Atari Force 10 (October 1984)

Atari Force #10

Interesting tidbit in the letter pages this issue–maybe there have been more and I missed them, but the book is intended to be an ongoing with a twelve-part opening story arc. It gives Conway some more leeway with bringing in all this exposition–there isn’t much this issue, actually–because it’s at such an awkward part in a maxi-series. Doesn’t the problems with too much exposition, but it’s intentional anyway.

This issue has Dart’s lover coming back and he’s got a story for her about their escape. After a conjugal visit. Conway likes to shock with this one, apparently. Even more is when the guy–Blackjak–includes a nasty detail in his story. He takes advantage of one of García-López’s cute aliens. It’s a mean, harsh sequence.

The issue’s mostly Dart and her guy’s flashback and then surfer dude on the New Earth planet. Conway writes at a great pace; the cliffhanger’s pleasantly sudden.

B 

CREDITS

Home Is the Hero; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, José Luis García-López; inker, Ed Barreto; colorist, Tom Ziuko; letterer, Bob Lappan; editor, Andy Helfer; publisher, DC Comics.

A Voice in the Dark 6 (April 2014)

A Voice in the Dark #6

Taylor's been setting up a murder for so long I can't even remember how many people get killed in it. The format's the same every issue; he opens in the present, with Zoey cleaning up after the murder, and then flashes back.

This issue concentrates solely on Zoey as she prepares to commit the murder. Or a murder. Part of Dark's charm is how Taylor is able to build a lot of backstory in his issues, even though there's not a lot of exposition lately. There's usually a talking heads scene or two–this issue has one–and it's enough to move things along. It's like there are whole b and c plots happening off panel, with Taylor ready to bring them in once they've percolated enough.

The story continues to be engaging–with Zoey getting a love interest now–but this arc's getting a little too long. Hopefully it'll wrap sooner than later.

B 

CREDITS

Killing Game, Part Four; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; editor, Duncan Eagleson; publisher, Image Comics.

Stray Bullets 1 (March 1995)

Stray Bullets #1

With a very strange sense of humor, you could call the first issue of Stray Bullets a comedy of errors. Two guys working for a crime boss (it’s never too clear, which is nice) have a simple task. They have to dispose of a body. Unfortunately, they have a flat.

Then it turns out one of the guys isn’t all there, mentally. David Lapham takes the story from bad to worse, dragging the reader not just into the world view of the mentally disabled guy, but into the distorted world view of his partner. And once Lapham has the reader in that mindset, he doesn’t let up until the end. He controls the reader through a lengthy, packed story–lots of panels on lots of pages.

The ending’s a bit of a letdown as Lapham lets everyone breath. It’s like he pauses to admire his craftsmanship a little much.

But still….

A- 

CREDITS

The Look of Love; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Purcell; publisher, El Capitán Books.

All-New Doop 1 (June 2014)

Doop #1

Oops, was I supposed to read “Battle of the Atom” first? Even though I never read writer Peter Milligan’s X-Force, I figured Doop was from there and he finally got his own series. Given the mass crossover just in this issue–X-Men of all eras–I was able to guess some of the series’s intent.

Only, if it’s just Doop’s side adventures to this crossover, it’s unclear what kind of mileage Milligan will be able to get out of it. There’s some funny bickering with the various Iceman incarnations, but nothing to make the issue itself worthwhile.

Similarly, the David LaFuente art is pretty good, both for the action and the comedy, but it’s not enough on its own to recommend the comic.

The concept’s a fine enough idea–a side sequel to a big Marvel mutant event–it just doesn’t have much to offer except to diehards.

C 

CREDITS

The Real Battle of the Atom; writer, Peter Milligan; artist, David Lafuente; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editors, Devin Lewis and Nick Lowe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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