Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
Amazing Spider-Man #10
(Dan Slott / Olivier Copiel; Marvel Comics)
Did you ever taken a class that you were thoroughly unprepared for? Where you found a course that fit your schedule and sounded vaguely interesting, so you bluffed your way through the prerequisites and thought, “oh yeah, I’m smart, I can totally handle this. I’ll just figure out whatever I’m behind in as I go along.” I remember doing that with a couple Spanish classes in college. I had taken it a few years in high school, then a couple semesters to start college to fulfill some general requirements, then just did nothing with it for about three years. As I was finishing up my degree, I had this fleeting notion of “hey, I like linguistics, and being fluent in Spanish would be nice. I’ll just sign up for a 300 or 400-level Spanish literature course. It’ll be fine.” As the semester started, I was in denial and lying to myself just enough to make it through a couple weeks (just long enough where I couldn’t drop the class anymore) before I said, “I’ve made a huge mistake…”
That’s how I felt reading Amazing Spider-Man #10, aka, “Spider-Verse, Part 2.” Look, I like Spider-Man. He’s easily one of my top three favorite comic book superheroes. But about ten pages into this thing, I realized I was hopelessly lost and had no idea what was going on. And I’ve been reading every issue of both the main Amazing and Superior Spider-Man titles for the last decade, plus various other titles that he’s been involved in like Avengers and Fantastic Four/FF. Kaine, Silk, Spider-Man 2099, an alternate Ben Reilly clone (I think), Ultimate Spider-Man, Superior Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and MC2 Spider-Girl all seem to be playing major prominent roles in this thing. I can’t even imagine what someone who had only recently started reading Spider-Man (say, with the Amazing relaunch) has to be thinking.
It’s not that the story is bad – I actually think it’s a really cool and interesting concept. There is just entirely too much packed into entirely too few pages. I imagine this might read a lot better in a giant omnibus format, where there was more time and space to dedicate to everyone. But trying to read this as a monthly series without picking up all of the ancillary tie-ins seems like an impossible task. I’ll keep at it, because I’m a trouper, but for someone unwilling to do a lot of homework and/or be confused, I really can’t recommend the series.
– Luke Miller
(Dennis Hopeless / Greg Land; Marvel Comics)
Oh, boy. After much controversy earlier this summer surrounding the variant cover by Milo Manara (Click, Butterscotch), I feel like this anticipation of the first issue already had been tarnished or lowered. And honestly, that’s not a bad way to go into issue two.
A few problems I have with this being an issue one is that it feels like a continuation from the already well-written, and very popular, Spider-Verse. There are no back-stories to go along with any of the characters. This issue does very little to lay down the context or explain just what the fuck is going on. It gives little detail as to why Silk attracts the Inheritors, or how the Inheritors can teleport. I mean, who assigned Spider-Woman to protect her? Why does present-day Spider-Man reassign her? I admit it’s really fun seeing Spider-Gwen and Anya make appearances, but again, that fits in only if you’ve been reading other stories.
The writing here is all over the place. A little humor sprinkled in here and there. Mostly, though, it feels forced, leaving nothing memorable. Silk is written like a spoiled teen, and that really detracts from the fact that she is supposed to be the foundation of whatever it is we haven’t figured out yet. Also, the art isn’t great. It’s not terrible. It has some engaging moments, some panels pop. But most are pretty dim.
Overall, Spider-Woman #1 is a mediocre continuation of ongoing events that have been unfolding in The Amazing Spider-Man series. Again, it’s a poor introduction to Jessica Drew, and fans of the character or newcomers to the story will probably be turned off. Feeling underwhelmed is definitely not the way I want to start a new series.
– Taffeta Darling
(Quentin Tarantino / Matt Wagner / Esteve Polls; Dynamite Entertainment)
Let me start off with the last thing you should start off a review with: a disclaimer.
OK. So. Two things — First, I don’t want to hate comics I review. I want to love them. All of them. Second, I love Tarantino. Like, really. Love. Never in my life as a movie-watcher has a filmmaker so appealed to all my sensibilities. So, what could be better, then? A pulpy mashup comic series written by Tarantino, himself, and starring two defined characters, contemporary and classic, tonally different, but oddly inhabiting the same universe. Django… and Zorro. Fucking rad.
But, oddly, it’s not so fucking rad. Actually, it’s kind of, well, boring. I mean it certainly doesn’t possess the hard-edge and whimsy that Tarantino’s film’s have become known for, and the story is elementary to the point of being predictable. And writing, itself, is stagnant, tedious to read. Esteve Polls’ (The Lone Ranger, Zorro Rides Again) art evokes a contempo-classic style, for comic books, that is. A sort of deep-lined, deep-colored ink from the 80s and early 90s.
But ultimately Django/Zorro #1 just totally lacks the whizz-bang of pulp comics it should be emulating. This is most clear in the sorry attempt at a climax, in that final panel, when we, as the reader, discover that Don Diego is actually the legend, Zorro.
But we already knew all that when we started. So, what? So what. 2.5/5 Marks of Zorro
– Joe Tower
Wonder Woman #36
(Meredith Finch / David Finch / Richard Friend; DC Comics)
Wonder Woman is certainly attempting to live up to her name in husband-and-wife writer/artist team Meredith and David Finch’s (Tales From Oz, Batman: The Dark Knight) Wonder Woman #36.
The Amazonian War Goddess is pulled in a million different directions at once here. True to modern-day and comic fashion, she’s officially over-committed and is having a hard time balancing life between her Amazon sisterhood, the Justice league, and making time to kick ass on Swamp Thing. All while trying to save her mother, who has been unfortunately turned into clay. It looks like this lady is gonna need more than an extra shot of espresso from Starbucks to solve the mystery of large-scale destruction with no apparent villain.
The vivid color of the comic perfectly illustrates the differences between settings, not to mention the fact that Wonder Woman has never been drawn better. In fact, if the next comic has frames of her daily workout, I’ll probably do them myself. Girl Power.
– Jackie Henley
(Fred Van Lente / Maurizio Rosenzweig / Moreno Dinisio; Dark Horse Comics)
New from Fred Van Lente (Incredible Hercules) and Maurizio Rosenzweig (Clown Fatale), Resurrectionists #1 starts with a scene more or less pulled literally out of The Matrix: a code-named super-powered super-fighter in skintight black tights takes down a fistful of mooks before reporting back to an unseen authority that she’s found her next quarry, each word weighted with deliberate obscurity, meant to lure you into the mystery.
It’s refreshing, then, that in the pages that follow, the comic reveals itself as a different kind of story altogether — one that snakes between historic melodrama, underworld thriller, and heist comedy, all with surprising deftness. That quarry so ominously alluded to in the early pages is architect-turned-thief Jericho Way, whom we meet in the midst of planning a museum robbery; during the heist, Jericho phases to ancient Egypt, finding himself in a past life when he was a tomb-builder double-crossed by a Pharaoh who murders his pregnant wife. Jericho’s man-out-of-time episode leaves him disoriented, and worse, raises the hackles of the crime boss he’s working for, setting up plot intrigues for later issues.
Van Lente‘s fluid storytelling and Rosenzweig‘s vivid art meld the parallel timelines seamlessly, and give the story the momentum to escape its not-especially-teasing-teaser. They’re setting up some interesting macro conflicts, though, and I’m at least a little curious to see where they’re headed with this. 3/5 Bibles (lemme break it down for ya: Pages 1-4, . Pages 5-26, )
(Ivan Brandon / Nic Klein; Image Comics)
Ivan Brandon (Viking, The Cross Bronx) and Nic Klein (Viking, Doc Savage) are responsible for one of Image Comics’ latest series, Drifter.
In a nutshell, the book tells the story of space cowboy, Abram Pollux, who crash-lands on a mysterious planet with some mysterious inconsistencies in his mysterious personal timeline.
There is definitely a lot of Star Wars influence all over this book, and that isn’t a bad thing (for example, the setting of the planet in question is reminiscent of Mos Eisley). But the story feels a little underwhelming at first. Thankfully, there is a decent enough cliffhanger to set up an issue two nicely. This book has a lot of potential.
All-New Captain America #1
(Rick Remender / Stuart Immonen; Marvel Comics)
Captain America is back and better than ever! Thanks to this new high-flying (!), young (!!), and all together… black (!!!) shield-wielding successor.
All-New Captain America #1 surprisingly does NOT drop the ball here, and takes off from its predecessor perfectly. Hats off to Marvel for really bringing their chosen son into a progressive 21st Century. Although, as an avid Marvel fan over the years, I expected nothing less.
Our titular hero is now Sam Wilson, who has taken up shield and red-white-and-blue undies to fight for the American Way alongside his predecessor’s son, Nomad. One interesting thing the extremely talented Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force) has given himself, and subsequent writers, a green and untested Cap. Battles with the likes of Batroc and other villainy, take on a fresh taste.
With stunning artwork courtesy of Stuart Immonen (All-New X-Men) and inks by Eisner Award winner Wade Von Grawbadger (Starman), this high-flying, all-new Son of Liberty keeps you, cerebrally and visually, interested.
I would say that the only negative of this fun first issue is the thought that it will soon be over, and Lady Thor and Captain African-America will revert back to their bygone counterparts. As forward-thinking as Marvel may be, they’ll still follow the dollar once movies start rolling out again.
– Lance Paul