Howard the Duck 17 (October 1977)

Howard the Duck #17

I don’t like Dr. Bong. It’s a strange misstep for Gerber on Howard. He creates a supervillain who seems like a cross between a Bond villain (he has all sorts of technology and a private island) and Dr. Moreau (he uses said technology to create animal mutations to populate the island). But this guy doesn’t have Dr. Doom’s backstory. He’s an angry tabloid reporter who’s hot for Beverly’s bod.

(He saw her in a modeling class in college).

On one hand, it does give Gerber the chance to let Beverly shine in Howard but he doesn’t take that route. Instead, he tells the villain’s story and Beverly is peripheral. Howard’s not even part of the main plot this issue and his subplot falls flat.

The artwork is good, but the figures seem a little fuller than usual. They look awkward against the backgrounds.

Gerber took seventeens issues to achieve mediocrity.

CREDITS

Doctor Bong; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, Annette Kawecki; publisher, Marvel Comics.

War Stories 10 (June 2015)

War Stories #10

Ennis is off to a great start with the latest War Stories arc. It’s about a squad of Irish volunteers in World War II (I wasn’t actually sure if it was WWI or WWII; the Irish’s uniforms are quaint compared to the British and German ones).

The squad is, save one exception, all Southern. The politics of Ireland and Irish independence figure in, but alongside the war story. Ennis works out a beautiful balance to it, bubbling the resentments under the surface, only letting them pop at the best moments.

Most of the issue is talking heads. Yes, talking heads in a war zone, but it’s just this squad talking back and forth. Thanks to the uniforms, there are a couple soldiers Aria draws basically the same, but he’s definitely working on the expressions and the facial features.

The quiet finish reveals Ennis’s not insignificant ambitions for the story arc.

CREDITS

Our Wild Geese Go, Part One: The Dark Central Plain; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Tomas Aira; colorist, Digikore Studios; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

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