Princess Leia 1 (May 2015)

Princess Leia #1

You know, I almost like Princess Leia. Oh, the Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson art is lame cheesecake–though they draw Chewbacca well enough–and Mark Waid’s script isn’t lame cheesecake. Waid’s doing this whole “young Princess Leia” comes into her own thing, really playing into the original Star Wars idea of her being young.

Waid’s dialogue makes Leia feel like a good “Disney Princess” Leia; not so much believable Carrie Fisher would be speaking the lines, which are far too modern and not seventies (or Lucas) enough. And it raises an interesting question about this new Star Wars line of comics.

As these first Disney Star Wars titles start, serving as direct sequel to the original seventies film, with the new film with that cast imminent, can these characters be bigger than their actors?

No. No, they can not.

Leia is still okay. Waid’s engaged, even though Dodson isn’t.


Writer, Mark Waid; penciller, Terry Dodson; inker, Rachel Dodson; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Charles Beacham and Jordan D. White; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 3 (July 2014)

Daredevil #3

It’s so bland. Why am I reading it? It’s so bland. Even the ending is bland. It’s sort of an all-ages Daredevil comic written for adults. And Samnee is the perfect artist for that tone. But it doesn’t have to be so bland–Waid doesn’t have anything going under the surface here. Foggy popping in from witness protection is just Foggy being so darned lovable again.

Even the Owl–after all this foreshadowing about his appearance, there’s zero pay-off. Maybe Waid is pacing it out for next issue, like he transforms or something, but the damage is already done. There’s already been a boring showdown with the Owl. Who cares if he Larry Talbots?

Once again, the only thing special about Daredevil is the Samnee art. It’s beautiful stuff–I wish there had been more exterior scenes–but it’s just not enough to keep the comic going.

Waid’s Daredevil’s like eating stale junk food.



Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 2 (June 2014)

Daredevil #2

Really, it’s necessary to do a Batman wink? It’s not necessary. It’s pointless given neither Waid nor Samnee are identified with Batman. So maybe it’s a DC jab. Eh, who cares.

Daredevil is fine. Waid writes a good Matt Murdock, though I suppose I question his friends. The girlfriend remains unestablished and the idea of Daredevil as the official superhero of San Francisco seems odd. Waid and Samnee aren’t going for high concept or realism, so bringing in both those elements makes for an awkward read.

Waid tries too hard. He doesn’t need to sell the concept. Between his Matt characterization and Samnee’s art, Daredevil is an entertaining read. It doesn’t try hard as far as the plot, so why try on the new ground situation. It’s digestible. Better to be digestible than not.

Samnee gets to do a variety of different scenes. The fight’s cool, but so’s the comedy.



Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 1.50 (June 2014)

Daredevil #1.50

I'm really glad Mark Waid cares so much about Daredevil to craft the comic, and Matt Murdock, such a sweet story for the fiftieth anniversary of the character. It's a nice story. It's also completely pointless.

Waid tells a future story with Matt Murdock as former mayor of San Francisco (or something) and gives him a crisis to resolve–some mystery villain has made most of the city blind, including little Jack Murdock. Mom is a mystery but Foggy's around. He's probably supposed to be fifty too. He looks like a thirty year-old.

The story is slight and saccharine. Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez's art's decent, never anything more.

Then, to amplify the self-indulgence, Brian Michael Bendis does a text piece with Alex Maleev art. Comic book text pieces are real bad. Every time.

Finally, Karl Kesel and Tom Palmer do something goofy. It's bad, but they appear to enjoy themselves.



The King in Red; writer, Mark Waid; penciller and colorist, Javier Rodriguez; inker, Alvaro Lopez. My name is Stana Morgan…; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Alex Maleev; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth. The Last Will and Testament of Mike Murdock; writer and penciller, Karl Kesel; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Grace Allison. Letterer, Joe Caramagna, editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 1 (March 2014)

Daredevil #1

Daredevil is a lot of fun. Most of the issue is a chase scene through San Francisco. Chris Samnee composes his panels close to the action, not in long shots, so there aren’t big landmark double pages. Instead, he infers the setting around Matt. It’s a rather cool approach.

Also important is the daytime setting; this comic is exciting, not downbeat, even when Mark Waid’s putting a little kid in danger. Waid knows exactly how to get the best result from the story, whether it’s in Daredevil showing off his powers of observation, how he paces the kid in danger, everything.

It’s very well-done superhero comics.

There’s also absolutely nothing compelling about it except Samnee’s art. And the art’s enough reason to read the book. Waid does an okay job, but the art’s where Daredevil is different.

If it were just the writing, there wouldn’t be a reason to return.



Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Rocketeer/The Spirit 4 (December 2013)

Idw publishing rocketeer spirit pulp friction issue 4

And there’s a nice happy ending with no resolution to any of the lame character subplots Waid brought into the series to try and give it some semblance of a story.

But apparently all Cliff needs is a Zorro mask when he’s not in flight and life’s much easier for the Rocketeer. That idea (from the Spirit) comes during an odd heart to heart the characters have. Waid just can’t figure out how to do this series and someone at IDW should have noticed long before it got to series.

There’s also the issue with Bone, who does a fine job in some ways, but just doesn’t have any interesting ideas for juxtaposing two very different visual characters and art styles. It’s The Rocketeer in something like a Spirit style, without anything going to the other way.

It almost feels like Waid’s trying to introduce the properties to younger readers.



Pulp Friction, Part Four; writer, Mark Waid; artist, J. Bone; colorist, Rom Fajardo; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer/The Spirit 3 (November 2013)


So J. Bone takes over the art. Maybe the intention was always a different artist on each issue, but it doesn’t play particularly well. Bone does very nice homage to Eisner’s character design without being too literal.

The story’s a little weak though… definitely a little weak. Waid definitely likes the Spirit and his supporting cast, but he casts Cliff as a buffoon. Betty’s a strumpet and Cliff’s a buffoon. Until the big action sequence–the two heroes’ different fist fights juxtaposed against each other–the Rocketeer doesn’t show up. Waid’s just got Cliff running around like an ass.

It’s awkward and unpleasant. The crossover is ill-advised–the characters’ don’t sync–but Waid could have come up with something better than Cliff being a boob.

The issue reads fast and Bone has some decent moments. Otherwise, it’s getting even worse than I had expected. Waid’s dropping the ball here.


Pulp Friction, Part Three; writer, Mark Waid; artist, J. Bone; colorist, Rom Fajardo; letterer, Tom B. Long; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer/The Spirit 2 (August 2013)

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Waid continues full steam ahead with two characters who probably should have never crossed over. The result is more a Spirit comic guest starring the Rocketeer cast than anything else. Loston Wallace’s heavy on the Eisner influence for the character designs–except Betty to some degree–and, as a result, Cliff feels totally out of place.

Peevy and Dolan getting along like aged pranksters is a whole different problem.

But the comic also makes the Spirit feel way too literal. Waid’s got him fighting bad guys on biplanes, big crash sequences, on and on. It’s the Spirit in an action movie, with occasional Rocketeer moments–Waid tends to follow Cliff when he’s got the helmet off and the Spirit when Cliff’s suited up.

The comic’s also way too predictable. Given the properties in question, there’s nothing at risk here for the characters… and Waid should be going for constant amusement.


Pulp Friction, Part Two; writer, Mark Waid; penciller, Loston Wallace; inker, Bob Wiacek; colorist, Hi-Fi Colour Design; letterer, Tom B. Long; editors, Scott Dunbier and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer/The Spirit 1 (July 2013)


Does Mark Waid always write Betty so awful? Not poorly awful, but awful to Cliff awful. It’s inexplicable why Cliff would hang around such a terrible human being… makes him a weak character too.

The Spirit and The Rocketeer aren’t exactly a good team-up, but Waid does find a decent connection for Peevy and Dolan–World War I–and the Paul Smith art at least looks really good. But a big airborne fight? Complete waste of time and pages.

Having Ellen appreciate Cliff isn’t a bad move, but unless Waid has them run off together… he’s never going to make up for his Betty characterization.

There’s some organized crime subplot too. It’s not particularly interesting. It’s also unclear how long Cliff’s been the Rocketeer or his current ground situation.

The Smith art has charm and Waid does okay with the Spirit cast, but it feels like a cash grab.


Pulp Friction, Part One; writer, Mark Waid; artist, Paul Smith; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Tom B. Long; editors, Scott Dunbier and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 4 (November 2012)


I went into this issue hopeful, I really did. I thought maybe Waid could do something besides Cliff flying around L.A. and killing a bunch of terrified animals.

He does do something else. It’s just not very good. Apparently Betty has been suspecting the sidekicks of being enemy spies–Sally and the black guy. It’s a little too subtle a suspicion because I didn’t get it until the wrap up of that subplot. I thought Betty was just being a shallow bitch.

Apparently, she’s a suspicious shallow bitch.

After four issues, she’s clearly one of the big problems with the franchise. She’s utterly unlikable at length and Cliff’s continued interest in her just makes him seem more shallow too.

IDW should’ve just released a single, wordless issue of Samnee’s Rocketeer versus dinosaurs art. There are some beautiful panels, page after page, in this issue.

Shame Waid’s words ruin it.


Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 3 (October 2012)


It’s a good thing Samnee’s drawing this series–but especially this issue–because without him I’d forget I was supposed to be reading a Rocketeer comic.

The stuff at the hanger is all fine, but it’s the supporting cast jabbering to each other. Waid writes Peevy well, he even writes Betty well (though not enough to turn her into a real person) and Cliff’s new sidekicks continue to amuse.

But Cliff? Fighting dinosaurs and teaming up with some bad guys? It’s a disaster. Waid’s only got two good moments on the Cliff side and one’s not even his own. The bad guy asks Cliff to save his crew. It’s a neat moment.

The other is Cliff talking back to a supportive crowd. Very funny, but not really specific to the character. Feels more like a Spider-Man moment, actually.

And the way Cliff deals with the dinosaurs is just mean.


Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 2 (September 2012)


While Cargo does give Cliff something he really needs–a stronger supporting cast–Waid’s approach is practically fanfic when it comes to the big reveal.

Cargo of Doom is a (sly) sequel to King Kong, where the bad guys are going to loose captured dinosaurs as a terrorist act. The chief villain–dressed like a pirate no less–describes the Kong events from the movie, but acts as though the world forgot them. Giant apes aren’t big news in Rocketeer land.

I’m a little shocked at Waid’s plot. It’s moronic. The Rocketeer versus a T. Rex? And IDW without a Kong license?

The other stuff, particularly Sally (Peevy’s niece) and Cliff bonding while Betty fumes, is good. The black federal agent is questionable given the time period, but official help for the Rocketeer isn’t bad.

It’s just the comic reads like a convention commission gone to series. Waid’s gone nuts.


Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom 1 (August 2012)


In Cargo of Doom, Mark Waid does the most unexpected thing ever in a Rocketeer comic. He takes the focus–at least as far as females go–off Betty. He does it so much, I don’t even remember if Chris Samnee’s version of Betty is in the Stevens vein or his own thing.

Because for once, Betty doesn’t get to be the most important thing.

The lead female character is Peevy’s niece, who’s a pilot herself and has a major Cliff crush. There’s a great little scene with her and Betty talking and the niece very confused why Betty can’t shut up about the Rocketeer when she has Cliff.

Waid paces the issue well. There’s some action, a few dialogue scenes (more than it seems) and the entire bad guy subplot too. Unsavory folks are smuggling a mysterious creature into L.A.

As for Chris Samnee? He does great work.


Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Shawn Lee; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Rocketeer Adventures 2 (July 2011)

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This issue’s loser comes courtesy Lowell Francis and Gene Ha. Well, not Ha. Ha does a fine job. Francis’s “script” consists of a boxing match radio broadcast juxtaposed with the Rocketeer fighting a flying bad guy. The gimmick quickly tires and the fight doesn’t really give Ha any interesting content.

When there finally is dialogue, Francis flubs it something terrible.

The best story is probably the first; Mark Waid writes, Chris Weston does the art. It’s Cliff at the World’s Fair having a misadventure. Waid tries a little hard setting it up, but once the action starts, it’s a fine time.

Darwyn Cooke’s effort is strangely nonplus. He puts Betty in the rocket pack–styling the story after a serial episode (which is probably the problem). Except he doesn’t write her as a hero so much as a joke. Considering the creator, it’s a surprising disappointment.

Still, decent enough issue.


“It Ain’t the Fall That Kills Ya…”; writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Weston; letterer, Chris Mowry. Betty Saves the Day!; writer, artist and letterer, Darwyn Cooke. TKO; writer, Lowell Francis; artist, Gene Ha; letterer, Mowry. Colorist, Dave Stewart; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Daredevil 6 (January 2012)


I really like this issue, but seriously… is Waid going to soft relaunch the title every arc?

Once again, he changes the entire Daredevil landscape, adding Daredevil being hunted by all the Marvel Universe terrorist organizations to the already full plate. It’s like he’s shifting A plots to B plots and vice versa; he hasn’t given Daredevil a chance to breath and get comfortable. Who knows… it might be a good approach to make a modern mainstream comic accessible from issue to issue.

Waid also solves his big Daredevil problem here. This issue is all Daredevil (well, okay, Matt’s in his suit for the epilogue) and Waid handles it. The fight scene with Bruiser is fantastic, though the character’s motivation and, especially, his costume are weak.

Oh, and the cliffhanger resolution from last issue is pat.

But it’s an excellent issue, even with my complaining. Probably the best so far.

Daredevil 5 (December 2011)


Oh, come now, Mr. Waid… you don’t really think a reader is going to believe Daredevil drowns and dies at the end of this issue, do you?

The end of the issue–the only problematic part of an otherwise charming outing–feels more than a little rushed. It’s like Waid needed to get his superhero fight scene in and he fell back on expository dialogue to get it done.

There’s some great Martin artwork of Daredevil on the yacht and the yacht incident and it makes the scene passable. But it’s a heavy drop from the rest of the issue, where Waid not only has his supervillain machinations, surprises from Foggy and actual lawyerly stuff from Matt.

The issue’s full enough, especially for a modern mainstream book, it doesn’t actually need the titular character to appear in costume.

Still, the ending’s just weak, not bad. The issue’s still quite strong.

Daredevil 4 (November 2011)


Is Martin regular on Daredevil now? If so, it makes sense this issue feels like a soft relaunch, like Waid’s introducing the new artist. If not… well, it makes no sense.

But it’s a successful issue. Waid opens with some amusing action–Daredevil in a lion habitat at the Bronx Zoo–and then moves into this issue’s story. He just does it very slowly, very deliberately. There’s a lot of Daredevil in action, fighting the odd crime, there’s a lot with Matt bantering about not being Daredevil or bickering with Foggy.

There’s none of the flirting, which is okay, since Martin doesn’t draw Matt like a surfer dude.

It’s the kind of issue one would get excited about–it’s even more exciting that the series’s actual first issue–but I’m rather hesitant. Daredevil‘s been fine, but uneven.

The issue’s either another deviant or it’s a sign Waid’s firmly footed.

Daredevil 3 (November 2011)


I’ll bet if Matt didn’t have the surfer dude hair he wouldn’t do so well with the ladies. Waid’s emphasis on Matt’s Lothario ambitions is maybe my favorite thing about his Daredevil. It doesn’t fit Matt, but somehow it does. And Waid delights in giving Foggy indigestion over all Matt’s new ideas.

But those scenes come at the end of the issue, which is really strong. It’s the more comedic stuff, the montages of courtrooms… it’s where Waid makes Daredevil gleam.

Where he doesn’t, this issue anyway, is with the actual Daredevil stuff. Klaw is the name of the sound guy. He shows up in a broken suit with an interesting backstory. Except the broken suit is really dumb looking.

Waid hasn’t figured out how to play to Rivera’s strengths. In another awkward scene, Daredevil’s running around shedding electrical junk. Looks silly.

The strong finale makes up for the rest.

Daredevil 2 (October 2011)


Oh, hey, it’s that sound guy from Secret Wars. I can’t remember his name–with the funny hand and the red outfit.

Unfortunately, having the sound guy in the issue doesn’t save it. Waid’s pacing is disastrous. This story continues the same day from the previous issue and almost nothing happens. Daredevil fights with Captain America–Rivera doesn’t draw a good Cap, it actually makes the comic visually unpleasant–we find out Foggy’s got a girlfriend and Daredevil talks to a lawyer friend.

But nothing happens.

The implication some supervillain is behind Matt’s client having trouble is another weak point. Waid’s going to have to explain it rather well to sell the idea, especially since it rang of police corruption last issue.

I still like Daredevil, but Waid’s plodding is killing any excitement. I really think the issue only had four scenes. Four scenes isn’t enough by a long shot.

Daredevil 1 (September 2011)


With Paolo Rivera doing the feature and Marcos Martin doing the back-up, Mark Waid has great art on his Daredevil revamp. But great art can’t do all the lifting. Waid’s take on Matt is a little unexpected, but a lot of fun.

The approach reminds a lot of TV, specifically “Life” and “The Mentalist.” Matt’a had some rough times so he’s going to be upbeat and eat unprocessed sugar and meet girls. As Daredevil, he constantly smiles. It’s like Waid is declaring the approach to the reader.

And it basically succeeds. Waid’s Matt is a likable protagonist. It’s too early to talk about the supporting cast. Waid’s still just introducing them, though hints at more Foggy problems pop up.

Sadly, the back-up, about Matt and Foggy, is stronger than the feature. There’s a point to it, while the feature is too expository.

This comic is a pleasant surprise.

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