The Punisher 3 (September 2001)

The Punisher #3

It’s the Punisher on an island of dumb mercenaries. Or the next issue will be–and Ennis even goes so far as to promise it’ll be a good one for the soft cliffhanger. Actually, this issue is mostly exposition.

There’s exposition at the beginning while Frank hangs some corrupt cop off a roof for information, then it’s Frank narrated exposition about Mr. Big, then it’s Frank’s pilot with a bunch of exposition; all the action comes at the end on the island.

The strange part about the comic is how engaged Ennis gets with the material. There are a few times where he almost seems like he wants to be serious. Then he remembers he can’t be too serious, but the intention is definitely present.

The result is a mediocre comic in a lot of ways, but also the best issue of this Punisher series so far. Ennis’s finally interested.



American Ugly; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Steve Dillon; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Kelly Lamy, Nanci Dakesian and Stuart Moore; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Black Market 1 (July 2014)

Black Market #1

I’m not sure if I’d say Black Market has a charm to it. Writer Frank J. Barbiere does have a big twist at the end, but he’s telling the story in two time periods a few months apart. Having a good twist and being able to do something with it for the rest of the series are two different things.

Here, he has his main character getting into the illegal superhero DNA trade; he shows the character before and after this life of crime. If it weren’t for Victor Santos’s art, it wouldn’t work at all. Santos is the one who makes the protagonist–Ray–sympathetic. Barbiere just gives him a sob story and a manipulative older brother. It’s Santos who makes the guy’s world seem real.

Because of the two timelines, the pacing is awkward; Barbiere doesn’t balance things well. But that end twist and Santos make it worth a look.



Writer, Frank J. Barbiere; artist, Victor Santos; colorist, Adam Metcalfe; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Chris Rosa and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 7 (December 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #7

For his debut as writer and editor, Conway turns in the weakest Firestorm script to date. Worse, Broderick and Rodriguez are really off with the art too. There’s a lot with Ronnie and his father being held hostage–the issue’s way too contrived as far as plotting–and Broderick flops on drawing regular people here.

Except Professor Stein. He’s trying to sneak into the building to turn out the lights so they can turn into Firestorm without it being videotaped for the news. His story is actually rather good and Broderick’s art on his panic and determination is ambitious stuff.

The villains are lame too. Québécois terrorists. One guy terrorist totally covered up, one girl terrorist scantily clad. Silly stuff, very silly.

Maybe if Conway split the story across two issues… and better thought out the villains. But he also rushes the scenes between Ronnie and his father.

It’s unfortunate.



Plastique Is Another Word for Fear!; writer and editor, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Adam Kubert; publisher, DC Comics.

The Wicked + The Divine 2 (July 2014)

The Wicked + The Divine #2

The last few pages are mostly text. It’s decent text, so Gillen can kind of get away with the hard cliffhanger and not actually have to do much. He doesn’t really do much in this issue all together, except write really good characters. He has his protagonist discovering the whole returned god thing as she goes along, which is great since the reader’s doing the same thing. It’s not heavy lifting.

But the concept is sort of heavy lifting and not because of the returned god thing, but because of the history. For whatever reason, giving Wicked a backstory makes the whole series seem deeper than it may actually turn out to measure.

Gillen also knows how to best utilize McKelvie; he does a phenomenal job this issue. Even with the slight illustrations on the text pages. Well, most of them.

It’s a good comic. Not earth shattering, just good.



Writer, Kieron Gillen; artist, Jamie McKelvie; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editor, Chrissy Williams; publisher, Image Comics.

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