Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly single issue review roundup.
Amazing Spider-Man #9
(Dan Slott / Olivier Coipel; Marvel Comics)
“Spider-Verse” or “Spider-Crisis on Infinite Spider-Earths” or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Web” properly begins in Amazing Spider-Man #9. To summarize: Morlun (the villain from the J. Michael Straczynski storyline “The Other”) and his family are scouring the multiverse to feast upon Spider-Man analogues, and they have apparently been doing this for quite some time. And they’re saving 616-Spidey for last because he’s either the tastiest, or the scariest, or the specialest and bestest version of Spider-Man that’s ever existed. (This wasn’t explained, but we’re told it will be.)
I’m going into this event virtually blind. I’ve been reading Spider-Man since the “Back in Black” JMS storyline back in 2007. Of course, this was after “The Other” so I don’t know Morlun from Morbius. (Alright, that’s an exaggeration, but I liked the alliteration of it.) And I haven’t been reading any of the tie-ins or lead-ups to this event, so if it isn’t a 616-based Spider-Person, I couldn’t tell you if the character was created for this issue or 40 years ago.
Despite all that, this issue does enough to pique my interest. I had some minor quibbles: the tongue-in-cheek, breaking-the-fourth-wall introductions of some of the Spider-Folk left a sour taste in my mouth. (I rarely find that breaking the fourth wall serves a story well.) And I felt a bit more out-of-the-loop reading this than I’m usually comfortable with, but I wasn’t sure if that was by design from the creators, or if it was just because I’m not up to speed on my alternate reality Spider-Men.
But overall, I enjoyed the issue. I’m intrigued. This was a perfectly serviceable issue for to kick off an event, and I’d recommend picking it up if you are at all interested in Spider-Man.
– Luke Miller
John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1
(Ron Marz / Abhishek Malsuni; Dynamite Entertainment)
When it comes to John Carter I have limited experience and little interest. The most it ever did was remind me of the character John Carter from ER. That was one of my favorite shows years ago. The other memory was the movie attempt which failed miserably. So when I started to read the comic for the first time I was not too excited.
Well, this version turned out to be just what I was expecting. I did not find any joy in reading it. I feel like I have heard this story before. John Carter is basically Superman on another planet. I feel like now I understand more why that movie adventure failed. It wasn’t my cup of tea, so to speak, but I feel like I am not alone on that! John Carter should have just stayed on ER.
– Jennifer Flatebo
Spider-Verse Team Up #1
(Christos N. Gage / Roger Stern / Bob McLeod / David Williams; Marvel Comics)
While I do enjoy the brief insight of an alternate Spider-Man universe, the pig just doesn’t seem to fit in the first story. There is mention to Ben Reilly not taking him seriously, and I’m guilty of the same. It’s cool to see Vultures from other dimensions, and the same with the Ben Reilly Spider-Man, but the pig just seems to ham it up and take the vibe of the story in the opposite direction. Shit got real. We have to defeat several Vultures and gather the Spider-Man of this world and transport him somewhere safe. So we brought this cartoon pig. Wait, what?
Other than that I enjoyed this. I like that there’s a universe where the spider essence is removed from Peter Parker to keep him from ever becoming Spider-Man, thus saving his life and Uncle Ben’s.
This seems to be a cool direction for the world of Spider-Man. I’ll check back in as the future issues are released to see what happening in the Spiderverse.
(Rick Remender / Leinil Francis Yu; Marvel Comics)
Axis #4 was easily the best entry in the story to date, although that wasn’t terribly difficult to accomplish as it was preceded by an extended three-issue-long fight scene. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good fight scene, but 60 to 70 pages of just fighting seems like overkill. Here we get to see the early ramifications of the Doctor Doom/Scarlet Witch morality flipping/emotional axis spinning magic spell.
Primarily that change manifests itself as a Captain Falcon (I don’t know what else to call him at this point without it being even more confusing) being cranky and then leading a murderous mob of Avengers, Iron Man developing an app to make people… pretty? (or something) Carnage being heroic, Hulk being nice and then re-hulking out and calling himself “Kluh” (It’s Hulk spelled backwards, get it? Because I don’t think I do. Wouldn’t a Hulked out Hulk call himself something like “HULK!!!” or “HUUUUUUULLLLK!!!!!!!!!” or “GRAAUUURRAUUGGAHHHH!!!!!!!!”?)
And the X-Men are now setting themselves up as a paramilitary cult army banding behind Storm, Havok, Cyclops, and a grown-up Genesis (that one I do get – because it’s the first book of the bible, and Apocalypse is the last, and he started out as the fresh-faced baby clone of Apocalypse in another Remender book, Uncanny X-Force), all the while Magneto walks away quietly, sobbing, “not like this… not like this…” (Okay, I made that last part up. I’m 95% sure the figure walking away from that ceremony was Magneto, but he didn’t have any dialogue. I can only presume I nailed his thoughts perfectly.)
This sets everything up nicely for AvX 2: Secret of the Ooze (Now with 100% more villains! And 1000% less Wolverine!)
If you hadn’t been reading this book because of bad early buzz or if you jumped off because of the extensively drawn out fight sequence through the first few issues, this might not be a bad jumping on point. The real plot seems to start here. Plus, we’re now getting into some philosophical issues on nature v. nurture, whether people are inherently good or evil, or if it’s the decisions they choose to make: things that are way too complicated to go into in a 400 word review. I don’t know if Remender is actually going to get into those things during this book. He seems to be leaning heavily on the side of “nature,” but it’s impossible to not at least think about it while reading this.
– Luke Miller
The Ghost Fleet #1
(Donny Cates / Daniel Warren Johnson / Lauren Affe; Dark Horse Comics)
The Ghost Fleet #1 tells the tale of the beginnings of a plot for revenge. At first, it feels as though you are dropped into the middle of an action movie of zero substance, but it is still intriguing. By the end, I found myself asking a multitude of questions. “What was in the cargo? Why were they being chased? What did that guy do to piss the world off? How did he not die?”…among a few others that would ruin plot points, and wanting the next issue.
With art reminiscent of some of my childhood favorites, and no holding back on the gore this is bound to be a wild ride. This series is bound to keep you on your toes and asking questions with each issue.
– Jimmy Cupp
Green Lantern #36
(Robert Venditti / Francis Portela / Rob Hunter / Francis Portela; DC Comics)
Part of the larger Godhead crossover event, Green Lantern #36 further explores the “tumultuous” friendship between Hal and Sinestro with another lengthy, six-page chat. Lately, Sinestro has clearly had the upper hand, while Hal is still struggling with the promotion to Corps leader, and in all honesty, having the weakest of the Green Lantern books. All of this while we’ve got a new batch of Guardians that we thought were a major upgrade from the little blue assholes we all came to hate. Unfortunately, we were wrong.
GL 36 is a straightforward bridge book between major events. A good guy pep talk, a bad guy pep talk, and the introduction to a new story element that serves as a good cliff hanger for the next part. We don’t learn too much, and so far, Hal seems to be as much of an audience member as we are, all while Sinestro and Kyle do most of the heavy-lifting story-wise. I won’t spoil it, but while the ending scene is fun, it almost cheapens a character who’s become a pretty big villain in the ring-slinger universe.
– Gabe Carrasco
Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel #1
(Peter Milligan / Cary Nord; Valiant)
Valiant delve further into history here with Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel, a new limited series from legendary writer Peter Milligan and nascent superstar artist Cary Nord.
Following on from his work on X-O Manowar, Nord returns to his familiar oeuvre of barbarians and blood, as Peter Milligan seemingly channels Robert E. Howard, and maybe even Tolkien, for this tale from the murky early medieval past.
Hordes of Magyar tribesmen ravage the eastern lands of the Franks, but the Eternal Warrior – brother of Armstrong and Ivar the Timewalker – is tired of bloodshed and can hardly be raised to battle; but is entrusted with a quest of the utmost importance when the Geomancer sends him to protect a child born under the blood moon (not the DC Blood Moon, we assume it’s probably a different one entirely).
This title promises to present a darker and more bloodthirsty aspect of Valiant’s wildly imaginative inter-related universe that the more comedic or high-concept sci-fi titles books seldom touch upon, and as a first issue is wholly impressive and engrossing.
– Luke Anderson
Hollywood Zombie Apocalypse #1
(Ralph Tedesco / David Lorenzo Riveiro / Jorge Alberto Cortes; Zenescope Entertainment, Inc.)
When did the world of Comic imagination go to the pit bulls of trash media? I mean this was bad, like I rather watch The Twilight Saga bad. Yes my freaks and geeks this Enquirer style comic: Hollywood Zombie Apocalypse is not worth the paper it’s inked on.
I mean I’m a zombie guy and I get a kick out of good and bad zombie movies, videos, comics etc. This walking dead nightmare is another story. Let’s start off with STUPID storyline and cheesy movie references that didn’t deliver. I mean, yes, I chuckled at the poking fun of other super-hero movies and actors, and the Selena Gomez art was on point. The epic battle she has with the non-GQ street credit earned Justin Bieber was good but alas, moving through the maze of TMZ that this comic is, just kept spiraling down. I mean, come on! people turn into zombies based on the new “ZONBI” Seaweed diet craze. Really, you went with that jump off! I dunno if I should cry, but apologies to Michael Bay: it seems he’s been dethroned.
– Richard Pearson
Death Of Wolverine: Weapon X Program #1
(Charles Soule / Salvador Larroca; Marvel Comics)
After all the death of Wolverine, we figured the time of the Wolverine was all but over. The Weapon X Program #1 explores the events that take place after the death of the legendary X-Man.
After Wolverine’s death, the failed experiments of Weapon X have risen. Now they each are on the run. They seek to find answers as to what they are and who made them. I like the direction of story. I feel it’s the next step into an inevitable return of Logan.
– Kenny Sanders
Holy F*ck #1
(Nick Marino / Daniel Arruda Massa; Action Lab Entertainment)
Hailing down upon us, in exalted reign, from the Heavens of Action Lab Entertainment (ALE) and Danger Zone Comics above, comes the retelling of one of Western Civilization’s most glorious stories ever told… Complete in iconic (icomic book) form (with lots of pretty pictures and rapid-fire repartee), running the gamut from the alluringly angelic to the devilishly delicious; in all of its virtuous hedonism, we have, bequeathed unto us: Holy F*ck! Those of us in possession of the truest of faith may be praying for a pop-up version of this title after partaking in this initial sacrament…
This particular firebranded version of the Holy Son story might be perceived as a Second Coming Saga of sorts, set in our very own time; seen through the hyperbolic lens of the comic ultraverse many of us have long aligned our brilliant vision with. How can virginal acolytes, to even the most seasoned of saints, resist bowing forth to lick and kiss the black leather biker boots of a Saviour appearing to be born of the loins of Frank Stallone and Ron Jeremy; complete with a celestially-coifed John Rambo-esque mullet?
This 21st-Century Messiah drops bullets and bombs like a half-naked Chippendale’s dancer losing coin out of his banana hammock, rocking a steel-blue crucifix tattoo nestled between his labia-pink nipples; as he attempts to obliterate his mythoi polloi foes of POLYDYNAMIS, Inc., who are hellbent on reclaiming this dirty Earth and all its lost souls for their very own sacrifice.
The fact that this Geezus has a penchant for engaging his carnal desires Kabukicho-style in Tokyo; with professional ladies of the night, while he puffs a glass dick full of crystal meth, in his downtime, only helps to humanize this heavenly hero horrendously. I mean, who isn’t down with watching a good cinematic stretch of Japanese shunga erotica, in the form of The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, while you’re getting all polymorphously perverse; engaging in some of your most passionate proclivities? This soulful shogun will keep the kimonos dropping like rising sun-faded rice paper.
Providing penitent prowess and devoted discipline to counter the falling graces of our Holy F*ck Man, is our Sister with No Name: A nun in the habit of castigating and correcting our hero for his mortal trespasses. She is part Mother Theresa, wielding Clint Eastwood mettle with a glint of hellscorn in her eyes; as her own flesh appears to be awakening to the inner dominatrix that her Electra-complex-infused attraction to our Redeemer has wrought upon her. Only the Gospel of ALE will tell us how this surrogate mother-and-son tale will unfold. Hopefully in Magdelenesque proportion.
No holy rolling yarn is complete, unless spun in triumvirate form; and the third point in the pitched fork of this celestial thread manifests in the form of Asmodeus himself. A Belial bearing an uncanny corruptibility to one of Springfield, America’s favorite neighbors, and ours: Homer’s Bestie, Mr. Ned Flanders.
Imagine, if you will, a comic world in which the Devil in all his details, walks towards your white picket fence in the front yard, bearing his ever-friendly grin. He’s adorned in worn Bermuda shorts three sizes too small, a bit of a potbelly attempting to push through his equally tight golf shirt, sporting tighty-whiteys-bright knee high socks and black rubber sandals, ’50s-inspired horn-rimmed spectacles wrapped around his orbs. He might even be holding out his arms to embrace you into his world of lies, with a twist of ruby red Maybelline smeared around his pie hole for good measure. Pucker up, and come along for the trip. There may be at least Seven Circles to this ride.
– Jason Bud