Comic Reviews: Superior Spider-Man, Animal Man, and Star Wars!!
Well, here we are, in the aftermath of Amazing Spider-Man #700. If you haven’t heard by now, SPOILER Doc Ock is the new Spider-Man, and he’s living life to the fullest inside of Peter Parker’s body. Superior Spider-Man, while the start of a new series and direction for the wall-crawler, really feels more like a continuation from the previous series, and less like it’s own stand alone story. Of course, this is to be expected with the info dump that you’d have to give to someone before they started this series, but I’ll admit, I did enjoy this issue, and I’m curious to see how events in it will play out, especially after seeing that final panel (which I kind of called earlier).
Dan Slott’s script is arguably the best he’s turned in in quite some time. He keeps the plot moving along at a quick pace, and strikes a really good balance between the Spider-Man action and the “Peter” moments of the book. OckSpidey’s reaction to the new Sinister Six, comprised of Boomerang, Beetle, Overdrive, and other D-List Spidey villains was great, and I really enjoyed seeing the ingenious way that “Spidey” set up the villains to fail later on in the issue. It was a really cool way to not only showcase how smart this “new” Spider-Man is, but also used his experiments at Horizon Labs to great effect.
However, there is one thing that still bothers me: HOW IS IT THAT NO ONE NOTICES THE CHANGE IN PETER? Just like in Amazing #700, no one calls out Peter for being rude to them, or for acting uncharacteristically focused on his work. Yes, Peter has been known to display a one-track mind in the past, but at the same time, the things he’s saying to Max Modell and ESPECIALLY Mary Jane are extremely out of character, and the fact that not one of them has questioned if something’s up with him is extremely frustrating. It appears at one point in the story that MJ starts to wonder what’s up with Peter, but that’s quickly done away with once “Peter” mentions that he’s listening in on the new SInister Six’s plan via headset (during dinner, no less). I guess the argument can be made that MJ is so excited to be back with Peter that she’s choosing not to focus on this major change in his character, but come on Slott, you have to bring this up at some point.
Sorry, rant over.
Speaking of Mary Jane, Ryan Stegman draws the BEST Mary Jane I’ve seen in quite some time. In fact, he draws the best Spidey I’ve seen in awhile too. His art is the perfect fit for this type of book. It’s extremely fluid and expertly paced during the action scenes, but also detailed enough and uses awesome body language for the quiet moments, like in the already mentioned dinner scene between Peter and MJ. Hopefully with this series Stegman’s profile raises even higher, because I’ll follow him where he will go next.
So there you have it, Superior Spider-man is out, and definitely more designed for those who followed the adventures of Spider-Man’s previous title than the mythical “new reader”. Sure, there’s a recap page, but at the same time, it really makes the hook of this series sound ridiculous. The final cliffhanger though, reveals a very intriguing twist that I hope won’t get played out too long. I’d like to see it be resolved in (maybe) a year, but I feel like that’s even too long. Regardless, those who vowed to never pick up Spidey again after Amazing‘s ending should really reconsider, as this is leading to some interesting plot developments down the line.
I was trade waiting Animal Man until I was a guest on the Earth 603 podcast a few months ago, and realized that if I kept up with the trades, I wouldn’t get to the “Rotworld” side of Animal Man until probably next year. So, after catching up on the floppies, I’ve arrived here, at issue #16, the penultimate issue of Buddy Baker’s voyage through the Rot-infested planet Earth. While I’ve been reading Swamp Thing monthly and loving the Green side of “Rotworld”, I have to admit, I like the Animal Man side a smidge bit more.
Picking up where last issue left off, Animal Man and his misfit gang have found the mysterious prisoner in Metropolis: Green Lantern. While it’s not a GL we’re familiar with, his backstory is explained away fairly briefly, and his reason for existing is a solid one. After rescuing their new ally (and retrieving his power battery), the crew head off to find Anton Arcane’s stronghold, but not before being attacked by some familiar faces that have been horrifically turned by the Rot. Also, we learn via flashbacks more of the horrors that befall Buddy’s family, leaving us with a truly horrific cliffhanger on that end.
Jeff Lemire’s writing always impresses, and this issue is no exception. He’s taken a character I knew literally nothing about, and made him into one of my favorite characters of the year. Buddy Baker is driven by not only a desire to save the Earth and protect The Red, but also to protect his family, a fact that Lemire uses to drive up our anxiety at every turn. Seeing Buddy’s family attempt to stop the Hunters Three without the help of their father is truly nerve-wracking, and the art by Steve Pugh is definitely going to keep me up at night. Animal Man long been lauded as one of the best comics in DC’s stable, and “Rotworld” is a prime example of that.
I’ve never been a big fan of the Star Wars extended universe. With the exception of Shadows Of The Empire, The Thrawn Trilogy, Force Unleashed, and Legacy, there hasn’t been anything that really grabbed my attention like the original trilogy did.
Dark Horse’s new Brian Wood penned Star Wars captures the magic I felt when I first saw Star Wars when I was seven. Taking place after the events of A New Hope, the series finds Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewbacca on the search for a new homebase for the Rebel Alliance. Wood’s characterization of these already recognizable characters is spot on, and his narration is stellar, especially in the too brief moments we have with Darth Vader. Chris D’Anda (the artist for the Batman: Arkham City miniseries), delivers some truly awesome art that somehow fits into the “Star Wars” mold, but is still uniquely his own. While it’s hard to get excited for more Star Wars anything, this is something that should not be passed up. Highly, highly recommended.