The Man-Thing 6 (June 1974)

The Man-Thing #6

Gerber nails it again, this time using Man-Thing to write an epitaph for a character. He’s also introducing most of this character in this issue. He uses a three act device–obviously so, with the regular cast and guest stars put to work as actors in a play–and runs the character development throughout.

He has enough time to foreshadow and to get the reader’s hopes up for possible outcomes and even has enough time to get the reader to readjust his or her hopes. It’s a beautifully paced comic.

Even the ending, which initially seems problematic, works once the reader has a chance to calm down and reflect on it. The only complaint might be how Gerber gets the tension so high, it does take a moment to interpret the finish.

The Ploog pencils are gorgeous, with Chiaramonte an able inker.

Gerber and Ploog produce a masterful comic.

A 

CREDITS

And When I Died…!; writer, Steve Gerber; penciller, Mike Ploog; inker, Frank Chiaramonte; colorist, Petra Goldberg; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Roy Thomas; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Flash Gordon 3 (June 2014)

Flash Gordon #3

Reading the big gladiator fight scene in this issue–and I make this statement as a compliment–one can almost hear the Queen music from the movie. Parker has a couple big action sequences in this one, with Flash destroying the factory at the beginning and then the gladiator battle against Ming’s beastmen.

And Parker is finally delivering on the Flash Gordon promise. There are a few things Flash Gordon does–well, there are a lot of things, but these three things are important because they aren’t obvious and they’re what make him a different kind of hero. First, he always acts selflessly. Second, he inspires. Now, lots of other comic and media heroes do these things, but always forced. Third, he isn’t bright. The magic of Flash Gordon is his childlike understanding of right and wrong. It’s magnificent.

And Parker gets it. Even if the cliffhanger’s forced.

Great art from Shaner too.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Evan Shaner; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Nate Cosby; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Flash 298 (July 1981)

The Flash #298

I’m not sure how to phrase it exactly, because Bates hasn’t exactly dumbed down The Flash for Infantino’s return to the book, but he’s definitely dulled the characters down. It’s like he’s changing the audience, aiming younger. There’s no character development anymore and the character details are lame. One colleague of Barry’s wonders if he’s always running off because the guy has bad breath.

Yawn.

There’s also not as much emphasis on the science of The Flash’s powers. Bates just lets Infantino run wild with the art and fills in with endless exposition. It makes for a strange read, because whether Infantino is trying hard or not, the art’s excellent. But Bates is no longer trying. It’s too bad.

The Firestorm backup still has Cowan on the art and thankfully no high school scenes. There’s a lot of action packed into a few pages and it all works well enough.

C+ 

CREDITS

A Deadly Shade of Peril; writer, Cary Bates; penciller, Carmine Infantino; inker, Bob Smith; colorist, Gene D’Angelo. Firestorm, The Multiplex Complex; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Denys Cowan; inker, Bob Wiacek; colorist, Jerry Serpe. Letterer, Ben Oda; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Robocop 1 (July 2014)

Robocop #1

This comic is way too short.

It’s frustrating too because creators Joshua Williamson and Carlos Magno go out of their way to show they know how to do a Robocop comic. Magno’s art is excellent, nice amount of grit, nice amount of visual reference to the first movie and especially the actors (without being desperately photo-referenced). And Williamson writes some great scenes. His only slip-up would be using a too familiar quotable.

The problem’s the pace. There’s the opening action sequence and it’s great looking, but it doesn’t really have much impact. It should have been half as long and then Williamson would have had time to establish how he’s going to write Murphy as a character. Williamson has got Lewis down, but she’s not the hard one.

Murphy’s too much a subject, not enough an active player.

So it’s a soft start, but there’s clearly solid foundation.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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