writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artist: Michael Avon Oeming
as a routine super-hero murder investigation. Indeed, Bendis
lulled us into a false sense of security, calling this arc
by the innocuous title of "The Sell-outs" and liberally spoofing
to the end of the world. There's not a damned thing the characters
we've come to know and love can do about it. Except, perhaps,
swear and cry.
greatest superhero, Supershock, has decided that it's time
to finally end all the injustice and hypocrisies that he has
witnessed. Most of Utah has been leveled in a nuclear explosion.
The Vatican burns, as punishment for its silence on child-molesting
fate of Iraq might make our president stop smirking for a
and Oeming only offer glimpses of the powers in action. Appropriate,
as the story has shifted from violent romp to despairing view
of our helplessness in the face of disaster, all we see are
normal people panicking. Only Deena Pilgrim has the guts to
say out loud, "I am freaking the f*** out here."
a brilliant and sobering turn of events. If you've been fantasizing
lately about how the world could use a superman right about
now, the Powers team offers up that old warning: be
careful what you wish for.
disappointment with this issue is that extra pages of story
knock out the brilliant letter-column. So, really, it's still
great; it's just that even if other comics still ran letters
columns, this one would be the only one worth reading.
writer: Jeph Loeb
artist: Tim Sale
Spider-Man: Blue getting a lavish treatment in
its imminent hardback release (cheap plug: though not yet
actually available, it's 30% off on Amazon). On the surface,
at least, it would seem worth it.
again, the Loeb and Sale team have delved into a flagship
character's past, and delivered something gorgeous. Sale's
art perfectly straddles Spider-Man's transition from a Steve
Ditko-drawn character to the fuller renderings of John Romita
artist, Sale just gets stronger and stronger with each outing.
For his work alone, this mini-series has been worthwhile.
despite the usual strong characterization from Loeb, there's
nothing else really here. Yes, he makes Peter Parker and company
come alive, but honestly, so has J. Michael Straczynski, and
at least JMS has brought something new to the character.
Loeb's title metaphor to its fullest, Blue is like
a high school jazz band doing a Coltrane chart. Every note
from the original is there, but it never quite takes off and
becomes its own unique thing.
of the problem lies in the vividness of Loeb's source material.
Even though this time period of Peter's life was no longer
being done by Ditko, it still had Stan Lee chronicling it.
Say what you will about the quality of some of Lee's work,
The Amazing Spider-Man still stands out as incredibly
strong. All Loeb can do is a little awkward updating to explain
Flash Thompson's military service without the tensions of
Viet Nam behind it.
Loeb and Sale explored Batman and Superman, they poked into
corners of those heroes' lives that hadn't existed before.
There's something so larger than life about the DC icons that
writers can keep expanding the mythology. Even Daredevil has
the creative advantage of being a character whose past most
people ignored the first time around.
In some ways, he's smaller than life, and the minutiae of
his day to day existence has always been integral to the character.
doesn't help that Loeb has stolen a structure from himself
- the message to the dead lover that he used in Daredevil:
Yellow. Though we are all in some ways prisoners of our
past, it would be nice to see Loeb explore a character not
commenting with the benefit of hindsight. As eager as I was
for Hulk: Gray, it occurs to me that Bruce Banner,
too, has a dead lover, and I just don't want to see this same
ignored Daredevil: Yellow, or are just a Loeb/Sale
fanatic (understandable), the collection will be worth your
time. It's just not the best collaboration between the two.
Of course, something like Superman For All Seasons
is pretty darned hard to top anyway.
writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artists: Mark Bagley and Art Thibert
dispense with the terrible brown-nosing that has to be done
toward Bendis. It's been done enough this week in these very
put Ultimate Spider-Man in context with the overall
Ultimate line. Ignoring the limited series, or maybe because
of the limited series, there's a strong sense of anything
can happen. Characters we think can't die just might. And
there's a strong sense of a whole to this universe that Bendis
leaves humming in the background of this particular title.
It's always there; we just get to ignore it for a while.
as Peter would like to be able to do.
my hopes otherwise, Eddie Brock has been overtaken by the
symbiote Venom. But at least his hatred of Peter, though still
irrational, has to do with far more important history than
"Spider-Man stole my job." Here, Spider-Man stole what Eddie
sees as his legacy.
the regular continuity Venom, this one is psychotic and dangerous
right out of the gate. Somebody is going to get killed, and
there's not going to be an uneasy reformation of the character
to match his popularity.
issues ago, Nick Fury left Peter with the chilling prophecy
that when he turns 18, he will belong to SHIELD. For the first
time, Peter is starting to think that won't be a bad thing,
at least for society. Because of Venom, even Peter thinks
he himself might be a menace.
- and he and Mary Jane have a heart-breaking talk about their
relationship. As usual, it's real, it's honest, and it contains
enough emotion to power an entire season of Smallville.
There's a place for teen angst, and Bendis knows how not to
is the stuff, man.