Comic Reviews: Spider-Man Annual and Conan The Barbarian!
Spider-Man Annual #1 (Marvel Comics)
Ever since he stole the show in Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse, everyone’s been wondering just when we’d see Spider-Ham in the pages of a Marvel comic again. Sure, he played a role in the Spider-Geddon event, but he was never the main featured character in that event. But Peter Porker has a starring role at last in the Spider-Man Annual, and he’s got a pretty stellar creative team with Jason Latour, Phil Lord, and David Lafuente helping to bring him into a brand new adventure.
There’s a bunch of stories throughout this special, but the main one focuses on Spider-Ham rescuing Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen from the forces of the Circus of Crime. After a portal accidentally brings Peter Porker and his enemies into our world, the three need to do battle with the Ringmaster to put things back in place. Luckily for the heroes (and unluckily for Ringmaster), the villain’s hypnosis has zero effect on Peter Porker, allowing the three to make quick work of their enemy.
People looking for a Spider-Ham that’s similar to the one they saw on the big screen are in for a real treat with Spider-Man Annual, as Latour, Miller, and Lord’s script has exactly the same feel as the Into The Spider-Verse movie. It’s so well done that it’s impossible to read the issue and not hear John Mulaney’s voice in your head. While the initial story is over a little too quickly, it’s still a lot of fun, and there’s plenty to go on beyond that one with Mr. Porker.
David LaFuente’s art, like the script, is also in line with what was established in the Spider-Verse movie, but also has some nods to the classic Spider-Ham series as well. Naturally, the art style for this issue is pretty cartoony, but that’s to be expected with a character like Spider-Ham. At times, LaFuente’s art is so great that you wouldn’t be mistaken if you thought the panels were going to start moving on their own.
With the release of Spider-Man Annual, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Peter Porker could be making his way back to the comic racks in his own ongoing. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this issue ends up being a way of testing the waters to see if there’s an interest in a new Spider-Ham series. If the series ends up being anything like this, it’ll be a slam dunk.
Conan The Barbarian #7 (Marvel Comics)
Marvel’s wasted no time using the Conan license to full effect, but of the many series that they’re putting out starring Robert E Howard’s Cimmerian, none have been able to touch the main Conan The Barbarian series by Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar. While the opening story has been a bit of a slow burn, Aaron’s filled the opening issues with cool looks into the Barbarians long and storied career as a hunter, king, and soldier, the seventh issue is no exception.
One of the great things about Jason Aaron’s run is how well he subverts expectations with this character. The opening of this issue starts off in a very potentially un-PC way, but within a few pages you realize that what you think is going happen clearly isn’t, and leads to a conclusion far different than you could ever imagine. I’m not going to spoil exactly what kinds of surprises Jason Aaron’s script has in store for you, but it’s really cool to see Aaron take his love for this character and use it to try and tell new stories for the character when he could have just phoned it in and told the same stories we’ve seen hundreds of times with Conan.
Mahmud Asrar’s art is still rock solid, and he clearly is having a blast drawing this book. While this issue doesn’t feature as many creatures as I would’ve liked, Asrar’s line work is still fantastic, bringing a murky and dirty quality to Conan’s world that’s actually more beautiful than how I’ve described it.
Conan The Barbarian continues to be a rock solid sword and sorcery comic that actually goes beyond what the character is known for. In a lot of ways, this arc could go down as not only one of the best in the character’s long career, but also in Jason Aaron’s career as well. It’s certainly reinvigorated my interest in the character and his world, and that’s something that I never thought would have happened.
Posted on June 26, 2019, in Comic reviews and tagged Chris Miller, Conan The Barbarian, David LaFuente, Jason Aaron, Jason Latour, Mahmud Asrar, Marvel Comics, Phil Lord, Spider-Man Annual. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.