Atari Force 8 (August 1984)

Atari Force #8

Given Atari Force is Conway’s series, it’s too bad the best issue so far isn’t one he writes. He plotted for Andy Helfer and gave him a choice issue. It’s a done-in-one, the first of the series, and it manages to be both gritty and affable.

Babe, the sentient mountain baby–who’s basically just a huge egg with a lot of power and no anger–gets stranded on a planet. He’s got the Hukka (the adorable sort of pet who fills some of the R2-D2 cuteness) but he’s lost.

Helfer juxtaposes Babe’s trials against the team’s. They’re going through lots of drama; even those concerned for the missing Babe don’t realize he apparently can’t be hurt. Babe’s in the middle of a planetary invasion, it turns out.

The art’s lovely, the story’s gentle without ever being condescending. It’s an impressive issue, raising the bar for the series.

A 

CREDITS

Babe’s Story; writers, Gerry Conway and Andy Helfer; penciller, José Luis García-López; inker, Ricardo Villagran; colorist, Tom Ziuko; letterer, Bob Lappan; editor, Helfer; publisher, DC Comics.

Rocky and Bullwinkle 2 (April 2014)

Rocky and Bullwinkle #2

Something is amiss in Frostbite Falls.

Evanier keeps his structure from the first issue–first part of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, then the second part of Rocky. Only this time, the first part of the feature is weak. It feels tired, down to all the references to post-smartphone soullessness. Rocky and Bullwinkle come across a magician who can’t get a job anymore and, dang, if it’s not all apps and CGI’s fault.

The cliffhanger’s too deliberate and then the Dudley Do-Right tries too hard for a single laugh. It gets two but the first is mostly because of goodwill. By the end, the goodwill’s gone.

Then the second half of the feature is even worse than the first. Evanier reduces Rocky to an almost dialogue-free part in the feature and the narration is terrible.

Langridge doesn’t bother mustering much enthusiasm.

It’s a pedestrian licensed comic, which the first issue wasn’t.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Evanier; artist and letterer, Roger Langridge; colorist, Jeremy Colwell; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Incredible Hulk 75 (October 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #75

Here I thought Darick Robertson and Tom Palmer on the art would help….

It does help for a while. But the issue’s double-sized and once Doc Samson shows up, maybe a quarter of the way in, the art starts sliding.

Jones reveals the mastermind behind all of Bruce Banner’s troubles. It gets sillier when the villain explains all of it; the ludicrousness of Jones’s conspiracy doesn’t hold up well under examination.

There’s a slightly interesting gimmick, which Jones shuts down so he can bring back the supporting cast. I’m not sure how Nadia–just a regular small business owner in Nevada or somewhere–can get to L.A. in a matter of hours to help save the day. Worse, Tony Stark is around to hang out with Doc Samson. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Tony to help as Iron Man? Or maybe call the Avengers.

It’s a lousy comic.

D- 

CREDITS

Wake To Nightmare; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Darick Robertson; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Raul Trevino; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 1.50 (June 2014)

Daredevil #1.50

I'm really glad Mark Waid cares so much about Daredevil to craft the comic, and Matt Murdock, such a sweet story for the fiftieth anniversary of the character. It's a nice story. It's also completely pointless.

Waid tells a future story with Matt Murdock as former mayor of San Francisco (or something) and gives him a crisis to resolve–some mystery villain has made most of the city blind, including little Jack Murdock. Mom is a mystery but Foggy's around. He's probably supposed to be fifty too. He looks like a thirty year-old.

The story is slight and saccharine. Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez's art's decent, never anything more.

Then, to amplify the self-indulgence, Brian Michael Bendis does a text piece with Alex Maleev art. Comic book text pieces are real bad. Every time.

Finally, Karl Kesel and Tom Palmer do something goofy. It's bad, but they appear to enjoy themselves.

C 

CREDITS

The King in Red; writer, Mark Waid; penciller and colorist, Javier Rodriguez; inker, Alvaro Lopez. My name is Stana Morgan…; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Alex Maleev; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth. The Last Will and Testament of Mike Murdock; writer and penciller, Karl Kesel; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Grace Allison. Letterer, Joe Caramagna, editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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