Atari Force 7 (July 1984)

Atari Force #7

The series is definitely back on track. Not only does Conway come up with a way to utilize all seven principal cast members in the issue, he also comes up with a very amusing turn of events.

Before getting to any of these plot developments, he opens with Tempest’s father going over to the bad guy’s spaceship in what he thinks will be an exchange. In this sequence, Conway makes it very clear the father, Martin, is the action hero of the series. Conway hadn’t utilized him well enough before. All of a sudden the character seems interesting on his own and not as an appendage of the surfer dude son.

There’s a lot of humor too. Dart and Pakrat are good comic relief, though the psychic gets the best jokes. Not many, but good ones.

It’s once again imaginative work from Conway, with some fantastically rendered pages from García-López.

B+ 

CREDITS

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

Manifest Destiny 6 (April 2014)

Manifest Destiny #6

It’s a decent issue with some great art sequences from Roberts–the explorers are fighting plant zombie wildlife after all–but it moves too fast. Dingess seems too concerned with keeping things moving and keeping to his narration structure to really relax and enjoy.

This issue, for example, once again has Sacajawea kicking butt. Only Dingess is too busy showing Lewis and Clark’s side of the event, which involves hallucinations, to let the reader enjoy the butt-kicking. The script sometimes makes Roberts’s art feel stunted. Who knows, maybe it’s the other way around and the art’s a stunted rendition of the script.

But I doubt it.

Still, the baseline quality of Manifest Destiny is undeniable. It remains to be seen whether Dingess is going to achieve something amazing for the series or be satisfied being above average.

The characters, who Dingess does give good attention, deserve more ambitious plotting.

CREDITS

Writer, Chris Dingess; artist, Matthew Roberts; colorist, Owen Gieni; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 74 (September 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #74

I don’t like finishing a comic wondering what the heck I’ve just read. Getting through this issue of Hulk isn’t just troublesome because of the incredibly uneven art–Braithwaite and Reinhold spend the least amount of time on the big fight between Hulk and Iron Man–but through the constant stupidity.

Jones boils down his resolution to a confession, which doesn’t make much sense. Of course, having the drama hinge around Tony Stark having a suicidal girlfriend with a lock-picking, would-be amateur assassin brother doesn’t make much sense either.

Then there’s poor Bruce Banner. What’s he doing this arc? Following Tony around mostly. Only neither character has a real arc. Tony’s is superficial, Bruce is just a spectator. Jones doesn’t spend any time on Bruce outside him helping with the experiment.

There are numerous false endings too. It’s easily the worst issue Jones has done on the title.

F 

CREDITS

Big Things, Part Four; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Dougie Braithwaite; inker, Bill Reinhold; colorist, Rainier Beredo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Sons of Anarchy 8 (April 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #8

There’s a lot of lovely art this issue. It’s a hard story–most of the leads are in jail, the women are being threatened on the outside, but Damian Couceiro–with the able help of colorist Michael Spicer–manages to embrace the hardness while still being stylishly appealing. About the only time the art doesn’t work is when there’s too much artificial pacing to it, like for the cliffhanger.

Ed Brisson’s script moves nicely between prison and the outside world. He focuses on the characters, leaving himself a little space for tension relieving humor, but Sons of Anarchy is a serious book without room for much in the way of jokes. It’s still a very odd licensed property but Boom! executes it well.

Again, I still haven’t seen the show, yet Brisson’s able to get the reader immediately engaged with the characters and their troubles.

It just ends too fast.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Spicer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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