Sunday, April 27, 2008

Seeing Green


You'll never guess who crashed the party on yesterday's episode of Spectacular Spider-Man. Well if you saw the episode, I guess you would know. Or if you looked at the above picture, you probably know who I mean.

Quick history lesson. The Green Goblin made his first appearance way back in Amazing Spider-Man #14, 1964. Much like The Joker in the Batman comics, the Green Goblin has caused Spider-Man a lifetime of misery and grief. The episode "Catalysts" introduces Spidey's greatest foe.

I assumed Alan Rachins was going to voice the Green Goblin since he provides the voice of Norman Osborn, the Goblin's alter ego. I also assumed the Goblin sounded Irish from the promo that was on the Kids WB website. Well, I've learned not to assume too much. Steven Blum stepped up to the plate to voice the Goblin and he hit a home run right out of this solar system. Blum makes the Goblin sound like one nasty, sinister little monster, despite his elf-like looks. The way his words came out, his sadistic sense of humor, his maniacal laughter, Blum nailed the Goblin's personality.

In the spirit of the early Lee/Ditko comics, the Goblin was a force to be reckoned with. Spidey had to stay on his toes to keep from becoming a would-be victim of the Goblin. Chairs, tables, Spidey threw everything at Gobby except the kitchen sink and he just shrugged it all off. I really like how they handled the Goblin's weaponry in this episode. Gobby was packing his trademark pumpkin bombs (which echoed laughter upon impact, a very nice touch), razor bats, and one of my personal favorites, gloves that fire stun beams. Really, this is one goblin you don't want to mess with.


Other things that happened in this episode was the introduction to John Jameson, son of Jolly Jonah Jameson. On top of bringing out more nicer qualities that we've yet to see in JJJ in the series thus far, John aided Spidey in saving lives by altering the web-head to the location of a bomb Gobby hid as a backup plan at Tombstone's party. If this was the writer's way of portraying John as a hero, I tip my hat to them.

There was also Ned Lee's idea to do a story about the man behind Spider-Man's mask. Jonah thought it was a lousy idea because the readers of the Bugle probably wouldn't want to read about Spidey if he turns out to be an everyday guy (love the irony in this and how its lost on JJJ), but Robbie tells Ned to go ahead with it. Interesting. Maybe Robbie will meet up with Captain Stacy and discuss who Spider-Man could really be? Or does Robbie already have an idea who is behind Spidey's mask? Either way, I can't wait to see more development on this sub-plot.

Due to Glory Grant taking Kenny Kong back, Harry gets heartbroken and has a drink of something called the Gobulin Formula. No, I didn't spell that wrong. Apparently there's a difference between the Goblin and Gobulin formula. But (and this is something someone on the Toon Zone forums mentioned) this may not be the first time Harry has chugged the stuff. Ever wonder how he got so good at his pigskin game in "Competition"? He was probably sipping the green juice then. Looks like Harry could be getting hooked on the stuff and is a nice way of paying homage to Harry's drug addiction from the comics in the early '70s. Clever writers.
Right up there with Gobby in this episode was my favorite redhead, Mary Jane. Little Ms. Watson is a modernized version of the party girl she was when she was first introduced in the comics. Vanessa Marshall brings a sensual quality to MJ, which I think makes for a nice contrast to the bookish Gwen, who I might add was none too happy to see Peter walk in with such a babe on his arm. Yes, I felt for Gwen, she even left the gym for a bit when she saw Peter with MJ, but in Peter's defense, he did change his mind about going to the formal and although Gwen almost asked Peter, almost isn't actually doing it.

Peter more or less stole Harry's popularity thunder when he walked in with MJ. Flash, Rand, Harry, Glory, Sally, everyone's jaw hit the floor when the two walked in. Talk about priceless.

Typically to Peter's luck, he had to leave the dance to go fight the Green Goblin and take photos. Was MJ upset? Hardly. In fact, she was very understanding and her smirk when Peter left has lead some viewers to believe MJ may be well aware that Peter is Spider-Man, which I think would be so awesome. When Peter returned, most kids had left and Peter thinks he's blown it. Again. Surprise, surprise, MJ stayed there to save the last dance just for him. The only two left in the gym, the two have a final dance as the episode ends with a spotlight on them turning into a Spidey mask. She may be a party girl, but she has a heart. This is the best on-screen version of MJ. Period.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Single Issue Comic Stories

One of the many trade paper backs I bought in 2007 was Batman: Detective. This trade contained five issues on Paul Dini's run on Detective Comics. For those of you that don't know, Paul Dini has worked on many of my favorite cartoons in the DCAU (DC Animated Universe) like Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Justice League Unlimited. Having this guy write one of DC's biggest icons had to be a no brainer for the company. But I digress.

As I read the stories in Batman: Detective I quickly realized that each story began and ended in the same issue. No single issue had anything to do with what came before it or what would follow it. As much as I like continuity, stories that start and finish in one book are quiet a treat. These days many writers are so busy trying to wow us with multi part story arcs. A good solo story has all but become extinct. I suppose that could be the of the primary reasons why I enjoy Marvel Adventures Spider-Man so much, even if children are the target audience.

I only picked up two comics at my comic shop this week. Hulk vs. Hercules, which was a one-shot story and Ultimate Spider-Man #121, which was a rarity for USM, a single story issue.

I like the Hulk. He speaks his mind, smashes things he doesn't like and he's probably the only dude in the Marvel universe that can pull off that purple pants look. Guy really knows how to party. Anyway, I figured the Hulk vs. Hercules book was basically gonna be a knock-down drag out fight all over town. There's only a few pages of Hulk & Herc going toe-to-toe but this is still a good read. In a nutshell, Hulk makes friends with some enemies of Herc. Herc kills Hulk's friends. Hulk leaves in despair.
I'm not reading the Hulk or Incredible Hercules, but someone on the Comic Book Resource forums pointed this out: the events in this story could be a setup for a future story. There's even a reprint of Tales of Suspense #79 in this one-shot, which shows the first time Hulk & Herc clashed. Even the original letters page has been repinted.

USM #121 brought back Omega Red (loser) and he was peeved at Jameson about some story he wrote on him. Long story short, Spidey fights Omega Red inside the Bugle, place gets wrecked, Peter gets his project baby that he was supposed to take care of for school charred in the battle that followed. Not the best from USM, but still a decent, funny read and I'd love to see Bendis do more single issue stories like these.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The End of A Brand New Day

Look, I don't mean to keep beating a dead horse but this isn't going to go away anytime soon and now that Brand New Day has concluded, I figure now would be a good time to say a few more things about it.

In my opinion the only thing good that ever really came out of BND was Wells/Bacholo's arc in Amazing Spider-Man #555-557. As stated in a previous blog entry, I enjoyed Spidey's interactions with Wolverine and Dr. Strange in ASM# 555 and Bacholo's artwork was quiet a treat. Peter was written in character and as a result, I actually cared what happened to him in the story. Vern the hobo, a character that came into the story in ASM#556 was the only new character to appear in BND that I liked. He lost his booze helping Spidey save New York from the Mayan threat and at the end of ASM #557, Peter finds him and gives him all the money he has, $20. Now that is the Peter Parker I've come to known.

OK so we have three story arcs I didn't like versus one that I did like. So far the BND batting record is 3-1. What did Wells do right that the other writers didn't? Here's a list of all the problems that have made this "new, young" Spider-Man painful to read. You've probably already read many of these in my blog or on message boards, but I think it bears repeating.

1. Spidey the Inexperienced
Peter has been Spider-Man for ten years, yet his inability to catch a common criminal in the first three story arcs suggest he put on his tights only a few weeks ago. If making Spidey a bumbling idiot is supposed to make me sympathize with the character when he screws up, it really isn't working. This is not a rookie character, the writers need not pen him as one.

2. Petter Goes Clubbing
Outside of a few trips to a club every now and then (his friends forced him to go in Spectacular Spider-Man #24, vol. 1 and Mary Jane took Peter to a club in Amazing Spider-Man #299), Peter has never been a club person. In the first two story arcs he's hanging out in a club with Harry and his girlfriend Lily. Granted Peter wasn't into the club scene too much, his very presents there just gives me the impression the only reason Peter is in clubs at all is so Marvel can see "See?! He's in clubs! He's young! YOUNG!"

3. Rehashed Stories
One of the reasons I really enjoyed Wells arc is because he seemed to be the only writer who wasn't writing the story with nostalgia glasses on. The first three story arcs just screamed at me with material that I'd seen done decades ago. Jameson has a heart attack, the Bugle is lost to someone else, another idiot flying around in a goblin suit, etc. The words above Amazing Spider-Man read "Brand New Day" not "Same Old, Same Old." Perhaps the writers are trying to recreate the old days but it comes off horribly forced. As great as the old days were, these guys need to try harder at coming up with new stories.

4. Peter the Loser
Peter Parker has had rotten luck, but he's never been a loser. But since I'm just a guy who's read about Spider-Man for years and I'm not in the EiC chair at Marvel, what do I know? The "Parker Luck" has really been overplayed in BND. He rips the seat of his costume, gets one of his web-shooters stolen, runs out of webbing completely and I'll stop the listing right there. Stan Lee may have invented the Parker Luck, but even he knew when it was time to turn it off and give Peter a break and writers after him would follow up on this. Really, Peter's life can't be all that bad if he has hot women around him all the time in BND. (See what I did there?)

Since BND was built on crap, I guess that could be the reason that it mostly is crap. From what I've seen thus far, Wells arc is the only thing worth buying from Amazing Spider-Man. If the other writers can stop writing Peter like an idiot and stop trying to recreate the old days, they just might be able to turn things around.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This Week At My Comic Shop

There wasn't anything of particular interest in the way of new comics on Wednesday so I ended up picking up a couple of older comics.

Silver age Spidey has some of my favorite stuff. One of my personal favorite stories that I feel doesn't get enough attention is the return of Doc Ock in Amazing Spider-Man #53-56. The last time we'd heard from Otto was in Amazing Spidey #33, which was part of the Master Planner Trilogy. When Doc Ock comes back, he's up to his usual tricks and he even fools aunt May into thinking he's a sweet, mild-aged man (though I guess back in those days, it really didn't take much to fool her). Anyway, one of Spidey's battles with Doc Ock happens in aunt May's house and she's so shocked by the sight of "that awful Spider-Man" that she faints. Ock takes his leave, leaving Spidey a nervous wreck. I never thought Peter would take off his mask in aunt May's presents, but he does so in ASM # 54. She was unconscious at the time, but it was still something that really took me by surprise. This issue, which is in good condition cost me a little less than $9.

The other Silver Age Spidey comic I picked up was Amazing Spider-Man #114. This issue has what has become one of my favorite villains in the new Spectacular Spider-Man series, Hammerhead. Doc Ock is also doing bad deeds in this issue and aunt May once again takes Ock's side. She even manages a sneak attack on Spidey, which really shouldn't be possible. One thing that has always bugged me about this issue is that aunt May never trigger Spidey's spider-sense. The writer of this issue, Roy Thomas seemed to have been in the mind that Peter's spider-sense only reacted to enemies. I do recall that in ASM #60, Captain Stacy (under Kingpin's mind control) tried to attack Peter, but Peter was warned by his spider-sense. Either it was his spider-sense or those squiggled lines over his head were for shock value in that panel, which I'm pretty sure they weren't. Even Stan knew that it reacted to all threats, even those from friends and family. Why didn't Roy and later, Gerry Conway? In later years, Peter's spider-sense would continue to be a power that some writers would disagree on, never quiet 100% sure on how it would work. Anyhoo, I paid less than $5 for this issue here, also in good condition.

Lastly, my dollar picks. I picked up Spider-Man: Quality of Life #4, and the Peter Parker: Spider-Man '97 Annual. I'd already owned the first three issues of Quality of Life from a
few years ago, and they had a few #4 issues in the dollar bin that I'd been meaning to get around to buying but never did because I was buying other older Spidey books. As for the '97 Annual, well, I'd always been intrigued to check it out based on the cover and I've never read anything about the Marvel Zombies. Looks like I'll get educated over the weekend.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spidey Annual Nominated for Eisner

Did you read about the good news? 2007's The Sensational Spider-Man one-shot annual has been nominated for an Eisner award! How cool is that? This title would have slipped under my radar if not for the review I'd read over at SpiderFan.org about a year ago. For those of you not in the know, this story, told from both Peter and Mary Jane's perspective, describes just how these two crazy kids got together and stayed together, despite the many hardships that is Spider-Man's life. This book is without a doubt one of the best Spider-Man comics I've ever read and does a wonderful job of showing the strength of Peter and MJ's love for each other.

I have always been a big fan of Spidey being married. In my eyes, it never took away the core aspect of what Spider-Man was about. There's all this talk that marrying Peter aged him too much and that someone like Peter never should have ended up with a babe like MJ. Kinda hard to believe that these comments have sprung out of the mouths of creators that worked on Spider-Man (Marv Wolfman, Roger Stern, John Romita Jr. etc).

First of all, these same creators that worked on Spidey did more than their fair share to contribute to aging him in his college, grad school years and everything else they put him through. Placing all of the blame on the marriage, just ain't right. Secondly, these guys need to go back and look at all the women Peter's been around because Peter has never dated any ugly women. Every chick Peter's been around has been either cute, hot, or drop dead gorgeous. So the thought of Peter marrying a woman like MJ really shouldn't surprise anyone. This is a guy that has been surrounded by hot women for a long time and who do we have to thank for that? That's right, the writers and artists.

Does this annual lose it's strength now that we have to swap "husband" for "boyfriend" and "wife" for "girlfriend"? That could be a whole different blog post and I'm certainly not gonna get into the whole mess right here. Basically, I really don't think this annual story would have worked anywhere near as well if Peter and MJ weren't married. I doubt the story would carry the same emotional impact if they were just in a long term relationship.

As much as Joe Quesada dislikes the marriage, a story the has what he feels limits Spidey's appeal has been nominated for an Eisner. I really hope it wins but just to be nominated is pretty sweet in and of itself.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spectacular Spider-Man Keeps on Swingin'

There really hasn't been an episode of Spectacular Spider-Man that I didn't like. Some episodes are stronger than others, but there has yet to be an episode that I've hated. My favorite episode used to be "Market Forces," which introduced us to Shocker. That's right it used to be my favorite episode, but today, it has been surpassed.

We had to wait a week for "The Invisible Hand" to air, but it was well worth it. In this episode, Alex O'Hirn gets transformed into the rampaging Rhino and he wants payback for all the times Spidey made him look like a chump when he busted up his robberies.

As expected, Rhino is done great justice in this episode. The way he moves, the way he uses his brute strength is just mind-blowing. The Rhino is mostly known for his tough hide (which gave Spidey a lot of trouble in this episode) but one thing I've never seen him do is use his foot to stomp down on the ground and make the earth shake! I thought that was very cool. The way Spidey defeated Rhino was also interesting. Being covered in that suit makes it difficult for his entry body to sweat, so Rhino's face was sweating for his body and this was evident this during his fight with Spider-Man. Spidey caught on to this, lured him underground and used steam pipes to knock him out. Rhino is voiced by Clancy Brown, the same man who provided the voice of Lex Luthor on Superman: The animated Series and the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited cartoons. Needless to say, he did a superb job voicing Rhino.

Rhino spilled some beans on the Big Man after Spidey made him go sleepy-bye. So Spidey went right to the source of his troubles and the Big Man was revealed to be... Tombstone? Yeah, this shocked me as well as anyone else, but I really wasn't complaining. Some are even speculating that Tombstone really isn't the Big Man, but Fredrick Foswell really pulling the strings.

Anyway, when Spidey meets Tombstone he gets a butt-kicking that takes all of 3-4 seconds. In that short amount of time we're shown Tombstone is a very capable man who knows how to handle things. Tombstone offers Spidey a deal. For a large sum of money, all Spidey has to do is "look the other way" and he won't create anymore super criminals to come after him. Now of course this is a no deal thing for Spidey, but Tombstone's next move is something I didn't see coming: he has the cops come in to try and arrest Spidey. Imagine what else Tombstone could do if he can turn the police against the wall-crawler. Yeah, the cops against Spidey is nothing new, but I really like how it was done here.

Not every cop will be against Spidey though. Spidey saved the life of a man during the battle with the Rhino, a man who will no doubt be in his corner when things get bad for Spidey. That man was Captain George Stacy. He finally made his debut in this episode and I can't wait to see how the Spidey/Cap Stacy friendship plays out in this series.

This episode was fantastic not only for the fight with Rhino but for many other reasons as well. A certain redhead who Peter has been avoiding showed up at the end of today's episodes. That's right, Mary Jane Watson has arrived. Not wanting her nephew to miss out on the school dance (and actually telling Betty she was too old for Peter), aunt May arranged for a date for Peter, one he could not back out of since he was already dressed to go and MJ was at the door. When he opened the door to meet what he thought would be his train wreck date, his jaw dropped. MJ greeted Peter with the classic line, "Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot." MJ is probably in a retcon gutter somewhere in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man so it was great to see her in this show. The battle for Peter's affections between MJ and Gwen is about to begin.

We'll have to watch repeat episodes next week and I wonder if the show will be able to top this week's episode but with the Green Goblin coming in 2 weeks, I'm hopeful that they will.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Manga Love

Manga. Japanese comics that are in black and white and usually follow the stories of teenage protagonists. The plots are usually heavily cliche' but you know what? I still love the stuff.



In case you can't tell by looking at the visuals in this entry, some of my favorite manga is of the Shonen variety. In fact, Shonen manga was the first manga I ever picked up. I bought four graphic novels on a Thursday before work five years ago. What were they? Dragon Ball vols. 1-2 and Dragon Ball Z vols. 1-2. I would have bought InuYasha manga that day, but the asking price for the slightly bigger sized editions of those books was $15.99 so I passed I brought Goku and the gang instead. I've been hooked on manga ever since.

Some of the most popular manga artists have admitted to being huge fans of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball (in Japan, the manga for second part of the DB series, DBZ is also called Dragon Ball) and you can see the influences in their works. As repetitive as it can get, I love all these colossal fights that wipe out buildings and tear up the landscape. There have been a number of fights like these in other manga like Bleach, and Naruto. Some of my favorite fights in these series? Gohan vs. Cell. Gohan going Super Saiyan 2 and beating the crap out of Cell and then defeating him with only one hand is still one of the greatest moments in that manga. For Naruto, well Naruto vs. Gaara is still at the top of my list. Yeah, I realize the constant power-ups Naruto and Sasuke had during their fight made for an epic battle and Naruto used even more power from the demon fox within, but I'll still take Naruto vs. Gaara over Naruto vs. Sasuke any day. I think protecting one's friends made for a better battle as opposed to trying to save a friend from leaving who was clearly being more of a jerk than usual. Naruto's 2000 hit combo, summing Gama-Bunta, transforming into the demon fox, man, that fight was awesome!! For sweet Bleach fights, well I've always been a fan of Ichigo vs. Kenpachi for a number of reason. Ichigo literally came back from the dead, much to Kenpachi's surprised and really pushed him to his limits. Kenpachi is one of the few truly bloodthirsty, combat junkies in the Bleach world. This guy loves to fight and I thought that brought even more to the table in that battle.

Rurouni Kenshin has what I'd consider probably one of the best stories in all of manga, surpassing everything else I've mentioned. On top of that, I feel that Nobuhiro Watsuki draws some of the best action sequences, and I'm not just talking about manga, I'm talking about in general. Watsuki is also a huge fan of American comics and some characters models from Marvel comics have crept their way into a few of his designs. As for my favorite fights in RK, well there are far too many to list. So I'll just say that I don't think there's been a fight in this series that I didn't like. No joke.

I was originally gonna mention a few other mangas but this entry is already turning out to be a bit longer than I planned, so I cut it off right here and discuss more manga in another entry.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

This Comic Kicks!!!


OK, OK. So I bought into all the internet hype regarding this comic. Really, it sounded like one of those tales that's just too good to pass up. I suppose having Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s names on the title was also a deciding factor in my decision to buy this comic series. By now I figure everyone on the planet knows the name of the book I'm talking about. Just take a look at the pictures in this blog entry. Still need me to mention the name? I, um, don't remember it. The name escapes me. Rhymes with lass. Alright I lied. Truth is I'm one of those old-fashioned types that prefers not to use curse words. Sue me! This is what I'm talking about. Now all six people who didn't know what I was talking about are up to speed.

When I wanted to pick up the first issue of this comic, my shop didn't have any copies left. That sucker was sold out. So I came back a few weeks later and Icon had released a second printing. By that time, issue 2 was already out. Would you believe I still didn't buy the issues at the time? 'Tis true. Well this past Saturday when I was looking through the bins for Spider-Man comics, a good friend of mine was picking up some books and I talked him into buying issues 1 and 2. I figured I may as well practice what I preached and get them the first two issues right then and there.

Dave Lizeski is like many of us. He plays video games and he loves himself some comic books. He also wants to be a super hero. Why? He didn't watch his parents get murdered by some punk looking for some quick dough. He wasn't sent to Earth in a rocket ship to be spared the fate of a doomed planet. He wasn't a social outcast that got bitten by a radioactive spider and then failed his family by letting a crook get away. If none of that happened to him then why would he want to be a super hero? The same reason the thought of being one occurred to many of us: it would be cool.

Be honest, if you've read a comic book, you've entertained the idea of being a super hero at one point in your life. I know I have. When I was 14 years old, I actually was in the process of making myself a generic Spider-Man costume. I even went outside around my house at night. Yeah, never made it too rooftop levels like Dave here, but were no tall buildings where I lived so that part was completely out of my hands. But I digress.

Right off the bat, Dave is a very likable character. He's into Buffy, X-Men, Spider-Man, etc. In fact, the references to all of these things helped suck me into this comic all the more. Like the rest of us, Dave has no super powers and while Batman may have years of experience behind him, he's still just a human being and so is Dave. When Dave decides to stop some vandals, he gets the blood beaten out of him. Adding to his injuries is a hit and run by some heartless broads. In all likely hood, this could happen to any of us, which could be the reason why we don't put on the tights.

The image to the right would probably scare quiet a few folks from ever doing anything so foolish. A foolish as it was, I can't help but have some admiration for Dave's actions. The kid did follow his dreams even if they led to some nasty injuries and a six month long recovery.

Dave decided to give up being a super hero when he was well again. He even burned all of his comics. Too bad for Dave, there's a bit of Spider-Man in him because he was quickly back in costume, patrolling the streets, and wouldn't you know it, he finds trouble again. A man was getting a thrashing until he stepped in and did something about it, of course he didn't come out of it unscathed. His exploits were even caught on video, which will be uploaded on YouTube. Dave is undoubtedly in for more trouble but I was proud of him for his victory at the end of issue 2.

Needless to say, I love this comic. It is quickly turning out to be one of the best mini-series I've ever read. I have never seen John Romita Jr.'s artwork look this astounding, and that is saying a lot. The third issue can't get here soon enough.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Stoked

Someone was kind enough to post a scan of the upcoming villains for the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon. If you've been reading my blog, you probably know that I have been a huge fan of this cartoon since day one. The show just keeps hitting all the right notes and is quickly becoming my favorite Spider-Man cartoon.

Now that I know what the next few baddies will look like, what do I think?

Green Goblin: I'd actually seen a picture of the Goblin's action figure a few weeks ago and I despite my love for this show, I wasn't all that impressed with it. Seeing the above image of the Goblin didn't really make me sing a different tune at first, but I've recently come to welcome the more modernized design. He looks just as menacing as Spidey's greatest foe should be and I love the red eyes and open mouth on that glider. Alan Rachins has done a magnificent job as Norman Osborn, and I've no doubt he'll voice the Goblin just as well.

Rhino: He's never been all that smart, but Rhino still remains one of my favorite Spidey adversaries. With his design, I don't think there's really much room to go wrong. I mean, you've got a huge dude in a huge flippin' rhino suit. I was actually able to see him in action for a bit thanks to the promo on the Kids WB site (keep watching past the Tom & Jerry promo). As far as I'm concerned, they've already crushed the '90s Spider-Man: The Animated Series Rhino with this version and I will be glued to my TV come this Saturday at 10 AM.

Doc Ock: One of my top of the list Spidey villains, Doc Ock could share the no. 1 spot with the Green Goblin. The brown trench coat is obviously a nod to the very excellent Spider-Man 2 Doc Ock so I wholeheartedly approve of this design. I very pleased that they went with the chubby Doc Ock since we saw a muscular Ock in the '90s show. In both of his appearances in the show thus far, Dr. Octavious has been portrayed as a timid scientists, which I think is a very nice contrast as to what he'll later become. Some have actually made comments on forums that they couldn't believe that fat, timid scientist Adrian Toomes was threatening in the first episode would become Doc Ock. I think they'll be really surprised at what they do with him once he gets caught in a certain explosion.

As you can guess, I'm petty jazzed about the upcoming foes Spidey will face in The Spectacular Spider-Man. I'm pretty jazzed about the show in general. I can't wait for Mary Jane to show up, I want to see how Gwen deals with another girl fawning all over Peter, and the DVD releases for the first few episodes cannot get here soon enough. This cartoon is so full of awesome.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Picks From My Comic Shop

With all the talk on here about Spider-Man, one might think he's all I read. Yeah, he's my favorite super hero, but I'm no stranger to other great books. Speaking of great books, if you haven't read an issue of All-Star Superman, stop reading this blog and go out and buy the trade paper back of volume 1. Or if all the books stores and comic shops are closed, order that baby online. Issues 7-10 can probably still be found at your comic shop.

If I were to describe All-Star Supes, I'd probably describe it as old-school stories mixed with new-school writing. Some of my net friends have told me that this the best Superman comic book out right now. I was skeptical at first as the first two issues in the vol. 1 trade I bought really didn't blow me away, but from issue 3 onward, I was hooked. Grant Morrison delivers a home run every time and Frank Quitely's art is right on the money. I just wish the comic would come out more often. The series began in 2005 and here we are in 2008 and we're only on issue 10. Will be a long wait before issue 11 hits.

There were some good reviews of the Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man at SpiderFan.org, which got me interested in checking a few of them out. My comic shop doesn't have many issues of this discontinued series, but they did have the two part Vulture store for issues #15-16 so I picked both of those up. Haven't read them yet, but from flipping through each book, it doesn't seem like your usual Spidey/Vulture squabble. I was gonna pick up some of the Marvel Knights Spider-Man issues that Mark Millar did for $1 each in the bargain bin, but I was already buying some other stuff and this two part story is easier to collect than the 12 party story that is MKSM (of which I only have the first two issues). I really wish they had that three part Chameleon story that Paul Jenkins did in issues 10-12, but I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

This Week In The Spider Books

I'm no stranger to Zeb Wells work on Spider-Man. The man has written one of the funniest Spidey stories I've ever read, Fifteen Minutes of Shame in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #42-42, vol. 2. Even so, I have never been a supporter of Brand New Day and this is largely due to Peter being written as an idiot who doesn't know when to stop with the jokes, and misplaced his common sense. Amazing Spider-Man #555 really surprised me. For the first time in months ASM truly feels like Spider-Man to me. Peter is written in character and there are some funny moments between Spidey, Wolverine and Dr. Strange. The artwork is fantastic, on par with the writing in this issue. As much as I enjoy Steve McNiven's Spider-Man, Chris Bachalo's pencils amazed me. The scenes with the snow covered streets, the battle with the samurai-like dudes, epic stuff. The man draws a fine looking Betty Brant as well. I've never seen her look so hot since, well, ever.

I read this issue at my comic shop, but I honestly wouldn't mind buying it. This issue of ASM is that good and is the first time in months I feel I'd be getting my money's worth on Marvel's flagship comic. Zeb, Chris, great job! I'm actually looking forward to next week's issue!

Next up is Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #38. Check out that cover. Is that not automatic win or what? I've never liked Swarm but that didn't keep me from liking this issue. There's a good amount of focus on Peter's social outcast status, and it comes on stronger in this issue more so than in past issues of MASM, as evidence by the story's end. Of course Spidey's scuffles with Swarm made for some nice action scenes. The way he defeated Swarm took me by surprise. I don't wanna spoil it for anyone, just read the issue.

I also picked up Spider-Man Family #8. The Spidey/Iron Man team up really didn't do anything for me. There is a decent story where Peter and Bobby Drake race to make it to a restaurant to get the last table for their dates , but the real show stoper for me was the reprint of Spider-Man: Death & Destiny #2. This seems to be a bit of a depressing mini-series, albeit, a good one (does that make sense?). It was nice to see Peter cheer up and reach out to his best friend and girlfriend even if both of them blew him off. Can't wait for SMF #9 so I can see how it ends.

All told, I say it was a good week for Spidey.