The Terrifics #3 (June 2018)

The Terrifics #3

The Terrifics #3 is completely false advertising. There’s nothing terrific in the comic at all. Certainly not the art; Joe Bennett and the three inkers have bad expressions and static figures. Not the characters. Plastic Man’s obnoxious, Mr. Terrific is a jerk, Sapphire Stagg is enabling her megalomaniac father, Simon Stagg is a megalomaniac, Metamorpho is dim; Phantom Girl is all right. The caveman is all right. Otherwise, no. And the writing isn’t terrific.

It’s kind of stunning how fast this book ran out of steam. Apparently all it had going for it was the promise of Tom Strong being integrated into the DCU. That promise isn’t worth sitting through the rest of the material.

The worst thing about the three different inkers–these aren’t terrible inkers either, at least two of the names are people who’ve worked on fine books (and I don’t recognize the third)–is there’s no visual continuity. There’s Bennett’s busy and visually uninviting composition and everyone looks a little bit different every few pages.

Terrifics has gotten to be anything but.

CREDITS

Meet the Terrifics, Part 3 of 3; writer, Jeff Lemire; penciller, Joe Bennett; inkers, Sandra Hope, Jaime Mendoza, and Art Thibert; colorist, Marcelo Maiolo; letterer, Tom Napolitano; editors, Andrew Marino and Paul Kaminski; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman: The Widening Gyre 6 (September 2010)

655565

Maybe DC did the whole “New 52” thing so they’d never have to address the terrible developments in Widening Gyre.

I’d respect them for that motive.

It’s just not a bad finish, with Smith killing off a familiar DC character, but a bad issue overall. Batman breaks into the Fortress of Solitude for a date with Silver. He’s got on his goofy white snow Bat-suit. Smith writes him actual banter with the goat head guy.

Then there’s the callouts to Frank Miller–Smith reveals Batman wet himself in Year One and the idiot shrink from Dark Knight shows up. It’s almost like Smith set out to write a comic to show how not to write Batman.

Oh, I forgot. There’s even banter with Deadshot. Batman ties him up for making a joke, not for committing a crime. It’s hideous.

Smith excessively congratulates himself for his singularly atrocious Batman characterization.

CREDITS

The Blood-Dimmed Tide is Loosed; writer, Kevin Smith; penciller, Walt Flanagan; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Art Lyon; letterer, John J. Hill; editors, Janelle Siegel, Mike Marts and Dan Didio; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman: The Widening Gyre 5 (April 2010)

655564

Oh, no, it’s another one with potential.

Smith doesn’t resolve the cliffhanger–he just has Bruce running off to avoid it. Bruce and Silver in Aspen, even in the few scenes they have, is terrible. Their trip is juxtaposed against Tim Drake Robin narrating. Smith writes all the Robin narrations the same, so it’s bland but not terrible.

Silver barely has any lines, which is great.

And then Flanagan pays an homage to the sixties show and Smith has a Tim Burton movie line in the dialogue… They’re finally being as obvious as they should be. If Gyre’s just lucky fan fiction, Smith should be aware enough to embrace it.

There’s a slight hiccup towards the end, but it has a surprisingly effective close. Smith all of a sudden decides to be authentic with people’s emotions.

It’s the first nearly okay issue.

I’m going to regret making that compliment.

CREDITS

Mere Anarchy; writer, Kevin Smith; penciller, Walt Flanagan; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Art Lyon; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Janelle Siegel, Mike Marts and Dan Didio; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman: The Widening Gyre 4 (February 2010)

655563

Uh, oh, there are getting to be things I like here. Smith has turned it into a domestic–Batman fights crime while Silver waits home for him. The stuff with the new goat guy revealing his face to Bruce too soon is dumb; Smith can only rationalize comic book logic so far.

But it opens with a little bit about the relative lack of danger Silver Age goof villains had–before the Joker appeared (while not technically accurate, Smith sells it)–Smith’s trying things a little again. He’s treating Widening Gyre like it’s disconnected from the other Batman comics, which I do like.

He still writes Silver poorly. One can tell he’s writing the dialogue for Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow. He also writes Catwoman poorly–and Flanagan draws her even worse–but he’s trying to give Batman a grown-up problem.

The ambition is nice. Comic’s still lame though.

CREDITS

The Centre Cannot Hold; writer, Kevin Smith; penciller, Walt Flanagan; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Art Lyon; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Janelle Siegel, Mike Marts and Dan Didio; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman: The Widening Gyre 3 (December 2009)

655562

This issue’s easily the best and I’m not entirely sure why. It’s a romance montage–Bruce and Silver off in paradise during the day, Batman out at night. There’s some stuff with the goat vigilante, who Smith writes like Brody from Mallrats and that scene is awful… and Smith writes Silver awful and the whole thing of unbelievably rich people romancing is lame… But, somehow, the issue is a lot better than expected.

It’s awful to be sure, but Smith’s trying something in his Batman narration. Bruce is learning. These self-observations are trite and beneath Dr. Phil, but Smith is trying.

Flanagan’s art doesn’t help. He gives all the superheroes besides Bruce long, dirty nineties hair. Tim Drake Robin looks like a girl.

Smith does get in an extra guest star–Aquaman–who he writes a little better than Batman, but not much.

I still loathe the comic though.

CREDITS

Things Fall Apart; writer, Kevin Smith; penciller, Walt Flanagan; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Art Lyon; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Janelle Siegel, Mike Marts and Dan Didio; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman: The Widening Gyre 1 (October 2009)

655560

Leave it to Kevin Smith to try to make Batman sound hip. He also sounds really self-aware, which doesn’t really work for the character. I was half expecting Smith to make a gay joke, but then remembered it’s the one thing DC editorial won’t allow.

This issue has Batman teaming up with Robin in flashback, then Nightwing in present, then heading off on his own to Arkham. All while Smith overdoes the narration. His Batman is desperate to stay relevant–making notes to check pop culture references and so on–while he thinks about retiring the Robin mantle.

If it weren’t for Walt Flanagan’s art, if DC had paired Smith with an established comic artist, Widening Gyre might not read like a vanity project. But with Flanagan–who’s competent but clearly not professional–Smith’s script feels like a long joke at the reader’s expense.

He does pace it okay though.

CREDITS

Turning and Turning; writer, Kevin Smith; penciller, Walt Flanagan; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Art Lyon; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Janelle Siegel, Mike Marts and Dan Didio; publisher, DC Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 56 (June 2004)

153901.jpg

You know, when Bendis and Bagley are on, they’re really on. Though this issue is mostly just a big fight between Peter and Doc Ock, there’s a couple little things with Gwen and Mary Jane. First–and I thought foremost–Mary Jane’s mother (off panel) kicks out her father, which will have repercussions in the future I’m sure. Bendis treats it casually, but it shows he hasn’t forgotten what he’s got brewing.

More importantly, there’s this little implication Gwen’s figured out Peter’s secret identity. It’s just a little thing, one or two panels–and maybe I’m wrong, but I’m hoping I’m not. Otherwise I’m not sure what Bagley and Bendis were trying to do.

During the fight, Peter has a line about Doc Ock’s prisons never being good enough. Still doesn’t explain the incompetence of Ultimate SHIELD, but at least Bendis is aware of the contrivance.

It’s a fun issue.

CREDITS

Hollywood: Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 55 (May 2004)

153900.jpg

The Spider-Man movie adventure continues with Kong getting a part, Gwen freaking out and Peter stalking the set.

Oh, and Dr. Octopus storming the set during filming.

It’s kind of a cheap issue, the kind of cheap Ultimate Spider-Man issue one feels a little bad about enjoying because it’s clear Bendis didn’t work very hard on it. He included some really funny lines between Doc Ock and his arms, he made Kong look like a moron, he made Gwen sympathetic. Bendis knows all the right notes to play here and he goes through each one.

What’s strangest is how disconnected the issue seems from the series in general. While Gwen’s finally voicing her frustration over Spider-Man, Mary Jane’s rather serious grounding doesn’t even get a mention this issue. Bendis is diverting attention from some subjects instead of focusing it on others.

Like I said, though, it’s fun.

CREDITS

Hollywood: Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 54 (May 2004)

153899.jpg

It’s another Bendis setup issue, complete with a text piece from Peter recounting current events. Actually, he doesn’t so much recount events as explain he’s finally happy (though Mary Jane’s not allowed to see him) so what could possibly go wrong.

Immediately following those happy thoughts, he finds out about a Spider-Man movie. Bendis ties it into Spider-Man 2, I think, since the first once missed the Ultimate boat.

Aunt May has also left for a week–trusting Peter and Gwen, which seems unlikely. It’s an excellent departing scene, but ignores recent events.

The kids at school want to be in the movie, which leads to Mary Jane teasing Peter. It’s another fine scene from Bendis. He’s just obvious in his setup. It mildly cheapens the enjoyment of reading Ultimate Spider-Man.

Oh, and Doctor Octopus is back. Once again, Ultimate SHIELD is really dumb.

Still, it passes.

CREDITS

Hollywood: Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Art Thibert; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: