Atari Force 12 (December 1984)

Atari Force #12

I think the problem is simpler than I would have thought–by problem I mean why Conway’s not as on the ball with the series anymore. He’s not even taking the time to script, just plot. Andy Helfer’s got the inglorious task of scripting. It’s hard to hold the issue against Helfer, the series’s breaking.

Atari Force works when it’s about the characters and García-Lopez’s approach to sci-fi. There’s a lot of villain stuff–it’s just Bond villainy at an intergalactic level. Maybe with some Road Warrior thrown in. Boring.

Worse, the character stuff this issue is tepid. Dart being patient with Blackjak isn’t engaging, especially not with Helfer’s very calm, almost feminist approach to his betrayal. And surfer boy’s trial scene is really weak.

There’s a lovely Keith Giffen backup with surfer boy’s pet though, just lovely. It’s kind of a parable.

Hopefully the series will improve.



Revelations!; writers, Gerry Conway and Andy Helfer; penciller, José Luis García-López; inker, Bob Smith; colorist, Tom Ziuko; letterer, Bob Lappan; editor, Helfer; publisher, DC Comics.

Sinestro 1 (June 2014)

Sinestro #1

You know, Dale Eaglesham does do a great job on Sinestro. I wouldn’t subject my brain to another issue of this prattling, but Eaglesham’s art is really good.

Writer Cullen Bunn has the task of bringing Sinestro back from a self-imposed exile. For all the endless expository narration from Sinestro, I’m unclear why exactly he’s in exile. It’s kind of hard to care too, because Bunn doesn’t make him a particularly interesting lead. He fights lions or tigers, talks to some inexplicably scantily clad lady with writing on her and then they go off and have a space adventure.

Apparently the comic’s supposed to be engaging because Sinestro’s an anti-hero–he only saves people of his planet from being killed, not the other people he could also save.

So he’s a bastard, who cares? Maybe if Bunn put him in an interesting situation, but he doesn’t.

It’s tripe.



Blackest Day, Brightest Night; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Dale Eaglesham; colorist, Jason Wright; letterer, Dezi Sienty; editors, Chris D. Conroy and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Stray Bullets 3 (May 1995)

Stray Bullets #3

Being interconnected can be a real problem when it’s all you’re going for. This issue, Lapham brings in characters from the previous issues at different times in their lives, showing where they’ve gone or showing how they ended up where they’re going. For the most part, they’re supporting cast, which is good.

The problem is Lapham doesn’t have anything going on for his lead characters this issue. It’s a couple young, dumb, small time crooks who throw a party. The whole issue revolves around the party and the party isn’t interesting. Lapham goes for non sequitur surprises with some of the party moments; good approach, but not great moments.

He’s got a problem–his little criminals aren’t sympathetic characters and they aren’t compelling ones either. Why care about their problems? Their stories for the issue don’t grab. Lapham seems to know it too, using cheap stunts more often than not.



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

Ms. Marvel 3 (June 2014)

Ms. Marvel #3

Wilson does some really cool stuff this issue–having Kamala not just deal with the possibilities of her superpowers, but also what the ability to shape shift means for her identity–but she also gets way too after school special melodramatic. She’s mixing too many subplots together.

And she goes for a really cheap hard cliffhanger. It’s an effective one, sure, but in a cheap way, especially given all the complicated connotations of it given the overdone subplot combination.

Alphona’s art is particularly good this issue, something I don’t want to forget to mention either. The superhero stuff almost feels like a dream. Ms. Marvel is definitely not the standard Marvel comic.

What Wilson does best, at least for this issue, is give her plot gravitas while focusing on Kamala. One really sees the story from her perspective, even when there are diversions with other cast.

It’s just too complicated.



Side Entrance; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Henning; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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