So let’s take a look at one of the last issues of Amazing Spider-Man, the first issue of Space Dogs, two Marvel NOW! debuts and much, much more!
And, of course, have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving from all of us at Comic Booked and the Bullet Review Crew!
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #697 (Marvel)
Old vs. New! Original vs. Remake! Hobgoblin vs. Hobgoblin! This is something to see, let me tell you! It’s always interesting when two villains, who would rather kill each other, have to work together (while still trying to kill each other).
While the Goblins have, for a short time, agreed to work together in order to get the secrets of whatever the Goblin Key goes to, Peter Parker must contend with an out of control Spider-Sense and trying to keep himself and Max alive!
What secrets does the key unlock? Well, only Norman Osborn’s Green Goblin and H.A.M.M.E.R. secrets! It’s a major payload of weapons and secrets and it’s up to Peter and Max (no, not the Fables novel) to keep it out of the hands of the Hobgoblins who want to turn it over to The Kingpin.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what happens in this issue, there is a lot going on here and we speed towards the ‘final’ issue of Amazing Spider-Man this December! Now, with just barely enough time to catch my breath from this issue, I have to prepare for this week’s issue which Dan Slott says is going to have major repercussions to not only Spider-Man and Peter Parker’s worlds but to Slott himself as he recently posted the following on his Facebook page: “Well… It’s Wednesday! Good luck finding me! I’m high-tailing it outta town before the torch and pitchfork brigade finds me! So long, suckers! MWA-HA-HA!” I’m so eager to read this issue! -Skott Jimenez
FAIREST #9 (Vertigo)
Has this book really been going for almost a year already? Sheesh!
Anyway, this issue continues the story of Rapunzel’s quest to find her children, beings who apparently are not very nice (thought it’s hard to tell because I don’t think we’ve seen them yet).
Also in this issue, we’re beginning to learn of the hell the Japanese Fables had gone through many years ago. Where once they were part of the Japanese community, it was the manipulation of one man who turned everyone against them. But what no one knew at the time was the guy was working for The Adversary and was preparing the Japanese Lands for invasion!
These are just a few of the things going on in this story. There is a lot more but to talk about them would give away more of the fun and adventure that I’d be comfortable with. Let’s just say that Fairest has become a worthy addition to the Fables line. It’s all in-continuity and is an entertaining way to expand the Fables Universe. I’m loving it, especially with the level of talent they are putting on this title. I’m always a little hesitant to read a Fables story that isn’t written by Willingham, though by now I shouldn’t be because none of these new writers have let me down! -Skott Jimenez
FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (Marvel NOW!)
This was already covered in out Marvel NOW! Mash-Up Review but I still wanted to put my two cents worth in. I don’t know why I picked it up, I’m not really a fan of Matt Fraction or the white costumes the Four are currently wearing. Then there is the fact this is yet another #1 issue that isn’t necessary. But pick it up I did and upon reading it I have to wonder… Are any of the Marvel NOW! titles going to interest me? So far Uncanny Avengers and Deadpool have fallen flat on their faces in my opinion and this book is just another for the pile. The story about the Four losing their powers and basically falling apart seems like it’s been done before, I can’t place where exactly and I may just be remembering something wrong but it seems like we’ve done this already (can anyone help out?). The side stories are equally uninteresting here and hardly worth mentioning.
But what did I like? Well, the art was pretty solid. But with Mark Bagley that’s pretty much a given.
Overall, this was another #1 that wasn’t really needed. This could, and should, have been the next issue of the established run and all they needed was the new logo and a “First Issue In A Bold New Era NOW!” blurb on the cover. Marvel really needs to get over this false thinking that #1 issues are the only way to bring in new readers. Books like Fantastic Four have been around so long having a single digit number on their cover is almost insulting to their legacy.
My search for a Marvel NOW! title that is worth reading continues… -Skott Jimenez
JENNIFER BLOOD #19 (Dynamite Entertainment)
This is a comic that gets more absurd, and therefore better, as it goes along. On the run, and with her kids in tow, Jennifer (a cross between Serial Mom and the Punisher, for those unawares) has taken to robbery/homicide to pay for a new life. The sheer trashiness of it–Jennifer wearing hip-huggers and a belly shirt while gunning down clerks–is juxtaposed with her housewife personality. She’s every overbearing, “think of the children” mother ever, taken to their extreme. Al Ewing and Kewber Baal show both criminal and suburban psychopathy as the same outgrowth of capitalist myth: both promote the accumulation of money, money, and more money to keep on buying stuff. Baal’s montage fixes Jennifer’s killings around the image of her hand grabbing twenties from the till. This same rat race has made everybody in this comic, from the goth clerk Jennifer kills first (this issue) to the disgraced cop that pursues her (who is hallucinating Jennifer’s victims). It’s a big long line of jerks and psychos, concerned with money, pride, or some combination of those.
Baal’s style is ugly and awkward, his characters sometimes standing in poses that defy anatomy (such as when Jennifer shoots a cop). His layouts, however, make up for this deficiency with their inventiveness. Besides the robbery montage, he also draws a split panel showing bubblegum popping. The “pop” side is off-kilter from the bubble, working like a scratching record to suggest Jennifer’s irritation. Even the grotesque distortions of the human body serve the purpose of Ewing’s plotting, depicting a brutal, perverse world that could only have been pulled from 90s comics (a returning nemesis and his harem of exploitation movie-styled female assassins). The cumulative effect is to make Jennifer Blood an effective, horrific satire. -Andrew Taylor
MARS ATTACKS #5 (IDW)
The first story wraps up with a battle between a rather motley crew of humans (and a few giant fleas) and a vengeful Martian. It’s a solid wrap and establishes a specific Martian as one that we will be having problems with again in the future.
Mars Attacks has been a very entertaining books so far and will become even more entertaining next year when Mars Attacks… Everything (but we’ll get into that later)! What this books needs now, however, is a solid cast of characters. What I would like to see is something along the lines of The Walking Dead where we have a core group of humans that, at any moment, can, and do, die. It would be nice to have some humans we could become invested in.
On the Martian side, perhaps a way to actually make them the bad guys. All the variations of the Mars Attacks line have the Martians as the bad guys and it works that way. This first story basically set up the reason Mars was attacking was because humans had killed them in the past while they tried to make peaceful first contact with us. I’m sure some Martians would be like that but I can’t imagine all of them would be. Perhaps in the second storyline we’ll get some more answers and an expansion of this new universe.
Overall, the series has a lot more going in its favor than against. I’ve enjoyed the first 5 issues completely and plan to stick around until Mars is no longer attacking! -Skott Jimenez
STORM DOGS #1 (Image)
Barely interesting, often incomprehensible, mostly forgettable. Storm Dogs is a comic made with such disinterest, it’s a wonder why anyone bothered. Hell, David Hine is so unconcerned with his sci-fi murder mystery, he doesn’t bother establishing any particulars related to it. The “crack team of investigators” (their words) show up on Pandora, and everyone mentions the seven people whose murders they’re investigating aren’t worth the effort. Then, a monster attack is reported and the head investigator deduces its connection to the murders. Because “local wildlife” never registered to the inhabitants of Arrakis? It’s that kind of thoughtfulness I’ve come to expect from Hine, a writer given accolades for his ability to attach one cliché to another cliché (see District X, his Spawn run, and I’m sure he’s written something else). Here, he borrows metaphors from Avatar, settings from Borderlands, suits from Halo-knockoff Haze, and the racial melting pot concept from South Park episode Goobacks. What isn’t completely ripped off from those things gets explained in the most stupid, literal way possible (the title is related to the effect the planet’s rain had on dogs, of course!).
With that deft touch, Doug Braithwaite is free to draw Tatooine with such inventive storytelling techniques as “depict a dinosaur attack so no one’s sure which grizzled hick is getting killed, or by what!” Is a dude’s face melting because the dinosaur shot acid at him? Because of the rain? Because he was accidentally shot by one of the other hicks? The world will never know, since the page it happens on is stuffed with unreadable closeups, carelessly slapped together. Comics this dull shouldn’t be this disgusting. -Andrew Taylor
THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #1 (Marvel NOW!)
You know that almost mythic Marvel NOW! title worth reading I’ve been looking for? Surprisingly, this might be it. I say surprisingly because the way this book was described, it almost seemed like there was way to much going on to make this book readable. This Thor series begins with the introduction of a new enemy for the Thunderer: Gorr The God Butcher. An entity that simply kills Gods. Seems pretty basic but it’s how Jason Aaron tells the story that keeps it fresh: He tells it using the past, present, and future all in the same book. We see a young Thor face a murdered God and not give it much thought (he was like that when the was young), then we move to the present where Thor answers a prayer (not something I’ve known him to do in the past and something I hope gets dropped fast) only to find a planet whose Gods had been murdered long ago, it’s here that he begins to learn who is at fault. Finally, in the future, we see Thor, King of Asgard, and the last Asgardian, face off against this enemy for the final time.
What makes this less the train wreck I expected it to be was the way the eras were divided. We aren’t jumping back and forth, which would have messed the whole thing up, but rather Aaron has divided the book so that the beginning is the past then we move forward from there. Very well done.
If anything, what I didn’t care for in this book was the price, I can’t see spending $3.99 a month for a Thor comic, and the art. I’m honestly not a big fan of this style. I like my comics to look like comics. But that’s just a personal preference and by no means something that should stop you from at least checking out this first issue. I may not get the monthlies but I might get the trade! -Skott Jimenez
TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE #85 (IDW)
The debut story concludes with the final battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron! This is the issue fans of this specific series have been waiting for and, boy, does it pay off!
Megatron has goaded Optimus to return to earth to show him what has become of the planet. Upon Optimus’s arrival, Megatron kills a long running Autobot warrior, I won’t say who but it isn’t just a background character like we normally see killed. And it isn’t just a shot in the chest that kills him, Megatron kills him more harshly.
While Optimus and Megatron are fighting, Kup acts on what Starscream was barely able to tell him: Kill Ratchet. Ratchet is being used by Megatron to basically stay alive, this is a nod to Transformers #70 when Megatron and Ratchet were melded together in both body and mind. They apparently still share that link which is why Ratchet is still alive, in a rather degrading way thanks to Megatron’s massive ego and love of being cruel.
But as one Decepticon leader falls, another is awakened and it seems we’ll have Galvatron to contend with! But wait… that last page… Scorponok has Grimlock captured and is offering to restore his ability to transform, which of course is part of a much larger plan, but first Grimlock has to be willing to accept the offer!
This is still the best Transformers series on the shelves today, in my humble opinion. It’s back to basics and not all over the road. I’m certainly loving it! -Skott Jimenez
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See you all next week and, again, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!