Josef Rubinstein

Ka-Zar the Savage 11 (February 1982)

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Marvel ought to turn this one into a movie. Not a Ka-Zar movie, but a movie about the backstory–Dante Alighieri the action star. Jones’s Dante chased a Cthulhu-worshipping cur from Italy to Antarctica to save his girlfriend, discovering a long abandoned Atlantean vacation resort, which eventually the bad guy turns into Hell. And Dante writes Inferno about it.

It’d be an awesome movie, even if the recap in the comic is only a few pages.

The craziness of that plot, unfortunately, is the most substance in the issue. It’s an action issue, with a lot of scene humor, and it’s good. It’s just not substantive.

Josef Rubinstein takes over the inks to mixed result. Ka-Zar’s face is better, but Shanna’s is worse. But the art does seem stronger. It’s unclear if it’s Rubinstein or Anderson finally having something interesting to draw.

Jones hasn’t fully recovered, but close enough.

Green Hornet Annual 1 (September 2010)

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What a pointless fill-in issue. Maybe the regular series was shipping late?

Hester doesn’t do a terrible job–he certainly is able to pace the annual better than the regular series–but it just fills in a question or two no one asked about the original series.

What happened to Britt’s girlfriend and what happened to his kickboxing. I’m not sure either question needed to be answered.

The annual does expand on the mythos a little, establishing the Green Hornet as being more interested in rehabilitation than punishment. He lets this teenage lookout go (as a bemused Kato watches) and the kid grows up to be his son’s kickboxing coach. Oh, what a small world.

Unfortunately, Hester’s writing of the Britt character doesn’t match Smith’s in terms of dialogue. Hester’s Britt is a lot more eloquent and self-aware.

It’s disposable and pointless, but not bad. Art’s nice too.

CREDITS

The Straight and Narrow/i>; writer, Phil Hester; pencillers, Carlos Rafael and Michael Netzer; inkers, Rafael and Josef Rubinstein; colorist, Carlos Lopez; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Amazing Spider-Man 259 (December 1984)

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Lot of Ditko homage on the last pages, even with the filmic–especially for the eighties–pacing of Peter suiting up in the red and blue.

It’s sort of a weak finish to a great issue. Most of the issue–except some ill-advised attention on Hobgoblin (providing the action)–is Mary Jane telling Peter all about her life.

DeFalco does an amazing job with the Mary Jane stuff. It’s this heart-wrenching confession–as Mary Jane assesses herself and her past actions–mixed with Peter’s internal reaction. It might be one of the most touching comics I’ve read about a major property, just because it’s so delicate. It doesn’t even with Peter and Mary Jane heading off to the altar–far from it. DeFalco seems to be aware if he went that route, it’d flush the story’s value.

Frenz does an excellent job (albeit within his abilities) here too.

CREDITS

All My Pasts Remembered!; writer, Tom DeFalco; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Joe Rubinstein; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNataleh and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man 258 (November 1984)

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I knew I liked these eighties Spider-Man issues. It just took DeFalco a while to bring it around (though it could all be the nostalgia talking).

What’s important about this issue isn’t the beginning, which cops out of the previous cliffhanger and then strangely sends Black Cat off to Neverland instead of resolving a new situation with her… but the end.

The majority of the issue is spent getting the black costume tested by Reed Richards and then taken off Spidey. There’s some funny stuff with the Torch–it’s amazing how much better DeFalco does when he’s writing Spider-Man around other superheroes instead of trying to handle his Peter Parker stuff–and a couple nice Ditko homages.

But the ending–Mary Jane shows up to talk to Peter. I didn’t think she would show up… figured DeFalco would draw it out.

He doesn’t and it’s a lovely move.

CREDITS

The Sinister Secret of Spider-Man’s New Costume!; writer, Tom DeFalco; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Joe Rubinstein; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNataleh and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man 257 (October 1984)

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What a cliffhanger! Mary Jane reveals to Peter she knows he’s Spider-Man! All with some weak Ron Frenz faces. I actually liked most of Frenz’s work this issue, when he was doing the action stuff–the fight between Puma and Spider-Man had some nice moves and it worked. But when Peter gets back to Mary Jane for a talking heads scene?

Ick.

Frenz can’t keep the faces constant from panel to panel on the same page.

He seems to get the hair right though, on both of them. I guess hair’s something.

It’s a somewhat boring, contrived issue–with the exception of the long fight scene. Black Cat bitches and moans–in thought balloons–about how common Peter Parker lives. She’s such an unsympathetic character. They should have killed her off at this point. Mary Jane shows up to annoy Peter, then reveals the secret.

Still, not atrocious.

CREDITS

Beware the Claws of Puma!; writer, Tom DeFalco; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Joe Rubinstein; colorist, Christie Scheele; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNataleh and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man 256 (September 1984)

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Why have a Native American superhero when you can have a Native American supervillain!

The politics of Puma (this issue is his first appearance) are fantastic–successful Native Americans use their special abilities to become assassins for hire. It’s great. You’d never see this kind of thing today.

Maybe Jason Aaron can do a Puma MAX series, after he’s done with Scalped.

Otherwise, it’s a fine enough eighties Spider-Man costume. Frenz isn’t great, but he’s enthusiastic and he works–most pages have nine panels–and his Peter Parker looks like a grown up Ditko Peter Parker. There’s a nostalgic appeal to it.

The writing’s pretty lazy. DeFalco repeats the same expository revelation two pages after the first mention. Then there’s the when he comments on the Black Cat and her “colorful” namesake. Pretty sure a black cat is monotone.

There’s nothing particularly good about it, but nothing bad either.

CREDITS

Introducing… Puma!; writer, Tom DeFalco; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Joe Rubinstein; colorist, Christie Scheele; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNataleh and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man 255 (August 1984)

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It’s a perfectly decent done-in-one.

The issue opens with the Black Fox (I thought he was the Black Cat’s father, but maybe not) and he introduces the issue’s main story, the Red Ghost wanting to rob a bunch of stores so he can afford to build his death ray (or whatever it’s called). There’s some painful dialogue until that conversation, but then it gets amusing–the supervillain in hiding, needing to resort to breaking and entering to fund his devious device.

It’s funny.

The Spider-Man stuff is awkward. Most of the Peter Parker scenes are spent going over all the events of previous crossover titles. Then the black costume takes him out for a day and keeps him unconscious (which he doesn’t know yet, of course).

It’s a breezy read and Ron Frenz does a good job of the action. He gives Spidey some needed physical levity.

CREDITS

Even A Ghost Can Fear The Night; writer, Tom DeFalco; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Joe Rubinstein; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man 254 (July 1984)

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Here’s my issue… yes, Spider-Man has lots of human problems–his aunt’s pissed at him, he’s got girlfriend trouble, he’s got job trouble. He’s apparently the only superhero in New York when there’s a superpowered terrorist blowing up toy stores. The list goes on and on.

But let’s look at these problems.

Aunt May’s pissed he dropped out of college. How contrived. She’s not even a character. It’s unbelievable her beau would even have lunch with her.

His girlfriend trouble–the Black Cat. She’s a moron and a flake and written by everyone in that manner. She even tells Peter she doesn’t like him, only the costume.

The job trouble–he’s taking boring pictures. Considering he got his start faking exciting pictures, Peter’s just being lazy.

He’s not very sympathetic here.

But the Leonardi art is good on all the superhero adventuring. Not so much on the faces though.

CREDITS

With Great Power…; writer, Tom DeFalco; penciller, Rick Leonardi; inker, Joe Rubinstein; colorist, Christie Scheele; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man 274 (March 1986)

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The Beyonder and Mephisto place a bet on Spider-Man’s ability to sacrifice his personal wellbeing for others. How stupid a storyline is that one? It’s Spider-Man. The character’s entire premise is based on his personal misery.

It’s a mess of an issue, as the Secret Wars II crossovers are clearly straining the entire Marvel line at this point–the issue features more Beyonder than Spider-Man and more Mephisto than Beyonder. It’s inexplicable why this issue is even worth publishing, since it’s a done-in-one amidst a huge crossover (the status quo is returned at the end, with the possible exception of Peter Parker worrying about Christmas).

The art’s awful too–with four pencillers and three inkers. I like DeFalco’s work in general (or have on the previous two issues of Amazing), but there’s almost nothing going here–except the repeated assertion Peter doesn’t love Mary Jane.

CREDITS

Lo, There Shall Come a Champion!; writer, Tom DeFalco; pencillers, Ron Frenz, Jack Fury, Tom Morgan and James Fry; inkers, Joe Rubinstein, John Romita Sr. and Russ Steffens ; colorists, George Roussos & Co.; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Adam Blaustein and Christopher Priest; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man 273 (February 1986)

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I probably grew up on Tom DeFalco’s Spider-Man and never even knew it. All I think of when I hear the name now is Spider-Girl and that’s about it. I guess I did read another DeFalco Secret Wars II crossover Spider-Man issue and the result was me thinking I should read more.

This issue just cements it.

The issue mostly follows Puma–I’d totally forgotten about Puma, Marvel’s attempt at some Native American sensitivity (strange how comic book companies used to worry about these things and now, with the lovely internet, can’t do a thing without getting attacked by fans)–on a loony quest to kill the Beyonder.

DeFalco’s got so much going in this issue, it’s impossible not to call it a soap opera. How anyone kept up–how I kept up as a kid–is beyond me, yet I’m familiar with lots.

It’s quite good.

CREDITS

To Challenge the Beyonder!; writer, Tom DeFalco; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Joe Rubinstein; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Adam Blaustein and Christopher Priest; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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