AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #694 (Marvel)
Alpha concludes! It’s no secret: I do not like this Alpha kid. He’s billed as being ‘just like’ Peter Parker except for the fact he isn’t at all likable. This issue becomes his final, for now, appearance which makes me very happy. Leave it to Dan Slott to do so good a job writing this kid as a jerk that I’m happy to see him (mostly) depowered, although seeing him beaten to a bloody pulp by Hobgoblin or anyone else would have been better.
One thing is for certain: Alpha isn’t completely powerless. There is still a trace, and it will still grow inside him. I have no doubt that when/if we see this kid again he’s going to be even worse and possibly gunning for Spider-Man and Peter Parker.
This final issue of this story is pretty big. Big battle with a big villain and Spider-Man taking a big risk to save Aunt May and JJJ’s father. But even bigger is the conversation between JJJ and Spider-Man. Progress is being made between those two!
Overall, Alpha is a character that, if we never see him again, I won’t miss. It was interesting to see how Peter reacted to such a situation though it didn’t make much sense to me that Reed Richards would be too willing to let Spider-Man mentor a kid with such vast and dangerous powers. But, considering how smart Richards is I’m sure he had his reason.
But now that the pre-show is over with, we get to finally get into the long teased, highly anticipated Hobgoblin story! This is the beginning of the end for this series (Marvel announced December’s Amazing Spider-Man #700 will be the ‘final’ issue of the long running series) and according to Slott, it’s going on with a bang! The tease at the end of this issue really sets the tone for the next story and it’s going to be something. So long, Alpha, and now… HOBGOBLIN! -Skott Jimenez
MARS ATTACKS #4 (IDW Publishing)
This issue covers the many times over the centuries that the Martians have visited Earth and the less than friendly reactions from the humans. After many failures to try to make peaceful contact with humans, Mars finally decides the only solution to the situation is to Attack!
We also find out that the Martians have the ability to keep humans alive for extended periods of time. Hundreds of years in some cases. That makes for a very interesting alliance in this issue as two long time captive make a bid for freedom.
Four issues in and the series is really taking shape. The flashbacks are finally starting to gel better with the modern-day attack and we’re gathering out human cast of characters, the ones who will be taking the fight to the Martians.
If there is one thing that kind of bothers me with this series it’s that the Martians aren’t really the bad guys. the impression is given that they have tried to make peaceful contact with humans over the centuries and have met with violence and death every time. While I do understand that this, like IDW’s Godzilla, takes place in a reality that differs from the main and previously told stories, it’s still difficult to see the Martians as victims here. The one saving grace is the Martian Zar. His hatred for the humans, due to a previous encounter with them, drives him to defy Martian High Command and take his personal vendetta straight to Earth. He has no interest in anything more than the total annihilation of the human race.
My hope is the actions of Zar finally start to set the way I see Mars Attacks right. If not, well, the story is still highly entertaining and the gruesome nature of the story is still pitch perfect. Plus…IDW has teased some sort of new concept that may take the place of their Infestation events. There are some major announcements coming soon and my thinking is Mars will be attacking other franchises in IDW’s stable next year! -Skott Jimenez
SPACE: PUNISHER #3 (Marvel)
This series, which I initially bought out of curiosity and never intended to stick with, has turned out to be highly entertaining! Beyond the cover, this issue begins with The Punisher, on Skrullworld, taking on an army of Hitlers!
Through the series he’s been hunting down the Six-Fingered Hand, the cabal of criminal heads responsible for the death of his family. He manages to take them out, which is fun to watch, and learns they were puppets themselves. The real power behind them are… The Watchers!
Since this is a little more than The Punisher can handle he goes to Assemble City on Avengers Planet to collect a weapon that will help him fight The Watchers. After a, shall we say, ‘meeting’ with Jarvis he collects the object and goes to confront The Watchers. We don’t know yet what he grabbed but there were some rather interesting and powerful objects in the Avengers’ museum including a Cosmic Cube and an Infinity Gauntlet.
His confrontation with The Watchers goes as well as it can, they show their total power and Frank trumps them with his secret weapon: The Ultimate Nullifier! Even better is The Watchers calling his bluff and Frank showing just how deep his drive for vengeance actually goes. How deep does it go? Well, the fourth and final issue might just be all blank pages.
This series has been the surprise of the year for me. I had no expectations that this would be entertaining and it’s been that and then some. It’s a perfect example of what a What If…? can be if Marvel would allow creators to have free reign and play in the Multiverse Sandbox. It’s fresh, fun and I wouldn’t mind seeing more books like this. Plus, it’s always great to see mark Texeira’s art. -Skott Jimenez
SWORD OF SORCERY #0 (DC)
When I picked this up, I cynically thought to myself, “this is a superhero comic that has a female lead. Ergo, there’s going to be rape scene.” Then, I read the thing, and Presto! a(n attempted) rape scene. Mind you, it’s handled slightly better than Identity Crisis or that Kevin Smith Spider-Man/Black Cat mini-series–maybe because Christy Marx hints at possibly exploring the emotional fallout like an adult (not likely under DC management, but possibly), maybe because Aaron Lopresti doesn’t fixate on the victim’s breasts like Gillem March or J. Scott Campbell (for example) would–but it’s still a tired attempt at being ‘edgy.’ Apparently, there’s only two ways to dramatize a woman’s story in cape comics, even if the creators are women: the other being the boys v. girls schoolyard-brawling in Captain Marvel.
In case you care, the victim is not heroine Amethyst, but rather high-school wallflower Beryl, assaulted by some jocks given PSA-obvious rapist dialogue like “We want a taste of Berry.” Amethyst saves the day, kicking their asses, then the head rapist threatens to have his lawyer dad lock her up, which is patently ludicrous given the circum…wait, no, that actually makes a ton of sense, considering “she deserved it” is still spoken by dudes, between high-fives and calling every woman they see ‘slut.’ I’m not talking about frat boys, either, but geeks who think girls would rather go for jerks than ‘nice guys like them’, when really they don’t get the girl because they talk about how awesome the blood spatter in Swamp Thing is.
The comic itself? It’s alright. Decent writing, decent art, pretty colors, and a forgettable Beowulf back-up strip. This might get better. More likely, DC will make it worse. -Andrew Taylor
And that wraps up another week! Let us know what you think about these books. Do you agree with our Bullets? Disagree? Now’s your chance to speak up! We have that comment section below for just that reason, you know.
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