Stray Bullets: Killers 5 (July 2014)

Stray Bullets: Killers #5

I remember when the Amy Racecar issues of Stray Bullets were wildly imaginative, wonderfully constructed black comedy. This issue, the first Killers issue to bring Amy back… is none of those things. Instead, it’s Lapham doing the “Amy Racecar as painfully obvious analog to Virginia’s life” approach.

It’s depressing–not because of the content, but because Lapham jumps all over the place to tie in to the original series (both the Amy issues and a little not) and to the Killers series. While one could argue the unanswered questions in the Amy Racecar stories are because Virginia herself doesn’t know the answers but it’s possible she’s dwelling on these subjects so they’re okay in the issue, I don’t think so.

Lapham wants this story to inform the rest of the work, not do anything else whatsoever. Not even make the reader laugh or cringe. The vague hints barely register a shrug.



Call Me Gilgamesh or The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face It Was On Your Butt; writer, artist and letterer, David Lapham; editors, Renee Miller and Maria Lapham; publisher, Image Comics.

Star Trek: Flesh and Stone (July 2014)

Star Trek: Flesh and Stone

Was someone out there desperate for a really bad team-up of all the doctors from “Star Trek” shows? The only regular medical officer the writers don’t include is the new continuity McCoy, which is just as well–the issue is heavy on McCoy anyway.

The important events, at least as how writers Scott and David Tipton show them, all take place in the past. The “Next Generation” doctors, along with all the other doctors, are just around to find McCoy and get his story. None of it’s interesting and the medical condition is less a condition as something they lost the solution for beating. The story is about finding that solution, not creating it or discovering it.

I didn’t have many hopes for Flesh and Stone, but it failed to meet any of those. It’s a lame comic and the David Brothers’ lifeless art doesn’t help it much either.



Writers, Scott Tipton and David Tipton; artists, Joe Sharp and Rob Sharp; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 11 (April 1983)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #11

It’s a mess of an issue. Conway makes the Hyena’s return a really complicated story with curses and multiple were-hyenas–including Firestorm turning into one too. But there’s also Professor Stein’s ex-wife, who Conway avoids really defining and just makes her ominous instead. Ronnie’s tired at school, which turns out to be okay with his basketball coach–even though it shouldn’t be–and then there’s some nonsense with his girlfriend changing her hairstyle.

Conway’s doing a whole bunch of stuff and not spending enough time on any of it. He makes Professor Stein’s contributions to the Firestorm scenes even worse. No longer satisfied doing wordy, obvious exposition, Conway uses Stein to tell the reader why things are bad for the characters. It’s beyond lazy.

The issue finishes with the big action scene finale flopping. The Hyena doesn’t work on a large scale and Conway inexplicably stages a fight at the World Trade Center?



Waking Darkness; writer and editor, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Adam Kubert; publisher, DC Comics.

Dream Thief: Escape 2 (July 2014)

Dream Thief: Escape #2

Nitz is wrapping everything together rather nicely, but then he goes a little overboard. He explains the plan in detail only to throw a significant wrench in it. That wrench is another ghost possessing protagonist John; presumably this act of vengeance will make things difficult for the A plot.

It’s a problem because Nitz is rushing, he’s telling instead of showing. Most of the issue is in summary and the events are all lined up and the contrivances are starting to show. The final, cliffhanger possession–maybe the first time one of the ghosts gets to be in the driver’s seat as far as the reader experiencing it–is too dramatic after all the summary.

Escape is only a four issue limited series and by the end of this issue, it sure seems like Nitz needs five to get the story done right.

Still, most of it’s awesome as usual.



Writer, Jai Nitz; artist and letterer, Greg Smallwood; editors, Everett Patterson and Patrick Thorpe; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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