

CREDITS

When It Rains, God is Crying; writer, Mindy Newell; artist, Gray Morrow; colorist, Joe Orlando; letterer, Agustin Mas; editor, Robert Greenberger; publisher, DC Comics.

Prophet 43 (March 2014)

Prophet #43

The difference between a divine Prophet and an excellent one? The divine one has less story. The issue opens with the tree-man on Old John’s team. Bayard Baudoin does the art for his story. It’s very stylized, very lyrical. In just a few pages, Baudoin is able to define how the tree-man sees the universe and his place in it.

Except the issue isn’t just his story. It starts with him, moves to the space battle–including another fun flashback to Youngblood. Even though Graham and Roy use such flashbacks more often now, they’re still surprising. For a moment Prophet all of a sudden becomes a comic about comics, a wild imagining of what could be. Then the moment passes–organically–and the story continues. It’s a very nice move the writers make.

The third part involves the slaves (from many issues ago); it’s setup. Good, but obviously setup.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Bayard Baudoin, Giannis Milonogiannis, Roy, Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward; colorists, Joseph Bergin III, Baudoin, Sheean and Ward; letterer, Ed Brisson. Pieces; writer and artist, Daniel Warren Johnson; colorist, Doug Garbark. Publisher, Image Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 61 (November 2003)

The Incredible Hulk #61

Deodato uses a lot of six panel pages. Not just for conversations, though there are a lot of conversations this issue, but he uses them for action too. Big action at the size of a thumbnail, how rewarding. It’s not even good small sized big action. Deodato skimps on the details; the smaller size is an excuse.

But even with good art, it wouldn’t be a good issue. There are now three sets of characters, Bruce and some guy he hangs out with at a bathhouse (really), Doc Samson who’s now a government assassin and then Nadia and Mr. Blue. Mr. Blue being a woman. Jones is trying to fill an issue with the back and forth conversations. It’s all really bad.

Still, there’s a good cliffhanger. Even with the bad Deodato art. Jones introduces a new threat, which might prove interesting. But probably visually interesting.

It’s a weak issue.

C- 

CREDITS

Split Decisions, Part Two: From Shadowed Places; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Warren Simons, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 1 (March 2014)

Daredevil #1

Daredevil is a lot of fun. Most of the issue is a chase scene through San Francisco. Chris Samnee composes his panels close to the action, not in long shots, so there aren’t big landmark double pages. Instead, he infers the setting around Matt. It’s a rather cool approach.

Also important is the daytime setting; this comic is exciting, not downbeat, even when Mark Waid’s putting a little kid in danger. Waid knows exactly how to get the best result from the story, whether it’s in Daredevil showing off his powers of observation, how he paces the kid in danger, everything.

It’s very well-done superhero comics.

There’s also absolutely nothing compelling about it except Samnee’s art. And the art’s enough reason to read the book. Waid does an okay job, but the art’s where Daredevil is different.

If it were just the writing, there wouldn’t be a reason to return.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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