Archive for Spider-Man

Undercover Brothers

Batman #10

Spoilers if you haven’t seen this issue. Not that I’m sure it matters, ’cause everyone’s talking about it. But spoilers anyway.

The Court of Owls is almost completely shut down, leading to the Batman tracking their inner circle to their hideout — and arriving to find all of them dead by poison. So that’s the case wrapped up, right? Maybe not — Bats realizes he’s missed a clue, and it leads him to a long-deserted insane asylum just for children, closed after scandals about child abuse. And there, Batman finds the supposedly dead Lincoln Marsh, who injected himself with the Talon serum so he’d be able to resurrect himself.

Lincoln tells Batman that his mother had been injured in a car accident before he was born, and his parents secretly placed him in the children’s home, which had a good reputation when he was a child, in order to keep him safe from the family’s enemies. But when his parents were killed by a lone gunman in Crime Alley, he was forgotten and suffered years of abuse and neglect until he was taken in by the Court of Owls. He tells Batman that his real name is Thomas Wayne Jr., and he’s the new Owlman.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good story, with good action, great tension and mood, nice dialogue, and a pretty good twist. I’m not all that bugged by Bruce Wayne having a long lost brother — Superman’s supposed to be the last Kryptonian, and no one complains about all his relatives who’ve survived. The “legend of the Bat” wasn’t too badly damaged when everyone thought Dr. Hurt might be Bruce’s father, and I don’t see Thomas Wayne Jr. as a particularly bad plot development. My only concern is that there are a lot of revelations going on lately about the Bat family — the deaths of the Flying Graysons kept Dick Grayson from being turned into a Talon, Dick’s own great-grandfather is a Talon, Mr. Freeze’s Nora isn’t actually his wife, etc. They need to slow the shocking revelations down, or they’ll lose their ability to shock.

The Amazing Spider-Man #687

Dr. Octopus is mentally controlling the Avengers as they attack Spidey, the Black Widow, Silver Sable, and the temporarily turncoat Mysterio. After Mysterio finally deactivates the Octobots with an electromagnetic pulse, the rest of the Avengers go to work trying to stop Doc Ock’s satellites before he can use them to burn the Earth to a cinder. Spidey and Silver Sable head for Ock’s secret hideout to keep him from activating the satellite web, but run into Rhino, who’s willing to let the world be destroyed because he still hasn’t gotten over his wife’s death — and he’s willing to make sure that he and Silver Sable drown. Spidey runs on to confront Dr. Octopus, but he may not be strong enough to escape the villain’s new and improved robot arms. Is there any way for Peter to save the world and make sure no one dies in the catastrophe?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, good action — heck, there’s a lot packed into this issue. It feels like it’s a double-sized comic, but it isn’t. Any time you can make a regular-length comic feel like an annual, that’s pretty dang good.

Demon Knights #10

After foiling a bunch of pirates who sail the seas on top of a giant sea monster, our heroes get into the main story. They’ve traveled to a town under siege by giant, savage monsters — and they all seem to be coming from the ancient ruins of Camelot! As they ride toward the old castle, they’re attacked by a giant wolf which, when defeated, turns into a normal wolf. All the animals around, in fact, appear to have been changed into giant monsters. When they finally reach Camelot, they discover it’s been turned into a foreboding citadel, and they’re attacked by the resurrected corpse of King Arthur himself! But before they can do anything about the zombie king, all the team but Madame Xanadu are themselves changed into giant monsters!

Verdict: Thumbs up, even if only for Vandal Savage’s hilarious line: “Look! It’s a pirate sea serpent! That is something I have never shouted before!

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Back in Business

Batman, Inc. #1

Grant Morrison’s “Batman, Inc.” series gets a brand new Number One, though as far as any of us can tell, the old “Batman, Inc.” storyline continues on the same course it was on before. Batman and Robin (Bruce and Damian Wayne this time) chase a goat-masked gunman into a slaughterhouse — and promptly find themselves in the middle of an ambush as more masked thugs attack. And by the end of the fight, it’s revealed that Leviathan, the shadowy global crime organization, has targeted Damian for assassination. While Leviathan works on cementing its hold over Gotham, all the heroes who seemingly died in the last issue — Batwing, the Outsiders, the Hood, Gaucho, and more — meet and reveal that they’re now part of Batman’s secret army. But can Batman save Robin from death? Or are there just too many assassins gunning for him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great writing by Morrison, great art by Chris Burnham. Lightning-fast action, outstanding twists and turns. Great dialogue for the squabbling Dynamic Duo. And it’s great that, with the pre-Reboot Outsiders we see here, this story is still set in the original, proper DC Universe.

And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this panel was my very favorite in any comic in the last month:

And as others have noted, this definitely means that Grant Morrison was a fan of the “Tiny Titans” series.

So yeah, definitely adding this one to my pull list.

Justice League Dark #9

I didn’t enjoy the first issue of this, but I decided to give it another shot. Jeff Lemire is the comic’s new writer, and while I haven’t yet decided whether I like *all* his stuff, I’ve got enough good impressions of him to try this comic again.

So Steve Trevor, special liaison for the Justice League, calls on John Constantine with a special mission — find out what Felix Faust is up to and retrieve the magical item he’s using to empower himself, and in exchange, Constantine will get ten minutes in the Black Room — a secret repository for powerful magical items — to take whatever he can carry. So Constantine puts together a team — Zatanna, Andrew Bennett from “I, Vampire,” Deadman, and Black Orchid — and they go out to bust up Faust and his cult. But will the new “Justice League Dark” be ready for the item Felix Faust is hiding?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting much from it, but it was far more entertaining, readable, and engaging than what I saw of the first issue of the series. I’m more than willing to pick up some future issues, so I think that’s enough for me to judge it a success.

The Amazing Spider-Man #686

Dr. Octopus’s satellites are going to burn the Earth to a cinder, and they’ve already started on Silver Sable’s homeland of Symkaria — but wait, it’s all an illusion created by the special effects wizardry of Mysterio! While the Chameleon masquerades as Doc Ock to battle the Wall-Crawler, the real Otto discovers the deceit and takes over Chameleon’s remote-control disguise so he can fight Spidey himself. Luckily, the suit is just a cheap imitation and can’t stand up ti Spidey, Silver Sable, and the Black Widow — and Spidey manages to make a deal with Mysterio to get him to join the good guys, at least temporarily. So the Sinister Six has been depleted down to just Doc Ock and the Rhino — unless Octavius has managed to acquire some new, unexpected minions…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story all around — writing, art, dialogue, humor, action, plot twists, and just overall braininess. There has not been a single bad issue of this storyarc, and that’s pretty impressive.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • The loony One Million Mom group (which doesn’t include anywhere near one million mothers — just 47,000 homophobic, faux-Christian bigots) has already gotten its butt kicked by Ellen DeGeneres and Archie Andrews and is now going to get its butt whupped by Northstar and a DC hero to be named later.
  • Greg Rucka keeps giving great interviews. Here he is talking about why he writes strong female characters.
  • Snell digs up every jungle prince and princess he can find.

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Phone Home

Dial H #1

Man, they’re shoehorning this comic into the second wave of the DC Reboot, and it doesn’t belong there at all. This is a Vertigo Comic, born and bred.

Our main character is Nelson Jent, an overweight, depressed guy who’s gunning for an early grave until a bunch of thugs attack his only real friend, Darren. Nelson makes his way into an antique phone booth to call for help — but the help he gets isn’t what he expected. Instead he finds himself transformed into a spindly, indestructible, smoke-belching monstrosity that calls itself Boy Chimney. He routs the bad guys and gets Darren to the hospital before he reverts back to tubby Nelson Jent — and when he finds out that Darren works for the bad guys, and that they’ll keep coming after him, Nelson returns to the phone booth, trying to figure out what triggered his transformation. When he stumbles on the proper sequence, he ends up turning into a mopey goth called Captain Lachrymose, who can trigger traumatic sorrow in others and then becomes energized by their tears. He goes after the criminals targeting his friend — but he’s not the only person in town with weird superpowers…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantasy author China Mieville has apparently been wanting to write a comic book for a while, and I don’t know why DC put him off for so long. What he churns out here is grim and deeply bizarre pseudo-superheroics — Boy Chimney may be the scariest thing we’ve seen in any comic in months. And it’s got a great level of characterization, too. Nelson is a really interesting character — his desire to help his friend struggling to overcome his depression. And Mateus Santolouco’s artwork is a great complement for all of this — his jangly, shadow-drenched illustrations work perfectly for what we’ve got going on here. Go pick it up, folks.

The Amazing Spider-Man #685

It’s still Spider-Man, the Black Widow, and Silver Sable against the Sinister Six — and this time, the rest of the world is on the bad guys’ side. After narrowly avoiding getting arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D., the trio contact as many other superheroes as they can (and even a few villains, including the Titanium Man) to help turn the tide against Dr. Octopus. They finally track down Doc Ock’s largest satellite-manufacturing factory — just in time for Octavius to launch them all into orbit. But is Dr. Octopus really the villain this time, or is this going to be his biggest trick ever?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A bit slow-moving, but we are at the mid-point in the series. The best point is definitely the cliffhanger at the end — it hits all the drama, suspense, and action points it needs to keep the story running in high gear.

Oh, and hey, Free Comic Book Day was Saturday, and I got some pretty good stuff. Let’s check it out real quick.

Atomic Robo: Free Comic Book Day 2012

If there’s any serious guarantee on Free Comic Book Day, it’s the guarantee that the Atomic Robo comic is going to be one of the best things offered. And it’s so again! Atomic Robo and the Fighting Night-Shift Accountants of Tesladyne have learned there’s a serious problem with the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland that could cause devastation across the space-time continuum. And he’s brought in a special consultant to help out — Dr. Dinosaur?! But aren’t he and Robo terrible enemies? Isn’t Dr. Dinosaur a lunatic? Isn’t Dr. Dinosaur only kind of a genius and mostly an idiot? Well, yes, but to save the space-time continuum, Robo is willing to work with him.

Except… Ah, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal! It was all a ruse by Dr. Dinosaur to wreck the Collider using Futuresaurus Rex — an armored T-rex with missile launchers! And guns he carries in his teeny-tiny forelegs! So adorable and badass! But Futuresaurus Rex is just as great a danger to Dr. Dinosaur as he is to everyone else, because Dr. D is an idiot who didn’t design a proper remote control for it! Can Robo and Dr. D really work together to save the day?

On top of that, we’ve got stories from other Red 5 comics like “Neozoic” and “Bonnie Lass.” But listen, we all tuned in for Atomic Robo, and everyone knows it…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Huzzah! Dr. Dinosaur! The greatest character in comic book history!

Mouse Guard and Other Stories: A Free Comic Book Day Hardcover Anthology

Okay, I don’t mind telling you, there’s one thing about this that’s gonna blow your mind: it really is a hardcover book. It’s not a huge book — it’s just 48 pages long, and it’s dimensions are a bit smaller than a standard-sized comic book. But it’s an actual, fer-realz hardcover, and they gave them out for free. Archaia Entertainment just stepped up their game in a way that no other publisher could match, that alone should be enough to make them this year’s Free Comic Book Day champion.

Even better: It’s a really good comic book. We get a story of the Mouse Guard as told through a children’s puppet show. We get a story about the characters from the movie “Labyrinth.” We get a story about the Dapper Men, a hilarious story called “Cursed Pirate Girl: Ramblings from an Old Sea Dog Who Likes to Be Called Alice” which is every bit as mad and surreal as you’d expect, and a story by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos about the “Cow Boy,” a pint-sized bounty hunter who’s sworn to capture his own outlaw family members. And they’re all great stories. They’re all worth reading and enjoying.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Publishing this as a hardcover is a great way to get attention, but ultimately this is a winner because the stories and art are absolutely worth any gimmicks. This was an outstanding comic, possibly the best Free Comic Book Day comic ever.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • I bet y’all have heard by now that MCA from the Beastie Boys died last week. I say the only real way to commemorate a great musician is to play their music. So here’s the best music video ever.
  • Here’s one of the Beasties’ classic goofy vids from the ’80s.
  • Here’s a more recent fave.
  • And if you got time to watch a 30-minute mini-movie, here’s a bunch of people pretending to be the Beasties.

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Friday Night Fights: Football Frenzy!

Awright, it’s time to get the weekend started the fun way and jump in with some Friday Night Fights!

I’m not even sure if this one really counts as a fight — there aren’t any fisticuffs or shootings or stabbings or someone getting dropped into an oversized fruit juicer… but it completely kicked my butt, so that’s what we’re going with. It’s supposedly an undated “Peanuts” Sunday strip, though it doesn’t look a whole lot like Charles Schulz’s artwork, so I’m going to assume it’s all the work of John Romita, Sr. So let’s get right to it.

Featuring WHO?! Oh, this’ll be interesting…


Best Friday Night Fights ever.

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Sand Gets in your Eyes

The Amazing Spider-Man #684

The Sinister Six has put the smackdown on the Avengers, but Silver Sable manages to rescue Spidey and the Black Widow. The crew from Horizon Labs calls in to offer assistance — their labs in NYC are shut down, but they’ve got a yacht out in international waters where Mayor Jameson can’t stop them. Spidey and the other heroes travel to a secret satellite factory in the Sahara, armed with a little of Horizon Labs’ tech, but they soon find themselves ambushed by the Sandman — now empowered by all the sand in the world’s largest desert. Can three people stand against that much power?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderful writing and art, excellent twists and turns in the story, and outstanding dialogue and action. Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos are doing comics right.

Dark Horse Presents #11

This issue features the usual wide variety of stories and creators: Francesco Francavilla’s “The Black Beetle,” Evan Dorkin’s “House of Fun,” John Arcudi’s “The Creep,” a short story by Andrew Vachss with illustrations by Geof Darrow, Neal Adams’ “Blood,” Carla Speed McNeil’s “Finder: Third World,” and much more.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I hate to do this to a series that’s been awesome far, far more often than not, but other than McNeil’s “Finder” and Dorkin’s “Milk and Cheese” and various other funny mini-strips, very little of this was particularly good.

Wonder Woman #8

Preparing for her journey to Hell to rescue Zola from Hades, Wonder Woman gets kitted out by Hephaestus — swords, daggers, shields, and even Eros’ golden handguns. She and Hermes arrive in Hell to find it looks, at least for now, like London, seemingly deserted — but in fact, Hell is literally made of the souls trapped there, and they occasionally burst out of statues, bloody and dripping as freshly skinned corpses, to attack people at Hades’ whim. Soon enough, they locate Zola — and while it’s only been days since she was abducted, in Hell, months have passed, so it looks like she’s at least eight months along. But Hades isn’t about to let Zola go without a fight…

Verdict: Ehh, I wasn’t so fond of this one. Cliff Chiang’s art is as beautiful as ever, and the action and dialogue are pretty good. But I just found myself fairly bored with the whole issue. Sorry — they can’t all be winners.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Devil’s Advocate

Daredevil 10.1

Matt Murdock gets called in to consult with a prisoner who he’s been hired to represent — a pyrokinetic supervillain who, coincidentally, got arrested for trying to kill Murdock — and got brought in after getting stomped by Daredevil. Matt’s been called in because the pyro claims he’s undergoing cruel and unusual punishment — the prison is hitting him loud noise and constant heating changes that make it impossible for him to sleep, even if they do break up his concentration so he can’t use his powers. But the bad guy is still under contract to bring capture Murdock and bring him to the Hellfire Club. Can Matt get out of this situation? And why does the Hellfire Club care about him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Another truly outstanding Daredevil story, with lots of action, humor, and brains. If I’ve got a complaint, it’s that the art on this comic isn’t up to the extremely high standards of previous issues of this title.

The Amazing Spider-Man #683

The world’s leaders and top scientists are trying to figure out if they can take Dr. Octopus’ ultimatum seriously — he wants to be acknowledged as the world’s savior or he’ll burn the planet to a cinder by accelerating global warming. The Avengers soon appear, and Spider-Man makes a scene by punching Al Gore’s lights out. Now don’t get all excited, Republicans — it was really the Chameleon in disguise. Doc Ock starts to activate his satellite network, and Iron Man tries to track the signal, but to no avail. And Mayor Jameson shuts down the power for Horizon Labs while they’re trying to assist. But Octavius temporarily reverses the effects of his rays, and the world’s leaders insist the heroes let the Chameleon go. Spidey has this all planned out, and the Avengers track Cham’s escape vehicle, which leads to a confrontation with the rest of the Sinister Six. Spidey’s been planning for this fight, too — but has he been planning enough?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots and lots of stuff happening in this issue, but it’s all organized well, and we don’t lose track of the action. Lots of intrigue and scheming and plenty of fisticuffs as well.

Justice League International #8

Batwing joins the team in this issue, as the JLI fights off a bunch of metahuman terrorists, including a light controller called Lightweaver, a decay master called Breakdown, and a communications hacker called Intersek. But most of the JLI are injured or dead, and the hospital and the UN are coming down hard on the few able-bodied Leaguers — and the bad guys have a secret, unwitting ally who they’ve manipulated into attacking the heroes.

Verdict: A very modest thumbs up. It’s not a bad story, just not shoot-the-lights-out good. I’m still bugged that most of the (extremely good) female characters are stuck in the hospital, and a bit peeved by the announcement that Batwing and Vixen knew each other back in Africa. Come on, it’s a great big continent — why assume that everyone from Africa knows each other?

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Farewell, Tiny Titans

Tiny Titans #50

The final issue of this glorious, hilarious series. You have no idea how depressed I’ve been about this.

What do we get in the last issue? No big tearjerking farewell, no complex, series-ending plotline — we get what “Tiny Titans” always did best — lots of hijinx. Beast Boy continues to try to win Terra’s heart and decides he’ll need to relaunch himself — with a rocket — to get her to love him. Meanwhile, Superboy and Supergirl get some new costumes, Alfred shows off the awards the series has won, and Superman himself shows up. We also get a short preview of “Superman Family Adventures,” the new all-ages comic that Art Baltazar and Franco will be working on.

Verdict: Thumbs up. But I actually do have one quibble, because this issue really should’ve been three or four times as long as normal, just to make sure we’d be able to see as many characters as possible and give them all a proper farewell. As it is, most of the characters we see just show up for brief cameos. But having said that, yeah, this is another wonderful, awesome issue of “Tiny Titans” and thus a perfect way to end the series. We get lots of reminders of some of the high points — the “Little Archie” crossover, Batcow, the sideways snarky comments about goings-on in the DCU — and altogether, it’s just a great little issue of a great all-ages series.

I hope you all got to read and enjoy it — and if you didn’t, fer cryin’ out loud, go get the trade paperbacks. And thanks, Baltazar and Franco, for fifty issues of comics joy.

The Amazing Spider-Man #682

After Spider-Man takes down a supervillain with some tech inspired by his arch-foe, the Green Goblin, including some Spider-Bombs and a Spider-Glider, he gets a reminder that the work he’s been doing at Horizon Labs as Peter Parker has had a powerful effect on the world, too. Not everyone agrees — Mayor J. Jonah Jameson wants Horizon Labs shut down permanently — and far away, Doctor Octopus, slowly dying and wrapped up in more cybernetic machinery than ever, is plotting the world’s downfall with the rest of the Sinister Six. He uses satellites secretly placed in orbit to magnify the effects of the sun’s rays and accelerate climate change worldwide. What does he want to make all this go away? He wants the world to acknowledge him as one of the planet’s greatest geniuses before he dies — and in exchange, he will use his satellites to actually reverse global warming. Will the world play along? Will Spidey be able to get the Avengers to deal with Doc Ock as a serious threat?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a fine story, even if I really can’t buy Doc Ock as a guy willing to pull of a global scheme like this, especially since he’s always been focused on more down-to-earth supervillainy. But the art is good, the dialogue pops nicely, there are some nice, small character moments scattered around the issue, and the plot moves along at a good pace, too.

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Skull and Bones

iZombie #23

Xitalu, an ancient evil god, is coming, and he’s going to wipe the planet clean. Amon was able to help stop him the last time he showed up a few centuries ago, but one complication this time is that Galatea is actually trying to speed up Xitalu’s arrival, hoping that she and her allies will be able to harness his power. The Dead Presidents and the Fossor Corporation team up to try to stop her. Amon, meanwhile, has his own plan to stop Xitalu — and it involves sacrificing Spot! Even if those plots can be foiled, is there any way to prevent Xitalu from destroying everything?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of action — and it all works with the series’ ongoing soap opera surprisingly well. And hopefully, Gwen will have something to do other than talk to her boyfriend and get ordered around by other characters — I like her a lot, but she needs to be less passive if she’s going to the lead character.

Avengers Academy #27

While Lightspeed worries about whether Striker is adjusting well to his homosexuality, he surprises everyone by holding a press conference to come out. Turns out he thinks it’ll be great publicity. Meanwhile, the Runaways have come to the Academy hoping that they have a way to retrieve the team’s pet dinosaur, Old Lace. After an unusually brief fight, the two teams agree to work together and even get along. Unfortunately, Giant-Man and Tigra have decided that, though the rest of the Runaways can go their own way, Molly and Klara are too young to be out adventuring, so they plan to take them away and put them in foster homes. Everyone soon ends up traveling to a prehistoric world to find Old Lace — but some of them may not be coming back when the Runaways find out what Giant-Man and Tigra have in mind for them.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice to see the Runaways, even if it’s been so long since I read the book, I don’t recognize all the characters. It’s also nice that their “We’re All Superheroes So Let’s Fight” routine was blissfully short. And it’s great to see Old Lace again — the world needs more dinosaurs in comics. If I’ve got a complaint, it’s that Giant-Man and Tigra are carrying the Idiot Ball this issue, thinking they can do something as shady and underhanded as breaking up the Runaways without facing some serious consequences.

The Amazing Spider-Man #681

Spider-Man, the Human Torch, and astronaut John Jameson (son of NYC Mayor J. Jonah Jameson) are trapped on a space station, surrounded by crewmen who’ve been taken over by Dr. Octopus’ Octobots, with no escape shuttles to let anyone back down to earth safely. And Doc Ock is remotely setting the space station to crash. So why does the plan to save everyone involve flushing all the station’s oxygen into space? Is there any way for Spidey and the Torch to save everyone?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nicely done. Lots and lots of action, fantastic dialogue, great suspense, humor, drama, you name it. Definitely worth reading — this title is hitting on all cylinders.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Make a Squish

Tiny Titans #49

The focus in this issue is on — no big spoiler — the squishy and stretchy members of the Tiny Titans, including Plasmus and Offspring, with guest appearances from Proty from the Tiny Legion and Clayface, in his “Tiny Titans” debut. We get to sit in on a Squishy Titans meeting, watch Clayface get mud all over everything, watch them impersonate superheroes — and we get Clayface’s truly epic list of all the amazing things you can do with mud. All that, plus Larfleeze and Glomulus stop by for a visit.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of high-spirited lunacy, in the finest Tiny Titans tradition — Clayface spending a whole gigantic page to enthuse about mud, Plasmus joyfully dancing around about a cheese log, the bizarre debut of Man-Bat, the Squishies disguising themselves as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and all the way down to Plasmus getting knocked out by a kiss from Bumblebee. This is the next-to-the-last issue, and it should be obvious to everyone that we’re losing something really special when this series ends.

The Amazing Spider-Man #680

There’s an emergency situation on the Apogee I space station — and J. Jonah Jameson’s son John is on board. Spider-Man heads for the Baxter Building — they’re the only people around who could get a ship up to the space station in time to help with a rescue. Unfortunately, only Johnny Storm is in, but he and Spidey head into orbit, dock with the station, and head inside, only to find it deserted… except for a bunch of Dr. Octopus’ Octobots. Unfortunately, Spidey’s webs are ineffective in zero gravity, and Johnny can’t flame on without burning up the station’s limited oxygen. John Jameson is able to save them, but they’re not out of the woods yet — the crew has been zombified, and the Sinister Six are getting ready to destroy the station completely.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The banter between Spider-Man and Johnny Storm is absolutely perfect and is probably worth the price of the comic all by itself.

Today’s Cool Links:

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The Owls in the Ruins

Batman #6

So it’s Batman vs. the Talon, the elite assassin of the Court of Owls. Fair fight? Probably not when Batman has spent the last several weeks, starving, weakening, going crazy, then getting stabbed through the stomach and beat like a rented mule. Can the Dark Knight survive and escape?

Verdict: I dunno. It’s written great, the art is fine, it’s dramatic, there’s lots of action and suspense and freaky stuff. But I really couldn’t get past the fact that Batman shoulda been dead by Page 5. I like Batman better when there’s an actual human underneath the cowl, not an indestructible behemoth. I wish DC would just go ahead and declare that he’s a metahuman and get it over with.

The Amazing Spider-Man #679.1

Horizon Labs is stuffed full of people doing awesome mad science. In fact, there are seven main labs. One of them is run by Peter Parker. One is run by this weird kid named Uatu Jackson. And no one knows who’s in Lab 6. At least until the day Uatu and Peter discover that the guy in Lab 6 is Michael Morbius — better known as Morbius the Living Vampire! Oh no, and he’s just gone bloodlust crazy! Will Spidey be able to stop him by himself? Or will he need help from Uatu’s mad-science monster-fighting gear?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action and dialogue and just the right amount of silliness.

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – The Long Death #1

It’s a normal day in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense — until ghostly agent Johann Kraus suddenly finds his containment suit taken over by a terrifying monster! And then Johann wakes up — it was just a dream… but as a spirit, Johann isn’t able to sleep. Has his fancy new containment suit given him the ability to sleep and dream again? Before that question can be answered, Johann has to lead a BPRD team into British Columbia near where Abe Sapien investigated a series of disappearances not too long ago. However, Johann has his own agenda, and he leaves the team on their own so he can look for the missing Ben Daimio. And that leaves the team almost defenseless when they’re attacked by a monster. Will anyone make it out alive?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Johann’s dream is as horrific as all git-out. The rest of the story is a lot more mellow, even including the attack by the jaguar demon. Excellent action and horror — yet another great story that makes you wish you could kick Johann Kraus’ insubstantial butt.

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #12

The final issue! Not a whole lot of actual plot going on in this one — just a review of the current sorry state of the planet — wrecked by giant monsters with humankind reduced to near-savagery — along with a meditation on our species’ ability to persist in the face of certain doom and thrive.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A very nice ending — we get to check in one final time with the series’ recurring characters and we get some hope for mankind’s survival. It’s been a great run — glad I got to read it all.

Today’s Cool Links:

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