Tom Strong 22 (December 2003)

Tom Strong #22

Moore brings it all together for the Tom Stone finale. He even gets around to a scene or two I really wasn’t expecting. It turns out there are drawbacks to a more emotional Tom Strong or Tom Stone. They play out unexpectedly for the characters, but maybe expectedly for the superhero comic book medium.

Ordway proves the perfect artist for the issue–and the arc–given the vast number of guest starring science heroes. They’re everywhere during some of the issue, with Ordway getting to do very different Bronze Age superhero action composition. It’s very cool, even if Moore’s successful at the scenes being emotionally devastating.

With all the time travel and alternate universes, it’s initially odd Moore wants to close off the Tom Stone storyline. The conclusion, where he actually gets to develop Tom Strong a little more, wouldn’t work without treating the arc rather seriously.

It’s excellent work.

A 

CREDITS

How Tom Stone Got Started, Part Three: Crisis on Infinite Hearts; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Jerry Ordway; inkers, Ordway, Sandra Hope and Richard Friend; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Terminal Hero 1 (August 2014)

Terminal Hero #1

Maybe it’ll all be a dream. Not the comic but me having spent the time reading it. Actually, that dismissal is a little unfair; I want to keep going with Terminal Hero, just to see if writer Peter Milligan ever finds anything original to say.

He has some hints of personality when the protagonist is discovering his bad self (versus his good, pure self). There’s also some decent dialogue.

There’s also a lot of scenes out of “ordinary man gets extraordinary powers” pop culture familiars, like Hollow Man and The Fly most obviously. There are probably more. Milligan isn’t trying hard at all.

Even though it’s a Dynamite comic, it feels a lot like a nineties Vertigo comic. Something forgettable or failed; given the protagonist’s telekinetic control over matter and his flaming hair, I wonder if it was supposed to be a Vertigo Firestorm relaunch.

Piotr Kowalski’s art’s nice enough.

C 

CREDITS

No More Trouble; writer, Peter Milligan; artist, Piotr Kowalski; colorist, Kelly Fitzpatrick; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Molly Mahan, Hannah Elder and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 23 (May 1984)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #23

Conway edits himself on Firestorm, which might by why no one told him having the female businessperson use “she” instead of “one” (referring to a hypothetical lawyer) sounds both sexist and dumb. Evil feminists out to get Firestorm, what can our hero do to stop them!

Otherwise, the issue’s somewhat indistinct. Conway has another conspiracy going against Firehawk. It’s too bad because he actually writes her well and giving her repeat story lines doesn’t help.

Ronnie has high school trouble again–with he and his girlfriend apparently back together (I thought she got mad at him big time a few issues ago) and his problems with the class jerk going again. It doesn’t feel particularly original, but the scenes are amusing enough.

There’s a big finish at a computer convention with Firestorm fighting an electricity monster. Conway’s pacing is too rushed but the Kayanan pencils help it move right along.

B 

CREDITS

Byte; writers, Carla Conway and Gerry Conway; penciller, Rafael Kayanan; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Carl Gafford; letterer, Adam Kubert; editor, Gerry Conway; publisher, DC Comics.

Thomas Alsop 3 (August 2014)

Thomas Alsop #3

If you think about it longer than fifteen seconds, Miskiewicz’s big reveal about 9/11 is offensive. It’d be offensive if it were about the death of Elvis Presley or the Battle of Verdun; he’s hijacking a real event to drive his story. See, 9/11 is apparently about these bad warlocks in the eighteenth century planting haunted wood on Manhattan.

Is it not supposed to be offensive because it’s magical and stupid? Maybe. But it’s definitely magical and it’s definitely stupid and it’s also still offensive. Miskiewicz is latching on to the biggest event in U.S. history in decades. It isn’t to better Thomas Alsop, it’s to give the comic a story.

Yuck.

There’s also a long drug induced hallucination setup and it doesn’t give Schmidt much to draw. The murky visions into the past, flashbacks in flashbacks, it’s just too much.

Maybe it’s too dumb to be offensive. Or not.

D 

CREDITS

The Hand of the Island, Part Three; writer, Chris Miskiewicz; artist, Palle Schmidt; letterer, Deron Bennett; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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