Star Trek 4 (July 1980)

Star Trek #4

With the limitless possibilities of a comic book, Wolfman goes instead with the Enterprise encountering some kind of haunted house in space. It’s bewildering, but somehow appropriate–it certainly feels like an episode out of the television show, what with the budget and everything.

The issue itself doesn’t leave much impression. Cockrum and Janson’s art is decent; their renditions of the crew, save Kirk, often have problems. They can’t do age well. It’s too much. They need to hint at it sometimes, but go too far.

The issue’s best scenes are early, before the goofiness starts. Wolfman writes an interesting couple guest stars, though Cockrum bases one of them too much on the monster from Alien.

I had hoped it would be a done in one; the cliffhanger promises a different type of issue as a followup. Assuming there are no more Dracula cameos, it should be an improvement.

C+ 

CREDITS

The Haunting of Thallus!; writer and editor, Marv Wolfman; penciller, Dave Cockrum; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Carl Gafford; letterer, Jim Novak; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Clockwork Angels 2 (April 2014)

Clockwork Angels #2

Again, there’s nothing so much wrong with Clockwork Angels as there’s nothing particularly right about it. Gorgeous art from Robles–sort of a gentle steampunk. There’s nothing dangerous but there’s lots of pretty technology and architecture. There’s no mood.

The problem’s the protagonist. If there was an era where a writer could get away with a generic white kid who’s just too much of a dreamer for his small hometown, Anderson is writing this comic about two eras removed from that one. If there ever was such an era.

This issue features the lead coming across a circus and a girl at said circus. Both will apparently be more important as things move along. Robles renders both precisely and beautifully, with the trapeze walking girl flying at one point. Looks magical, except it’s missing soul.

The comic’s about the protagonist’s wonderment and Anderson’s script is shockingly absent any of it.

B- 

CREDITS

Writers, Neil Peart and Kevin J. Anderson; artist, Nick Robles; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Stray Bullets 11 (October 1996)

Stray Bullets #11

It’s back to reality, but Lapham keeps his new formula for figuring in interconnected exposition. Maybe Beth and her friend are the girls from the night of the first party. I kind of hope not, because it makes her meeting Orson–who thankfully doesn’t appear this issue–way too contrived.

The issue has Beth and the friend out swimming, only they end up fighting because they’re both going crazy on the run. Then Beth has this crazy adventure with a movie star and her odd entourage. The end brings everything together with devastating result. It’s like Lapham took a while to figure out what stories to do–and how uncomfortable to make things. He’s got a great balance this story.

He’s finally turning Beth into a decent character. She was one note as Orson’s angry girlfriend but Lapham hasn’t given her room to stretch until now. It works out well.

B+ 

CREDITS

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

Southern Bastards 1 (April 2014)

Southern Bastards #1

I’m getting tired of the pilot issue. What about a nice story, instead of something establishing tone or the ground situation or whatever. It’s a strange thing to want something more standard–even a small resolution would be nice–because Jason Aaron has lots of opportunity in Southern Bastards and he doesn’t utilize any of it. Instead, it feels like an adaption of a novel or something. There’s just enough information, but no enthusiasm.

Bastards is Southern exploitation and good exploitation. It shares details with the old Walking Tall movies and it’s definitely got personality. Jason Latour does outstanding work on the art. He brings depth to the setting, depth to the characters. His panic-stricken characters are amazing.

But it’s just an old man action hero story. Aaron has already established that genre for it, already boxed it in. There are lots of those stories these days. Why another?

B 

CREDITS

Here Was a Man, Part One; writer, Jason Aaron; artist, Jason Latour; colorists, Latour and Rico Renzi; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editor, Sebastian Girner; publisher, Image Comics.

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