The Mice Templar 1 (September 2007)

The Mice Templar #1

The Mice Templar is a heavy book. This first issue is double-sized, which is both good and bad. It’s good because Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass are able to get the whole story done, but it’s bad because it’s too much at once. Glass has time to introduce the cast–maybe not make them all familiar to the reader, just because there are so many–and make the reader enjoying spending time with the cast.

Then the rats arrive and the comic goes from something cute–it’s about medieval mice after all–with danger to something dangerous without cute. By the end of this first issue, the cute factor is gone. Glass and Oeming–especially Oeming during the battle scene–show themselves to be ruthless and violent.

It’s a kiddie title with nothing kiddie about it.

Glass does a great job texturing the setting with details; it’s a wrenching read for a first issue.

B 

CREDITS

The Prophecy, Part One: The Calling; writers, Michael Avon Oeming and Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Oeming; colorists, Wil Quintana and Cris Peter; letterer, James H. Glass; editors, Judy Glass and Will Swyer; publisher, Image Comics.

Rocky and Bullwinkle 4 (June 2014)

Rocky and Bullwinkle #4

Once again, Evanier seems to be running out of ideas–at least for what to do with his titular characters. Even the Dudley Do-Right story has Dudley reduced to a brief walk on appearance. Though the whole horse thing is back, which is awkwardly hilarious.

But for the feature, it’s Rocky and Bullwinkle against Boris and Natasha–this time it’s a hamburger war. Evanier spends forever setting up the scheme from the villains and then has to quickly wrap it up in the second half of the story without Rocky or Bullwinkle getting much to do.

I apologize for that lengthy sentence.

There’s nothing particularly great about the story or even the art. Langridge does a fine job and gets to do some variety, but there’s not a lot of enthusiasm. Or anything to get particularly enthusiastic about. Hamburgers aren’t visually exciting, no matter what.

It’s a decent finish.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Evanier; penciller and letterer, Roger Langridge; inker, Dan Davis; colorist, Jeremy Colwell; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 4 (August-September 1978)

Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #4

The issue opens with a lengthy recap of the previous one’s events and Conway’s found a great way to do exposition in the series. Ronnie and Professor Stein just talk about it naturally.

There’s a certain appeal to this issue of Firestorm, even though Conway tries through hard throughout. About the only time he isn’t overextending himself is with Professor Stein. Those scenes are perfectly measured.

The stuff with Ronnie–who has problems with his dad, problems with the kids at school–goes too far. Conway has a couple really nice moves in his scenes, but it’s way too obvious he’s going for melodrama and not letting the character build naturally. From scene to scene, there’s no sense of the previous scene having any effect on the character, just being a display for the reader.

Also problematic this issue is the villain–the Hyena. The Hyena talks a lot and it’s really goofy.

B- 

CREDITS

When Laughs the Hyena!; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jack Abel; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Clem Robins; editor, Jack C. Harris; publisher, DC Comics.

Tales of Honor 3 (June 2014)

Tales of Honor #3

Hawkins does such a good job with the pacing–the way he’s able to split the story off into scenes with auxiliary characters and have his protagonist narrate from her side makes Tales of Honor something special. Only this time Hawkins doesn’t have a natural stopping point; he goes for a hard cliffhanger but it’s got to do with a mission, not the commander or the speaking cast.

It cuts down on the effectiveness. Also problematic is that Jeong art. It’s so painfully digital and so uninventive, it needs Hawkins’s plotting and narration (presumably from the source novel) to keep things moving. But the finale has the aliens and Jeong is terrible at the living things.

Still, the mid-section plot development and the character development are just phenomenal and keep Honor compelling on multiple levels. Hawkins just needs to stop leaving his main cast off page for the cliffhangers.

B- 

CREDITS

On Basilisk Station, Part Three; writer, Matt Hawkins; artists, Sang-Il Jeong and Linda Sejic; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Besty Gonia; publisher, Top Cow Productions.

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