100% 2 (September 2002)

100% #2

Pope introduces a few new characters this issue, including a couple fairly substantial ones. He opens the issue on some guy who's calling Strel; she doesn't want to talk to him. Later on, Pope introduces Strel's cousin, who's interested in Kim. Kim doesn't exactly narrate her scenes–Pope uses close third person, which really brings the character into focus.

For focusing on Strel, on the other hand, Pope uses her home-life. Strel in the club or even hanging out with Kimberly isn't as vibrant as her at home with her family.

But this issue also has Daisy and John and their blossoming mutual interest. John's the other lead–narrating in the first person, explaining gastro dancing to the reader. There's a wonderful disconnect in John's queasy explanation and the beautiful Pope visualization.

Pope plays the medium too–he's especially focused on sound. How to create sound in the comic book panel.

It's awesome.



Writer and artist, Paul Pope; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, John Workman; editors, Mariah Huehner and Shelly Bond; publisher, Vertigo.

MPH 3 (September 2014)

MPH #3

Will the real Mark Millar please stand up…

After a couple relatively good issues, MPH starts to have some major problems. First and foremost, Millar has given up on characters for this issue. He has his protagonists robbing banks and sharing the takings with the people of Detroit, but the characters have no personalities. Oh, the one guy is jealous of the guy and the girl, but it’s very hard to care.

Presumably, Millar thought he did enough character work in the previous two issues to establish the characters but he didn’t. The comic is written, very much, for the trade–and that trade is written, very much, to be sold to Hollywood. This issue is all events, all gags, all gimmicks. The ending is idiotic.

Millar has a lot of ideas–and Fegredo does a fabulous job visualizing them–he just doesn’t have a story. He’s generating a property.



Writer, Mark Millar; artist, Duncan Fegredo; colorist and letterer, Peter Doherty; editors, Jennifer Lee and Nicole Boose; publisher, Image Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 46 (April 1986)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #46

Joe Brozowski appears to be taking over as regular penciller. He does okay; he tries real hard with expressions, which don’t tend to work out with the regular people but it’s fine with the action scenes. He’s stuck with plotting out an action scene in an arena–a bunch of giant computers on loan from the Batcave.

Conway plots some really odd action scenes in this series, really odd locations. It might be a natural side effect of having a flying superhero in stories more in the web-slinging superhero level.

For instance, this issue has lots of character development for Ronnie and his father. They finally hash it out about a number of things, like Ronnie’s problems with his bully and the father’s fiancĂ©e. Though Conway still hasn’t made her likable and he does reduce Ronnie’s girlfriend to a non-speaking prop.

It’s simultaneously too late while still ambitious.



Deadly Prelude; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Joe Brozowski; inker, Mike Gustovich; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Carrie Spiegle; editor, Janice Race; publisher, DC Comics.

Ms. Marvel 8 (November 2014)

Ms. Marvel #8

Alphona is back on the art, which explains the awkwardness of the action scenes. Alphona goes crazy with the settings–this time an abandoned factory setting–and that detail distracts from the action. It's hard to discern foreground from background.

But Alphona returning does make Kamala and company seem very familiar; it's only eight issues in and it feels a little retro.

Kamala gains a friend in Lockjaw. Wilson might be using him too much as a comedy prop, but it's cute enough. The problem with the issue is the ending; everything up until the cliffhanger works out fine but the cliffhanger has Kamala's powers failing her in a crisis situation (a giant robot attacking her at school).

Of course they're going to fail her at just that moment, when else would they? Powers always have to fail at the most dramatic moment otherwise the plotting would have to be more compelling.



Generation Why, Part One; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, Adrian Alphona; colorist, Ian Herring; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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