Tag Archives: Marvel NOW!

Spider-Man is a Gimmick [MAJOR SPOILERS]

Let’s face it. The average, everyday comic is not much unlike a soap opera. Drama unfolds, bizarre elements are thrown in and the stories continue on in a never ending serialization. Of course, comics have the potential to be so much better, and they have been, but they’re normally the same. People even make fun of them for the same things. In soap operas everyone has an evil twin, people fight over who gave birth to what baby, everyone has amnesia, and people come back from the dead.

These gimmicks are trademarks to the soap opera genre and these gimmicks are what keep the general population from seeing them as anything other than a joke. In comics, people are cloned, babies come in and out of continuity, there’s amnesia and comas, and people come back from the dead. Those are the gimmicks that make many people think comic books are a joke.

Spider-Man doesn’t help that image. Spider-Man is a gimmick. Not Spider-Man himself, but the stories he appears in. Think about the most well known Spider-Man stories in the last 20 years. The ones that got either a lot of attention from the media, or just stick out like sore thumbs in the ongoing story of Peter Parker. There was “the Clone Saga”, where Peter was cloned and a new character, Ben Reilly took his place for a time. That went on for several years during the ’90s. Then a few years later, with the release of Spider-Man in theaters, there was “The Other”, where Peter Parker was turned into a giant spider, died, and gave birth to himself just so he’d have organic web shooters like in the movie.

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Cyclops Prepares for a Mutant Revolution in All-New X-Men #3

Marvel Comics
Story – Brian Michael Bendis
Art – Stuart Immonen

As someone who never read an X-Men title with any consistency, and as someone who always felt at a loss where to jump into this world, I am thrilled that Marvel Now! has given us newbies All-New X-Men. In this third installment of the new series, Brian Michael Bendis is in complete control of this story, and based on the perfect pace and terrific plotting and dialogue, my hopes for this book are now astronomical. The first two issues were predominantly set-up; filling in readers about Cyclops’s budding revolution with Magneto, the death of Professor X, the Phoenix Force, and Beast’s time-bending retrieval of the original X-Men from the distant past. This issue is where I feel we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty, the implications and consequences of the remarkable set-up of the first two issues.

This book is positively cinematic. The dialogue is snappy and believable and drives the story forward effectively. The characters are lush, fully-realized, and fascinating. The art is gorgeous and lucid, and the action scenes are stunning. It’s a bit disorienting to see Cyclops and Magneto on the same team, and even stranger when Magneto asks Cyclops, “What do we do now?” That’s not really a question I’d expect from Magneto, but it just goes to show how high Cyclops’s star has risen in the mutant revolution, whether you find it a just cause or not.

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Up in tentacled arms about The Amazing Spider-Man #699

Marvel Comics
Story – Dan Slott
Art – Humberto Ramos

When I was a little kid, around middle school age, I had an almost sadistic fascination with destruction. I would often take old action figures I no longer used, place them in a plastic bowl filled with water, and put them in the freezer. The next day, Daredevil or Batman would be frozen in the ice, often with one limb awkwardly sticking out. I’d take these frozen action figures outside and hurl them into the air just to watch them shatter on the sidewalk. Dan Slott, as a writer, is like me as a bored middle school kid on a summer day. Dan Slott has taken Spider-Man, our Spider-Man, and hurled him into the air just to watch him shatter.

Maybe I’m being hyperbolic. But I have been so let down and angered over Slott’s stories and writing, that it truly does feel like more than just the end of The Amazing Spider-Man; it feels like destruction. Ruination. With each passing issue he does, I feel that he has taken one more brick out of Spider-Man’s foundation. My feeling right now is that next month’s last issue, #700, Slott will remove the keystone, and we’ll all have to suffer through Spider-Man’s destruction.

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Discussion: What’s Wrong with the New 52?

We decided to discuss what we felt was wrong about DC Comics’ New 52 and compare it to Marvel NOW! We talk about costumes, Jack Kirby, Superman, Spider-Man, Hulk, Daredevil and a lot more.

Jason: There’s nothing interesting happening in the New DCU. It’s all just repetition of old comics and stories we’ve already seen.

Superman looks like he’s wearing a big blue diaper now

Johnnie: Yeah, that was my impression as well. I mean, ideally the New 52 was designed to bring in new readers. But what they’re doing with it is so uninteresting to me, I just didn’t bother with 99% of the revamp. The only one I’ve gotten into is Batman. And even then I was already interested in reading Batman. Plus those costumes. My God.

Jason: We could write an entire book about why every costume in the New 52 is absolutely horrible. Superman has so many lines going all over his body that it’s hard to know what to look at. It’s like they tried so hard to make the costumes look ‘real’ that they look so unbelievably overdrawn and unrealistic.

Johnnie: Yeah, I think Superman is probably the worst offender I’ve seen. But it goes beyond just those totally unnecessary, goofy lines. His suit is also not like, cloth. It’s this weird alien technology. Like, I don’t even know how to describe it. What is it exactly?

Jason: It’s some kind of technology that materializes when he wants it to. No more itchy costume under his business attire. He can just rip off his shirt and mentally command his suit to materialize! It’s so necessary!

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Review: Indestructible Hulk #1 [Marvel NOW!]

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5 out of 5 stars
Marvel Comics
Story – Mark Waid
Art – Leinil Yu

I have been looking forward to Indestructible Hulk for months now. There are some books in the Marvel Now! revolution that I felt may not be entirely necessary or need the facelift. But Hulk is one of those (along with X-Men) that I felt really needed this treatment. I’m one of those people who has always been fascinated by the Hulk and Bruce Banner as characters (and they really are different characters), but I have little experience with them in comic books. I unfortunately saw Ang Lee’s Hulk, which was a terrific mess, and I also watched the reboot The Incredible Hulk with Ed Norton twice in theaters. I thought Norton’s Hulk was very fun and totally underappreciated in the Marvel Studios canon. And of course there was Mark Ruffalo’s perfect interpretation of the character in The Avengers as a quiet, introverted brilliant scientist who only wants to be helpful but is so clearly plagued by the guilt of his “condition.” Ruffalo really brought the character back into my cultural awareness. He was the most well-rounded and lovable character in that movie. Iron Man was the funniest and most charming, and Thor was the most peculiar (in a great way), but Bruce Banner had me wrapped around his huge green finger right away. The Hulk I saw in The Avengers is the Hulk I wanted to read in a comic book. After reading this first issue of Indestructible Hulk, I am doubtful that will be the case exactly, but I am still very happy with the portrayal of Bruce Banner and the Hulk that we’re given in this first issue. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but that ultimately didn’t matter.

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Review: Deadpool #1 [Marvel NOW!]

5 out of 5 stars
Marvel Comics
Story – Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan
Art – Tony Moore

Thank God for Deadpool. I love Deadpool. I know he’s contentious. Our very own Jason Cohen has a longstanding hatred for the character, and he has his reasons. Deadpool just isn’t for everyone. But he’s definitely for me. And this premiere issue of the Marvel NOW! Deadpool just encouraged and validated everything I felt about Deadpool in previous stories. Let me start this review by saying that if this comic is as consistently high quality as the first issue, Deadpool will likely become my favorite comic book currently in print. With my normal favorite Amazing Spider-Man being such a revolting piece of shit right now, that might not sound like a lot, but it is, given my recent foray into Batman.

The story here is that a politically-minded magician/necromancer guy casts a spell that summons the spirits of dead American presidents, in the hopes that they will take control of the country and “fix it,” whatever that means to you. Initially, Captain America arrives on the scene, and appears in the paper the next day decapitating Harry Truman. S.H.I.E.L.D. feels that this is terrible PR and they need to find someone else to sweep the problem under the rug quickly and quietly.

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10 Things to be Learned from Marvel Comics’ February Solicitations

The February Solicitations for Marvel Comics have been released and we can now get a good feel of what Marvel Now! will be bringing to the table. Just from this month’s selection alone, it looks like Marvel Now! will be anything but expected.

1. Marvel Movie Invasion. The new Secret Avengers book will be led by the likes of Nick Fury Jr. and Agent Phil Coulson. Who is Nick Fury Jr? Well he’s Nick Fury’s secret son who strangely looks like Ultimate Nick Fury and Samuel L. Jackson. Then he loses an eye and looks exactly like Nick Fury. So the movie Fury is now the main Marvel Fury and Agent Coulson is here too. It’s pretty obvious that Marvel is pushing their movie properties into their comic books, but are they pushing a little too hard?

There is also the Avengers Assemble book, which chronicles the adventures of the movie Avengers. The book is supposed to be set in continuity, but there is really no telling how. Whether this book takes place in the past, with some other Avengers team with this lineup or completely outside of continuity, this book’s main focus is advertising the Avengers in the movie. I suppose that’s the exact point. Take Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye and throw them into the Marvel Comics Universe filled with all the heroes and villains they could want.

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New Titles: Uncanny X-Men, Fearless Defenders, Alpha; Hellblazer Ends, Constantine Begins

Just when you thought there was a severe lack of X-Men books, Marvel has satiated your appetite for X-books. Joining Marvel Now!’s line-wide relaunch is the third volume of Uncanny X-Men with Brian Michael Bendis as writer and Chris Bachalo on art.

Bachalo is leaving Wolverine and the X-Men in order to launch the new book. He states that he’s redesigned everyone and the series will take on a darker tone than previously seen, especially compared to his work on Wolverine and the X-Men. With the appearance of Cyclops and Magneto it looks like this title will be following where the previous Uncanny X-Men left off. Following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, Cyclops has been locked up and Magneto is on the run, so look for those story lines to converge in this new title. Perhaps the book will show the redemption of Cyclops after his steady fall from grace over the last few years hit rock bottom when he accidentally killed Charles Xavier. Thanks again PhoenixUncanny X-Men premiers in February with two issues and joins a slew of X-titles, like X-Men: Legacy, Wolverine and the X-Men, All-New X-Men, X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, Uncanny X-Force, Cable and X-Force, Uncanny Avengers, Gambit, and finally, Savage Wolverine.

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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 696 (with sundry complaints about the series generally)

2 out of 5 stars
Marvel Comics
Writers- Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Art- Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks- Dan Green
Colors- Antonio Fabela

I never thought I would say this (like, ever) but I am glad, nay, thoroughly satisfied, that The Amazing Spider-Man will be coming to an end in a mere four issues. I don’t say this out of some longstanding hatred of the series. In fact, ASM has always been my favorite comic book. I grew up reading Spider-Man. Many of my fondest memories as a Spidey fan were during what I consider the “Golden Age” of Spider-Man comics: the John Romita Jr. and J. Michael Straczynski run. Those comics were exactly what Spider-Man was supposed to be. Romita was an expert in kinetic, fun, evocative art with facial expressions that said ten times what was contained in thought bubbles, and fight scenes so beautifully and perfectly rendered, you could feel his ribs crack as Morlun pounded him or the thrill of success when Spider-Man finally found a way to physically overcome the vampire. There was glory and thrill and a feel of classic comic book storytelling in those books. As far as I’m concerned, that was Spider-Man. But those days are long gone, aren’t they? I think ASM’s “jumping the shark” moment came a long time ago, during the Brand New Day/One More Day line. And it has all been downhill from there.

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Discussion: Superior Spider-Man

With the Marvel NOW! reboot, Marvel is ending a lot of their long running titles and relaunching their characters in new titles, situations and status quos. One of these relaunches centers around the long running Amazing Spider-Man ending it’s run with issue 700, and relaunching with a new Superior Spider-Man #1. 

Johnnie: As you predicted, Jason, Spider-Man is getting rebooted in January, but no tentacles!

Jason: I think I would have prefered tentacles. This just seems underwhelming in the sense that they ended the 700 issue run Amazing Spider-Man to make Spider-Man all pissed off and angry. That sounds like Black Suit Spider-Man. If they were going to end ASM, I would prefer it be something crazy, like Spider-Man with Doc Ock tentacles. As stupid as that would have been.

Johnnie: Oh goddammit. You’re so right. They did this before with the symbiote storyline. It’s the same thing pretty much except something DRASTIC and TERRIBLE will happen that will make Peter like that naturally. Mary Jane will probably die and we’ll get that shot of Spider-Man raising his fist at the sky vowing to avenge her death. Just like the whole Gwen Stacy ending. And we’ll all be expected to go “Oh, I see what you did there”. Continue reading