Mike Mayhew

The Star Wars 8 (May 2014)

The Star Wars #8If the letters pages didn’t swear Rinzler was sticking to the original rough draft, I don’t think I’d believe it. Because this issue–adapted from a script written in the early seventies–has the standard modern action movie third act thing going on. When they attack the Death Star (it’s called something else, I think), Annikin and Leia are still on the station. They’re fighting to get away.

The original movie doesn’t try to overdo the dramatic tension–though Return of the Jedi basically does the aforementioned tension boosting. It reads more like what came later, in the genre created by Star Wars, than Star Wars itself.

There are some interesting twists and turns this issue too. The problem is more the length–Rinzler could have used two more issues for all the stuff he works out in this one–but The Star Wars concludes a somewhat successful curiosity.

Even with all the terrible names.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Star Wars 7 (April 2014)

The Star Wars #7This issue isn't bad. It's got some of Mayhew's best art on the series–though not his giant Wookie battle, but the moments before those scenes–and Rinzler keeps the action going. But the comparisons to the original films, particularly Return of the Jedi, reveal just how much texture Rinzler has sacrificed to fit this comic into eight issues.

For example, there are these attempts at banter between Annikin and Artwo and they're incredibly forced–it's as though Rinzler remembered at the last minute Artwo could talk here and had to get something in.

The issue is preparation for the Wookie battle, which includes the introduction of Chewbacca and his single dialogue exchange with Han Solo (who's just around to give Luke Starkiller someone to talk exposition with), the huge Wookie battle, kids getting kidnapped, Darth Vader interrogating, Annikan infiltrating the Death Star stand-in.

Too bad Dark Horse couldn't give Rinzler twelve issues.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Star Wars 6 (March 2014)

298235 20140312103045 largeAfter some unimaginative issues, The Star Wars definitely feels a lot more on track this time around. Even with some way too static art from Mayhew. He has lots of problems with Princess Leia react shots. She looks completely nonplussed by the chaos around here; it's not a one time thing, it's every time she's in a panel.

But this issue gives writer Rinzler the chance to utilize that fantastic Star Wars device–divide the cast into separate story lines before bringing them back together. Annikin gets separated from Starkiller and Han Solo as they both run across the Wookie tribes on this jungle planet. Lots of interesting, unexplored threads from the original films, which is something this series apparently needs (and initially promised).

Before I forget–having an older lead in Starkiller, not a guest star, really helps.

It's definitely one of the better issues. The second half's fantastic.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Star Wars 5 (February 2014)

295092 20140205094015 largeIt’s an all action issue, which is good since Mayhew’s faces are way too static. Everyone is either grimacing or smiling. Maybe he was in a rush. Or maybe doing all the action took up too much time.

The action’s all rather familiar. It’s a mix of sequences from the first Star Wars movie, the spaceport subterfuges and then the Death Star rescue. It’s not bad, just kind of boring. See this version of Han Solo–an alien who looks a lot like the seventies Swamp Thing, only orangish–is about the only standout. And he doesn’t do anything.

Oh, Mayhew drawing Threepio slightly feminine might be interesting, but I think it’s just a coincidence.

One thing I did notice was the lack of strong female presence. The Princess in The Star Wars does about as much as a handbag. Except when she gets mushy.

Still, it’s slick and entertaining.

C+ 

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Star Wars 4 (December 2013)

290451 20131204142531 largeMayhew has some fantastic panels this issue. Unfortunately, Rinzler has the single goofiest moment in the history of George Lucas goofy moments to try to pull off and he can’t do it. Mayhew even makes it worse somehow. He goes with this grand panel and then follows it up with a little normal one, like the event is immediately pedestrian.

It’s too bad, because besides forgetting about Leia as a character for almost the entire thing–Rinzler also downgrades Annikin’s presence too much, but not near as bad–it’s a fairly good issue. Rinzler gets a very strange, almost comedic moment out of the last panel, something very non-Star Wars. This issue might be the first where it feels like something other than an adaptation.

There’s also this ambitious–and not entirely successful–juxtaposition of the Imperials torturing prisoners, but at least Mayhew and Rinzler are trying for something.

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Star Wars 3 (November 2013)

288497 20131106162300 largeAnd once more, The Star Wars is interesting again. Rinzler introduces a lot this issue–the original Lucas treatment must have been a disaster, as even the issue is plotted like a movie serial where a new major character is introduced every four minutes.

Except in this comic, the major character relates to the Star Wars movies already made, so one gets to see how things changed. In some ways, this series reads like a good version of the prequel trilogy, like there’s a low ceiling on how far Lucas can go with sci-fi action without a lot of help.

Mayhew’s art is also rather good for the first half of the issue. The droids show up and he does well with them and the desert setting. Later on, he loses track of them and Princess Leia during a lengthy vehicle action sequence. It’s too confusing.

Still, interesting stuff.

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Zorro 2 (February 1994)

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I tried, I really did. However, I’m not sure how anyone could tolerate Zorro. It’s beyond awful, beyond boring. I can’t figure out how the thing sold enough issues to get up to ten, or however long the series ran. I mean, it was the 1990s and all, but come on… no one would like this tripe.

The problem is wholly McGregor. I mean, Mayhew’s art is cookie cutter mainstream lame, but it’s fine enough. McGregor, though, he just can’t shut up. He seems to think the reader needs to know every characters thoughts all the time. He also tries to fetishize hacienda living… but by showing only the negatives. Even basic human kindness is alien in McGregor’s setting.

Again, a big problem is Zorro not being a real character. It’s also odd how the series seems to be based on the old Disney television series. Down to the likenesses.

CREDITS

Moonlight Reprisals; writer, Don McGregor; penciller, Mike Mayhew; inker, Andy Mushynsky; colorists, Laurie E. Smith and Carla Feeny; letterer, Mike DeLepine; editors, Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Jim Salicrup; publisher, Topps Comics.

Zorro 1 (January 1994)

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Oh, good grief, McGregor makes a Batman “joke” about the cape this issue. It’s kind of embarrassing, really, given he’s a writer of some reputation. Then a Spider-Man “joke,” then a Spawn “joke” (I forgot about Spawn… they still make those, right?).

Otherwise, it’s a very pedestrian done-in-one featuring Zorro saving a kidnapped lady (who’s loose, but Zorro don’t go in for that business, he’s got virtue). McGregor loads the comic with action setpieces, apparently because he doesn’t have any real story to tell. There’s a volcano, lots of fighting, an earthquake, horses, horses jumping, it goes on and on.

McGregor goes through the trouble of wasting pages and pages of exposition to kill off the villain at the end of the issue. He also writes in the second person, directing Zorro, in what might be the most embarrassing thing I’ve read in quite a good while.

CREDITS

Prequel in a Hostile Landscape; writer, Don McGregor; penciller, Mike Mayhew; inker, John Nyberg; colorist, Digital Chameleon; letterer, Mike DeLepine; editors, Jim Salicrup and Dwight Jon Zimmerman; publisher, Topps Comics.

Zorro 0 (September 1993)

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Talk about an anachronism… McGregor’s got a line of dialogue about people in capes flying. Zorro takes place in the 1800s, which might be a little before Superman, but I’m not sure.

McGregor also does all his mountain man (the villain) dialogue in a Deliverance dialect, which is sort of effective, since it makes one worry for Zorro and his maintaining his manly virtue, but it’s otherwise awful.

The villain’s name is Buck Wylde, which… well, the joke’s too easy.

Mayhew’s art is okay… it’s hard to tell, really. McGregor’s plotting features a giant burly mountain man swinging through the air at one point and I guess Mayhew captures it. It’s interesting to see him (Mayhew) draw instead of do his cover thing, I suppose.

The biggest problem is Zorro’s basically a non-character in this issue, so it’s hard to even guess where the series is going from here.

CREDITS

Drink the Blood Straight; writer, Don McGregor; penciller, Mike Mayhew; inker, John Nyberg; colorist, Digital Chameleon; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Jim Salicrup; publisher, Topps Comics.

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