Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Post No. 618"

Comic Book Reviews:

In me same ol' tradition o', "If I ain't read it then it's NEW to me!" (as usual), we start out this time with Amazing Spider-man (Marvel) V2 #38 (Whole #479) from 2002, and one of the issues written by a writer that's fast became a favorite of mine on the title, J. Michael Straczynski. This issue picks up where Aunt May had come in on Peter Parker, still wearing his Spider-man costume and had the realization that her nephew had been leading quite an adventurous double-life secretly from her for many years.

This is one of the best Spider-man stories ever written, although the tale is almost exclusively the conversation between Peter and May, and one that should have been written way before 2002. And, yes, it picks at the continuity of way back when Aunt May supposingly died (in issue #400, I think), when the readers were let on to believe that she already knew Peter was Spidey, but this tale stands on its own as a classic in the "web-spinner's" saga, with many a touching moment between these two, each blaiming themselves for the death of Uncle Ben, and Peter's reasons for not telling May about his secret I.D..

John Rominta, Jr. did, as usual, a great job on the artwork and captured the facial emotions better than any artist ever on these characters. The best single comic book story I've read this year.

Shame I can't say the same for Amazing Spider-man #534 (09/2006), but that issue, still written by Straczynski, was part of "The Civil War" tie-ins, and has Spider-man deciding he's on the wrong side of the fence perhaps by revealing his true I.D. (in an earlier issue), and siding against his idol, Captain America as to which side is "right". It wasn't all that bad a tale, but I just didn't care too much for the whole CW deal. Much like DC's various "Infinite Crisis" sagas they eventually bore me a bit and just drag on and on.

Captain Marvel limited series (Marvel) #1 (01/2008) has the return of the Kree warrior, who many are giving to a Jesus complex, and really, I always liked this hero, but with so many other Marvel characters such as Bucky, Gwen Stacy, the Green Goblin and Aunt May, once gone, BE gone. Marvel always prided itself with what they termed more realistic situations in comic magazines back in the 1960's, but over the years it seems to have forgotten all of that unless they pervert these characters into non-heroic types. If ya kill 'em off, let 'em stay dead.

Civil War (Marvel) # 5 (11/2006) was actually one of the more interesting of that limited series, where Spider-man goes against Iron Man and decides to change his allegiance against the government ruling of registering all super-beings. Unfortunately he runs into a bit of trouble with both "Jack 0'Lantern" AND "The Jester" after a whoop-size battle with Iron Man, and they sort of kick his ass. He's saved by the most unlikely of the Marvel characters, which I won't say "who", but then, do ya really know anyone else that wears a big, white skull on his chest?

The Unknown Soldier (DC) #1, by Hoshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticetti was excellant. The title character is really no where to be seen save for the spirit of such perhaps in the mind of the main character, "Dr. Lwanga Moses", a humanitarian fighting to save his people of Uganda from the diseases of war, he questions his own sense of morality throughout this tale that is best read by everyone than merely reviewed.

Vertigo Double-Shot (Vertigo-DC) #1(2008) is a "flip-book" with one side the latest version of "House of Mystery", and the other half, David Lapham's "Young Liars". The HOM book was great! Done by the team of Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham, Luca Rossi and Ross Campbell, they captured the essence of a tale that chills and disturbs one with its ending.

The other half, "Young Liars", didn't impress me that much. There's this woman with a tumor and its affecting her sense of judgement, values, sexual drive, etc., and she doesn't know how long she'll have to live, so she's sort of a wild, krazy, party-person. reminds me too much of an old girl friend (*heh*)!

The Avengers V2 #'s 4 & 5 and The Invincible Iron Man V2 #'s 2& 3 (Marvel)1996-97) were, of course, all part of the "Heroes Reborn" experiment Marvel did some 10+ years ago where four different titles were discontinued & re-vamped by various Image artists. The best part of that whole thing is that it only lasted 13 months. Some of the Marvel characters involved looked just plain awful, especially The Hulk and Thor, and I recall "liking" the books at all in the order of Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers and lastly, Captain America.

I'm not sure just what Marvel was thinking back in those days, but their editors and or those who were in charge of making the decision to do this revamping should have had their butts kicked for such seriously bad misjudgement. Origins of the characters were all changed around, continuity was thrown out the window, and costumes were so redesigned that they hardly resembled the characters that had graced the pages of comic books previously for 35 years. In fact, the only title in this mess that showed any promise at all was indeed, Iron Man, whose change in armor I could forgive simply because Tony Stark was always inventing a new design. I'm glad today's Hulk actually LOOKS like the Hulk again, and not some combination of The Green Goliath and Fabio, and their mainstream titles are back on track again. Time will make me forget all the rest.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Marvel) #1 (2009) is just that; a truely wonderful book! Closely adapted by Eric Shanower and delightfully drawn by Skotttie Young, it breaches any generation gap in the readers where anyone of any age would enjoy it to read. I think L. Frank Baum would have been extremely happy with this adaptation of his work, the first issue of such brings the reader up to the point of Dorothy landing in Oz, meeting The Good Witch of the North, The Munchkins and The Scarecrow. (I wanna read dem all!)

Stephen King's Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born (Marvel) #4 (2007) is also a faithful adaptation of the work. I'm personally not a big fan of King's work, or even most of the film adaptations, but this comic adapted by Peter David & Robin Furth and illustrated (in a lavish "painted" style) by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove has captured King's words very well. I also recommend TDT: TGB "Guidebook" published by Marvel as well as it gives a pretty comprehensive description of the various and complex characters throught this storyline.

Wildstorm Convention Exclusive 2009 was a short comic-book-like preview given away at a comic con' which shows the different titles being published by that company this year, including "Gears of War", "Prototype", and "Resistance". I confess to not buying any of those, but I did notice WS still publishes "The Authority" (which I haven't read in a couple of years, but still interests me), as well as "Stormwatch" (one of the better old Image series).

Still lots of reviews to come as I find time to read them.


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