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Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review - Part 1

The Amazing Spider-Man 600

by various

Of all of the blockbuster anniversary issues, this one has been the best. We get six original stories, none of them flashbacks! In-between each of the tales in this anniversary are mock-covers, as Loeb and McKone get to have some fun putting forth various crazy scenarios.

It has been a long time since we have seen Doctor Octopus, and there is actually movement of sorts with his character. A normal guy, he�s been slugged and knocked out by a hundred different super-powered foes, and the trauma has left him in a deteriorated state. Not much longer to live, and he decides to do something great to make his mark on the world. In his� shall we say, interesting way of thinking, he decides to take over the city. While his motive is to control the electronics and make the city a paradise where everything runs on time, his subconscious is having the city and his little octo-bots kidnap Jameson Sr. to prevent his marriage to Aunt May, and try to kill Spider-Man.

Dan Slott gets a little corny with the banter, and in places the character spends too much time stating the obvious, but John Romita Jr. gets to draw an epic tale, and I hope it was as fun for him to draw as it was for us to read. Every once in a while, it stretches your disbelief, as in when the New Avengers come out of nowhere, all of them sliding down ropes from above Spidey, who is already hanging out on the side of a building. All this and Aunt May�s wedding, too. And what a kicker: three guesses who shows up to catch the bouquet (the first two don�t count).

The next story is by Stan Lee and Marcos Martin. Stan weaves a continuity-breaking story of Spidey going to see a psychiatrist, to list all of the crazy things that have happened to him, from costume changes to extra arms, to bizarre transformations and the up-down-sideways problems with Mary Jane. It�s a delightful tale that encapsulates decades of Spider-Man history, partially poking fun at what can happen to a character with a constantly rotating creative team, but it�s all meant in good fun, and it reads that way.

Mark Waid weaves a touching tale from the vantage point of Uncle Ben, back when Peter was a child. Lovingly illustrated by Colleen Doran, this would have had me in tears, if I hadn�t had my tear ducts surgically removed already. Bob Gale then gives us two kids in the park, discussing how cool/uncool it would be if one of them was spider-Man, with a punch line involving the cleaners at the end. Mario Alberti has some whimsical art for this humorous tale.

Marc Guggenheim shows us Aunt May at Ben�s graveside, asking for a blessing. Mitch Breitweiser paints a touching picture, but the tale does feel slightly repetitive, given May�s graveside plea in the main story in this same issue. Zeb Wells and Derec Donavan give us a look at the ridiculous Spider-Mobile, and for only five pages, it�s not bad, although the art is not to my taste. Finally, Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara show us Madame Web, with her prophetic visions giving us a glimpse of the year to come for Peter. An enemy attacks and takes her out, and it looks like they will manipulate her abilities to their ends while they hunt down Spider-Man. Any relation to Morlun and the magical aspect of the Spider mythology, or something new? Regardless, here�s hoping the next 600 issues are just as good as the last.

Avengers: The Initiative 26

by Christos N. Gage, and Rafa Sandoval

Matteo de Longis gives us a propaganda poster effect for the cover, which fits in with Norman Osborn�s themes perfectly. Osborn is seeding teams throughout the states with his crooks. The Hood gives the laydown to the villains themselves, taking out one guy that doesn�t want to play nice enough for the public. The Constrictor, however, gives a great speech and makes for a wonderful publicity specialist.

The remnants of the original Initiaive and the New Warriors are doing what they can to fight back, but without much luck so far. Sandoval�s art is very inconsistent, and on one page the inking and color looks great, but on the next it almost looks like a different style. As a result, I like about half the art in the comic. We end on a tie-in note, with a slight overlap between Dark Reign and War of Kings, as the Hood puts together a new strike force to take back Prison 42 from Blastaar�s forces.

The picture of the throwaway villains shows you that they are not taking things very seriously. Here was a great opportunity to showcase a Marvel version of the Suicide Squad, and give us some great characters with potential, and instead they put losers like the Ringer up front. This means the whole 42 event will be over quickly, and prove to be of very little interest, as the writers opt to keep things on a higher level, and not give us some good character stories. It is one of the reasons why this title is treading water instead of being a real must-read book.

Dark Wolverine 76

by Daniel Way, Marjorie Liu and Giuseppe Camuncoli

Nothing against Daniel Way, but with the arrival of Liu on the writing chores, I have been noticeably enjoying this book better. Camuncoli�s art is good, but it looks like the inker left a lot of work for the colorist instead of enhancing some of the lines. There is an unevenness to the play of the light source, and they really should study that better.

The plot has Daken playing all sides against each other. He has manipulated Bullseye and Osborn into distrusting each other (as if they needed more help with that), and Daken himself heads to the Fantastic Four to ask for a way out from the bad guys� team. The only hitch is, he asks the team to rough him up and make it look good, which gives Osborn some prime-time footage of an official Avenger getting trounced by the FF, a team Osborn eagerly wants to discredit.

So does Daken really want out? Or did he just set up the FF while simultaneously setting up Bullseye, all to Osborn�s benefit? I have my suspicions, but either way, this title has been shaping up quite well.

Ms. Marvel 42

by Brian Reed and Sana Takeda

Ugh. Do I have to buy this book? I want to see the effects of Dark Reign, but this is laborious. Moonstone dukes it out with a re-formed Ms. Marvel, reinforcing how useless this title has become. All this, one big slugfest, mostly uninteresting, only to have a third person come out and claim to be Ms. Marvel. I�m not even intrigued. The art is not all that great either, so what was once a promising attempt to reboot a character with potential ha become an utter waste. Steer clear of this title.

Wolverine: Origins 38

by Daniel Way and Scot Eaton

Speaking of slugfests, here is a much more interesting and well-drawn fight between Wolverine and Omega Red. Red is after the carbonadium synthesizer, and has staged the battle inside a prison, where he can re-supply his energies off of all the inmates. Wolverine finally stops acting stupid and lures him away, staging the c-synth for a quick trap that ends the fight and lets Logan walk away with the carbonadium.

Scot Eaton does well for the art, and Braithwaite draws an eye-catching cover. Together, the creative team gives us a fight that is much more engrossing than the one over in Ms. Marvel, and moves the plot forward faster, too. Logan�s not out of the woods yet, and will have a ton of difficulty next issue. For this comic, I�m actually looking forward to what happens next, as opposed to dreading it.

X-Force 17

by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Mike Choi, and Sonia Oback

The cover is a waste, with Laura pointing a gun while simultaneously showing us her claws? Long-distance attack or close-in scrapper, make up your mind. A cover is supposed to pique your interest, and this is just a girl posing, but in a way that doesn�t make a heckuva lot of sense. I understand on the inside Laura still has a gun on her, and she uses it, but she doesn�t use her claws. Ah well, at least Mike Choi is back, raising the level of artwork.

The team returns from their time-travel side-trip (which I detested), and since it�s time-travel, Laura rescues Boom-Boom by shooting the Leper Queen. We then switch to see Rahne acting like a floozy with Hrimhari (Rictor who?), tossing aside any vestige of her proper Catholic upbringing. Way to throw away a core part of a character, guys. Ah well, Choi saves the scene again with some frost giants on the hunt.

Meanwhile, Surge is being used as a living mutant bomb. Josh reaches Julian and heals him, but can�t get to Noriko in time, from initial appearances. Domino�s luck puts her right outside the blast radius. There�s an attempt to make Warren more interesting, with blood rage philosophy from Apocalypse spilling over. In a lame scene, Wolverine stabs Warren near through the neck, and all it does is shock Warren back to sanity. There�s no collapsing, no holding the wound to prevent blood from spurting out, no flinch in his face, like any of us would from getting stabbed. There�s just a lame �Logan? Did you stab me?� Really.

Still not up to the standards of any of the other X-books.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

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