writer: J. Michael Straczynski
artists: John Romita, Jr. and Scott Hanna
get closer to the climax of Peter's current romantic subplot,
JMS has little choice but to divide the story in two. One
continues the strange and mystical journey that Peter accidentally
plunged into when his new writer came onboard, and the other
feels like Sleepless In Seattle. Which half works is
a matter of taste, really.
it's the mystical. Because Spider-Man has long been so iconic
in popular culture, it's hard to understand the revulsion
that people in the Marvel Universe are supposed to have towards
him. Until now.
into Peter's inner spider, JMS has begun explaining just why
some people might get the creeps around him. It's not the
costume, as Romita and Hanna never draw the mask in this issue.
Instead, they portray a Peter Parker with a newfound casualness,
almost relaxation, around spiders. And that can build to great
effect in the future. What makes this subtle change in our
view of Spider-Man work is that it only adds to the character
without negating anything we knew before (as, say, a clone
might). Peter, too, maintains a healthy skepticism.
Ezekiel also warns that important things come in threes. After
attacks from Morlun and Shathra, something even bigger has
to be gunning for the spider. Am I the only one envisioning
a giant Garfield with a rolled-up newspaper? Okay, it's a
creditable and credible threat, that promises great excitement.
that excitement isn't coming for an issue or two. Instead,
JMS has to clean up the mess between Peter and Mary Jane.
No doubt he will, and no doubt it will be good, but to maneuver
the two into that spot in time for a special anniversary issue
(#50), he has to play the two for romantic farce. Though not
quite marking time, it's a dissonant touch, and it overwhelms
writer: Jeph Loeb
artists: Jim Lee and Scott Williams
you can not to look at the house ad right before the
last page of this story. Even though the cliffhanger may be
a foregone conclusion, it's still really strange placement
to have it spoiled a page early.
this issue, Loeb and Lee journey to Metropolis, as Batman
goes hunting for Poison Ivy. In addition to continuing one
of the best Batman stories in a while, Loeb once again proves
that fans should be salivating over the long-promised Batman
and Superman title.
freed from the overall Superman story arcs that hindered him,
Loeb writes the best Superman in comics. A quick discussion
between Clark and Lois about Bruce Wayne marks the first time
the two have ever really had the rhythms of a married couple
what's making this book work is that Loeb is free from an
all-encompassing Batman story arc, too. He goes ahead and
lets Batman's attraction to Catwoman build, something not
allowed in quite a while, and certainly not reflected in any
other Batbook. (It doesn't hurt that Lee draws a smoking Selina
result, anything can happen. So far, Loeb and Lee largely
riff on old themes, but they are turning those themes upside
haven't figured out why this book has suddenly catapulted
to the top of the charts, believe that it's not a sudden simple
wave of nostalgia for one of the big guns in comics. It's
because Loeb and Lee have made this big gun well worth reading.
of Prey #51
writer: Gilbert Hernandez
artist: Casey Jones
Melding DC's more traditionally cartoony characters with their
grittier ones is always dicey. And I'm not sure that Hernandez
and Jones have quite pulled it off yet. Most of Metamorpho's
supporting cast are either absent or sufficiently altered
so as to fit, but every panel with Java screams comic relief,
and not in a good way.
unclear on the history, Java (or, as he often calls himself,
"faithful Java") is basically an unfrozen caveman moron. Hopelessly
in love with Sapphire Stagg, he has long been in a thorn in
Rex Mason/Metamorpho's side.
with Sapphire and her son merged into one being, he rather
abruptly switches allegiances to Black Canary. Yes, Hernandez
just wants to write a fun adventure story (never mind the
oedipal complications), but he's left too much of the ridiculous
in Java's character. Why would Simon Stagg build a protective
exoskeleton suit that looks like the old '50's Robot Monster,
when in all other ways, the crotchety billionaire is an industrial
genius? It only serves to add an element of the goofy, and
it stretches too thin.
we've got two other mysteries.
most relevant to the arc at hand involves a handsome thug
who claims to have been Killer Moth. While he does at least
realize that he was present at Batgirl's first appearance,
he can't account for the demonically mutated Killer Moth languishing
at Arkham. This could develop into something interesting.
the remaining mystery, it applies to a lot of DC books. Just
when and how did Metamorpho come back from the dead? I'll
grant you, his dying in the first place was an arbitrary move
meant to wring a little last sympathy for a failed Justice
League. Even with Hypertime, I'm a little bothered because
his corpse actually served as a plot point in Waid's run on
JLA. But since Doom Patrol mysteriously revived
him, and coyly left it to someone else to figure out the resurrection,
everybody just treats Metamorpho's being alive cavalierly.
thinks the character has potential (and indeed, he has appeared
directly and indirectly in three books this month alone),
then fans are owed some sort of explanation. Stop distracting
us with that cool action figu…um, what was I saying?
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artist: Alex Maleev
of Matt Murdock as Daredevil has had some interesting repercussions.
Some villains have turned tale and run. The media has grown
tired of his denials and moved on to bigger, sexier stories.
(Could Matt really have just outlasted the fourth estate?)
And some villains have realized they have to do business differently.
many years that few read Daredevil, something happened
to the formerly vaguely urbane Owl. It's for the best, because
he was little more than a strange clone of Kingpin, made irrelevant
once Kingpin moved into this book. Now he's feral and struggling
to maintain civility, and you have to wonder how he ever managed
to cleverly trap Daredevil.
and Maleev portray a grimly funny confrontation between the
two, as they dance to the new rules. Ironically, Daredevil
himself is the one taken aback by the new status quo, which
may be leading to something big in his own character.
he's in denial, and even if he finds it amusing that his foes
think that Daredevil is Matt Murdock, it doesn't change the
fact that Daredevil is Matt Murdock.
mixing things up is the reappearance of Milla. Her confirmation
of Daredevil's identity is so mind-blowingly simple that it's
a wonder nobody thought of it before. Just how easy would
it be to find a hero's identity if you knew him?