Adventure Into Fear 15 (August 1973)

Fear #14

Gerber writes the heck out of the first feature length Man-Thing story. There’s a lot of new information introduced, with Gerber doing a lengthy flashback. The flashback–to Atlantis and an explanation of something the present–takes the place of a backup story. But put as a second chapter, it relieves a lot of drama. Not too much, just about right.

One really different thing is how Gerber has his cult out to save the world from demons; they’re the good guys. Don’t see good cults often.

Everything moves real fast. The world’s in chaos, the supporting cast gets together and finds Man-Thing, flashback, resolution. But Gerber makes sure each section is filled. Not so much with Man-Thing, who’s backseat to the girl, Jennifer (especially after she magically gets a risqué outfit). She’s also related to the flashback.

Depressing ending too.

It’s a good, well-executed issue.

B+ 

CREDITS

From Here to Infinity!; writer, Steve Gerber; penciller, Val Mayerik; inker, Frank McLaughlin; colorist, Petra Goldberg; letterer, Artie Simek; editor, Roy Thomas; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Red Team 3 (June 2013)

Red Team #3

Ennis pulls Red Team up a notch with this issue. He’s got a lot on the killer cops, but they’re after a pedophile priest–and Ennis manages to restrain himself when they’re all talking about the Catholic Church too. It’s impressive.

But that sequence is actually awkward. It goes on too long, since the protagonist is doing the actual killing. So there’s got to be something special about it because this guy’s better rendered than his partners. Until the end, when the guy is talking to his partner–the single lady detective–at the bar and he’s whining about his life and so on. There’s nothing about the main plot; these two cops killing criminals in their off-time doesn’t figure in, it’s just a good scene.

And it’s the best scene in the series so far, because if Ennis is developing the main plot with it, he’s not showing his cards.

Very solid.

B+ 

CREDITS

The God Squad; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Craig Cermak; colorist, Adriano Honorato Lucas; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Joe Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Stray Bullets 15 (July 1998)

Stray Bullets #15

It’s another great issue. Lapham’s uneven overall, but when he does a great issue, it’s truly great.

No surprise, Virginia is the center of the issue. Lapham sets it a year later than the previous issue with its cliffhanger, with Virginia and Beth living in California. Beth’s trying to make deals, usually with guys, upsetting Virginia. Lapham writes the narration like Virginia’s doing a journal entry, but with lapses in reality.

It’s great.

What’s even better–and where Lapham does make Stray Bullets into a cohesive series–is how Virginia has changed. There’s new depth when she’s bullying some kid, just like she was bullied back in her first appearance. It does sort of make her actions confusing if one hasn’t read it all, but Lapham’s not going for new readers.

Then the second half of the issue or so is a madcap action sequence, funny and disturbing.

Phenomenal issue.

A 

CREDITS

Sex and Violence (Part 1); writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Dragovic; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Red Team 2 (March 2013)

Red Team #2

So Ennis is going to go through various interrogations, which surprised me. I sort of figured there’d be a big shoot out at the end, Reservoir Dogs style. Maybe he’s still got time.

Cermak still has issues with depth. His faces are all very detailed, maybe too much–they almost looks an etching sometimes–but they seem taped onto their background. This issue it’s slightly better, maybe because he doesn’t do so many close-ups.

Ennis continues the story, very rationally laying out the rules for the titular Red Team when they go out and kill people. There’s a really lame subplot for the good cop, who has a wife suffering multiple miscarriages and so on. Again, Ennis isn’t trying here. Some of his plotting seems straight out of a daytime soap. Not even a night-time one.

But the dialogue’s quite good and the issue works out well enough.

B 

CREDITS

The Rules; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Craig Cermak; colorist, Adriano Honorato Lucas; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Joe Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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