Tag Archives: Spider-Man

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: October 10 – 16, 2018


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

Capture

The best comic I read last week was Spider-Geddon #1

Writer: Cristos Gage and Dan Slott

Artist: Jorge Molina

Off the wall, gonzo, over-the-top action. That’s what Spider-Geddon #1 delivers. With a title like that, it better, right?

Cristos Gage is working from ideas put in motion by Dan Slott in the neo-classic “Spider-Verse” story line (which also inspired this winter’s motion picture Spider-Man: Edge of the Spider-Verse animated film) and, in this case, good ideas are quite the fruitful playground. Focusing on the engaging Miles Morales Spider-Man, Gage connects the reader to a story that seems made to please. After establishing Morales as the Spider-Man of record, Gage introduces a handful of other Spider-People, giving each and identity and raison d art making the audience care about each. He handles the Superior Octavius very well.

And Jorge Molina is perfectly suited to the world of Spider-Man. His fluid characters blend seamless into creative panelling and the kinetic nature of the story matches what he is doing visually. This is a terrific example of the right artist being on the right book and character (in this case, characters) and Molina’s Spider-Man is a classic rendition. He is key to the success of this book.

Spider-Geddon looks as though it will be a fun ride and one that I am looking forward to taking.

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Filed under Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Spider-Man, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 25 – 31, 2018


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

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The best comic I read last week was Amazing Spider-Man #2 (#803)

Writer: Nick Spencer

Artist: Ryan Ottley

Two issues in to this latest Spider-Man reboot, two times I have selected it as the Pick of the Week.

It is a very solid and fun book.

As I wrote upon the premiere issue, Ryan Ottley’s art is a perfect match for the adventures of Spider-Man and, as importantly, Peter Parker. It is a great balance between traditional comic art and over-the-top cartooning. That is a fine medium to strike for Spider-Man. He draws a long and lanky wall crawler, which is the way I like him, and he draws a truly creative and imposing Lizard. I am more impressed with this issue than I was with the first.

Nick Spencer has Spidey’s voice down pat. The humor does not feel forced, the heroism does not feel out of place and the scenes with Mary Jane feel all but perfect. Though there is some inexplicable outcry (can comic book fans ever be happy?) over the potential Mary Jane/Peter reunion, place me solidly in the happy for them camp. Spider-Man and Mary Jane belong together. Anything other than that feels force, in my opinion.

This is an auspicious, two issue, start for the new team and new direction.

Here is hoping they can keep it going!

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Filed under Amazing Spider-Man, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Spider-Man, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 11 – 17, 2018


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

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The best comic I read last week was Amazing Spider-Man #1

Writer: Nick Spencer

Artist: Ryan Ottley

Do not misunderstand this choice: Superman #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis is a really, really good book. It is creative and inventive and charts a new course for the Man of Steel.

But Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s Amazing Spider-Man #1 (#802) is a simply perfect first issue of a new era for the Web-Spinner.

Following Dan Slott’s epic run is no enviable task, but Spencer and Ottley sure seem up to it. They have crafted a prologue that is engaging, that established a new status quo (in a brilliant manner) and that paves the way for years of story lines to come. I hope Spencer – who can tend to the controversial, quick burn (“Hail Hyrda,” anyone?) is in this for the long term. He has both Spider-Man and Peter Parker’s voices down and manages to put Peter in the best place for the character – as a lovable loser. But he also gives the perfect, Parker twist to the proceedings.

I know of Ryan Ottley only from his Invincible reputation – no pun intended. Though his art skews a bit to the cartoonish for my typical tastes, it is perfect for the subject matter and once I settled in to his interpretations, I let go and enjoyed the work, which is solid. He is a great fit for Spider-Man.

It is no mean feat to follow a master but this is an auspicious beginning. Tonally different from Slott’s run, but perfectly Spidey, Amazing Spider-Man #1 puts the book to the top of the read pile every month.

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Countdown to INFINITY… Spider-Man | Homecoming


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ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange | Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Sixteen: Spider-Man | Homecoming

SpiderMan

Tom Holland is perfect as Spider-Man. Perfect. Marvel directors seem to have unerring instincts in casting and their choice for Spider-Man (who debuted in Captain America: Civil War – a film creatively revisited in this one) in Tom Holland is spot-on. This is a very fun film and does a massive amount of world building while telling a compelling Spider-Man story, too. The filmmakers based their take on the high school movies of John Hughes, and they do a great job generating that vibe.

Spider-Man | Homecoming is absolutely jam-packed with delightful easter eggs… Bruce Banner’s picture on a classroom wall display of famous scientists, the principal of Peter’s school is the grandson of a solider who fought with Captain America in World War II, Captain America’s educational videos, the Sokovia Accords, Donald Glover (soon to explode as Lando Calrissian is on hand), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is on screen, and Jennifer Connelly – the wife of Paul Bettany who provides the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. and is the Vision – is the voice of Peter’s suit, which he names Karen. There are many more and, somehow, they do not overwhelm the movie.

Spider-Man | Homecoming also features one of the best Marvel villains in Michael Keaton’s Vulture. Fun, breezy and suitably Marvel, this is the second best of all Spider-Man movies (it does trail Spider-Man 2 by a pretty wide margin). It is also the most multi-cultural of all the Marvel movies (prior to Black Panther) and that casting serves it very well. There are a series of great set pieces here and the interplay between Spider-Man and Iron Man is fun to watch. It is so pervasive, however, that it does lead one to question whether Spider-Man will be able to carry his own movie.

Oh, and the twist ending is very, very well handled.

When Spider-Man | Homecoming opened last summer, I gave it FOUR AND A HALF (because Holland is just SO good) FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOODS out of a possible FIVE.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Adrian Toomes, The Vulture
  • Damage Control
  • MJ (Mary Jane, perhaps?)
  • The Shocker (two, in fact!)
  • Aaron Davis (the Prowler)
    • Miles Morales is referenced… he will become a Spider-Man, too!
  • Phineas Mason, The Thinker

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • For a movie that almost immediately precedes Infinity War, there are surprisingly few lead ins to the movie, however…
  • The so-called Iron Spider armor is introduced at the end of the film when Peter turns down Avengers membership.
  • Tony Stark’s relationship with Pepper Potts seems very much back on after the “break” the two were on in Civil War… perhaps setting up for tragedy in Infinity War.
  • The new Avengers upstate New York headquarters features prominently in the last act. It is also remodeled just in time for Thanos to, likely, destroy it.

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Filed under Iron Man, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios, Movies, Spider-Man

Spider-Man: Homecoming – A Movie Review


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Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming has a lot riding on it. Billed as a coming-of-age story constructed in the vein of a 1980s John Hughes movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming is also the first joint venture between Sony and Marvel with Marvel controlling the content of the film. It brings Spider-Man firmly under the control of Marvel Studios and fully into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is intended to re-launch perhaps the most famous Marvel Comics character into a series of successful solo movies.

It is likely to succeed very well in this ambition.

The best – the very best – thing Spider-Man: Homecoming has going for it is star Tom Holland. Marvel movie fans got a taste of the actor in Captain America: Civil War when he joined the super hero clash and the screen lit up whenever Holland was on it. Pitch perfect in that movie, the actor is even more appealing here in his solo venture. Following two very good performances as Spider-Man (in Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield), Holland had a bit to live up to as he stepped into the high tech tights. He is more than up to the challenge. In fact, for my money, he is the best of the bunch. That is saying something as the others were very good themselves.

Tom Holland makes the movie work. Though he is surrounded by wonderful actors (all the students in the movie are terrific, especially Zendaya as Michelle and Jacob Batalon as Ned), his energy outshines them all. This is quite a feat when considering Michael Keaton and Robert Downey, jr (not to mention Jon Favreau) are all on hand. Keaton and Downey, jr as as one would expect, both fully committed to their roles as the antagonist The Vulture and the mentor Iron Man respectively. Keaton, in fact, is a far more fully developed villain than we have come to expect from most Marvel movies and Downey, jr is so good as Tony Stark that it is difficult to determine where the character stops and the actor starts.

A common issue with these movies is that they try to do a bit too much, and Spider-Man: Homecoming suffers a bit from this malady. I loved the cameos (especially the one at the end!) but are they critical to the film? There are some nice set pieces, though some of the action sequences are fairly muddy in their execution. The entire side trip to Washington, DC seems excessive and unnecessary. It seems to me that everything that scene accomplishes could be handled in New York which is where the character belongs. But Spider-Man: Homecoming is Holland’s movie and, while it is not a perfect film, Holland makes up for all of these shortcomings and then some.

Beyond casting Holland, the filmmakers make two important decisions for Homecoming. First, they do not re-tell the origin of the character. Been there. Done that, thank you very much. Second, they put Peter Parker in high school. Spider-Man has always worked best as a teenager going through the struggles of coming-of-age. This Spider-Man has girl troubles, homework and a curfew (that he regularly breaks). He is trying to understand who he is and what he can do. He is carving out his place in the world and the movie does a terrific job with that arc.

Here is a Spider-Man that changes over the course of the film. Here is a Spider-Man that is funny and engaging. Here is a Spider-Man that is not driven by angst (the best versions of the character are not). Here is a Spider-Man that simply wants to be heroic.

Spider-Man: Homecoming succeeds in evoking a feel of high school movies of the past (think The Breakfast Club but Anthony Michael Hall with superpowers). It succeeds in incorporating the character into the fuller Marvel Universe. It succeeds in launching this version of the character. It succeeds in being a fun, summer entertainment and places itself firmly on the list of very good – not great – Marvel movies.

In many ways, it does feel like Spider-Man has come home.

 

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING receives FOUR AND A HALF (because Holland is just SO good) FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOODS out of a possible FIVE.

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: December 14 – 20, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 6 comics last week: Wonder Woman #12, Poe Dameron #9, Spider-Man #10, Star Trek Boldly Go #3, Action Comics #969 and Detective Comics #946.

The best comic I read last week was Wonder Woman #12.

wonder-woman-12

 

 

Wonder Woman has been a consistently great read since the DC Rebirth initiative unfolded this past summer. It has cleverly told stories on two separate tracks: one taking place in the present and one playing out in the past. They are related stories, most notably tied together by a strong and familiar supporting cast including Steve Trevor, Barbara Minerva (the Cheetah) and a nicely redesigned Etta Candy. They are also linked by a very well written Wonder Woman – a character that writer Greg Rucka knows well from a celebrated run he had on the title years ago.

He has returned to re-define Wonder Woman in this new DC continuity and he was the absolute perfect choice to handle the title.

I’ve been more partial to the “origin” story playing out in the even numbered issues of this book. Told with a definite sweetness and, well, wonder, this origin arc is both updated and familiar. Using the well worn framework and plot points, Rucka recounts Diana’s first contact with “Man’s World” in a compelling and wide-eyed fashion. Wonder Woman is perfectly portrayed. She’s awestruck by all she encounters. She’s loving and friendly. And she tries to avoid violence at every turn which is a core element of her character (take that, United Nations). She is readily connected to her supporting cast and the reveal of the “big bad” at the end of the issue – a big bad which ties this story to the one taking place in the present – was very well delivered.

Rucka knows what he is doing and DC would be wise to avoid interference in his work and tie him to the title for a very long time.

Unfortunately, I read that artist Nicola Scott is leaving the title after this first arc and that is truly as shame. Her work is really incredible and she seems perfectly suited to draw Wonder Woman. Her Diana is striking and commanding while still approachable and compassionate. Scott draws Wonder Woman with a restrained power and a definite grace. Losing her will be significant for the book. There are not many who approach this level of mastery of and connection to a character.

Wonder Woman is a terrific book. Hopefully it can maintain this quality into next year, Wonder Woman’s 76th and, perhaps, biggest yet as the Gal Gadot film opens in the summer. If the film makers can come to striking the tone set in this book, they will be well on their way to delivering a great movie.

 

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Filed under Action Comics, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Comics, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: December 7 – 13, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 7 comics last week: Avengers #2, Champions #3, Spider-Man Clone Conspiracy #3, Batman #12, Superman #12, Justice League #10 and Nightwing #10.

The best comic I read last week was Batman #12.

batman-12

 

It’s hard to not like a comic book that takes a significant risk. Batman #12 does this. It toys with the backstory of Batman’s origins in a very risky manner and the alteration not only pays off, it significantly changes the character.

It is also shockingly depressing. Without revealing too much, I’ll say that the revelation relates to the “I Am Suicide” title of this arc and does not only relate to Batman.

Mikel Janin is some kind of artist. His line work in this issue is simply tremendous. The action sequences are deftly and excitingly staged and his character work is solid, too. There are moments where no words are needed to convey what’s occurring in the characters’ heads, and that’s a testament to Janin. I loved his Nightwing. His Batman is even better. Paired with David Finch in alternating arcs, Janin has proven himself to be a worthy counterpart to his more well known partner.

Tom King had an almost impossible task following up Scott Snyder’s run on Batman and, though I have enjoyed what he’s been doing, this issue may well mark something of a turning point. This issue is so engrossing and drive by deep character work that it is the defining issue of his run. While it remains to be seen what he is able to from here, this issue clearly illustrates why DC felt comfortable putting him on the book.

Beyond the origin twisting revelation of the issue, Batman #12 also features a probing look at the “Bat” and “Cat” relationship between Batman and Catwoman. I am not familiar with the events that have been referenced here – that Catwoman has killed some 237 people – but my lack of familiarity with that plot point doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of the manner in which King handles their relationship. This look into them is very well done.

The entire issue is. It’s the pick of the week in what was a strong week of books (Champions #3 almost took the award this week and, if you’re not reading this book, do yourself a favor and pick it up!).

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Filed under Avengers, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Justice League, Marvel Comics, Nightwing, Spider-Man, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review