August 11th, 2009
God, that’s an annoying title. I’m sure we’ll do something about it like never use it again. Here we go with our regular Tuesday reviews of fairly recent comics. As you may know, I am more of a space traveler and podcaster rather than a writer so I’ll apologize in advance for not writing in that eloquent, insightful style you’d normally expect from a Mindless post. As a consequence of this paucity of writing finesse I won’t be skirting around plot lines and such so…
Spider-Man # 600
Published by Marvel Comics
Story – Dan Slott
Art – John Romita Jr.
A proper anniversary issue, this one. It’s big (over 100 pages), with no adverts and plenty of extra material. Too many of these giant sized specials have been padded out by out of context reprint stories but not this one. The main 60 page story centers around a revamped Doctor Octopus causing chaos in Manhattan and problems for Aunt May’s wedding to J. Jonah Jameson Sr. I’m liking the new take on Doc Ock. He’s now a quadriplegic, his body a creepy withered husk held aloft by an additional four mechanical limbs.
He manages to extend his influence over the whole of Manhattan, effectively making the city his body. A fine menace and one big enough to warrant all the New York heroes into action so we get to see Daredevil, the New Avengers and the Fantastic Four. The good old partnership of Spider-Man and the Human Torch was a pleasure and fitted Dan Slott’s wise cracking writing style well. I don’t have a problem with Mr. Slott, although I know plenty of people do. I believe he’s possibly the only writer at Marvel who still uses the Marvel method and why not? John Romita Jr knows how to pace a story perfectly well so let him get on with it. This can result in some occasionally incongruous word balloons as Slott tries to pack in the mid-action cheeky banter but I don’t care. I just see a writer having fun with what he’s doing and anyway it’s only Spider-Man. It’s perfect throwaway super fun!
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four # 1-5
Published by Marvel Comics
Story - Jonathan Hickman
Art – Sean Chen
I love the Fantastic Four. A small, paperback sized reprint of the first six issues was my first exposure to super heroes. Consequently any opinions I may have about an FF comic will be tainted by the young, excited voice of little Gary Lactus. This series has Mr. Fantastic scanning an infinite number of alternate realities in order to find a successful solution to the problems currently facing the Marvel Universe. This provides some fun, quirky mini dramas featuring skewed takes on the Gang.
“‘Tis the clobbering hour”,
remarks a monocled Ben Grimm. Things go wrong and the FF are trapped leaving Reed and Sue’s kids, Franklin and Valeria to defend the Baxter Building against Venom and Norman Osborn. It is these sequences which provide the most enjoyment. I enjoyed seeing a two year old outsmart two A-grade villains, much better than Home Alone.
I was particularly interested in this mini series as Mr. Hickman will be writing the regular FF book from # 570. He has a good grasp on the characters which I imagine is pretty easy as they’re all so well defined already. I have a slight problem with the way Reed Richards has been portrayed over the last few years. Throughout his involvement in the Civil Skrull Reign, The world’s smartest man has made some dickish choices. His need to fix everything seems like a somewhat simple minded approach to an unpredictable world. His attempts to right the Marvel Universe, through supporting The Initiative for example, never end well. I’d like to see a less cock sure Mr. Fantastic and more adventures fuelled by his curiosity.
Scalped # 30
Published by Vertigo
Story – Jason Aaron
Art – R.M. Guera
Jason Aaron is a firmly bankable writer, anything he turns his hand to at the moment is pretty much great. His run on Ghost Rider was as wonderfully ridiculous as a devil-cursed Evel Knievel should be. When such a talent is engaged in a story they actually have a passion for we should all pay attention. Unfortunately the Native American setting in fiction has never gained the cultural momentum to spawn a genre. If it had, I’m convinced that Scalped would be selling a shit-load. This issue had the most air-punchingly great bit of comeuppence for a fist-bitingly evil bastard I have ever seen. Oh yeah, and Guera’s art is the queen’s tits.