John Romita Jr.

The Incredible Hulk 39 (June 2002)

95484I’m not sure how much more contrived Jones’s setup for the series could be… Maybe if he’d make the Hulk somebody’s dad. But he doesn’t. He makes someone else somebody’s dad.

Once again, Jones doesn’t let Bruce have the issue. One of the bad guys gets the issue and she gets to tell Bruce all about this strange situation he’s found himself in. Of course, if you’re Bruce Banner and you’ve been hulking out for years, strange situations shouldn’t seem strange. But Jones acts like he’s come up with sliced bread.

He hasn’t. He’s come up with a really contrived story and hasn’t taken any time in the issue to do anything else. It’s the last in the arc, the setup for the next one, so not doing anything else would usually be okay. But he hasn’t been doing anything else for issues.

This arc could’ve easily run two issues.

D 

CREDITS

Tag… You’re Dead!; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 38 (May 2002)

95483So what have we got here? What are Jones and Romita serving this issue? Sorry, it takes place in a roadside cafe. I’m just in the spirit.

Jones has bad guys who can come back from the dead and there are apparently more of them than he previously told the reader about. He’s also got Doc Samson borrowing an outfit from the Village People. Romita has nothing. Terrible backgrounds. There’s an action scene but Jones cuts away so who knows how Romita would do with it.

Here’s the problem–there’s nothing with Bruce. Either the bad guys run the issue or Samson runs the issue. Bruce just sits around. Jones writes the character perfectly well–better this issue since he’s not moping about the kid he may or may not have killed–but doesn’t do anything with him. He reacts, never acts.

Everything’s way too convenient to get concerned about.

C 

CREDITS

Last Chance Cafe; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 37 (April 2002)

95482This issue is definitely better, but only because Jones takes time to give Samson stuff to do. He hangs out with this bullied kid while Bruce goes hitchhiking and has an adventure. Of course, since things are very convenient, the assassins get caught up in the adventure too.

I just realized how much Bruce looks like Mister X, which sort of points out how lame Romita’s art is for this book. Mister X through the heartland might be cool. But with Romita? Every page is a bore, worse when he’s got to do action.

Jones is way too unfocused–the assassins, Samson, Bruce–and there’s no tension to the issue. There’s no suspense and he’s basically trying to do a suspense story, just one set during the day for whatever reason.

I’m also very confused about Bruce’s laptop and how come he doesn’t know it’s tracking him.

But it’s okay.

C+ 

CREDITS

You Must Remember This…; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 36 (March 2002)

95481There’s not a lot of Bruce in this issue. Except when he’s freaking out about the kid dying–only, there’s always something suspect about Hulk casualties. It’s one of those things a writer can’t concentrate too hard on because the logic holes become too obvious. There’s no Hulk, expect on TV.

There’s also a lot of bad art from Romita. Jones introduces two assassins out to get Bruce and then Leonard Samson is on the case. He sticks with them for the majority of the issue, which is too bad. Romita draws all three poorly. At least his Bruce is… consistent.

But Jones hinges the issue on these assassins, on the hunt for Banner picking up, and it’s lame. Bruce’s self-loathing doesn’t work with the nonsense.

There’s some amusing stuff at the beginning with the female assassin. The rest of it isn’t visually dynamic enough to justify the pace.

C- 

CREDITS

The Gang’s All Here!; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 35 (February 2002)

95480I both love and dislike this issue. It was one of Marvel’s “’Nuff Said” titles, which actually allows Jones to really concentrate on his pacing. He loves the choppy fast pace.

Sadly, he doesn’t have the artist for it. Romita does much better than I would have expected but the art is still the problem. Especially when the Hulk shows up. It’s supposed to be an awesome sequence but Romita doesn’t break out the action well.

The issue ends happily, abruptly. Given Jones has a lengthy quiet period at the opening, he could have structured it better.

There are threats this issue, but they’re all boring. Jones has a quick plot for no talking, but there’s no room for those threats.

The nicest part is how Jones has just the right amount of pressure on the “Bruce Banner as a nice guy” moments.

It’s successful in spite of the art.

B- 

CREDITS

Silent Running; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 34 (January 2002)

95479And here we have Bruce Jones trying to do a very gritty, realistic story and the art just not servicing it. John Romita Jr. does handle a lot of Jones’s cinematic influences okay, but his page design is too simple and his world is way too soft. Romita always safely curves his lines at some point.

The story has Bruce Banner on the run, as usual, and living in a crappy motel in a bad part of town. There’s a little about how close the cops are to catching him, but mostly it’s this story about Banner and a local tough. The kid’s fallen in with a gang, Bruce is trying to convince him to reform.

It’s decent with the Romita art–the issue overall–but the right style would have helped a lot more. Jones tries to focus on the collateral damage but, unfortunately, Romita doesn’t try to agree.

C+ 

CREDITS

The Morning After; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Punisher: No Mercy (2013, Jason Ambrus)

About half of The Punisher: No Mercy is effective. From the credits, it appears the fan short is a labor of love for star Shawn Baichoo–who apes Karl Urban’s voice from Dredd, which doesn’t work here. Baichoo cowrote the script and choreographed the fight scene between himself and Amber Goldfarb.

The fight scene isn’t very good. It’s hard to tell if it’s the choreography, Jason Ambrus’s lackluster action direction or James Malloch’s decidedly limp editing. Mercy, throughout, has terrible sound effects. They should have splurged for a better sound effects CD.

The script’s multi-layered, which is almost neat. The problem is that fight scene. It takes up most of the second half and between the boring fight and Goldfarb’s terrible performance (not to mention it’s all on a confined set)… the short loses all momentum.

Mercy shows talented amateur filmmaking; it’s too bad it’s a waste of time.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Jason Ambrus; screenplay by Shawn Baichoo and Davila LeBlanc, based on the Marvel Comics characters created by Gerry Conway, John Romita Jr., Frank Miller and Ross Andru; director of photography, Jean-Maxim Desjardins; edited by James Malloch; music by Shayne Gryn; produced by Baichoo and Amber Goldfarb.

Starring Shawn Baichoo (Frank Castle), Amber Goldfarb (Elektra Natchios), James Malloch (Dominic Duran) and Giancarlo Caltabiano (Rizzo).


Ultimate Spider-Man 86 (January 2006)

270266Maybe not everything should get an Ultimate version.

For example, Bendis opens the issue with Ultimate Damage Control. Does there need to be an Ultimate Damage Control… probably not. But Bendis uses it for exposition and to frame his flashback. It’s okay enough.

Except the arc’s not about them, it’s about Ultimate Silver Sable, who’s apparently a corporate espionage person. Does she need an Ultimate version? Hard to say, but definitely not the way Bendis writes this issue.

She has all these morons working for her (the Wild Pack, I think) and Bendis is clearly enjoying writing their dialogue… but it’s all for a useless comic. He’s impressing himself again, which never goes well for the series.

The twist at the end, which should be played for laughs, ends up being vicious. The arc’s a misfire so far.

And the Ultimate Vision backup? Pointless but inoffensive writing; truly hideous art.

CREDITS

Silver Sable, Part One; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Justin Ponsor. Ultimate Vision, Visions, Part One of Six; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith. Letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Uncanny X-Men 203 (March 1986)

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I’m banging my head against the wall trying to figure out this question–how the heck did Uncanny X-Men sell? I mean, Claremont’s writing is the wordiest drivel I think I’ve ever read in a mainstream comic book, possibly because he refuses to shut up. He writes on and on in his exposition, on and on in his declarative dialogue. It’s just endless.

Unfortunately, the Beyonder doesn’t kill all of the X-Men this issue and I really, really, really wish he had. They’re all obnoxious and whiney. Only Storm comes across as less that a complete twit and only by a hair. Everyone else spends the issue having personal revelation after revelation.

I always mocked X-Men comics without having read them. Having now done so, I just feel sorry for myself. These fifteen minutes are never coming back.

And apparently Romita Jr. could never draw. Art’s awful.

CREDITS

Crossroads; writer, Chris Claremont; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Al Williamson; colorist, Glynis Oliver; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editors, Terry Kavanagh and Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Uncanny X-Men 202 (February 1986)

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Say what one may about Romita’s artwork, but damn if he doesn’t draw the cutest little feet on the Beyonder the last issue? Does Secret Wars II really boil down to penis envy?

Similarly, even with Claremont’s awful writing–he really thought he needed to explain Cerebro to readers in an endless expository thought balloon–he does pack the issue. It’s a chore to get through it, because it’s so lame, but it’s a packed issue. Lots of thoughts, lots of action, lots of dialogue. Though I don’t know where Nightcrawler went. He wasn’t in the big battle scene.

The more I read Secret Wars II and its endless tie-in issues, the more it’s clear what dumb ideas Shooter had for it. Seriously, they could have left the Beyonder alone–he doesn’t really do anything this issue to provoke an attack from the “heroes”–they’ve decided to preemptively strike.

CREDITS

X-Men, I’ve Gone To Kill the Beyonder; writer, Chris Claremont; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Al Williamson; colorist, Glynis Oliver; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editors, Terry Kavanagh and Ann Nocenti; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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