Adventure Into Fear 16 (September 1973)

Fear #16

Sal Trapani inks Mayerik fairly well. Everyone looks a little too Marvel house style for it to be a horror comic, but it’s good art. There’s a lot of action in the issue, with Man-Thing getting involved with these Native American kids who decide to attack an industrialist destroying the swamp. They do it in costume, which gives the book an odd feel.

It’s modern, but then you’ve got these Native Americans in the swamp and it feels like a Western comic or something. Like the cowboy gets lost in the swamp.

No one gets lost here.

Gerber keeps his supporting cast around, even after the vague closure of their last appearance. It gives the setting a good feel–they show up in a crowd scene and Gerber focuses on them–and the familiarity is nice.

Plus, Gerber writes the Man-Thing narration well. It’s confused, just like him.

A- 

CREDITS

Cry of the Native; writer, Steve Gerber; penciller, Val Mayerik; inker, Sal Trapani; colorist, Petra Goldberg; letterer, Artie Simek; editor, Roy Thomas; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Suicide Risk 13 (May 2014)

Suicide Risk #13

And I’m done. While it’s obvious Carey isn’t done with all his reveals on Suicide Risk, he’s also gotten to the point of no return. When you start aping Back to the Future, okay! it’s just for a joke and it works all right… But Carey reveals his superhero universe to be based on Highlander II: The Quickening and there’s no excuse for it.

This revelation comes in the middle of the flashback to Requiem’s trial and explains everyone. It’s an uncomfortable mix of sci-fi, fantasy and superhero stuff. It’s been so long since Carey’s had any successful ideas on the comic and the whole trial thing is just terrible. And it gets worse as it goes on.

Then the cliffhanger is confusing; it requires a visual reference only Casagrande isn’t distinctive enough on the art. It should be a stunning moment, instead it’s painfully obvious.

Risk is toast.

C- 

CREDITS

Seven Walls and a Pit Trap, Part Three; writer, Mike Carey; penciller, Elena Casagrande; inkers, Casagrande and Michele Pasta; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios..

Stray Bullets 16 (August 1998)

Stray Bullets #16

Lapham starts fresh this issue, set a few years before the Virginia and Beth storyline; this time the protagonist is a hen-pecked husband who breaks down and kills someone. The experience proves a boon for his ego and he changes his life. Actually, he mostly starts drinking, sleeping with some other guy’s wife, hangs out at strip clubs, romances a stripper with a heart of gold.

It’s almost really good in a lot of ways, but some of them seem mutually exclusive–at least how Lapham’s structured the narrative. For example, it could be a great story about a cheating husband whose plans fall through, but there’s the murder thing at the open. And the character doesn’t exhibit confidence in any way other than the philandering. Maybe there just needs to be more of it.

Also, Lapham rushes the second half of the issue or so. The first half’s gold though.

B 

CREDITS

Two-Week Vacation; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Dragovic; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Nailbiter 1 (May 2014)

Nailbiter #1

The parts of Nailbiter work better, for the first issue anyway, than the whole. Writer Joshua Williamson introduces the very silly idea of an epicenter of serial killers; while the Pacific Northwest does (or did) produce the most serial killers, Williamson localizes it to one very strange town.

He's able to make it work thanks to artist Mike Henderson. Henderson makes the creepiness work, but also the stranger in a strange land thing work. The lead character is a disgraced Army cop who's in town looking for his buddy. His buddy is another cop of some kind researching the place. The buddy's one of the issue's problems. Williamson doesn't show enough to sell the relationship.

But it doesn't matter because the Army cop is such a strong character. And the setting's great.

Williamson closes it with a big reveal–Nailbiter's really goofy premise. Not just the town, but even more.

CREDITS

There Will Be Blood; writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Mike Henderson; colorist, Adam Guzowski; letterer, John J. Hill; editor, Rob Levin; publisher, Image Comics.

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