Hot Spidey Sundae

The Amazing Spider-Man: Spidey Sunday Spectacular

I had no plans to pick this up, but a quick flip-through in the store basically charmed the socks off me.

What we have here is a collection of a storyarc that ran as a backup feature in Amazing Spider-Man #634-645. The gimmick was that the whole story was told in 12 two-page chapters in each issue, giving each episode the appearance of an oversized Sunday comic strip. The story was written by Stan Lee himself and illustrated beautifully by Marcos Martin.

The plotline follows two crooks called Brain (the smart one) and Bull (the dumb one). Brain has invented a machine that allows them to escape the police and flee into an issue of a Spider-Man comic. They follow Spidey, try in vain to find out his secret identity, tangle with his rogues gallery, and do their best to steal a time machine. All this is wrapped in Marcos Martin’s amazing artwork and jaw-dropping layouts.

Verdict: Such a colossal thumbs up. Marcos Martin does such outstanding artwork here. Every page has a Spidey logo worked into the scenery somewhere, which gives the whole thing an amazing “Will Eisner’s The Spirit” vibe. The layouts and artwork make the whole thing scads of fun to read through. Stan’s story is maybe a bit silly, but that helps make it perfect for any all-ages readers out there.

Secret Six #33

The team is in Hell on a quest to rescue Ragdoll, if possible, and to retrieve Scandal’s late girlfriend Knockout. Unfortunately, Ragdoll is now second-in-command in Hell and leading its armies, and Knockout is Ragdoll’s betrothed. And the Six, freshly decked out in infernal finery, is confronted with the question of whether they should fight Hell’s armies — with the danger of losing and becoming one of the legions of damned souls — or join with them to become Hell’s new royalty. Meanwhile, Catman goes looking for his father, hoping that he’s being properly punished for killing his mother and ruining his life. Can the team escape their own personal hells and return to the living world, or are their souls as damned as everyone suspects?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great story, great art, great humor and action and drama and the whole blasted shebang. DC’s best grownups-only comic, without a doubt.

Herc #2

Hercules has lost most of his powers and all of his immortality. He’s focusing his efforts on becoming a street-level hero, working at and protecting a local Greek restaurant that the Kingpin wants to buy out and shut down. Herc tangles with the Hobgoblin and eventually, after a long, drawn-out battle, beats him up. After that, he learns that the restauranteur’s daughter has been trying to get the old man to sell, and the Kingpin himself shows up to ask Herc to take out the Ares worshipers destabilizing the city.

Verdict: Man, I don’t know. The action is good, the dialogue is fine, but I kinda prefer my Hercules comics with a bit less dead-serious about ’em.

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