Amazing Spider-Man #45 (496)
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: John Romita, Jr. and Scott Hanna
a few pages get devoted to borrowing (okay, outright stealing)
a rule from Lee and Ditko's run. Just in case people have
forgotten the strength of Peter's courage, drop a building
on him and watch him struggle to lift it all off of himself.
The only thing new JMS adds is dialogue from …The Dark
a shame, because this run has had moments just an iconic.
But this issue marks a bit of a low point for the current
creative team, as Peter runs to L.A. only to find that nothing
has changed in the current status quo. Despite wavering last
issue, Mary Jane remains nebulously selfish. The way JMS writes
it, it makes a little sense, but then if that's the way she
is, she shouldn't have gotten married in the first place.
now Aunt May knows that her ex-fiancee tried to kill her nephew
dozens of times. And notice, fans, that there's not a hint
of heart trouble. JMS handles May better than any writer before.
Writers: Ed Brubaker and Geoff Johns
Artists: Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens
again, it's David Cain versus Deadshot, with Batman caught
in the middle. So, too, are the characters caught between
the excellent plotting of Brubaker and the masterful characterization
of Johns. Why does it work so well? Because Geoff Johns remembers
to keep everybody focused on their goals. Even when a character
like Cain seems lost, the trick works. While it may seem improbable
to us that he can work on reconciling with Cassandra (she
was, after all, actually stolen from another couple), it makes
perfect sense that Batman believes in it.
side note, I just noticed that the monochromatic look has
vanished. The colors are still muted, but we're back to four.
Four #61 (490)
Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: Mike Wieringo and Karl Kesel
gone by, and not a whiff of supervillainy. That seems heretical.
Instead, Waid, 'Ringo and Kesel grab us with the all-too human
comedy of a Thing with a pie in his face. Though it seems
a shame to unmask the Yancey Street Gang, Waid's revelation
here just goes to prove that this run will be about family
dynamics and conflicts, bringing this most cosmic of books
into a very relatable scale.
and just to satisfy those who need something bigger, something
horrible is happening in the nursery. But that's another story.
Mostly, The Thing and The Torch rampage down the street. Sure,
it's another nod to classic moments in the book's history,
but here it's done with wit and originality instead of just
aping what has come before.
writer: Geoff Johns
artists: Justiniano and Walden Wong
little of this issue takes place in Keystone City, it makes
some sense that we need a guest artist. Regular penciller
Scott Kohlins has become typecast as his landscape. For the
fill-in, the single named Justiniano proves competent, with
much of the book looking like an early '90's Image title as
drawn by Mike Zeck.
than having "Times Past," Johns has created "Rogue Files."
It's a smart move. Though this is a book about a legacy hero,
its rogues really are the heart of that legacy, and Johns
writes Barry Allen's archenemies extremely well. Finally,
The Pied Piper gets cleared of murder charges, and along the
way, we see just what he can do in a new, Ragman-like outfit.
Johns also gets us up to speed on Heatwave and the original
Trickster, picking up on seeds planted years ago in the "New
Year's Evil" fifth-week event. It's about time.
Writer: Joe Kelly Artists: Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen Should
there be a HeroClix Martian Manhunter, I vote he should have
the power displayed here: the ability to make his opponents
feel Aquaman's despair. Kelly tapped into one cool use for
telepathy there. Beyond good character moments, including
a nice fevered monologue from Batman, Kelly finally starts
coalescing the storyline.
Manitou Raven having doubts about the nobility of his Justice
League's role in history. When our League encounters Mera,
she confirms those doubts. The ancient heroes aren't just
acting out of ignorance; they are being actively misled by
the witch Gamemnae, who also had something to do with Aquaman's
transformation into a reflecting pool. Kelly has also come
up with a pretty simple solution to the conflicts in Atlantean
history. The history books lied. Did anybody tell Peter David?
turning into a pretty good adventure. The only problem with
the explanation given here is the implication that Tempest
knew what he was doing. That pretty much conflicts with everything
else he has said and done in this story. Clearly, the earlier
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, vol. 2, #3
writer: Alan Moore
artist: Kevin O'Neill
shocking thing about this issue lies on the cover. Look closely
(then again, not too closely) and you'll notice that the denizens
of Wonderland have been expertly stuffed and put on display.
Yes, the English probably would do that. (Americans
would just blow them up.)
again, Moore blends the events of H.G. Wells' War of the
Worlds with, at this point, a behind-the-scenes look at
England's extraordinary response. The Invisible Man's collusion
with the Martians reveals itself in horrific fashion, and
Moore continues making Mr. Hyde into a surprisingly poignant
and likable character.
time, however, is spent exploring that museum.
Messiahs: Lamenting Pain #1 (9)
writer: Joshua M. Dysart
artist: Tone Rodriguez
of you, it's been a long wait. For the denizens of Rankor
Island, it has only been a week since Citizen Pain and The
Family Man disappeared. But in that week, a heck of a lot
of Pain still has the city's fascination. To pick up the slack,
a new killer has risen, while activists don approximations
of Pain's "costume." Reluctantly, the city's administration
calls in Cheri Major, herself still trying to sort out the
implications of what has happened.
by the Hurricane team, this book has a different vibe than
the original arc. More than any previous issue, this story
seems more interested in exploring the effects of violence
than the violence itself. Though new "violent messiah" Scalpel
does make for an interesting image, her actions here are almost
beside the point. Any killer would have done. It's the people
alternately living in fear and galvanized into action that
hold the reader's attention. When Hollywood inevitably comes
calling, one can only hope they don't miss the point.
Version 3.0 #2
Writer: Joe Casey
Artists: Dustin Nguyen and Richard Friend
has found a pretty original take on the concept of the super
team. It's also perfect for the times. We can only hope that,
being an android programmed for good, Halo CEO Jack Marlowe
really does have noble intentions. Of course, we also know
what they say about the road to Hell. Good thing he employs
two huge cynics in the form of Grifter and Agent Wax, who
gives the reader a cool rundown of why corporations are not
to be trusted.
that paranoid aspect to his character ends up feeling like
an excuse for little rants. Casey throws in an arbitrary dig
to our current political situation which seems forced, regardless
of whether or not you agree with it.
is also undone a little by the art. Nguyen has a cool style,
but not a great sense of storytelling at this point. Many
panels have cool compositions just for the sake of being cool
instead of moving the story along. Of course, so do a lot
of Hollywood movies, so maybe it can be forgiven. Casey's
story just deserves better treatment, and maybe as the book
settles in, Nguyen will be able to give it.