William Messner-Loebs

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 4 (September 1991)

36094Going into this issue, I realized I not only did not care about the resolution, I didn’t even remember all the terms for the Atlantis artifacts. It has something to do with these little pearls of energy. They have a silly name.

Barry takes over writing completely this issue and it feels a little smoother. Maybe because there aren’t any attempts at anything or even hints Barry might attempt something. The comic is more secure in its status as complete nonsense.

At some point, around halfway in, the true problem with Atlantis becomes clear. It’s a video game adaptation. A video game where the player is an active participant, now turned into a comic book where the reader is passive. But that base story is still geared toward active instead of passive.

It’s also way too full of content–and never the most interesting parts.

Unsurprisingly I suppose, it fails.

D 

CREDITS

Writers, William Messner-Loebs and Dan Barry; artist and colorist, Barry; letterer, Gail Beckett; editor, Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 3 (July 1991)

36093This third issue is the pits. Well, maybe not. Fate of Atlantis has been steadily sinking (sorry, had to do it) since the first page of the first issue. There’s no reason to think the last issue won’t be even worse than this one.

The problem, besides Barry’s pencils and composition, is the script. The writers tell most of the story in summary. One night, Indy is on watch so he talks to himself to fill in all the information the readers don’t know but should. He does it another time too. It’s past lazy, it’s incompetent.

Worse, the scenes the writers do concentrate on aren’t any good. This issue there’s a desert tribe and Indy and the girl spend a bunch of time with them. Why? Why is the desert tribe more interesting than the treasure hunt… no idea. It’s just another bad choice.

It’s all a bad choice.

D- 

CREDITS

Writers, Dan Barry and William Messner-Loebs; penciller, Barry; inker, Karl Kesel; colorist, Lurene Haines; letterer, Gail Beckett; editors, Diana Schutz and Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 2 (May 1991)

36092I can’t tell if Barry helping with the script is making things better or worse. Probably worse, since this issue is a breakneck race around the world for artifacts from Atlantis without any texture whatsoever.

I take that texture remark back partially–there is texture in the New York scenes. It’s when the story gets to exotic locales things are too rushed.

Fate of Atlantis is a good example of a bad adaptation. Barry and Messner-Loebs turn the girl into the protagonist, which is fine–they write her a lot better than Indy, who comes across as a brutish numbskull–but they don’t commit to it. It’s either her or Indy, only when they use Indy, they pull back too far from him.

As for the art, Barry’s pencils continue to lack charm. The scenery, while period specific, looks like something out of a Gold Key comic.

Atlantis stinks.

D 

CREDITS

Writers, Dan Barry and William Messner-Loebs; penciller, Barry; inker, Karl Kesel; colorist, Lurene Haines; letterer, Gail Beckett; editors, Diana Schutz and Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis 1 (March 1991)

36091It’s very hard not to think William Messner-Loebs is just cashing a paycheck with Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. There are some incredible logic holes. First and foremost, Messner-Loebs can’t write Indy’s interaction with the female sidekick. Or, more accurately, her interaction with him. He severely damages her business and reputation and she just forgives him because he’s cute.

Except, the way Dan Barry draws Indy, he’s not cute. He’s got a long face, a funny nose and odd hair. I can understand not doing photorealistic renderings of Harrison Ford, but at least match what people think when they think of the character.

The story itself, based on a video game, is a little weak. Messner-Loebs is in a hurry and Barry doesn’t layout the pages very well. There’s not natural progression to the comic.

Uninspired, even for licensed material, might be the best description.

C- 

CREDITS

Writers, Dan Barry and William Messner-Loebs; penciller, Barry; inker, Karl Kesel; colorist, Lurene Haines; letterer, Gail Beckett; editors, Diana Schutz and Mike Richardson; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Maze Agency Annual 1 (August 1990)

340992The annual has three stories. The first has Rick Magyar, Darick Robertson and William Messner-Loebs illustrating a Spirit homage. It’s a lot of fun; Barr’s script for it is very fast. Gabe’s on a mission, runs into Jennifer, both having Spirit references in their appearance. It’d be impossible to tell the story without the art angle. Very nice opening.

Sadly, the second story just goes on and on. Allen Curtis is a mediocre artist and Barr asks him to do a lot. The mystery involves a corpse in a moving box. It takes forever to get going, then Barr rushes the big finale. Curtis doesn’t draw characters distinctly enough; two suspects look exactly the same, making the end confusing.

The last story–with Adam Hughes pencils and Magyar inks–is a reprint of a convention special. The mystery’s solution is confounding, but the excellent art makes up for it.

B- 

CREDITS

A Night at the Rose Petal; artists, Rick Magyar, Darick Robertson and William Messner-Loebs; colorists, Michelle Basil and Susan Glod; letterer, Vickie Williams. Moving Stiffs; penciller, Allen Curtis; inkers, Keith Aiken and Jim Sinclair; colorists, Basil and Glod; letterer, Williams; Murder in Mint Condition; penciller, Adam Hughes; inker, Magyar; colorist, Glod; letterer, Bob Pinaha. Writer, Mike W. Barr; editors, Michael Eury and David Campiti; publisher, Innovation Publishing.

Wasteland 9 (August 1988)

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For lack of a better word, this issue is dippy. It’s not particularly bad–nowhere near Wasteland‘s worst–but it’s definitely dippy.

As usual, the fault tends to lie with the writers. The first story is a Close autobiographical, again scripted by Ostrander. In it, Close goes to L. Ron Hubbard for therapy. The beautiful David Lloyd art–until a way too long fencing match–makes it palatable. It’s lame.

The second story (Ostrander writing solo) is about a guy in the ghetto challenging God to a street fight; it seems a tad racist. I’m sure it’s not, but it’s not in that guilty white liberal “not racist” way. The Simpson art, however, is an absolute joy.

The final story, another one starring Close (co-scripting with Ostrander), is another flop. Messner-Loebs, usually great on art, fumbles here. Without good art, it’s inane filler.

Just like the issue itself.

CREDITS

Del & Elron; writer, John Ostrander; artist and colorist, David Lloyd; letterer, Dunina Rush. Raoul; writer, Ostrander; artist and letterer, Don Simpson; colorist, Lovern Kindzierski. Subtext Salad; writers, Del Close and Ostrander; artist and letterer, William Messner-Loebs; colorist, Kindzierski. Editor, Mike Gold; publisher, DC Comics.

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