Bullet Reviews #51: Amazing Spider-Man, Dark Shadows, The Jungle Book!
Welcome to another edition of Bullet Reviews! Every other week (for now) we will be taking some quick shots at a selection of books released in the last two weeks. Some are regulars to this column while others are here sporadically but all are fun! This week we take a look at Amazing Spider-Man #681, Avengers #24, Dark Shadows #4, Godzilla Legends #5, Journey Into Mystery #635 and the debut issue of Zenescope’s The Jungle Book!
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #681 (Marvel)
Spider-Man and the Human Torch are running out of time to save John Jameson and the crew of the doomed Horizon space station, Apogee 1. Thing is, they think their time is running out because of the lack of oxygen and have no idea Doc Ock is going to destroy the thing! It’s good, old-fashioned super hero action, and classic Spidey/Torch bickering, as Dan Slott and Chris Yost tell the final tale before the big event starts.
Doctor Octopus needed something from that station, I’m not sure what it is but it completed his preparations for his ‘final’ master plan. A master plan that will put the entire Earth at risk and take the ever Amazing Spider-Man to the… Ends Of The Earth! (How’s that for a set up?)
But before that huge event begins, it was nice to have one last fun Spider-Man adventure. The banter between Spidey and the Torch is something long missed in Marvel Comics. Overall, this was a highly entertaining two-parter giving us one last fun romp before things get really serious with the Ends Of The Earth storylinee that begins this week in Amazing Spider-Man #682! Needless to say look for coverage for this event right here on Comicbooked.com and check out the teasers for this upcoming epic HERE and HERE! -Skott Jimenez
AVENGERS #24 (Marvel)
Avengers #24 sees the conclusion of the story arc started in issue 20 (reviewed here) and was I disappointed. Marvel set up for what had the potential to be the event of the year and quickly dashed it to make way for Avengers vs X-men. While the events of issue 24 do not necessarily prohibit the theme of this arc from resurfacing later this year, it does certainly make it difficult. For those of you who have not been following The Avengers, Norman Osborne was broken out of the raft by members of H.A.M.M.E.R. who had joined forces with A.I.M., Hydra and the Hand to form, what would probably be considered the scariest non powered alliance in the 616 universe. This alliance became even scarier when former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Washington committed treason by selling information about the way various heroes got their powers to the new super organization. This allowed the new criminal super power to form squads of troops with the powers of various heroes such as Ant Man and the Hulk. Along with the newly powered cronies from the various organizations, Osborne had resurrected one of my personal favorite teams of super villains, The Dark Avengers. To lead his new Dark Avengers, Osborne commissioned the Scientist Supreme of A.I.M. to endow him with super powers fit for the job, and did she ever. Osborne was turned into what is known as a ‘super adaptoid’, an individual who, after touching a powered individual, absorbs their D.N.A. and replicates their powers. Using his vast new resources, Osborne successfully started a P.R. war with the Avengers he was well on his way to winning and had successfully captured both Captain America and Luke Cages teams. With his new army of super powered cronies, Dark Avengers and his own new extreme power set, Osborne was poised to reek havoc on the Marvel Universe for a long time to come. Despite his optimum positioning for chaos, yet that idea was entirely dashed in one issue. I have not been quite this disappointed over a story arc in quite some time. -Rob Conn
DARK SHADOWS #4 (Dynamite Entertainment)
After last week’s disappointing debut of the trailer for the upcoming Tim Burton movie, this series has become even more important to me. While Burton is introducing a whole new generation to Dark Shadows by making it a cheap comedy, D.E. is continuing the true legacy by treating the story with more respect.
Angelique have been reborn but in order to stay human she must feed on the lives of the living, otherwise she will revert back to a statue. Barnabas joins forced with Quentin Collins to stop her but first he must feed. Things go wrong when the blood lust overcomes Barnabas and Quentin must stop him by giving in to his other side: the werewolf! As they struggle, things come to a head as Angelique herself arrives on scene and makes the same demand of Barnabas: return her love to suffer the loss of his family. Barnabas takes a stand and fights for himself and his family and, once again, is forced to stop Angelique in the only way he can: destroying her body.
It’s always great to see Barnabas in action, he’s normally so reserved, and also being forced to work with Quentin is interesting. This series continues to show that vampires, even one from a franchise decades old, can be treated with respect. This series isn’t the campy mess the movie appears to be, no, it continues to build on the moody, gothic drama established in the series. I really hope D.E. doesn’t begin to change the tone of this series to match the movie, otherwise I’ll be forced to drop it. -Skott Jimenez
GODZILLA LEGENDS #5 of 5 (IDW Publishing)
Legends concludes with a story featuring the monster spider Kumonga but the real star of this issue is Bryson Allworth, life long adventurer who has done it all and retired. Or so he thought.
This issue is told through his experiences as he’s being interviewed on TV. He tells of the government coming to him to do the one thing he’d never done: Climb Godzilla to get tissue samples in order to find a way to stop the beast! Along the way he see the world through Godzilla’s eyes as the King of Monsters demolishes a town, where one of the citizens shoots at Godzilla and hits Allworth in the shoulder, damaging the radiation suit he was wearing. Later, he’s front and center as Kumonga attacks Godzilla and is fought to the death.
Through all these experiences, Allworth learns something important about Godzilla: He’s not a mindless monster hellbent on destroying everything he sees, no, Godzilla simply reacts to what happens around him. He destroys towns because they are in his way. He attacks humans because they seek to destroy him, same with the other monsters. He sees something more in Godzilla than a mindless monster and, through this interview, tries to express that. Perhaps he would have succeeded had reports of a Godzilla sighting not cut him short.
We also learn that Allworth may not get another chance to share his thoughts. Being so close to Godzilla with a damaged radiation suit gave him cancer.
This wasn’t the most action packed issue of this miniseries but it was certainly the most poignant. It’s always nice to see the theory of Godzilla as a force of nature rather than a mindless beast be reinforced. This issue does it very well. -Skott Jimenez
JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #635 (Marvel)
What more can I say about this series? JiM is, bar none, one of the very best books Marvel is publishing today.
The Terrorism Myth continues as Loki, Leah and Hellstrom continue to try to prevent Nightmare from collecting the left over fear stuff, what remained after Fear Itself, and making him the most powerful of the Fear Lords. Things move as well as they can considering Loki’s life hangs in the balance. He must be a part of the ritual to save the children inflicted with the fear stuff and assaulted by Nightmare but he himself must not sleep, if he does he dies and Nightmare wins!
So, what is Loki’s solution? Simple: Give Nightmare what he wants! Must to Hellstrom’s disapproval, anyway. But, again, this begs the question of what is Loki really up to? Ever since he returned in the form of this young boy he’s been very difficult to figure out. He seems to be trying to atone for his past but always does so in a way that plays into the type of God he used to be. He’s a tricky one to figure out…which, I suppose, is what the Trickster God would play at.
So, he allows Nightmare to win but allows the victory in, as he puts it, a ‘Loki way’ which means he is up to something. The final question, then, is will it work?
Why aren’t more people reading this book? Kieron Gillen is truly skilled at telling the young Trickster’s story and deserves to be rewarded with more readers!
I cannot recommend this book enough! -Skott Jimenez
JUNGLE BOOK #1 (Zenescope)
Yes, unless I’m wrong I believe this is the very first Zenescope book to have a Bullet Review and well as being the very first Zenescope book I have ever read. I have heard the whispers that Zenescope is little more than half-naked women in stories focusing more on the sexiness of the women than the story but that isn’t the reason I haven’t read them. That sort of stuff doesn’t bother me because I know it isn’t true. I went through the exact same thing during the years I read Chaos! Comics. No, there was never really a reason I never read them other than I was already reading Fables so what use would I have for more fairy tale based comics?
This book, however, was very entertaining. We all know The Jungle Book, most people are familiar with the Disney version, but in this series we have a totally different take on it. First off, the child we know as Mowglii was kidnapped and taken on a ship that crashed on an island full of animals who were apparently involved in a never-ending war among themselves. The child doesn’t arrive alone, either. There are 4 all together and this is where the series really takes a turn from the familiar. After much debate the human cubs are divided up among the tribes of animals, the fates of the other three are still unknown as we, naturally, focus on Mowglii. Mowglii is a girl in this series, have I mentioned that yet? No? Well, yeah, the character we traditionally see as a boy is a girl and, honestly, that makes this whole thing even more interesting. That, along with the idea that the animals on this island aren’t all friends, something that should be focused on in the future, makes this a very fresh take on a story that’s been dominated by the Disney version for decades.
I’m sure some people will be turned off by the changes but for me, personally, it’s something like this that takes a classic concept and makes it interesting again. If you don’t get the monthly books I would highly recommend grabbing the trades, I plan to! -Skott Jimenez