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Jason Schachat just might be the Sheeda Queen.
Jason Schachat's Occasional Breakdown

Okay, first things first...

Anyone who doesn’t think Ronin is really Daredevil has failed the reading comprehension portion of every exam they ever took.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

Oh, and for all the DC fans out there, that bit was very important and you should all feel ashamed for not reading New Avengers and knowing what the hell I’m talking about.

...just a little shame?


Fine, we’ll head straight into me appeasing you all with a review of Seven Soldiers - Frankenstein #1 (Awful segue, I know. Sue me).

In case you haven’t been keeping up on the Seven Soldier Saga, here’s a quick catch-you-up: A parasitic race of “fair folk” known as the Sheeda have periodically brought the human race to the brink of destruction. They sacked Camelot, bred armies of sub-humans, and punched holes in the fabric of reality to feed on the terror of innocents. As is foretold, seven soldiers will arise to face the Sheeda every time they return.

Everybody loves Frankie.
Frankenstein enters into our story during one such battle in 1870 when he fought a Sheeda named Melmoth and his army of Maggot-creatures aboard a train in the American Northwest. As readers of Klarion the Witchboy can tell you, Melmoth somehow escaped that doomed locomotive, but Franky wasn’t so lucky, and, wouldn’t ya know it, a modern-day school sits atop his (temporarily) final resting place.

As the fates would have it, this school is also where a vengeful local nerd begins exhibiting a strange ability to control minds... probably with the aid of the Sheeda Spine-Rider that is, itself, controlling him.

So prom’s gonna suck, this year.

Of all the crossovers and events to litter 2005, Seven Soldiers still proves to be the most coherent, meaningful, and satisfying by leaps and bounds. The zero issue was about as confusing as gay republicanism, but every series to follow has been tight, strong as a standalone, and delightful as a chapter in the larger saga. To those familiar with the other Seven Soldiers books, Frankenstein doesn’t fail to keep the epic running and offers us a great new knight errant to root for.

But, to those not following the larger story, this book STILL offers an enticing adventure. The first issue just barely sets up the protagonist, but his mission is clear: Evil has returned and must be vanquished. From the way this outing ends, we can count on the next issue finding us in a different locale and surrounded by different characters, but the promise of Morrison’s style and Franky’s badass undead appeal will be enough to bring you back for more.

Heck, it might even make you hunt down the other Seven Soldier books, and more power to you. Morrison has been on quite a roll, lately, and even with all the possible baggage of Frankenstein, the material still feels fresh... Even if Frank may be a little ripe.

Amazing Spider-Man #526 wraps-up Reginald Hudlin’s run of “The Other: Evolve or Die” with lots of bone-crunching and ripped spandex, but not much story.

To summarize briefly, Spidey wakes up, goes out for a morning swing, is ambushed by Morlun (that non-vampire vampire guy thing) fights him in J. Jonah Jameson’s office, fights him at Empire State University, and then fights him on the street. The end.

Of course, there IS the nagging little detail of who wins the fight, but I wouldn’t want to ruin that...

Here...take your ass and put it in a safe place...
Actually, yeah, I would: Spidey gets his webbed ass handed to him.

But it all feels rather dull when you get to that final page which shows the upcoming covers: First, Spidey on life support; then a cocoon with a human silhouette inside; then Spidey emerging from a cocoon. Evolve or die? Why, the suspense is killing me! What could possibly happen next?!?

If nothing else, this middle section of the story has demonstrated that he can stand toe to toe with the work Peter David did in the first part, but most of it turned out to be foreshadowing, visits to all the usual science and technology heroes you talk to in an “I’m dying, oh no!” arc, and some solid Spider-banter (Steven Seagal references aside). It’s also demonstrated that Marvel should chain-up Mike Wieringo in a room full of paper and pencils and never let him go, if they know what’s good for them.

Which brings me to the art in this issue: Mike Deodato Jr. has been the regular Amazing Spider-Man artist for quite a while now, but I’m just getting tired of his compositions and sparse backgrounds. The photo-referenced art has started to wear thin, and I’m getting fed up with seeing a Mary Jane who looks like Liv Tyler with a bad dye-job.

We’ll see what JMS can do with this story when he gets his mitts on it, but I’m predicting a return to the mysticism that split Spidey fans back before “Sins of the Past” made so many outright despise him. This issue’s a pretty tired obligatory slugfest and not worth buying on solo merit, but it may end up being a more important piece of the larger puzzle. I’d bet against it, though.

page 2: Ex Machina #16, She-Hulk #2 and Flash #228...

Jason Schachat

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