Wonder Woman: The Once and Future Story (August 1998)

Wonder Woman: The Once and Future Story

Trina Robbins does a rather good job hiding The Once and Future Story’s PSA status. It’s a perfectly good one too–Wonder Woman is translating some tablets and there’s spousal abuse in it and then Diana also discovers something similar going on with the archeologists she’s working with.

There are multiple interventions and the situation generically escalates, but the art–from Colleen Doran and Butch Guice–is really good, especially on the Greek historical stuff. Robbins could have easily done the comic without Wonder Woman, who’s basically around to be strong and awesome when need be. She’s got nothing else to do.

Oh, right–translate. She’s the translator.

It probably would have been more effective without the gimmick, with Wonder Woman actually intervening in less complicated situation. There’s nothing distinct about the present day stuff. None of it’s memorable. The past stuff, definitely. Not the present. It’s too bad.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Trina Robbins; penciller, Colleen Doran; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Gaspar Saladino; editors, L.A. Williams and Paul Kupperberg; publisher, DC Comics.

The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy 3 (May 2014)

The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy #3

Seriously? They team up. A human and a Terminator team up in a Dark Horse comic? Didn’t I read this comic many times as a teenager? I was kind of hoping for something more. Maybe the big problem is the team up comes so late. There’s only one more issue to the series.

Enemy of My Enemy continues to be blandly unimpressive. Jolley’s scripting is competent. His protagonist is annoying but it’s unlikely anyone would be able to make a disgraced CIA agent fighting a Terminator a good character. She’s supposed to be cool, not likable.

Then there’s Igle’s art. He does a great job with it, but there’s nothing to it. There’s a lengthy fight scene and since Igle’s so sturdy in his matter of fact presentation, it’s boring.

The series is getting less and less engaging as it goes on. Then again, The Terminator has rather limited potential.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Ray Snyder; colorist, Wes Dzioba; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Brendan Wright; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Stray Bullets 24 (March 2002)

Stray Bullets #24

Sometimes–and this issue is definitely one of those times and in its entirety too–Stray Bullets feels like Lapham hasn’t realized he isn’t doing a Love and Rockets with crime and violence. This issue has Monster in L.A., after Beth and looking for the money and cocaine. Beth has a couple ex-boyfriends there and the girl from a few issues ago who likes breaking up marriages or whatever.

Why are they all together? The “nice girl,” the “nice guy,” the greaser and the strumpet? Because they look interesting together. Maybe all the dark hair reminds of Love and Rockets too. But it’s a talking heads issue where no one has anything to say and the situation isn’t particularly engaging because it’s all supposed to be about making sure Virginia is safe from Monster and Lapham doesn’t resolve it.

He instead apparently does a perfunctory, disappointing resolution to the entire plot line.

C 

CREDITS

Man Or HU-Man; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Dragovic; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Afterlife with Archie 5 (July 2014)

Afterlife with Archie #5

Aguirre-Sacasa and Francavilla take their impossible series and finish the first arc and it’s glorious. Aguirre-Sacasa tells it from the butler’s point of view, which gives the issue a very proper, classical adventure narration. He’s journaling. It’s good to have journaling butlers.

Some of the issue is spent covering what the supporting cast is doing–how they’re reacting to being under siege from zombies and so on. All of these scenes are fantastic and deeply layered. I love how Aguirre-Sacasa is able to get such depth out of his implications. It puts Afterlife on a higher level.

But it’s not just catching up, there’s also a big momentous event and the way it works with all the characters, and the narration figuring in, is simply masterful.

As for Francavilla, he doesn’t get to do recognizable characters as zombies much this issue. Instead, it’s raw human desperation.

Fantastic.

A 

CREDITS

Escape from Riverdale, Chapter Five: Exodus; writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa; artist and colorist, Francesco Francavilla; letterer, Jack Morelli; editors, Victor Gorelick and Jamie Lee Rotante; publisher, Archie Comics.

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