Greg LaRocque

Marvel Team-Up 146 (October 1984)

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Oh, those young toughs, how dare they break up a date between Peter Parker and… Jack Monroe (Nomad). Seriously, they’re on a date. They meet in an alley, beat up some threatening toughs, then head to see Rio Bravo together. All while Nomad is supposed to be delivering art to Steve Rogers.

Unfortunately, it’s a star crossed romance, with Taskmasker showing up to train a bunch of gangs to fight superheroes. So Spidey and Nomad have to break it up.

The writing is occasionally weak, but it’s some of the better stuff I’ve read from Burkett. While it’s a complete waste of time, it’s not terrible. Even LaRocque is stronger than usual–it’s mostly action this issue, so no heavy lifting.

There’s some funny forced continuity to the other Spider-Man books here. Peter’s taking a break from the alien costume trying to kill him for his date with Nomad.

CREDITS

Hero Worship!; writer, Cary Burkett; penciller, Greg LaRocque; inker, Mike Esposito; colorist, George Roussos; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNataleh and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvel Team-Up 145 (September 1984)

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I guess the Bob Layton inks–on the cover–make all the difference. If only Esposito made LaRocque look a tenth as good as those Layton inks do on the cover….

Anyway, that opening is misleading. This response is a positive one. The issue is a great day in the life story. Peter Parker is in Cleveland on a crap assignment after pissing off Jonah, Iron Man (Jim Rhodes) is there trying to sell some technology company and retired supervillain Blacklash (or Whiplash–I wasn’t aware there was a name change until I read this issue).

It’s a funny, sad issue. Blacklash’s back in his home town after a public defeat, in miserable psychological shape, unable to rehabilitate and ends up battling the two superheroes.

Isabella does some fantastic scripting here–if only the art were better, it’d be something special. But still, it’s great writing.

I love this issue.

CREDITS

Hometown Boy; writer, Tony Isabella; penciller, Greg LaRocque; inker, Mike Esposito; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvel Team-Up 144 (August 1984)

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What a lame issue. I mean, I wasn’t expecting much when I saw Cary Burkett’s name on it, but it’s a lot worse than I thought. Pretty sure Peter gives away his identity–or at least risks giving it away–at the end of the issue too.

There’s a lot bad about it–Burkett’s expository dialogue is terrible, his constant narration is tedious. It takes forever to get through a page because he’s got so many narration boxes. Or are they narration squares? Did John Byrne ever weigh in on that one?

Maybe if LaRocque were a better artist it might be more tolerable.

Wait, I forgot a couple things. The white guys saving Chinatown from itself–the Chinese are way too corrupt to not need Spidey and Moon Knight to save them.

And Moon Knight–who likes Moon Knight? He’s lamer than Jeph Loeb Batman.

Just a dreadful read.

CREDITS

My Sword I Lay Down!; writer, Cary Burkett; penciller, Greg LaRocque; inker, Mike Esposito; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvel Team-Up 143 (July 1984)

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Michelinie being a competent writer aside, I really loathe nonsensical inter dimensional stories. Spidey and Starfox have to go into another dimension to figure out why Captain Marvel is all messed up.

So the two mismatched heroes (we know they’re mismatched because of Spidey’s constant thought balloons on the subject) meet these two warring tribes, one female, one male, and have to defeat the bad guys (the male tribe) to save Captain Marvel. Whew, long sentence.

But the journey doesn’t have any weight or wonderment–Spidey’s totally nonplussed at the strange alien world surrounding him… not to mention all the human inhabitants.

LaRocque’s art is better here than last issue, as there are nice panels and nice movement on Spidey, not to mention during the big fight scene. But it all feels a little too contrived and a little too dumb. Michelinie sells it, but only at cover price, no more.

C 

CREDITS

Shifts and Planes; writer, Dave Michelinie; penciller, Greg LaRocque; inker, Mike Esposito; colorist, Christie Scheele; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvel Team-Up 142 (June 1984)

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Michelinie writes a good issue here. Ten pages in and he’s had two action sequences, one for Spidey, one for Captain Marvel; it feels like you’re spending the day with the characters. Not in some fun sense, rather as though Michelinie is approximating real time in summary. It’s impressive pacing and it makes up for some of the weaker expository moments.

The only real problem is the artwork–LaRocque’s Peter Parker is some kind of awful, though it’s hard to dislike the scene too much… since it’s got a nice mention of Milt Caniff. It’s the kind of reference I don’t remember ever seeing in a Marvel comic.

The real strength of the comic is Captain Marvel. From what I’ve seen of her appearances in this era, the character always manages to rise above bad writing. So with a solid script, like here, she’s fantastic.

It’s a good, readable superhero outing.

CREDITS

Foiled!; writer, Dave Michelinie; pencillers, Greg LaRocque and Mike Esposito; inker, Esposito; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvel Team-Up 141 (May 1984)

25860.jpgWow, Priest can write. I’ve liked his stuff, been impressed what he could do with Marvel superheroes, but this issue is just fantastic. Maybe because he… he writes thought balloons like they’re internal monologue and not declarative statements, not opportunities for expository shortcuts.

He also should write Batman, because he borrows Batman and Jim Gordon’s relationship for Matt Murdock and Ben Urich.

The issue’s a nice story about Matt trying to help a client–not sure how ethical it is for Daredevil to act as Matt’s private investigator, since he’s not informing the client–and Spider-Man trying to help a technically innocent teenage thug.

The teenager and client are the same person, but Priest explores the difference in Spidey and Daredevil’s approach to how and why to resolve the situation.

Goofy art–Matt’s hair is absolutely hilarious–but not bad Marvel house style.

I’m stunned by the book’s quality.

CREDITS

Blind Justice!; writers, Tom DeFalco and Christopher Priest; pencillers, Greg LaRocque and Mike Esposito; inker, Esposito; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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