Posts Tagged ‘Walt Simonson’

The Fantastic Four #354

July 13, 2013

Fantastic Four 354Walt Simonson
July 1991
*****
The team erases the records of the MU before it’s interdicted by a temporal agency (a la Anti-Monitor!). Simonson adds his comic-surreal touch by engineering the team’s escape aboard a transdimensional locomotive! An imaginative finale to a marvelous run that’s stressed adventure over crimefighting.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #353]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #355]

The Fantastic Four #353

July 12, 2013

Fantastic Four 353Walt Simonson
June 1991
*****
Walt’s found his groove. The Four have been detained by an omniversal bureaucracy that polices spacetime for continuity infractions—like #337-41! A preposterous SF idea, it epitomizes the sense of fun that Simonson has brought to his FF run. Even his art—like the Thing’s extra-rocky hide—sizzles.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #352]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #354]

The Fantastic Four #352

July 11, 2013

Fantastic Four 352Walt Simonson
May 1991
*****
An ingenious issue of SF comics! While the team escapes from Doom’s traps, Mr F duels the Doc across a half-hour of time-jumps. The issue’s time-coded so readers can follow the action linearly or hop achronologically with the combat. Even the cover, a flashback to #350, is a panel in the story!
[continued from The Fantastic Four #350]
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #351]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #353]

The Fantastic Four #350

July 10, 2013

Fantastic Four 350Walt Simonson
March 1991
***
An extra-long ish sees Dr. Doom cure She-Thing’s condition, &, ironically, Ben Grimm regain his rocky hide. Then Doom traps the team at his Ruritanian castle to challenge Reed to a time-duel! Simonson doesn’t quite have Doom’s voice down. But his art has bigger problems: Milgrom inks a rush job, eliminating the backgrounds & losing WS’s heavy line; the colorist washes out the remainder.
[continued in The Fantastic Four #352]
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #349]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #351]

The Fantastic Four #349

July 9, 2013

Fantastic Four 349Walt Simonson // Arthur Adams & Gracine Tanaka
February 1991
***
A dozen players chase a Maguffin, an egg that hatches a robot WMD. Mr. F & Mole Man hold the focus; Wolverine & Ghost Rider never seem wholly present. Simonson doesn’t have a handle on the guests’ voices or superpowes. His strongest suit, aside from Mr. F himself, is approaching comic books as fun.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #348]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #350]

The Fantastic Four #348

July 8, 2013

Fantastic Four 348Walt Simonson // Arthur Adams
January 1991
***
A team of A-list solo guests sows the mag’s tongue in its cheek. But other than the goof, WS has no use for them; it’s Adams who justifies the cameos. His style has a toon-like element—esp. lovely monsters & Sue’s doe eyes—which looks past the Image era to super-manga like Joes Maduriera & Quesada.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #347]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #349]

The Fantastic Four #347

July 7, 2013

Fantastic Four 347Walt Simonson
December 1990
****
A renegade Skrull zaps the Four then recruits a 1990 Marvel marketer’s dream-team to replace them. Meanwhile, Simonson brings in more monsters, in this case Kirby kaiju! Adams’ baroque art has all the density of the era’s unfortunate style but, bonus, a sense of anatomy, backgrounds, & pacing.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #346]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #348]

The Fantastic Four #346

July 6, 2013

Fantastic Four 346Walt Simonson
November 1990
****
The 4+1, sans powers (except for a Thing exosuit), help a GI squad survive a time-displaced isle. Simonson’s signature is a stylized dinosaur, so it’s no surprise he revels in this 2-issue adventure. But he takes time to enrich the romance btw Ben & She-Thing, who proposes staying in the Cretaceous.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #345]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #347]

The Fantastic Four #345

July 5, 2013

Fantastic Four 345Walt Simonson
October 1990
****
The FF skid through a time-storm to land on a Pacific isle—packed with dinosaurs! Simonson adds to the pulp conceit by sapping the team of their powers. Ben, already human, steps up to act the mensch with his paramour, Sharon Ventura, who’s anxious about her body now that it’s flesh instead of rock!
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #344]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #346]

The Fantastic Four #344

July 4, 2013

Fantastic Four 344Walt Simonson
September 1990
****
To avert WW3 on a parallel Earth, the Four & She-Thing tussle w/ a cyborg Stalin piloting a mecha suit! Simonson is inspired, a contrast in tone to the era’s gun-toting urban vigilantism. His art, however, carries a rugged weight & vibrant SFX—he’s like Chaykin’s younger, more popular brother.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #343]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #345]

The Fantastic Four #343

July 3, 2013

Fantastic Four 343Walt Simonson
August 1990
****
The team have landed on a parallel Earth where Pres. Quayle & 100-year-old Stalin prep for WW3. Funny, since reality, where the SU is imploding & the US fights a recession! But the true-blue heroics contrast happily w/ super-comics’ fad for antiheroes. Plus WS looks great after WS’s month off.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #342]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #344]

The Fantastic Four #341

July 1, 2013

Fantastic Four 341Walt Simonson
June 1990
***
Rather than consume the universe, Galactus commits euthanasia by that Kirby ex machina, the Ultimate Nullifier. Reed defeats a space succubus just as easily. As bold as Simonson’s art is, his plot feels too indebted to King Jack’s retro SF; he’s not pioneering a new perspective the way his Thor did.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #340]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #342]

The Fantastic Four #340

June 30, 2013

Fantastic Four 340Walt Simonson
May 1990
****
Mr. F, the heroic focus of this arc, susses a Celestial plan to weaponize Galactus & tosses the Kirby God into G’s black hole! WS writes super-drama underpinned by grandiose beings & fantastic machinery, a la the King; his art, since Thor, has added a fine-lined filigree in the Art Adams manner.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #339]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #341]

The Fantastic Four #339

June 29, 2013

Fantastic Four 339Walt Simonson
April 1990
***
Delightful super-SF comics. To destroy the black-hole machinery of mighty Galactus, Reed & the gang refit a space empire’s munitions plants as interstellar depth charges! Also, Simonson pauses the space adventure to indulge in a heavyweight superhero boy: Thor v. an alien Superman analog.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #338]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #340]

The Fantastic Four #338

June 28, 2013

Fantastic Four 338Walt Simonson
March 1990
****
A multiversal trio of Kangs race a space succubus to harness a black hole. Our heroes learn that it’s actually feeding Galactus, & also must contend w/ an oddball marc from the future. Confused? This SF adventure couples grandiosity w/ whimsy, as when the team skirts the hole’s event horizon!
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #337]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #339]

The Fantastic Four #337

June 27, 2013

Fantastic Four 337Walt Simonson
February 1990
****
The ebullient Simonson writes, draws, & inks! Reed’s latest experiment, an explosion of op-art, leads to a Ditko embolism in spacetime (a dangling thread from Walt’s Avengers run). So the team + a few Avengers pile into a time sled, whose “redundency existentialators” help penetrate the bubble!
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #336]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #338]

The Fantastic Four #336

June 26, 2013

Fantastic Four 336Walt Simonson // Ron Lim
January 1990
***
In a unique victory, Dr. Richards defeats Congress! He pokes enough holes in the concept of a federally mandated registration act to table the bill (HS 39110). Then a Doombot ends Acts of Vengeance & Grimm, in his robosuit, kayos an android. Also note: the covers to #334-6 are their own comic!
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #335]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four# 337]

The Fantastic Four #335

June 25, 2013

Fantastic Four 335Walt Simonson // Rich Buckler
late December 1989
***
The FF testify for a Congressional sub-committee. The scene lets Simonson dismantle the silly “realism” of registering superheroes from left, right, & center. Sounds dull, but he also turns out a moderately entertaining farce as more D-listers flail clumsily in their attempts to fight the Four.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #334]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #336]

The Fantastic Four #334

June 24, 2013

Fantastic Four 334Walt Simonson // Rich Buckler
early December 1989
***
Simonson debuts & instantly shifts the mag’s tone from lugubrious to lighthearted. As part of the Acts of Vengeance crossover, he pits the FF against D-list supervillains (who can’t even get in the building!). Buckler’s three-tier grid has a cheery flatness, but he does realistic, expressive faces.
[last issue: The Fantastic Four #333]
[next issue: The Fantastic Four #335]

The Mighty Thor #382

May 3, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
August 1987
****
Coincidentally, Simonson ends his run at Thor’s 300th issue (subtract Journey into Mystery‘s first 82 Thor-less issues). It’s that rarity, a satisfying climax. Tho’ Simonson’s pace feels rushed, Sal B keeps up w/ his ’60s style. Temporarily residing in enchanted Kirby armor, Thor storms the underworld to lift Hel’s curse upon his brittle bones & then rushes home to save Asgard from frost giants.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #381]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #383]

The Mighty Thor #381

May 2, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
July 1987
****
Having faced the World Serpent & a Satan analog, but cursed w/ immortality, Thor’s a pulverized mess. Simonson finds a brilliant solution: syphon Thor’s soul into the enchanted armor that he’s fought so often! It plays to Buscema’s Kirby-esque strengths as Thor battles the armor on the astral plane.
[continued from Mephisto vs. #4 of 4]
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #380]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #382]

The Mighty Thor #380

April 28, 2011

Walt Simonson
June 1987
*****
Legend. Thor faces his fate in epic battle with the monstrous reptilian World Serpent. Captions count out the poetic beat of Norse sags, but it’s the art that adds earthshaking weight to this, the grand finale of Simonson’s run. Each page is a splash, yet they can barely contain the dragon’s coils!
[continued in Mephisto vs. #4 of 4]
[last issue:  The Mighty Thor #379]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #381]

The Mighty Thor #379

April 26, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
May 1987
****
If only Walt S provided art, this would be a superlative issue! As it is, he delivers an A+ script, leaving his pal Sal to do classical three-tier layouts. Thor converses civilly with a wily dragon who’s disguised as the Kirby monster Fin Fang Foom. But it’s the Midgard Serpent, fated to slay Thor!
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #378]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #380]

The Mighty Thor #378

April 25, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
April 1987
***
At four issues & counting, this ongoing plot wouldn’t be out of place in Lee/Kirby’s ’60s run, but it hints at an epic turn. Clad in mystic armor, Thor rescues Loki & an X-Man from a posse of supercharged frost giants. Meanwhile, the gods of Asgard are seizing up, stricken by a mysterious malady.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #377]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #379]

The Mighty Thor #377

April 24, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
March 1987
***
Simonson’s Thor has run low on vision since adopting Buscema for its, art, tho’ the action remains fun. Elves batter & nearly best our hero as he forges new armor in a Pittsburgh factory. Lucky for Thor, Loki kidnaps him as well as X-veteran Iceman in a plan to restore the strength of frost giants.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #376]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #378]

The Mighty Thor #376

April 23, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
February 1987
***
The Kirby style of Sal B. puts Walt S. into a retro mood. His drama of superhero neurosis & shame comes right out of Stan Lee’s playbook: a NYC crowd cheers & reporters jeer as the Thunder God retreats under the blows of the ol’ Absorbing Man. Tho’ Thor carries the day, he’s broken & unconscious!
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #375]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #377]

The Mighty Thor #375

April 22, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
January 1987
***
#375 is that rarity in Simonson’s run: a conventional Thor ish set mostly on Midgard. Loki’s learned of Thor’s curse (tho’ he’s immortal, his bones are breakable), so he pits his step-brother against replicas of bruising foes. Of course, he’s also perking plots in Asgard & parlaying with giants.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #374]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #376]

The Mighty Thor #374

April 21, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
December 1986
****
Thor crosses paths w/ The Mutant Massacre,  perhaps the strongest X-over of all time & certainly the tightest. In a noble climax, he builds a funeral pyre for the sewer-dwelling Morlocks. And in augury of a big Simonson event, Thor faces the Death Goddess & learns he’s neither invulnerable nor mortal!
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #373]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #375]

The Mighty Thor #373

April 20, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
November 1986
****
Quiet issues like this one make you miss Walt’s art, esp. now that he’s creating X-Factor w/ his wife. Not coincidentally, #373 picks up when Thor rescues a crucified Angel in NYC sewers, part of the Mutant Massacre. But first, his mournful mood is lifted by a family of BK Italians.
[continued from X-Factor #10]
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #372]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #374]

The Mighty Thor #372

April 19, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
October 1986
***
Where #371 was a British pastiche, #372 owes something to the whimsy of Thor’s Journey into Mystery era. Jane Foster cameos as an unknowing damsel-in-distress whose murder prompts a quick timeloop! The tone’s at odds w/ Simonson’s mythic adventure, as Thor helps a sci-fi timecop to kill a demon.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #371]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #373]

The Mighty Thor #371

April 18, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
September 1986
***
After all the epic fun, this ish is quite a comedown. Balder fills the throne of Asgard (empty since #353), which leaves Thor to resume superheroics on Midgard. His first foe is an homage to the British fascist future cop, Judge Dredd; his second is a slasher demon who’d fit in Moore’s Swamp Thing.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #370]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #372]

The Mighty Thor #369

April 17, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
July 1986
****
It’s the minor arcs of Simonson’s run that show how coherent his vision is. This two-part tale adds medieval motifs to his usual Norse myth. Evil enchantresses & their troll mother (Uglitha—what a name!) lure questing knights into their floating castle. Buscema’s art is almost a Hal Foster homage.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #368]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #370]

The Mighty Thor #368

April 13, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
June 1986
****
Balder has been seduced by sirens on the road to his coronation, while his role is nearly usurped by the elf king from earlier in Simonson’s run. How will Thor (now bearded) rescue him? Sal Buscema, having proved an able partner to Simonson during the Balder mini, now provides his stolid pencils.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #367]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #369]

The Mighty Thor #367

April 12, 2011

Walt Simonson
May 1986
****
Amid much pomp, a new monarch is crowned over Asgard—a nice turn has Thor abdicate to Balder the Brave. The new arc has intrigues aplenty, both romantic & Machiavellian, but the best twist is the worry that royal responsibilities will throw the fraternal bond btw the two men into conflict.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #366]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #368]

Balder the Brave #4 of 4

April 11, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
May 1986
***
Simonson closes the supplement to his superlative run on Thor with satisfying follow-through. He focuses as much on the anti-villain Karnilla as on Balder, now a sort of Sun God, who teaches her of mercy, love, & the burdens of rule. Props to Sal for his clear storytelling & dynamic layouts.
[continued in The Mighty Thor #367]
[last issue: Balder the Brave #3 of 4]

The Mighty Thor #366

April 10, 2011

Walt Simonson
April 1986
****
The climax to the “Frog of Thunder” arc unfolds nicely. Thor arrives in Asgard in time to scotch Loki’s election to the throne, just as a pal lifts the spell that’s turned him into a god-sized toad. In a fun 3-issue tale, Simonson taps the surreal potential of comics that often goes underexploited.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #365]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #367]

The Mighty Thor #365

April 9, 2011

Walt Simonson
March 1986
*****
Thor, trapped in the form of a bullfrog (!), helps a colony of batrachians fend off scuzzy NYC rats with allies like alligators & a sewer mutant. Then he hefts his hammer & transforms… into a 6′ frog in Kirby armor! Simonson’s audacity makes this whimsy as fun as the Norse epic, just 3 months ago.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #364]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #366]

Balder the Brave #3 of 4

April 8, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
March 1986
**
The Brave God randomly gets a power-up, his newfound heat proving as deadly a weapon against Frost Giants as the magic sword he wins in an arena fight. The art of Our Pal Sal hasn’t advanced past Kirby’s ’60s innovations: it’s fine for this trad fantasy quest, but it lacks an emotional core.
[last issue: Balder the Brave #2 of 4]
[next issue: Balder the Brave #4 of 4]

The Mighty Thor #364

April 7, 2011

Walt Simonson
February 1986
*****
This is Loki’s greatest act of mischief: he’s transformed Thor into a large frog! It’s part of his plan to take the throne of Asgard. Now the hero’s stranded in Central Park, helping a tribe of croakers war against local rats. Brilliant! More like Watership Down than either Lee/Kirby or Norse myth.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #363]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #365]

The Mighty Thor #363

April 6, 2011

Walt Simonson
January 1986
***
Secret Wars II arrives at Thor’s doorstep, having roped Beta Ray Bill into its mini. The Beyonder supercharges a thug to wallop Thor. But w/ assistance from the Power kids, Thor teaches the omnipotent naïf about family & ironic motives. The last, a surprise, shows Simonson’s confidence w/ his mag.
[continued from Power Pack #18]
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #362]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #364]

Balder the Brave #2 of 4

April 5, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
January 1986
***
High adventure in a Tolkein vein. Balder returns to his lady’s castle to find her abducted by storm giants. A quest! Simonson’s dialogue is esp. good: a cod-Elizabethan that demos better grammar than Stan Lee ever did. Sal B does his usual journeyman’s job, providing a clear story & muscled action.
[continued from The Mighty Thor #362]
[last issue: Balder the Brave #1 of 4]
[next issue: Balder the Brave #3 of 4]

The Mighty Thor #362

April 4, 2011

Walt Simonson
December 1985
*****
Thor & the Valhallans learn that exiting the underworld is harder than entering. So the Executioner, a minor heavy from the Lee/Kirby era, stands alone at the Bridget to Hel. An exemplar of Simonson’s approach to Thor, this one-man Thermopylae is a truly epic moment that honors a warrior’s sacrifice.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #361]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #363]

The Mighty Thor #361

April 2, 2011

Walt Simonson
November 1985
****
This journey into Hel is nearer to pagan Homer than a Christian harrowing, as the  warriors of Valhalla face their belated loved ones—but in comics, the spirits tempt a path to death. The mag’s Death Goddess wrestles w/ Thor for the souls of cursed mortals, disfiguring our hero before her surrender!
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #360]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #362]

Balder the Brave #1 of 4

March 30, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
November 1985
***
Interleaved btw the pages of Thor 360, this mini’s first ish is an expansion of Simonson’s epic run. Balder leaves the side of his lady, the anti-villain Norn Queen, to harrow Hel with his brethren. Buscema does a more-than-passable imitation of WS’s blocky style, turning out some of his best work.
[continued from The Mighty Thor #360]
[continued in The Mighty Thor #360]
[next issue: Balder the Brave #2 of 4]

The Mighty Thor #360

March 29, 2011

Walt Simonson
October 1985
****
After a parlay w/ a ghost witch, Thor marches upon the underworld, where he, Balder & the warriors of Valhalla will rescue mortals cursed by the faerie king. But is Thor really hoping to find his father’s spirit there? This issue is rich w/ emotional subtext, to a level rare for mainstream comics.
[continued in Balder the Brave #1]
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #359]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #361]

The Mighty Thor #359

March 28, 2011

Walt Simonson
September 1985
****
Loki dances a pas de trois with Thor & the siren of Asgard, aiming to ascend to the kingdom’s throne. Despite all the women involved (Sif appears too), the dialogue doesn’t exactly pass the Bechdel Test. But the arc has its romantic pleasures, esp. when a bewitched Thor catches the couple in bed!
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #358]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #360]

The Mighty Thor #358

March 27, 2011

Walt Simonson
August 1985
***
In the ruins of Asgard, a sorceress bewitches Thor but gives her heart to Loki. On Earth, Bill faces a cadre of robot-armored thieves. Thor hasn’t offered conventional NYC superheroics in a while, but this plot—involving Vietnam vets & a Soviet foe of Iron Man—reminds us why we haven’t missed ’em!
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #357]
next issue: The Mighty Thor #359]

The Mighty Thor #357

March 25, 2011

Walt Simonson
July 1985
****
Simonson’s recharged after his break from art duties: his lines seem zippier & more confident. He’s brewing a Shakespearean struggle for the throne of Asgard, now that Odin’s dead. A warm subplot dips into soap opera, as Beta Ray Bill romances Sif while tracking high-tech armored bank robbers.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #356]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #358]

The Mighty Thor #355

March 24, 2011

Walt Simonson // Sal Buscema
May 1985
***
Sal Buscema takes the art duties, bringing his old-fashioned Kirby-lite style to a schmaltzy tale. A retired god, nine feet tall, imparts a few words of sentimental wisdom to a mopey Thor. Still, the ish has a confident tone & a few deeper strokes, like the ice maidens who perish in a day.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #354]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #356]

The Mighty Thor #354

March 23, 2011

Walt Simonson
April 1985
****
An epilogue to the Surtur Saga lends gravity to Odin’s sacrifice. When the Death Goddess claims the All-Father’s soul, Thor’s reaction is rage, an obvious displacement of his filial grief. But then, an immortal would rarely confront death. This note & others touch on the gap btw divinity & humanity.
[last issue: The Mighty Thor #353]
[next issue: The Mighty Thor #355]