John Byrne

Judge Dredd’s Crime File 1 (August 1985)

Judge Dredd's Crime File #1

Judge Dredd’s Crime File has three stories in this first issue, all written by John Wagner. They all have good art–John Byrne, Ron Smith, Colin Wilson–they all have slightly different art. Wilson’s future landscape is more stylish than Byrne’s, for example. Ron Smith is the most rounded for what Wagner’s trying to do with the differing stories.

The most significant thing about these stories in relation to Judge Dredd is the lack of Dredd. The second story, with the Smith art, has the most Dredd–it’s about these alien plants people are growing but the plants turn into little alien monsters. Dredd is investigating. But in the first story, the one with the Byrne art, Wagner goes way more into the game of the future than Dredd’s quelling of a footballer-like riot.

The third story–Wilson’s–has some guy going crazy and shooting up civilians. It’s about urban plight in the future. It’s not Dredd’s story (even though the guy ends up gunning for Dredd in a very cheap action movie revenge manner).

For the unfamiliar Dredd reader, Crime File might seem an odd collection of stories but it’s actually some of Wagner’s best work.

CREDITS

Writer, John Wagner; artists, John Byrne, Ron Smith and Colin Wilson; colorist, John M. Burns; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

Batman 400 (October 1986)

830781I hate this comic. I hate how DC used it, I hate how Moench writes it, even if it was an editorial decision.

There are nods to Moench’s run, but only so far as he gets to give each of his characters a page to sort of say goodbye. There’s no closure on any of the story lines, not a single one.

There’s also a lot of crappy art. It’s an anniversary issue with a lot of big names drawing either poorly or against their style. Rick Leonardi and Arthur Adams are some of the worst offenders, but not even Brian Bolland does particularly well. Ken Steacy is the only decent one.

Moench’s writing for a different audience than usual, the casual Batman reader, not the regular. Apparently he thinks the casual readers like endless exposition and incredible stupidity. It’s a distressing, long read; a terrible capstone to Moench’s run.

D- 

CREDITS

Resurrection Night!; writer, Doug Moench; pencillers, John Byrne, Steve Lightle, George Perez, Paris Cullins, Bill Sienkiewicz, Art Adams, Tom Sutton, Steve Leialoha, Joe Kubert, Ken Steacy, Rick Leonardi and Brian Bolland; inkers, Byrne, Bruce Patterson, Perez, Larry Mahlstedt, Sienkiewicz, Terry Austin, Ricardo Villagran, Leialoha, Kubert, Steacy, Karl Kesel and Bolland; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterers, John Costanza and Andy Kubert; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Doomsday + 1 3 (November 1975)

34343Joe Gill sure doesn’t have many ideas. Worse, the lack of them cuts into what Byrne gets to draw. For example, this issue has visuals out of the first issue–the space stuff–and the second issue–the robots. Gill gives it a different context (these robots are intergalactic peacekeepers investigating the destruction of Earth) but Byrne doesn’t really do anything new.

He still has some great panel compositions and has some wonderful layouts. Thanks to Gill’s writing inadequacies, Doomsday doesn’t have enough to offer without engaging artwork. There are maybe three character moments in the whole issue and all of them are dumb. Intentionally or not, Ken is completely unlikable–he nukes the aliens as a first resort–and Gill basically just has the women around for a love triangle (or quartet).

Doomsday should be a no-brainer to pull off, especially with Byrne, but Gill totally fumbles it.

CREDITS

The Peace Keepers; writers, John Byrne and Joe Gill; artist and letterer, Byrne; editor, George Wildman; publisher, Charlton Comics.

Doomsday + 1 2 (September 1975)

34342So Barbie is falling in love with the thawed cave man. I doubt Gill will be able to sell it, though it does give his characters something interesting. There’s nothing otherwise. The Ken guy gets kidnapped by an evil Soviet cyborg and it’s all painfully boring.

Gill only continues the ravaged world exploration thing for a couple pages. Mostly he’s just got armies of robots attacking the survivors and then they hop a fighter jet to Mother Russia. There, they have another lengthy fight scene. There’s some talking, but it’s Ken and the cyborg. Very boring.

Byrne does have some wonderful composition this issue, however. Even though his details on people aren’t particularly special–he rushes on the people–the rest of his art makes up for it. Doomsday + 1 almost has a good setting; instead of developing it, Gill fills it with action.

Byrne’s art deserves much better storytelling.

CREDITS

A Faceless Foe; writer, Joe Gill; artist and letterer, John Byrne; editor, George Wildman; publisher, Charlton Comics.

Doomsday + 1 1 (July 1975)

34341It’s the end of the world as we know it… and John Byrne’s drawing it. I’m not sure what the series’s title, Doomsday + 1, has to do with the content. The premise is simple–three astronauts return to Earth after a nuclear war. Writer Joe Gill doesn’t know much about nuclear warheads, because the radiation’s dissipating real fast. Not so fast the astronauts just get to come back, but fast enough Gill can move the story along.

There are two Ken and Barbie astronauts and then the Japanese woman. She’s in love with Ken; she doesn’t know why, probably because of his Aryan superiority. It doesn’t matter much–Gill abandons all the subplots pretty quick to get into the action. The ice cap got hit and prehistoric beasts are thawing out.

It’s a nice enough mix of apocalyptic and lost world stuff. Byrne’s got some beautifully composed panels in here.

CREDITS

They Live Again; writer, Joe Gill; artist and letterer, John Byrne; editor, George Wildman; publisher, Charlton Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 2 (February 1983)

22334Denny O’Neil takes over scripting from Byrne, who sticks around to pencil, and adds xenophobia and misogyny. Not to mention Indy talking for the first half of the issue in expository paragraphs.

Ever wanted to see Indiana Jones gleefully kill members of a bronze age tribe? Here’s your comic. Or to see him buddy up with Nazi sailors? Again, this comic’s the one for you.

O’Neil seems entirely ignorant of archeology, so ignorant it’s as though he didn’t even see Raiders of the Lost Ark, which isn’t exactly real archeology but it’s better than what O’Neil writes about here.

He also seems disinterested in the time period. His writing read like a resentful employee’s contractual obligation.

Bryne’s panel compositions are interesting. He goes for cinematic. It doesn’t always work, but at least he’s trying.

Also interesting is Indy’s face. Everyone else has Byrne face; not Indy. Maybe Austin drew it.

CREDITS

22-Karat Doom!; writer, Denny O’Neil; pencillers, John Byrne and Terry Austin; inker, Austin; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Janice Chiang; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 1 (January 1983)

22333There are a lot of unexpected things in this first issue of The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones. For example, writer and penciller John Byrne doesn’t work at making Indiana Jones likable. He’s a bit of a jerk, really, and definitely irresponsible.

I also wasn’t expecting Indy to be mooning over the absent Marion; Byrne uses the lines for character, not to call back to Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s deft. Not deft is repeating the kidnapping sequence from that film. It’s not predicable either. One would think they would come up with something original.

The villain’s original (and cringeworthy). He’s a big fat black guy named Black. Maybe Byrne was trying to be funny.

The comic does work though. Byrne and Terry Austin’s art is fine, better than most licensed stuff, and the story moves.

Byrne also comes up with an excellent, serial-inspired cliffhanger.

It’s okay enough.

CREDITS

Writer, John Byrne; pencillers, Byrne and Terry Austin; inker, Austin; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Rocketeer Adventures 2 4 (June 2012)

870643John Byrne easily does the best story in this issue. Really. And he can even draw Peevy. He lays out his story well, though the details on the characters aren’t any great shakes. The Rocketeer’s funny looking, while Cliff looks like Snidely Whiplash. Still, Byrne’s clearly enthusiastic about the characters and the setting. The other creators this issue clearly aren’t.

Well, maybe the Simonsons are enthusiastic but are incapable of conveying it. Louise Simonson’s plot isn’t terrible, but her dialogue is unbearable. From the first word balloon, it’s clear the story’s going to be a chore. And Walt Simonson’s art doesn’t help. He’s lazy with everything but Betty, including the action. It stinks.

David Mandel recasts the Rocketeer as Adam Strange for a sci-fi comedy, only Mandel’s not funny. And J. Bone’s style flops on alien worlds.

It’s another lame Adventures, thankfully the last one. IDW fumbled this series.

CREDITS

War Hero; writer, Louise Simonson; penciller, Walt Simonson; inker, Bob Wiacek; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, John Workman. Warlord of Blargon; writer, David Mandel; artist and colorist, J. Bone; letterer, Shawn Lee. Fair Game; writer and artist, John Byrne; colorist, Bone; letterer, Neil Uyetake. Editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Untold Legend of the Batman 1 (July 1980)

16899.jpg
The Untold Legend of the Batman might have good art… but it’s hard to tell. Each page is packed with panels–except one pin-up page, which is pretty good–and it’s hard to get a handle of John Byrne’s pencils (with Jim Aparo inking).

Some of the pages are pretty good though, but it’s certainly not a comic to read for the art. Sadly, it’s also not a comic to read for the writing.

Untold Legend is a streamlined retelling of Batman’s original, adding in all the Earth-One origin developments. It’s excellent as a curiosity (I’d forgotten teenage Bruce Wayne was Robin to some police detective) but Len Wein’s writing is atrocious.

Most of the comic is Bruce retelling his history to Alfred. One would assume Alfred would know some of these events, if not all.

The issue’s painful at times, a shopping list of contrived origin events.

Dark Horse Presents 57 (December 1991)

35868.jpg
Not much to recommend Next Men this time. Byrne handles his violent action sequence well, but he’s also selling a U.S. senator killing a federal agent. Who knows, maybe it’s all a Tea Party thing. Regardless, no longer interested in the series.

The Creep is, again, excellent. I can’t believe Arcudi’s writing it. And Eaglesham’s artwork is great. He’s doing this unfinished finished look, hard to explain.

Geary does one page. It’s fine. His longer work’s better.

Alien Fire is this excellent sixties piece about a Vietnam vet. It’s very quiet, lovely writing from Smith. Vincent’s artwork is good, with some caveats.

Campbell’s Alec story–about traveling the globe for a couple comic conventions–is astounding. It’s the best thing in Dark Horse Presents to date. He puts autobiography into this narrative device (numbered stills) but also scrapbook-like design work.

Sin City is awful. I hope Marv dies soon.

CREDITS

The Next Men, Nativity; story, art and lettering by John Byrne. The Creep; story by John Arcudi; art by Dale Eaglesham; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Grampa Speaks; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Alien Fire, Pass in Thunder, Part One; story by Anthony Smith; art and lettering by Eric Vincent. Alec, Around the World in Eighty Frames; story, art and lettering by Eddie Campbell. Sin City, Episode Eight; story, art and lettering by Frank Miller. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Scroll to Top