writer: Brian Michael Bendis
artist: Michael Gaydos
seen her origin, including that she carried a long-suffering
crush on Peter Parker. Now we know some of the pain of Jessica's
past. This issue sees more of that pain brought up, possibly
into the reasons why she stopped being a superhero. That it
should involve a villain considered to be rather lame, The
Purple Man, only proves the adage that there are no bad characters,
only bad writers.
even actually showing us The Purple Man, Bendis has rendered
him absolutely chilling. And though it's as yet unclear as
to what the villain did to Jessica Jones, Gaydos' art does
make clear that it was bad.
are the scenes behind the scenes we used to read in the 70's
and 80's. Few writers and artists can make it seem like something
more than posturing at relevance. Luckily, of course, Bendis
and Gaydos are among those few.
Amazing Spider-Man #54 (495)
writer: J. Michael Straczynski
artists: John Romita, Jr. and Scott Hanna
up the Digger saga with a few moral questions that have been
turned over more than once already in this arc. Despite the
story having been stretched perhaps one issue too many (ah,
that writing for the trade…), Digger himself has been an interesting
character. Better yet, Spider-Man's defeat of Digger reminds
us that Peter is as much a brainy hero as a brawny one, an
aspect that JMS has labored hart to bring back to the fore.
again, JMS drops a couple of ominous story hints for someone
else to pick up. Like Waid's Batman in JLA, Spider-Man
and probably a lot of heroes in the Marvel Universe have formulated
plans on how to take each other down in event of possession
or simply going rogue. After the Heroes Reborn saga, it sure
noticed, though, that despite some pretty decent complex superhero
story-telling, this title's covers have really been all about
playing up the public's perception of Spider-Man? From the
covers, this is all about Spider-Man and Mary Jane's romance.
At least neither character has been ordered to look more like
Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, as has been rumored to have
happened with Wolverine.
if Kevin Smith ever finishes the Spider-Man/Black Cat mini-series,
he may have a lot to answer for with the hints of infidelity.
writer: Robbie Morrison
artists: Dwayne Turner and Sal Regia
all the crap this book has gone through editorially, what
remains seems to be just a shadow of its former self. It's
still a solid book with some charm to it, but really, what
can you do once you've killed and resurrected the team? How
many more times can you find a reality-menacing foe that seems
attempt has a been there done that quality. A little bit of
Mojoworld mixed in with the oddity of Alans Moore and Davis'
run on Captain Britain, except with a lot more blood
and guts. Perhaps because of prior controversy that made DC
look bad, the writer seems to have been allowed a little more
leeway with Apollo and The Midnighter - and look, the relationship,
though committed, seems a little dull. But then, that happens
with long marriages.
and the strangely realistic portrayal of Jenny Quantum - despite
her incredibly dangerous abilities - mark the only thing that
feels fresh about this book. It became famous on the strength
of its "wide screen" approach, and ironically, now it's the
little moments that are keeping it going.
writer: Ed Brubaker
artists: Patrick Zircher and Aaron Sowd
city firmly established as being home to one of the most powerful
beings on Earth, you just don't see the original Green Lantern
too much. So anytime a writer tries to bring Alan Scott into
the proceedings of a Bat-tale, it's welcome. If anybody can
meld the fantastic with the gritty that usually accompanies
Batman, it's Brubaker.
naturally enough, it's also a murder mystery. Bodies are being
found with the phrase "made of wood" carved into their chests.
While the retired Commissioner Gordon may not know what that
means, it definitely sets off alarms for Batman. Delving into
local history, he discovers that this isn't the first time
that warning had appeared on corpses. To his shame, Alan Scott
never caught the killer.
so strong about the best of Brubaker's work on this title
is his remembering that it's about detective work. The costumes,
the more fantastic elements, are strictly secondary to tense
plotting. We don't need to worry so much about the Bruce/Batman
dichotomy, and we don't care.
it up is a welcome return of Winick and Chiang's Josie Mac.
Unfortunately, it's just a tease to get us into Gotham
writer: Chuck Austen
artists: Clayton Henry and Mark Morales
Ifs?" meet the "Who Cares?" as writer Austen combines this
book's concept with the one he regularly writes. Supposedly
this is the in-continuity Uncanny X-Men, center of a task
for The Exiles that revolves around an evil Havok ghost trying
to possess the "real" Havok.
though each month this book sets up new realities, for some
reason this particular move is annoying. When dropped in the
middle of continuity, it just points out how completely complex
the so-called streamlined X-Men have become…again. At least
Austen has thrown a wrench into things by establishing a menace
that the Tallus apparently didn't anticipate. It's a classic
maneuver, to put our regulars in between two enemies, and
it proves somewhat interesting.
Austen has come a strange manga influence, which is extra
irritating after the great run by Mike McKone, and other recent
guest artists that were at least trying something different.
For the first time in this title's history, it looks like
any one of a dozen other X-titles.
Known As The Justice League #1
writers: Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis
artists: Kevin Maguire and Joe Rubinstein
nostalgia wave in comics has finally begun feeding on itself.
Now we're seeing revivals of simply great comics, not toy
lines that somehow had decent comics attached. So welcome
back, Justice League, with a mighty bwaa-ha-haaaa.
heartfelt greeting is more for the overall concept of this
mini-series. The first issue, however, suffers a little bit
from reunion specialitis. Everybody's here, except for Batman
and Guy Gardner, focusing more on the tail end of Giffen and
DeMatteis' run on the original book than the beginning. We've
got the villainous Manga Khan (yes, Giffen's infamous joke
- an archenemy whose name really means ComicCon) approaching
Earth just as Maxwell Lord gets the bright idea of gathering
the old troops together for one last hurrah.
it's a formulaic where are they now, with Lord lying and manipulating
his old "friends." At least the creative team acknowledges
the changes made in them, some for the better, and the promise
of seeing how a formerly goofy character like Blue Beetle
deals with the changes in his health should prove interesting.
own, this issue is mostly a tease. But trust me; this is going
to be good stuff.
writers: Geoff Johns, David S. Goyer, and Darwyn Cooke
artists: Barry Kitson and Darwyn Cooke
of Legacy continues…but really it's an excuse to throw focus
on the newer members of the JSA without bogging down the regular
book. This issue explores Dr. Fate without referencing the
larger threat, and it's possibly the best spotlight the character
has had in at least two decades.
and Goyer have taken the character's name to an extreme that's
only logical, but potentially devastating for Hector Hall.
As far as inner turmoil goes, it's far more understandable
to see him struggle with knowing how everyone around him,
including himself, is to die than to worry about his own emptiness.
Kitson has also taken the interesting step of drawing Hector
as looking rather middle-aged, not just white-haired. It could
make an interesting character bit, that physically, he's older
than his father.
back-up slot, Darwyn Cooke contributes a slick tale of the
original Dr. Fate which plays more as parody of '40's comic
book stories than anything serious. Cooke has a personal mission
to remind us that old comics were fun. Normally I'm all for
it, but it's quite a different tone from the Hector Hall version
of the character.