Tom Strong 21 (October 2003)

Tom Strong #21

The Tom Stone story continues with Moore doing a combination alternate history lesson of the twentieth century–with Tom Stone and the good Saveen rehabilitating all the villains instead of fighting them–and wink at the traditional Tom Strong back story.

The most interesting part is how Tom Strong’s mother is basically the only villain in the issue. She’s the one knowingly endangering the fabric of the space-time continuum. But not really, because everything in the Tom Stone world is okay.

And Tom Strong gets to hear all about how he didn’t do things as well as Tom Stone would have done–the deciding factor seems to be Tom Strong’s dad not being as sympathetic as Tom Stone’s–and even he gets tired of it.

There’s not a lot of drama to the issue, something Moore saves entirely for the soft cliffhanger.

It’s competently done, but lacks any momentum.

B 

CREDITS

How Tom Stone Got Started, Part Two: Strongmen in Silvertime; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Jerry Ordway; inkers, Trevor Scott, Karl Story and Richard Friend; colorist, Wildstorm FX; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Nightworld 1 (August 2014)

Nightworld #1

Nightworld is off to a fine start. Artist Paolo Leandri does an excellent Kirby imitation, with Adam McGovern’s terse but verbose script–at least at the open–making the comic feel like something out of the seventies. Like a Charlton knock-off of Tomb of Dracula maybe.

Leandri has some issues with the faces–his noses are off and his cheekbones are a little much–but there’s so much flow to his movement, problematic faces barely register.

The story has some doomed soul in a superhero outfit battling a demon for the soul of his beloved. There are villains, like a hellish femme fatale and–in the most obvious Kirby homage–some New God-looking speed demon.

There are the nice humans who take the time to help the tragic protagonist too. I’m sure it’ll be a bittersweet end with the girl.

Nightworld isn’t incredibly original, just very well produced.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Adam McGovern; artist and letterer, Paolo Leandri; colorist, Dominic Regan; publisher, Image Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 22 (April 1984)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #22

Sal Trapani inking Pat Broderick. I don’t even know where to start with the result… somehow the people look better than the superheroes, which isn’t how Broderick pencils usually work. Trapani inks them almost like comic strip characters, Ronnie and Martin in particular. It has to be seen to be understood.

The issue itself is a retelling of Firestorm’s origin, with Gerry and Carla Conway adapting the first issue of the 1978 Firestorm series. The context is Firestorm telling Firehawk his origin after she’s nursed him back to health–though the off-page scenes where she’s in her civilian identity hiding the superhero from her dad would have been a lot more amusing.

Maybe the art is supposed to be retro, because the retelling reads very dated. Six years in comics is a long time and the Conways didn’t update the original dialogue or pacing.

Clearly, no one tried with this one.

B- 

CREDITS

The Secret Origin of Firestorm; writers, Gerry Conway and Carla Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Sal Trapani; colorist, Carl Gafford; letterer, John Costanza; editors, Janice Race and Gerry Conway; publisher, DC Comics.

She-Hulk 7 (October 2014)

She-Hulk #7

Oh, look, all She-Hulk needs is for Soule to not cop out on a story and for Pulido to come back on the art and the issue's outstanding.

In fact, Soule probably could have gotten away with dragging this story out over two issues except Jen can do the Hulk jumps. It's the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids homage I never knew I was waiting for, with Jen and Patsy shrinking down (with Hank Pym) to rescue a scientist hiding in his backyard. There's a lot of action, a lot of humor and then a huge argument between Jen and Patsy over Jen's willingness to trust.

The Pulido art is fantastic throughout, whether he's breaking out talking heads or he's doing the She-Hulk versus cats sequence. I'm pretty sure there's further homage (Incredible Shrinking Man?) in those panels.

Then Soule wraps it up, sets up the next issue. Easy, right?

B+ 

CREDITS

Small Victories; writer, Charles Soule; artist, Javier Pulido; colorist, Muntsa Vicente; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editors, Jeanine Schaefer and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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