While I have still been writing reviews of every comic I read, I temporarily stopped them, because I was talking with Derek Royal and Andrew Kunka about the possibility of contributing some of my reviews to The Comics Alternative. I’m happy to say that we have now worked out an arrangement and that some of my reviews will now appear at The Comics Alternative, while the rest will continue to appear here. Thus, I can now post the reviews I’ve been sitting on. The dates that appear in front of the various groups of reviews are the dates on which they were written.
OMAHA THE CAT DANCER #1 (Fantagraphics, 1994) – This review is scheduled to appear at The Comics Alternative.
LOVE AND CAPES: EVER AFTER #4 (IDW, 2011) – This review is scheduled to appear at The Comics Alternative.
JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #56 (DC, 1991) – This and the next few comics on the list are things that I bought years ago and never bothered to read. This one is from the very end of the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League run, which is why I never bothered to read it, because I thought it would be kind of depressing. Which is indeed the case. In this issue the Justice League is forcibly disbanded because the UN has gotten sick of them, and we have to watch the various Leaguers’ unsuccessful attempts to cope with this. Giffen and DeMatteis tell this story quite effectively, though. I think that because we tend to remember their Justice League series as a humor comic, we forget that they spent much of their tenure on the title telling more serious stories, and they were quite good at it. Unfortunately this issue suffers from rather ugly art by Steve Wozniak. Grade: A-
THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ #5 – I like Shanower and Young’s Oz adaptations a lot, mostly because of their (appearance of) faithfulness to the spirit of the source material. Shanower preserves as much as possible of L. Frank Baum’s rather stilted and old-fashioned prose style, but because Skottie Young’s artwork is so bizarre and weird-looking, this results in a not unpleasant sense of tension between the restraint of the writing and the exuberance of the artwork. It gives me the sense that reading the original novels must have been a rather weird experience. This issue is very similar to other Shanower/Young Oz comics I’ve read and thus I don’t have much to say about it in particular, except that it does include some notable touches of early 20th-century sexism. Grade: A-
ANNIHILATORS #1 (Marvel, 2011) – I loved Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians of the Galaxy. However, I didn’t bother to read this issue, which I bought when it came out, nor did I buy the other issues of this miniseries, because it was clear to me that this version of the Guardians had reached a dead end and Marvel was no longer going to support it. The first story in this issue is not all that interesting, because it involves a bunch of characters I don’t care about, but the Rocket Raccoon/Groot backup story is awesome and makes me regret not having followed this series. It starts out with a hilarious sequence in which Rocket is working as an office temp, in an office staffed by equally bizarre creatures. I’m not familiar with the artist here, Timothy Green II, but he’s good at drawing weird-looking aliens. Rocket then ends up on Groot’s planet where he tries to rescue his friend, who has been convicted of “tree-son”. This was a fun story and it makes me excited for the upcoming movie. Grade: A-
THE THANOS IMPERATIVE #1 and #2 (Marvel, 2010) – This miniseries was the conclusion of Abnett and Lanning’s GotG series, but it lacks the interest of that series because it has too much epic cosmic action and not enough focus on the characters. DnA write Thanos quite effectively, and I love the idea that Thanos is the natural enemy of the Cancerverse, but the Guardians don’t get enough exposure. Again, I like the idea of a Lovecraftian “Cancerverse” where life has triumphed over death, but Miguel Sepulveda is not great at drawing Lovecraftian stuff. Like some of Starlin’s ‘90s work, this story also gives too prominent a role to the cosmic entities (Galactus, the Celestials, etc.), who lose their impressiveness when not used sparingly enough. Grade: B-/C+ for both
SHE-HULK #36 (Marvel, 2009) – Not one of PAD’s better efforts. This story is very thematically similar to his “War and Pieces” crossover from the early ‘90s, which was already rather heavy-handed and unsubtle, something which is often true of PAD’s more serious work. In the same way as some of his less effective Hulk stories, this issue presents a serious topic (Central Asian dictatorships) in an overly black-and-white way and slaps the reader in the face with its moral. Moreover, this issue features one of the worst art jobs I’ve seen in a recent Marvel comic. Pasquale Qualanzo’s artwork is overproduced and unsuited to the story. Grade: D
THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG BOOK TWO: THE VALKYRIE (DC, 1990) – This prestige-format opera adaptation is a collaboration between two great creators, Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. It is a highly literal adaptation which appears to use a lot of the original dialogue from the opera, but the Ring is obviously a pretty effective story, and Roy and Gil do a good job of not getting in the way of it. Gil’s artwork is as exciting as usual, and features some interesting page layouts. I’d like to compare this with P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of the same material, which I have not seen. Grade: A-/B+
OMAHA THE CAT DANCER #4 (Fantagraphics, 1995) – This review will appear at The Comics Alternative.
SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES #11 (May 2013) – See previous comments on this series. This one is a Ma Kent spotilght issue, and includes an implausible but cute scene in which Ma Kent singlehandedly defeats Doomsday. It also drops the bombshell that Jor-El and Lara are expecting Clark’s little brother or sister, which is an utterly radical alteration to the mythos, but kind of heartwarming anyway. Unfortunately a series this fun and kid-friendly is antithetical to DC’s current editorial climate, and the next issue of this series was its last. Having supported the Aw Yeah Comics! Kickstarter, I remain hopeful that Baltazar can continue to do this sort of thing on his own without DC. Grade: A
FANTASTIC FOUR #327 (Marvel, 1989) – A late issue of Englehart’s weird and convoluted run on this series. Of course Englehart’s work is weird and convoluted at the best of times, but I don’t think he ever reached his full potential on this series. He attributes this largely to editorial interference, which motivated him to write his last seven issues under the pseudonym John Harkness. This issue is mostly a big fight scene between the FF and the Frightful Four, with uninteresting Keith Pollard art. There is some potentially interesting stuff here involving Ben’s relationship with Sharon Ventura, but I never felt they had any real chemistry. Grade: C+
FLASH GORDON #32 (Gold Key/Whitman, 1980) – This review is scheduled to appear at The Comics Alternative.
ADVENTURE COMICS #434 (DC, 1974) – This issue is an anomaly because it only contains the Spectre story, with no backup, and the art is by Frank Thorne with Jim Aparo inks. The story follows the typical Fleischer Spectre formula, and like other Fleischer Spectre stories, it is full of disturbing scenes and lurid dialogue. In terms of the writing, if not always the artwork, these stories are as gruesome as some pre-Code horror comics. One failing of this story is that the identity of the villain is really obvious as soon as he makes his first appearance, although unlike some of Fleischer’s other villains, he’s actually sort of sympathetic. This story does give Frank Thorne a chance to do what he’s best at – namely, drawing sexy women – since Jim Corrigan’s love interest Gwen plays a prominent role, and Thorne’s storytelling and page design are up to his usual high standards. Grade: A
LAZARUS #1 and #2 – An early contender for the best new series of the year, this series combines Greg Rucka’s dramatic and intelligent writing with Michael Lark’s masterful artwork. Rucka’s story takes place in a dystopian future where economic contraction has left basically all the world’s resources in the hands of 16 large families. This is a scarily plausible scenario, and in the letter column of issue #2 he provides a blueprint for how it could actually happen. I’m glad to see a comic that addresses the topic of income inequality directly. Lazarus is also notable for featuring a female action hero protagonist, which, as Rucka mentions in the letter column of #1, has become a trademark of his. Forever/Eve is an intriguing character due to her obvious struggles with the attitudes that have been socialized and even genetically programmed into her, and her brothers and sisters also seem like quite deep characters; I already deeply hate a couple of them. But Michael Lark’s art may be even more impressive than Rucka’s writing. I have been a huge fan of his dark, expressionistic style since Gotham Central, but he also impresses me with his versatility. Issue #1 begins with a thrilling action sequence worthy of Gil Kane, but then later in the issue, Lark shows his ability to convey deep levels of meaning simply through facial expressions. This series has the potential to become another Saga. It’s also an example of the sort of top-drawer work that Image is able to produce now that they have the ability to compete with Marvel and DC for big-name talents. Grade: A+ for both
SIMPSONS COMICS #50 (Bongo, 2000) – At its best, this series is hilarious, but some of the stories in this issue seemed like little more than bad episodes of the TV show. In particular, the first story was just a retread of the episode where Springfield is divided into two area codes. The highlights of the issue are the incredibly disgusting Itchy & Scratchy story and the Radioactive Man story, which is a clever parody of the Bizarro World. Grade: B-
WINTER SOLDIER: WINTER KILLS #1 (Marvel, 2007) – My principal problem with this story is the guest appearance by the Young Avengers. Ed Brubaker writes them as essentially generic teenage heroes. Of the three who appear in the issue, only Kate Bishop shows any real personality, and she’s presented as a headstrong hotshot. The story would have been exactly the same if these characters had been replaced with others. The material focusing on Bucky/Winter Soldier is competently written, but I don’t particularly care about this character. The highlight of the issue was the brief cameo appearance by Namor; Brubaker does a good job of capturing his arrogant personality. Grade: B
MARVEL TEAM-UP #95 (Marvel, 1980) – This was the first appearance of Bobbi Morse as Mockingbird, but other than that it’s not particularly notable. The plot is fairly exciting and reminds me a bit of Steranko’s Nick Fury stories, but a lot of Steven Grant’s plot twists are overly predictable. The artwork is by Jimmy Janes, who never really amounted to much. Grade: B-
SUICIDE SQUAD #6 and #8 (DC, 1987) – I actually read these on different days and in the reverse order, but I’ll combine them here. I have a bunch of issues of this series but I’ve been slow to really get into it, and I’m not sure why. This series is a very adult-oriented superhero comic (in the positive sense) with a large cast of unique and well-realized characters. Ostrander effectively conveys the sense that the characters’ actions have consequences – the reader is not sure that things will be okay in the end. Issue #8 reminds me a lot of Peter David’s X-Factor #87 in that it presents the cast of characters from the point of view of the team psychiatrist. I look forward to reading the rest of my unread issues of this series. Grade: A for both
SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES #10 (DC, 2013) – The nonsensical plot of this issue involves Phantom Zone villains and giant animated hot dogs. The latter are sort of reminiscent of the giant walking pancake that appears in a recent issue of AW YEAH COMICS. As usual with Baltazar, this story is incredibly cute and features a ton of awesome scenes; maybe the high point was Lara and Ursa talking rather than fighting. I do feel that bringing Superman’s parents back to life, even for one day, is kind of a cop-out that sort of defeats the purpose of the character. Until reading this issue I didn’t realize that Christopher Kent was Zod and Ursa/Faora/Zaora’s son. Grade: A-
INVINCIBLE #39 (Image, 2007) – This issue is mostly plot; it’s devoted to setting up a big battle between the Global Guardians and the Sequids. The most interesting part of the issue is the way it develops the love triangle between Mark, Amber and Eve. It’s exciting to see Amber finally losing patience with Mark’s neglectful treatment and constant absences; superhero girlfriends are often depicted as overly willing to tolerate this sort of behavior. Grade: A
MAGNUS, ROBOT FIGHTER #4 (Dark Horse, 2011) – This was the last issue of this series. It was subsequently cancelled due to either poor sales or heavy-handed interference on the part of Classic Media, the license holder, or both. The story in this issue is okay, but is hurt by rather boring artwork and by Shooter’s typical sexist depictions of female characters. Also, the plot is hard to understand without having read previous issues. That having been said, I love Shooter’s writing and I’m still angry at DC for not letting him finish his Legion story. Compared to some of his contemporaries, Shooter has done a good job of staying relevant to readers of current superhero comics. Grade: B
THE SMURFS vol. 2 #1 (Papercutz, 2010, reprinting much older material) – This $1 preview comic features a translation of an old story by Delporte and Peyo, “The Smurfnapper.” Annoyingly the origin of this material is not stated, but I would guess it’s the same as Le Voleur de Schtroumpfs, which was published in Spirou in 1959. This story is just awesome – it’s an exciting, complex, well-structured narrative with all kinds of cute jokes and a funny shock ending. Jim Salicrup and his crew are to be commended for making this material accessible to American readers. I do think the lettering looks kind of ugly, although some quick Google research suggests that it looks pretty close to the original lettering. Grade: A+
INCREDIBLE HULK #100 (Marvel, 2007) – I read this when I was too tired to really appreciate it, but even when less tired, I would have had trouble deciphering the story. It assumes too much knowledge of earlier parts of Fun Home. The artwork by Carlo Pagulayan is kind of tough to parse. I love the idea behind Planet Hulk, though – it draws heavily on the stories with Jarella, which are some of my favorite Hulk stories from the pre-Peter David period – and I want to read the rest of this saga. This issue also includes an Amadeus Cho story with art by Gary Frank, whose stuff is not nearly as attractive now as when he was drawing this same comic in the early ‘90s. Reprints include a brief excerpt from Hulk vol. 1 #3 and the entirety of #152 and #153. I think I’ve read at least one of these issues before, and I kind of skimmed them. Although these stories are minor classics, #153 is notable for its ridiculous depiction of courtroom procedure. Grade: B
RELISH: A LIFE IN THE KITCHEN (First Second, 2012) – This review is scheduled to appear at The Comics Alternative.
STARS AND S.T.R.I.P.E. #11 (DC, 2000) – I can’t read Geoff Johns’s work anymore because I think he bears much of the responsibility for running the DC Universe into the ground. Also, I think his writing is vastly overrated; he’s a competent writer but he’s certainly no Busiek or Waid. This comic, however, is a quality early work from a period when he was still capable of writing fun comics that were small-scale and relatively unambitious. Courtney Whitmore is a fantastic heroine and her interactions with Pat and the Shining Knight are really cute. Scott Kolins’s artwork here is competent, which is more than I can say about some of his later work. Grade: A-/B+
LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: CENTURY #3 (Top Shelf/Knockabout, 2012) – Another incredibly dense work full of complex allusions and Easter eggs, which it took me over an hour to read, because I was again following along with Jess Nevins’s annotations. The cultural references in this issue are more familiar to me than those in the last issue, since the central reference point is Harry Potter. But this issue also exposed me to a wide variety of British texts – e.g. Groosham Grange and the works of Iain Sinclair and Aidan Dun – that are totally unknown in America, and now I’ve added Slow Chocolate Autopsy to my Amazon wish list. I was pleasantly surprised by Mary Poppins’s deus-ex-machina appearance at the end even though I already knew it was coming. In a way this issue is an appropriate conclusion to the LOEG saga since it ends with Allan’s redemption and death, but I kind of hope that Alan and Kevin continue to chronicle the future of the league, and that future League books will not all be prequels or inbetweenquels (like Nemo: Heart of Ice, which I haven’t read yet). Grade: A+
AQUAMAN #48 (DC, 1969) – The letter column of this issue features a debate over the relative merits of Aparo and Cardy. The editors seem to agree with the fans that Cardy was a difficult act to follow, and based on this issue, I can’t disagree; Aparo’s artwork is just not as sexy or visually appealing, and his action sequences kind of fall flat. The story is all right but I wish it had passed the Bechdel test – it’s weird how Mera and Aquagirl hardly ever interact. Grade: B-
ASTONISHING X-MEN #2 (Marvel, 2004) – I think I mentioned before that I consider Whedon the third best X-Men writer after Claremont and Morrison, but at this very early point in his run, he was clearly still getting comfortable with the characters. There are a few bits of characterization that just don’t seem to work. John Cassaday’s artwork is extremely accomplished, of course, and the big fight scene between the X-Men and Ord of the Breakworld is quite exciting. Maybe the coolest thing in this issue was Lockheed showing up out of nowhere to defeat the villain. Grade: A-/B+
BLUE BEETLE #5 (DC, 2012) – This issue was completely devoid of any kind of interest; it was just a very formulaic, by-the-numbers superhero story, with the sort of excessive violence which is sadly typical of the New 52. If this were an issue of some other series, it would just be mediocre, but it becomes actively bad by virtue of starring Jaime Reyes, a formerly great character who deserved better treatment. The whole point of John Rogers’s Blue Beetle was that Jaime was free of the typical sort of angst that’s become a cliché in teenage superhero comics, and Bedard completely misses that point; in this issue, for example, Jaime nearly kills his best friend Paco and becomes all angsty about it. This was one of the worst comics I’ve read since I started writing these reviews. Grade: F
HELLBLAZER #80 (DC, 1994) – This issue was difficult to follow since I hadn’t read #78-79 (not sure whether I have them or not), but it’s clear that it’s an important chapter in Garth’s ongoing storyline; in particular, it includes the death of a major character, Rick. Like I think I’ve said before, I think I prefer Garth’s quieter, more character-focused stories to his big brutal epics, largely because of my distaste for the brutality of his writing – which is very much in evidence in this issue. But still, his writing in this issue is quite impressive. Grade: A-
SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES #4 (DC, 2012) – Not much to distinguish this one from other issues of the series; it’s a really cute and exciting self-contained story whose highlight is that it features two monkeys as main characters. I would much rather be reading this series than any current DC Universe title. Grade: B+/A-
BONGO COMICS FREE-FOR-ALL FCBD (2012) – The best of the three stories in this issue is an autobiographical story by Sergio, detailing the first time he earned money for drawing, in third grade. This one is obviously incredibly cute and conveys a sense of genuine affection between Sergio and his mother, who must have passed away long ago. There is also a Simpsons story which is reasonably amusing, though I find it kind of difficult to read Simpsons comics because I always feel obliged to imagine the dialogue being spoken in the voices of the characters. The flip side of this comic is a Spongebob story. I have no interest in Spongebob, but the appeal of this story is that it incorporates scenes from a fictional in-universe comic book which is a thinly disguised homage to Aquaman, and these scenes are drawn by none other than Ramona Fradon. Overall an impressive package. Grade: A-
WEDNESDAY COMICS #8 (DC, 2009) – See previous comments on this series. Easily the most interesting thing here is the Gaiman/Allred Metamorpho story, which incorporates a series of panels formatted like the periodic table, each of which includes the symbol of the corresponding element in the dialogue. This is an impressive achievement which is only possible because of the expanded page size. As I’ve mentioned before, the strips in Wednesday Comics worked best when the artist was taking advantage of the larger canvas; the strips that didn’t do this, like Arcudi and Bermejo’s Superman or especially the Kuberts’ Sgt. Rock, tended to be quite disappointing. Grade: A-
THE SPECTRE #6 (DC, 1993) – 1993 was the year I really started getting into comics, and I think I have more comics from 1993 than any other year, although I may only think that because I tend to notice it more when I read a comic from 1993. I have sometimes having trouble getting into Ostrander and Mandrake’s Spectre, and I think it makes the most sense if I understand it as simultaneously (A) a deliberate sequel to Fleisher and Aparo’s Spectre, and (B) a major work of Ostrander, in the vein of Grimjack and Suicide Squad. Mandrake’s artwork is very much in the spirit of Aparo’s, especially in the scenes depicting the Spectre’s gruesome punishments of evildoers; this issue contains one quite impressive two-page splash in which the Spectre turns some gangsters’ guns against them in gruesome ways. The thing that distinguishes Ostrander’s Spectre from Fleisher’s is that the former is extremely conflicted about his mission and about the conflict between his human and divine halves. This issue, for example, revolves around the Spectre’s response to a question that a demon asked him in #5: is he the Lord of Wrath, and would he know it if he was. Grade: A
ALL-AMERICAN MEN OF WAR #115 (DC, 1966) – First issue of this series I’ve read. This issue is ruined by the Johnny Cloud story, which is a litany of offensive stereotypes of Native Americans, including repeat uses of the word “squaw” and an unbelievable scene in which Johnny tries to cheer up a sick child by doing a tribal dance. This story is also hampered by a typically implausible Kanigher plot which reminds me more of his Wonder Woman stories than his Sgt. Rock stories. The six-page backup story by Russ Heath partially redeems this issue; it has no plot to speak of, but Russ’s aviation artwork is gorgeous. Grade: C+
SAGA #13 (Image, 2013) – This review is scheduled to appear at The Comics Alternative.
SERGIO ARAGONÉS FUNNIES #9 (Bongo, 2013) – The centerpiece of this issue is an autobiographical story about Sergio’s visits to Bermuda as a five-year-old boy and later in 1991. It begins with Sergio making the touching point that the older he gets, the more he finds himself returning to his childhood memories, and this story effectively evokes the atmosphere of his childhood. The other full-color story here is a series of explanations of the origin of common phrases. I had doubts about the crediiblity of this story because it reminded me a lot of this discredited piece of rubbish, but I suppose the point of the story is not the explanations but Sergio’s illustrations of them. The one-page black-and-white silent gags were generally quite good. Grade: A
SAVAGE DRAGON #190 (Image, 2013) – I liked this one slightly more than the previous issue. As with Erik’s best work, this issue effectively combines humor (Malcolm’s accidental proposal to Maxine) with over-the-top shock value (Dragon’s brutally violent battle with Mako in which he loses both his arms). All the dishes mentioned in the dim sum scene are real, including “phoenix claws”. This issue is notable from a materiality perspective because it was published in two formats, a standard comic book and a 64-page digest, and Erik mentions on the letters page that he designed the issue to be readable in both formats. I only have the regular comic book version but it would be interesting to get the digest version as well and compare the two. Grade: A
ASTRO CITY #3 (DC, 2013) – In retrospect I was not all that impressed by Astro City #2 and I think I overrated it. I had trouble sympathizing with Marella’s predicament, which was the result of an honest judgment call that just happened to be wrong. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when this issue turned out to be a big improvement over #2. Over the course of the issue, Marella emerges as a genuinely heroic character. She helps the Ecuadorian war victims largely to assuage her own guilt over not preventing the tragedy that befell them, but she feels guilty about that precisely because she has a genuine sense of responsibility for their welfare, which I suppose makes her as much of a superhero as the Honor Guard members she supports. Honor Guard’s appearance at the climactic moment of the story is as inspirational a moment as I’ve seen in any recent superhero comic. A couple quick notes: I love the new Honor Guard member the Assemblyman, and I find it odd that all the Ecuadorian villagers in the story appear to English. Grade: A+
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #34 (Marvel, 2013) – This series gets more fun and more ridiculous with each issue. This one features an epic battle between Iceman, in the form of a giant Voltron-size robot, and a horde of Krakoas. Easily the funniest part of the story is the cute and psychotically sadistic Wilhelmina. (“I can’t tell if he’s dead or not. Let me pull off his fingernails and see.” “Get the hell away from me, Wilhelmina. I’m not dead.” “Let’s pull off his fingernails anyway.”) I still want to see some resolution to the ongoing Broo plot, because this issue suggests that Broo is going to be taken off to space by that one alien scientist dude, which would be frustrating. Grade: A
LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: CENTURY #2 (Top Shelf, 2011) – I bought this when it came out but never read it due to its extreme length and narrative density. When I finally did get around to reading it, I needed two sittings and over an hour to finish it, since I felt compelled to read it with Jess Nevins’s annotations. As expected, both the story and the art are extremely dense and I feel that there’s a lot I’m missing even with the annotations – Jess himself was unable to identify many of the references without help from British people of a certain age. The overall plot is full of the Crowleyan mysticism that dominates Alan’s later work, but still makes sense as a superhero narrative. I don’t know if this is a major Moore work but it’s pretty close. Grade: A
INVINCIBLE #33 (Image, 2006) – This is the issue where Mark apparently beats Angstrom Levy to death (though he gets better). While I typically oppose superheroes killing their enemies on principle, in this case it seems entirely justified. Kirkman presents Levy as a sadistic, monomaniacal monster who cares about nothing except avenging himself on Mark, and has no qualms about injuring Mark’s mother and baby brother to piss Mark off. As I write this, I realize that Levy has the same motivation as Luthor (revenge on a supehero who he blames for disfiguring him), but is even more fanatical about achieving it. The grimness and violence of this story are alleviated a bit by a bunch of cute scenes depicting the alternative realities that Levy transports Mark into; one of these scenes is a crossover with Marvel Team-Up #14, which I will need to look for. Grade: A
KAMANDI #19 (DC, 1974) – Really all I need to say about this issue is that it includes a gunfight between gorilla soldiers and gangsters – not only that but robot gangsters, as revealed at the end of the issue. Because that revelation comes at the end, the reader spends the entire issue wondering how the hell Kamandi ended up in a replicated version of 1920s Chicago, but accepts it anyway because it’s fun (“Don’t Ask! Just Buy!”) The art is as fantastic as one expects from the Kirby/Royer combination. Grade: A
SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES #8 (DC, 2013) – This issue is not only amazingly cute but also features a logically consistent and exciting story, as is not always the case with Baltazar and Franco’s work. The scene where Kal-El and Lara are reunited is heartwarming, but I did find myself wondering if this was an excessive dumbing down of the Superman mythos – if kids back in the ‘40s and ‘50s could accept the premise that Jor-El and Lara died in the destruction of Krypton, surely kids today can accept this as well. I suppose, though, that permanent character deaths are not really acceptable to Baltazar’s sensibility: Grade: A-
One reply on “Giant pile of reviews”
That’s a big block of reviews. Random responses:
I have similar feelings about the Kane/Thomas Nibelung. Have you read P. Craig Russell’s adaptation? It has some amazing lettering and some great rhythmic/leitmotif tricks.
John Ostrander is, for me, one of the most consistently above-average writers I’ve encountered. Grimjack, Suicide Squad, Wasteland, Hawkworld, Spectre, Martian Manhunter, The Kents, Star Wars: Legacy–all eminently readable. His DC stuff is great at working within continuity without being beholden to it.
LoEG is getting so interesting. The accent on feminine power (and masculine failure) in Century and Nemo seems to indicate some sort of new direction or philosophy for the series.