Review: Amazing Adventures #39

Amazing Adventures #39 cover
Cover by P. Craig Russell

Amazing Adventures #39
Published and © by Marvel, November 1976

Title: “Mourning Prey”

Synopsis: Killraven and the Freeman encounter a strange, mute butterfly woman – but will she prove to be friend or foe?

Writer: Don McGregor
Artist: P. Craig Russell

Review: Sadly, as this issue’s “War of the Words” letters page announces, this would be the final installment of this incarnation of Amazing Adventures. The creative team doesn’t have time to wrap up Killraven’s war against the Martian invaders – that would happen seven years later in Marvel Graphic Novel #7 – but they do end this series with the best issue of their run. Don McGregor delivers perhaps his most psychedelic strip, but it is P. Craig Russell that truly levels up here; the artist’s work is starting to showcase the delicate, detailed draftsmanship that would become his signature.

Grade: A

Second opinion: “This is one of Don McGregor and Craig Russell’s best pieces to date. … 4 out of 4 stars.” – Comics Buyer’s Guide #1656, August 2009 … “One of the best titles of ’76 and it will be sadly missed.” – Richard Ashford, Comics Unlimited #44, June 1977 … “Imagine ‘Lord of the Rings’ canceled at the end of book one! There was still a long way to go before the war was won, but through (Amazing Adventure’s) cancellation Marvel handed the war to the Martians on a plate.” – Alan Brightmore, Comics Unlimited #48, October 1977

Cool factor: Don McGregor and P. Craig Russell’s work on Killraven should be held in high regard and is ripe for critical reconsideration. While the creative team’s reach often exceeded its grasp, their run is clearly the work of creators eager to push the boundaries of their own talent and mainstream comics’ potential as a storytelling medium.

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 10p British variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “Her face has a sentient identity. It is imprisoned in her eyes … whispered in her movements.” – Carmilla Frost, observant and poetic

Editor’s note: This review was written Dec. 30, 2021.

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