The Legend of Wonder Woman 4 (August 1986)

The Legend of Wonder Woman #4

And here Busiek and Robbins run into a big problem. They’re doing a last pre-Crisis story and so there needs to be some transition. Well, needs is a strong word. They put in some transition, which the bookend system they’re using requires. And it’s a nice enough transition, it’s just not the right one for this series.

The resolution to the main story is phenomenal. There’s fighting, there’s personal growth, there’s romance. There are kangaroos used in battle. Busiek and Robbins balance the crazy story elements with the human conflict. And they do allow some relaxation for their cast….

Before they cut forward to the modern day and deal with the Crisis stuff. The series, while excellent, is a perfect example of why a superhero comic’s worst enemy can often be itself. Even though it’s sublime, the issue’s politics stop it from being as rewarding as it should be.

B+ 

CREDITS

Splitting the Atom; writers, Trina Robbins and Kurt Busiek; artist, Robbins; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, L. Lois Buhalis; editor, Alan Gold; publisher, DC Comics.

The Private Eye 6 (27 March 2014)

The Private Eye #6

It’s an odd issue. There’s a lot at the hospital with the P.I.’s assistant recovering, then becoming the target of both the investigators and the bad guys. It’s all very dramatic and Martin does a good job laying on the thrills. Vaughan actually ends up using some of it for comic relief, which is a little odd.

Otherwise, the issue’s spent with P.I. and his client as they discover things the bad guys are doing and talking about. Vaughan cuts back and forth, which is an adequate device though it’s a lot of treading water. Unless something major happens with the injured kid, this issue’s of the pointless, bridging variety. Vaughan’s not introducing any pertinent information. The future expository stuff isn’t pertinent.

Even though there’s a lot of excellent art from Martin throughout, there isn’t really a great set piece.

Vaughan is starting to feel disinterested on the comic.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Brian K. Vaughan; artist, Marcos Martin; colorist, Muntsa Vicente; publisher, Panel Syndicate.

The Incredible Hulk 66 (March 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #66

Jones gets a far better art–Dougie Braithwaite on pencils, Bill Reinhold on inks–and decides to celebrate. Of course, his celebration is dragging his cast through the dirt. He’s got Bruce emotionally pounding on Nadia, who’s a fine enough regular supporting cast member so it’s too bad Jones didn’t establish her more, and then he’s got Betty pounding–literally–on Doc Samson.

No one is happy how things are going or who they’re bedding down with. In all that unhappiness, Jones does do some explaining about off page things in the previous issues, but he also shows his hand. He wants to ruminate on the unhappiness of these characters; it’s unclear if he had any other point with his Hulk except to get them here.

While the issue’s often finely executed, Jones doesn’t offer any glimpses of growth. All he’s setting up for is decay. Unpleasant to read decay.

B- 

CREDITS

Dead Like Me, Part One; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Dougie Braithwaite; inker, Bill Reinhold; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

All-New Ghost Rider 1 (May 2014)

All-New Ghost Rider #1

When DC relaunched Blue Beetle with a teen male Hispanic lead, wasn’t his last name Reyes? In a rare act of Marvel aping DC, the relaunched teen male Hispanic Ghost Rider has Reyes for a last name too.

Maybe they’re related, like any property the Big Two are somehow trying to make relevant again has the last name Reyes.

I wanted to like the Tradd Moore art on Rider but it’s too polished. There’s nothing kinetic to it. Moore’s also not able to make the comic seem less dumb, something any artist would struggle with given the lame script from Felipe Smith. Moore can’t drive car races, so one has to assume he can’t draw car chases either. Since both seem to be important in the comic, it’s a big problem.

Smith’s script’s the real problem. It’s all unoriginal and pointless. The comic’s not worth reading, much less talking about.

D- 

CREDITS

Engines of Vengeance, Part One; writer, Felipe Smith; artist, Tradd Moore; colorists, Nelson Daniel and Val Staples; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Emily Shaw and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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