Roger Stern

The Amazing Spider-Man 252 (May 1984)

28098.jpgTom DeFalco really likes expository dialogue and thought balloons, not to mention narration. Peter Parker cannot shut up he’s talking to himself so much, then there’s the Black Cat thinking about recent events to catch the reader up. Strangely, the issue opens on this amusing exchange between Jonah and Robbie about the best way to use art on the cover of the Bugle.

The opening and close is pretty strong–DeFalco paces the issue really well and reading it is an investment of time (oh, the eighties… one got to read one’s Marvel comic for longer than five minutes… I’d forgotten).

Spidey and Curt Connors get back from Secret Wars in a nice sequence, then the lengthy Peter exposition stuff, but the conclusion is Spidey taking an arguing teenage couple out to see New York the way he does.

It’s occasionally overwritten, but still a rather good mainstream comic book.

CREDITS

Homecoming; writers, Roger Stern and Tom DeFalco; penciller, Ron Frenz; inker, Brett Breeding; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Avengers 266 (April 1986)

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So, in this Secret Wars II epilogue, the Molecule Man finally gets a happy ending. And since Shooter isn’t writing it, Volcana’s just a dim bulb, instead of being the target of endless misogyny. There’s also an (early?) example of She-Hulk tramping around, picking up Hercules in the conclusion of the issue.

But the Silver Surfer frames the whole thing and I wondering if Stern realized how perfect it was to use him, an alien observing the possible end of the planet. Regardless, it’s a nice move. This issue might be better than every other Secret Wars II crossover issue–or close, anyway.

I’m a little perplexed how the Wasp managed to be a popular character for so long, since she’s such a vapid twit. And can anyone tell me if the Black Knight and Captain Marvel get together? They should, but I don’t care enough to read more.

CREDITS

“… And The War’s Desolation!”; writers, Roger Stern and Jim Shooter; penciller, John Buscema; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Christie Scheele; letterer, Jim Novak; editors, Howard Mackie and Mark Gruenwald; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Avengers 265 (March 1986)

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Wait, hillbillies don’t know who the Avengers are? The things I learn reading Secret Wars II crossovers….

This issue features–finally–the scene where the Beyonder reveals his body is just a modified copy of Steve Rogers’s body. Well worth reading thirty issues for that non-moment in comic history.

Otherwise, Stern seems to be doing his best not to emphasize the silliness of the crossover, which isn’t the same thing as the comic book good. Instead, there’s bickering between Hercules and Namor. It goes on for pages, actually, maybe the entire first half of the comic book.

Then the Avengers attack the Beyonder and they get beat up and he has a bunch of idiotic dialogue (did it hurt the more capable Marvel writers to write such drivel?), then the issue ends.

I like the Black Knight and Captain Marvel. They aren’t annoying like the rest of the cast.

CREDITS

Eve of Destruction; writer, Roger Stern; penciller, John Buscema; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Christie Scheele; letterer, Jim Novak; editors, Howard Mackie and Mark Gruenwald; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvels: Eye of the Camera 6 (April 2010)

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Okay, so Busiek doesn’t pull it off, not saving the whole series, not even saving the whole issue, but when he has the chance to be a right cheap bastard and have the mutant girl be a hallucination of a dying cancer patient… he doesn’t do it. He doesn’t do the M. Night Shyamalan ending. He does the work instead.

The ending doesn’t work–we never find out the title of the new book the protagonist was working on and there’s this whole emphasis on his concern for mutant rights–which started an issue ago, certainly not through the whole series–but most of the issue does.

Marvels: Eye of the Camera is a piece of shit. The only issue worth a cent, much less three hundred and ninety-nine of them, is this last one. It could have been a one shot. Would have been better as one too.

CREDITS

Closing the Book; writers, Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern; artist, Jay Anacleto; colorist, Brian Haberlin; letterers, Richard Starkings and Comicraft; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvels: Eye of the Camera 5 (June 2009)

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If Marvels II is really all about the protagonist dying, shouldn’t they have made the issues match the Kübler-Ross model–the five stages of grief–you know, from that “Simpsons” episode with the blowfish. Just an idea.

I’m not sure when this issue takes place. Sometime in the late 1980s at least. The protagonist has been dying for six months or something, so this history of the Marvel Universe is rather abbreviated. It’s idiotic, really. I mean, if the point of Marvels was to age things real time, based on publication date, look at this nonsense. Whatever.

This issue ends with a thread from the first series returning. It’s an interesting, cheaper than cheaper idea. I mean, if Busiek really resolves the story of the runaway mutant girl… it means the first series really was all bullshit to him.

I think I dislike this comic book more each issue.

CREDITS

A Whole Lot of Paper; writers, Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern; artist, Jay Anacleto; colorist, Brian Haberlin; letterers, Richard Starkings and Comicraft; editors, Jeanine Schaefer and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvels: Eye of the Camera 4 (April 2009)

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Ok, so Secret Wars took place in the seventies? I mean, based on the style of the protagonist’s new boss, at least. She’s wearing clothes straight out of “Mary Tyler Moore.” It’s fine, of course, if it does take place in the seventies in Marvels, but maybe mention it, guys. Maybe mention the year. Maybe tie in some events. Or at least get things right when it comes to costumes, if you aren’t going to mention years.

As I understand it, Alex Ross brought Marvels to Marvel and Busiek came onboard it. So letting Busiek run Marvels II seems a little odd. There’s absolutely no passion to the series, but there’s not even any interest in it. There’s a lot of random events, not particularly memorable ones either, taking place over a dozen years in this issue.

It’s not disastrous, but it’s a waste of time and money. Mine, specifically.

CREDITS

Deep Wounds; writers, Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern; artist, Jay Anacleto; colorist, Brian Haberlin; letterers, Richard Starkings and Comicraft; editors, Jeanine Schaefer and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Marvels: Eye of the Camera 3 (March 2009)

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Does Busiek have a point this time? This entire series seems pointless. It’s Anacleto, finally, drawing superheroes–not a lot of them, but some of them–and they look good and the comic looks good overall, but Busiek isn’t doing anything here. There’s nothing… pressing about this comic book. It’s completely by the numbers.

It’s so unspectacular, I don’t even remember what happened this issue. It ends with Spider-Man not trying to save the Hitman. It apparently takes place in the seventies, since the Punisher has just shown up, but there’s no seventies texture to it. Apparently, setting Marvels in a point in history is over now. It’s just the same as every other Marvel comic. Stuff happened a while ago. An indeterminate while ago. Like when Doctor Doom says many months ten years after an event. Sure, it’s many months….

Oh, man, this was four bucks an issue?

CREDITS

Shadows Within; writers, Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern; artist, Jay Anacleto; colorist, Brian Haberlin; letterers, Richard Starkings and Comicraft; editors, Jeanine Schaefer and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Avengers 261 (November 1985)

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This Secret Wars II tie-in is a regurgitation of all the other Secret Wars II tie-ins–well, maybe not all of them, but a lot of them. It’s the Beyonder trying to understand the human experience, this time playing with the Avengers.

It’s as lame as his costume on that front. And his costume is really lame. About half the issue is dedicated to the tie-in, with the other half concentrating on the Avengers themselves (was Captain Marvel the ostensible lead of the book at this time? She’s the only one who gets to go home and be off duty for a couple page).

There’s a page or two of politics, the Avengers losing their FAA privileges for the quinjets, which provides a nice monotony after the issue opens in deep space with the Skrulls.

Cap still does sound like Chicken Little warning everyone about the Beyonder.

CREDITS

Earth and Beyond!; writer, Roger Stern; penciller, John Buscema; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Christie Scheele; letterer, Jim Novak; editors, Howard Mackie and Mark Gruenwald; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Avengers 260 (October 1985)


I know people love The Avengers, but I never really got into them. I think I read West Coast as a kid, but I don’t know. Probably. I probably did.

Anyway, this issue reminds me more of Star Wars (one of the second two prequels mostly) than it seems like what an Avengers comic should be. It’s all very interstellar and, well, boring. The Wasp comes off badly, which I found interesting. I always thought she was supposed to be cool, but here there’s definitely something nasty about her.

But none of the Avengers are really the main characters in the issue. Firelord isn’t an Avenger and he opens the issue. Starfox is an Avenger? He has the next most to do, but only because he can tie in with the Skrulls and the space battle bad guy.

I am completely indifferent to it.

Funny outfit on the Beyonder though.

CREDITS

Assault On Sanctuary II; writer, Roger Stern; penciller, John Buscema; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Christie Scheele; letterer, Jim Novak; editors, Howard Mackie and Mark Gruenwald; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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