Star Raiders (1983)

DC Graphic Novel #1 - Star Raiders

If it weren't for the José Luis García-López art, I'm not exactly sure what Star Raiders would have going for it. But Raiders isn't "just a comic," it's the first in DC's line of graphic novels and the art is spectacular. García-López's alien worlds, space battles, everything else–it's all fantastic.

Unfortunately Elliot S! Maggin's script is awful. Raiders is a sequel to the Atari Force comic, only to a small part of it. It's a tie-in to the Atari video game and it does about as well as any video game adaptation does. Terribly. Only Maggin's structure is the big problem.

Let's see if I can break it down. Introduce character A, introduce characters B and C, follow all three, introduce characters D through H. Follow character E. Bring back character B, then immediately revert to character E. Repeat six times. Not really six; maybe twice. But the intermediary events are either lovely set pieces or boring expository things. Maggin's approach to science fiction is a heavy dose of Star Wars and then just some silly ideas–immortal old men, for example. Why immortal? How else can you have someone find out about something six hundred years before?

Then there's the very small scale finish for the biggest battle the galaxy has ever seen. Pretty much everything conceptual about the story is nonsense. There isn't a single good moment in the entire thing, if you forget about the art. With the art, every moment's good. They're just really, really, really dumb.

C- 

CREDITS

Writer, Elliot S! Maggin; artist, José Luis García-López; letterer, Orzecody; editor, Andrew Helfer; publisher, DC Comics.

Dead Letters 1 (April 2014)

Dead Letters #1

Just fair warning, I’m going to be really mean to Dead Letters. I want to clarify right off Chris Visions doesn’t deserve any of it for his art. His art’s packed, frantic, detailed. It’s good art, if a little too much. But it’s too much of itself, which isn’t a bad thing.

No, I’m going to rant and rave about Christopher Sebela, unoriginality, Hollywood desperation and maybe a little about crappy dialogue.

Letters opens like the Bourne Identity except without trusting the reader, so Sebela has to make things obvious. Now, he’s trying to be confusing, wrapping the narrative up with flashbacks and amnesia. Being obvious doesn’t make any sense. And it plays out bad.

The lead isn’t a spy though. He’s a generic bad ass criminal. Hollywood will undoubtedly come calling, cheaper budget, less exotic locations than a spy….

Sebela’s dialogue is derivative, predictable, lousy.

Except Visions, Letters’s atrocious.

F 

CREDITS

Writer, Christopher Sebela; artist, Chris Visions; colorist, Ruth Redmond; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Chris Rosa and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Incredible Hulk 67 (April 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #67

It’s a Hulk without even Bruce Banner. And I can’t figure out why. Usually when Jones takes forever with an issue, there’s at least an imaginative conversation going on. Lots of literary references, whatever. But not this issue. Here’s it just Doc and Betty arguing while Nadia Blonsky is in danger.

Where’s Bruce? He left Nadia alone so she could be in danger and Jones could get a cliffhanger out of it.

Nadia running from a variety of creepy things isn’t bad. If Jones had something else going on in the comic, it’d be a fine thing to fill the action quota. But Doc Samson playing with his lab equipment and Betty sounding bitter don’t offer anything. Jones is spinning his wheels to get through another issue and then he’ll rush to get Bruce back into it.

It’s a standard approach on the book.

The decent art helps a lot.

C- 

CREDITS

Dead Like Me, Part Two: Bury Me Not; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Dougie Braithwaite; inker, Bill Reinhold; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Suicide Risk 12 (April 2014)

Suicide Risk #12

Carey continues to let Suicide Risk slide down further. It’s not a terrible issue, though the stuff with Requiem fighting his family and then leaving them when the mind control villain shows up is dumb. It doesn’t make any sense, but then Carey’s never known what to do with the family.

There are some flashbacks to the villain world too. A bunch of supervillains having a battle with some nameless, indistinct good guys. Presumably.

The issue doesn’t show any real signs of life until the end, when Carey moves from a flashback at Requiem’s trial to the mind of Leo Winters. Having the protagonist share his mind with a supervillain should provide some good moments. It doesn’t.

Worse, Carey establishes the mind control villain so well the character should have been the series’s narrator for the whole thing.

Carey’s trying to develop past the initial hook and he’s got nothing.

C+ 

CREDITS

Seven Walls and a Pit Trap, Part Two; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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