Atari Force 3 (March 1984)

Atari Force #3

There are a few big surprises this issue. The non-spoiler one has to do with how adult Conway’s willing to take the comic. He’s not goofing around with it, not just with conjugal relations, but also with implying age differences and responsibilities of older partners. It’s all very subtle, all very clear.

That plot line, which gets the most emphasis–Dart always gets the beginning and end–makes up for the weaker ones. The thing with the giant rock alien and the overgrown rodent are mostly fine. Conway gets a lot of humor into those scenes and a nice amount of characterization. The problem’s with the surfer dude.

The whiny, blond surfer dude has another hissy fit this issue. Conway’s gone out of his way to make the character unlikable but I think he’s supposed to be sympathetic too. It isn’t coming off.

The fantastic García-López makes up for any problems, however.

B 

CREDITS

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

Caliban 1 (March 2014)

Caliban #1

Oh, good, Garth Ennis wants to try his hand at derivative sci-fi. Caliban takes place on a ship traveling through warpspace–which sounds a lot more “realistic” than hyperspace or warp… wait, never mind. It doesn’t.

But he does try to work in the reality of cryogenic sleep for long voyages. The cast of the series are the maintenance crew for the ship who don’t get to sleep. Instead they bicker and flirt and write very explanatory journal entries on their iPads.

Given the odd pacing and pointless characters, I wonder if Ennis tried his hand at writing a movie script. Because as a comic, this issue is a mess. It’s more annoying than anything else once it gets obvious. Regurgitated sci-fi movie ideas from as far back as 2001 and as recent as Prometheus.

It’s not even an imaginative regurgitation.

Facundo Percio’s mediocre art is another problem.

C 

CREDITS

The Ship; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Facundo Percio; inker, Sebastian Cabrol; colorist, Hernán Cabrera; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

The Incredible Hulk 70 (June 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #70

Deodato is back once again. And, once again, the art is bad. This time there’s a lot Deodato can’t do. He can’t do the talking heads, he can’t handle Bruce willfully turning into the Hulk for a quick emergency.

And it’s too bad, because the issue’s a reasonable done in one where Bruce meets up with a clairvoyant on the FBI payroll. Most of the issue is the two men talking while the clairvoyant can see things unfolding.

Jones doesn’t exploit it as a narrative device enough, but Deodato couldn’t handle it if he did anyway. But the issue’s decent. Bruce and the guy talk through the issue, Jones getting in a couple twists. It doesn’t explain why the guy didn’t try to find the Hulk before, like during the national manhunt, but whatever.

Too bad Jones didn’t do his run more episodically, it would’ve worked. Minus Deodato, of course.

B- 

CREDITS

Simetry; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Hermes Tadeo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

She-Hulk 3 (June 2014)

She-Hulk #3

There's nothing off about this issue of She-Hulk; its problems aren't a mistake. Soule is very deliberate in how he paces out the action, then humor, the set pieces. I assume his scripts are similarly deliberate, so it's not like Pulido chose to stage a lot of big action in small settings.

And–just to be clear–Pulido's composition is fantastic. He's got a lot of double page panels and they do a great job moving the story quickly and visually.

So what's the problem?

Well, with the continuing buildups from page to page, Soule needs something extraordinary for the finish. Instead, he goes for a rushed cliffhanger with so little drama I didn't believe the story had actually ended. I thought She-Hulk would be on the next page winking at me.

A lot of this comic could be an example of near perfect comics storytelling. Soule just can't write cliffhangers apparently.

B 

CREDITS

He Who Wouldn’t Be King; writer, Charles Soule; artist, Javier Pulido; colorist, Muntsa Vicente; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editors, Frankie Johnson, Jeanine Schaefer and Tom Brennan; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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