Review: Amazing Adventures #34

Amazing Adventures #34 cover
Cover by P. Craig Russell

Amazing Adventures #34
Published and © by Marvel, January 1976

Title: “A Death in the Family”
Synopsis: Skar finally catches up to Killraven and the Freemen in Tennessee – and not everyone survives the ensuing battle!

Writer: Don McGregor
Artist: P. Craig Russell

Review: This installment of Killraven is a classic example of a creative team’s reach exceeding its grasp. Writer Don McGregor delivers some striking prose, strong character moments and philosophical themes. But he hasn’t learned to trust the art, insisting on wordy descriptions that undermine the story’s pace. For his part, artist P. Craig Russell offers strong storytelling and ornate detail, but struggles with consistency, particularly with faces. Both creators seem intent on pushing mainstream comics past the accepted boundries of the era. Their skills aren’t yet up to the task, but it sure is fun to watch them try.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “McGregor does an excellent job of keeping readers guessing who will live and who will die. … 3 out of 4 stars.” – Comics Buyer’s Guide #1656, August 2009 … “Intelligently handled and well under control.” – Richard Ashford, Comics Unlimited #44, June 1977 … “Weaving a literary tapestry complemented by Russell’s brilliant images, McGregor creates character-revealing scenes of poignancy and regret.” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon: Expanded Edition,” 2021 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: The creative team really was pushing the envelope with this series.
Not-so-cool factor: After several issues as unconscious cargo, it’s hard to feel any big feels for Grok.

Notable: Death of two of the Freemen. … The “War of the Words” letters page includes an LoC from future comics artist Ken Meyer Jr.

Collector’s note: Beware, this issue contains a Marvel Value Stamp (Series B) #10. … According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 9p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “Music is within me. I do not expect you to understand that. An internal beat.” – Hawk, freeman

Editor’s note: This review was written Dec. 7, 2021.

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