Atari Force 2 (February 1984)

Atari Force #2

The second issue follows the same general structure as the first. Open with Dart–she’s the white-haired, good guy mercenary lead–and her boyfriend in some kind of “no win” battle. They eventually beat the odds, because she’s the hero. There’s great García Lopez action art so it looks great too.

Then Conway moves into what’s going on with the rest of the cast, which is a lot of positioning this issue. The psychic guy goes to visit surfer dude’s dad–surfer dude is the human who can travel the multi-verse (not the regular DC one, I don’t think) without a vessel–and the broken father and son relationship, if Conway continues it, might be interesting.

But there are also the other characters, the reluctant smuggler, the stowaway thief; their scenes are just to get them in place for whatever union of story lines Conway utilizes.

The script’s imaginative, the art’s gorgeous. Force’s fine.

B 

CREDITS

Direct Encounter; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, José Luis García-López; inker, Ricardo Villagran; colorist, Tom Ziuko; letterer, Bob Lappan; editor, Andy Helfer; publisher, DC Comics.

Pretty Deadly 5 (April 2014)

Pretty Deadly #5

DeConnick has a decent finish for the end of the first Pretty Deadly arc. There’s something missing, like she rushed through resolving the showdown in order to get to the next showdown. It’s hurried and there’s little sense of the journey the characters take.

There’s also a lot of narration through the issue–the framing sequence has never felt so prevalent. The characters all become the subject of this narration and no longer the leads in it.

Still, Rios’s art is gorgeous and DeConnick gets in some good character moments. There’s just not enough room for all the things they’re imagining. It feels undeveloped, especially when it comes to the big finale. There’s a mix of action and character stuff and neither really gets the deserved amount of attention.

Deadly has been able to be confusing and rewarding at the same time. Here, DeConnick tries too hard to be intelligible.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick; artist, Emma Rios; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editor, Sigrid Ellis; publisher, Image Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 69 (May 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #69

After spending the first third of the book setting up the best Hulk fight since he’s been on the run–the way Jones paces out the banter between Hulk and evil spider-clone Hulk (don’t ask) is perfect–Jones trashes the whole thing. He goes back to his talking heads model. Down to no one really having anything to say to one another.

There’s an awkward lack of ambition to those scenes. Doc, Betty and Nadia’s lives are wrought with angst and Jones goes for easy bickering. Not even inventive easy bickering, just page-filling easy bickering. He comes up with a mystery and has to do everything in service of it. The mystery isn’t a good one and he handles it poorly.

The lack of ambition isn’t just lazy dialogue, it’s much worse–it’s Bruce Banner. He’s a marionette. Jones has stopped implying he has any depth. Hulk’s the only interesting thing about him.

C- 

CREDITS

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

Veil 2 (April 2014)

Veil #2

The first issue of Veil just had present action scenes, no exposition. This issue, Rucka adds exposition. He adds rapist cops–and their compliant partners, he adds fundamentalist Christian preachers who make deals with demon conjurers–and he adds a lot of dialogue.

Oddly, it also gives Fejzula a lot less to do. More stuff, but less interesting visuals.

Unfortunately, all of the additions are bad and they’re all at the expense of the title character. Veil, this issue, just sits around until she conveniently goes off–doesn’t like waffles. The guy helping her talks to himself the entire issue and his dialogue’s terrible.

There’s an early moment to forecast the problems–the guy freaks out because he can’t climb over a dumpster to escape the cops. Not the rapist cops. Presumably regular ones. Why can’t he climb over the dumpster? Nice pants?

It’s so bad it’s not even disappointing.

D 

CREDITS

Writer, Greg Rucka; artist and colorist, Toni Fejzula; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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