Tom Strong 18 (December 2002)

Tom Strong #18

I think all of the jokes Moore gives Svetlana X–proud Russian science hero who has an interesting way of saying things (Moore gives her the cursing, only with accurate if misunderstood translation)–just primes for the big finish. He ends the story arc involving the giant space ants with a great cheap joke. There’s a lot of humor throughout, but the finish is an easy, wonderful joke.

Sprouse gets three big moments this issue. He’s an illustrating intergalactic battle and the script builds to each reveal. Sprouse has to make each bigger than the last. Given the first one involves a solar flare from the sun, it’s an accomplishment he’s able to properly amp up the others.

There’s good stuff with the supporting cast and Tom finally gets himself back in joint. He and Svetlana are hilarious together (he’s too polite to correct her).

As usual, Strong is reliable.

B+ 

CREDITS

The Last Roundup; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Real Heroes 2 (May 2014)

Real Heroes #2

Hitch does the whole Galaxy Quest with comics beautifully, but ups it with a lot of references to the superhero movie industry. It’s a lot of fun to read–though I have no idea how it would read to someone not up on all the industry news. Hitch goes far with it. Too far? I can’t know as I get all the references.

There’s also a bit of Galaxy Quest in the plot reveal. The fake heroes are there to do a public service announcement to reconcile with the bad guys. There’s some good character moments and a couple funny parts and it all plays out well. Then Hitch implies the big villain is actually trying to make the reconciliation work.

Or maybe he doesn’t. Hopefully he does, because it’d make Real Heroes something different. It can continue to amuse with the Galaxy Quest riff. But maybe it’ll be more.

B 

CREDITS

Writer and penciller, Bryan Hitch; inkers, Paul Neary and Andrew Currie; colorist, Laura Martin; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Drew Gill; publisher, Image Comics.

Stray Bullets 23 (January 2002)

Stray Bullets #23

Lapham is still uneven. He’s trying too hard. This issue has the reveal Spanish Scott is Rose’s brother, which no doubt Lapham also had set up–it makes things make sense (her and Joey being around)–and it’s got a bunch of stuff with Joey getting traumatized. Joey grows up to be the guy who goes berserk in the first issue.

See how it all connects? Who cares. Lapham should have gone in and taken out the reveals and put the comic out. The texture would all be there without the painful exposition.

And this issue has some really good stuff. Scott and the kid, Scott and Rose, Scott and the kid’s babysitter. Great dialogue, great narrative flow. But then the ending goes too far to traumatize Joey. If the comic were somehow centered around this character and the first issue’s events, maybe, but it isn’t.

Lapham’s attention is erratic.

B- 

CREDITS

The Secret Box; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Dragovic; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Minimum Wage 5 (May 2014)

Minimum Wage #5

Fingerman achieves a nice, lyrical quality with this issue of Minimum Wage. The issue has a couple repeating elements. Rob isn’t working on his licensed comic job, he’s hanging out a lot with his old roommate, he’s sweating. There’s a lot of sweating to this comic. It’s very hot in New York during this comic.

Rob’s friend keeps trying to help with Rob’s love life, which puts Rob back in bed with Deputy DeeDee. She’s a really fun character, especially since she never gets flustered or mad. Makes her appearances consistently enjoyable.

Not so with the ex-wife, who shows up in the color dream sequence. Fingerman’s trying too hard with her.

But then Rob does get another lady friend and it’s a previous acquaintance and Fingerman makes up for the evil ex-wife who’s dressed like Vampirella. Something about the issue, maybe the way elements keep repeating, really connects. Good work.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

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