The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man Annual 3 (November 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man Annual #3

Akin and Garvey’s inks are a little better this issue. Not much, but a little. There are a lot of action sequences and most of them come off well, as does Firestorm’s trip to the sun. Martin has some theories about their powers and wants to investigate; for a moment, Firestorm feels like sci-fi and it works better for it. Conway’s engaged and imaginative.

The main story of the issue, however, just gives Kayanan an excuse to draw elaborate fight sequences in Miami. They’re fine, they’re just pointless. Ronnie and Martin get involved because they see it on TV. And Conway wastes a lot of time setting up the characters for this pointless excursion.

Well, it’s an annual so I guess it’s the special element to the issue.

The rest–Martin’s going away party at work, Ronnie’s father’s awful girlfriend–is the regular series stuff; sadly, Conway short-changes them on page time.

B- 

CREDITS

Sparx; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Rafael Kayanan; inkers, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Duncan Andrews; editor, Janice Race; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 42 (November 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #42

It’s a thoroughly decent Crisis crossover. Firehawk and Wonder Girl are trying to find loved ones in New York and they run into all sorts of problems since New York City is split between different eras.

Akin and Garvey don’t do great on the inks but they do better than they ever have before. The people’s faces don’t look two dimensional anymore. The action stuff is good and Kayanan breaks out a very nice flying sequence.

Eventually there’s a Tomahawk guest appearance when they find themselves in colonial America Manhattan. There’s some adventure with Firehawk and Wonder Girl helping the troops against the British. Conway presents both time periods well; when they go to colonial time, it feels like they’re guesting in a Tomahawk story.

There’s a big narration thing from Firehawk about her embracing life as a superhero. It’s not great, but it’s serviceable. It’s a crossover after all.

B- 

CREDITS

A Long Night’s Journey Into Day; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Rafael Kayanan; inkers, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Carrie Spiegle; editor, Janice Race; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 41 (November 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #41

The issue is simultaneously likable and shallow. The first half has Firestorm moving the Pittsburgh and Conway introducing the new supporting cast on the book. Conway gives Martin a whole new supporting cast of colleagues and teaching assistants, while Ronnie has his cast held over. His high school girlfriend, his high school rival. The former works out but the latter feels way too forced.

Speaking of forced, the second half of the issue is the Crisis tie-in and Conway is rapidly cycling in place. Firestorm goes a little kooky because of Psycho Pirate and Harbinger has to calm him down. So what? And it’s the finish of the issue too. There’s not just no more character stuff with the supporting cast, there’s no character stuff with Firestorm.

Ah, tie-ins.

Akin and Garvey’s inks are a little better than usual. Some of the panels are excellent; Kayanan’s composition shines.

B- 

CREDITS

Storm Warning; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Rafael Kayanan; inkers, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Duncan Andrews; editor, Janice Race; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 40 (October 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #40

For the first time in a while–maybe ever–Conway dedicates over half the issue to Ronnie. He’s in trouble at school because he did too well on his final exams. He and Martin figure out it’s leakage from Martin, when they’re fused as Firestorm.

There’s also a lot of stuff with his high school classmates–an argument with his girlfriend (the teenage one, Firehawk has been absent for a while) and then a fight with his adversary. Conway seems to have forgotten he’s already done the fight with the high school antagonist, but it lets him “mature” Ronnie in a matter of scenes than to do actual character development.

Conway’s narrative construction is fine and if the art were better the issue would be a whole lot more successful. But the art’s weak. Mike Clark guest pencils; his lethargic composition gets no help from the inkers either.

Too bad.

C+ 

CREDITS

Graduation Day; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Mike Clark; inkers, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Duncan Andrews; editor, Janice Race; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 39 (September 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #39

Even though Conway tries a few things, the issue doesn't work out well. He's got both Martin and Ronnie playing detective, with a transformation into Firestorm a way for them to get out of trouble. It's lazy though–turning into a superhero when the detecting gets too dangerous.

And then there's Martin's love interest for the issue. Just when she starts to make an impression, Conway exits her from the issue and returns to the lame villain, the Weasel. The reveal on him is underdone, maybe because of space, maybe because not even Conway is interested.

There's a lot of Pittsburgh landmark minutiae, which makes little sense since it's New Yorker Martin identifying it all.

The worst part is when Ronnie is talking about how his dad isn't a particularly big part of his life anymore–not that the father has ever had a significant role in the comic.

Weak art too.

C- 

CREDITS

Publish or Perish or the Academic Life is Killing Me!; writer, Gerry Conway; pencillers, Rafael Kayanan and Mike Chen; inkers, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Duncan Andrews; editor, Janice Race; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 38 (August 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #38

If it weren’t for the lousy inks from Akin and Garvey, this issue would be rather strong. It’s not wholly successful, but it does have Conway trying new things with the series. Martin gets his own adventure, far away from Ronnie; Conway isn’t entirely successful with Martin as lead–there are missteps, like an awkward pop culture reference–but he’s trying.

Conway’s also trying with Ronnie. He sends Ronnie out with his high school girlfriend (never mentioning Firehawk) and it’s nice to see an attempt at a regular scene. Sadly, the art runs a lot of the sequence.

Then there’s Ronnie’s dad and his romance. Again, bad art hurts, but so does Conway’s writing of the dad’s girlfriend. She’s a shallow witch.

Plus there’s a dumb villain called the Weasel menacing Martin. It leads to what should be great action scenes, but are instead atrocious due to the inkers’ ineptness.

B- 

CREDITS

Night of the Weasel; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Rafael Kayanan; inkers, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Duncan Andrews; editor, Janice Race; publisher, DC Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 37 (July 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #37

Not a good issue. Joey Cavalieri fills in on writing the main story, which has Ronnie’s nightmares informing his Firestorm adventure. It never gets explained how his nightmares could be so important to a Firestorm adventure, but it involves alien life forms so it shouldn’t be hard.

Cavalieri tries too hard to give the story gravity and weight but there’s a framing sequence informing the reader it’s a flashback. So who cares?

Alex Niño pencils the story, with Duncan Andrews inking, and it’s a vaguely psychedelic experience. Niño and Andrews go crazy with the details but there’s no sense of composition, not to mention a complete lack of natural transitions between panels.

The framing sequence isn’t much better, with Kayanan getting two inkers to replace Alan Kupperberg. Only all new inkers Ian Akin and Brian Garvey bring are flat, awkward faces and strange body parts.

It’d work with better art.

C 

CREDITS

Not In Our Stars But In Ourselves!; writers, Gerry Conway and Joey Cavalieri; pencillers, Rafael Kayanan and Alex Nino; inkers, Ian Akin, Brian Garvey and Nino; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Duncan Andrews; editor, Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.

The Thing from Another World: Climate of Fear 1 (July 1992)

36327.jpg

It didn’t occur to me until I read the letters page… but here you’ve got a comic book with grotesque graphic violence and still the %@!!$ for curse words. Kind of funny.

Anyway, Arcudi doesn’t do bad with a Thing series. He moves the action to some remote Argentinean peninsula and provides a whole new cast of morons who ignore MacReady (Kurt Russell from the movie) and his warnings.

Politely speaking, it’s an unlikely sequel… but not one without its merits.

Arcudi gets how to pace the thriller aspect and the action aspect. His MacReady is a joker card, able to screw up the predictable behavior.

Still, penciller Jim Somerville and inker Brian Garvey bring a new level of incompetence to how to convey a visual thriller. These guys are silly when they should be serious and cartoonish when they should be frightening.

It’s pointless licensed Dark Horse comics.

Totally harmless.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, Jim Somerville; inker, Brian Garvey; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Roulette 4 (March 1994)

Robocop-Roulette-4.jpg

Dark Horse’s Robocop ends here. Finally.

It’s not a bad issue, definitely the best in this series and probably overall (the competition isn’t particularly steep, however). It helps Jeff Butler handles some of the art chores. I don’t know who he is or what else he’s done, but he’s better than Byrd.

There’s some unintentionally funny moments here, especially when they rip off a scene from Robocop 2.

A brief post-mortem on Dark Horse’s Robocop, since there’s nothing else to say about the comic book (it’s bad, but not godawful):

There’s no continuity. Just a general reference to the movies, especially the third one, but nothing to really tie the series together. There are these evil rich white men who control all the bad things (oh, is it just me or is the only real black character in the comic–set in Detroit–a criminal?), but it goes nowhere.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; pencillers, Mitch Byrd and Jeff Butler; inker, Brian Garvey; colorist, Jim Sinclair; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Jennie Bricker; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: