Ka-Zar the Savage 30 (February 1984)


Well, after a couple good issues, Carlin’s Ka-Zar is starting to unravel.

The issue also has major art problems; some of these problems might even make Carlin’s script worse, but he still makes some awful choices.

He tries to keep up the high level of content, sending Ka-Zar and Shanna through a battle, imprisonment, another battle, an escape, another imprisonment… You get the idea.

Carlin loses track of characters a couple major times, with the character conveniently popping in to save the day, and he also makes a terrible antagonist decision. The bad guy this issue is a pterodactyl man. He thinks to himself a lot and he’s a big meanie. It’s a goofy villain, made goofier by Mary Wilshire and Ricardo Villamonte’s questionable pencils, and the issue sinks thanks to it.

The art looks dated, like a bland sixties comic.

Luckily, the strong cast still makes it throughly readable.

The New Mutants 37 (March 1986)


While I’m loathe to say anything nice about Chris Claremont, especially in an issue where he apes dialogue from Little Big Man to show how conscious he is to the plight of Native Americans regarding the John Wayne cavalry movies, he almost does a good issue here.

Well, maybe not. I mean, the Beyonder’s still idiotic, but he’s torturing the superheroes here and, while Claremont’s got some lame characterizations for them, the Beyonder’s really freaking evil. It makes no sense in context of the initial Secret Wars II stuff, but whatever. It’s nice to read this book and not be dreading every moment, especially given Sienkiewicz’s far more traditional artwork this time.

I don’t know what else to say about the comic. Usually, I can just rip on it, but this issue–oh, the She-Hulk cameo was dumb. So was the cop not knowing what the Avengers were called.


If I Should Die; writer, Chris Claremont; penciller, Mary Wilshire; inker, Bill Sienkiewicz; colorist, Glynis Oliver; letterers, Tom Orzechowski and L. Lois Buhalis; editor, Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The New Mutants 36 (February 1986)


I mustn’t have ever picked up a New Mutants comic as a kid when I was getting Secret Wars II crossovers. I think I’d remember being this totally perplexed. Claremont’s approach to this title is apparently to throw everything he can think of into the issue, up to and including a floating subway car (and a Ghostbusters reference).

There are demons, there are religious things, mutant things, dating things, it’s just way too much. It’s like instead of creating characters, Claremont wants to discuss “issues” just really, really immaturely. It’s kind of like social commentary with stick figures.

The Secret Wars II crossover is actually all right (it’s far better than demons), just because it deals with the fallout of someone encountering someone as powerful as the Beyonder. What’s incredible is apparently no one realized the Beyonder’s a perfect stand-in for the comic book writer, metaphorically.

Big surprise there.


Subway to Salvation!; writer, Chris Claremont; penciller, Mary Wilshire; inker, Bill Sienkiewicz; colorist, Michael Higgins; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editor, Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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