Wednesday, 7 November 2012
COMIX ZONE: 7/11/12
Avenging Spider-Man Annual #1
Any good? In a nutshell, it's very greatsome and then lots more. I'd never heard of writer Rob Williams before and have since apologised to him on Twitter for this horrific oversight. He writes Spidey just the way I want, with a solid grasp of how he speaks and how he acts. The story concerns a pair of yo's snooping around the sites of big superhero smackdowns looking for leftover artifacts to sell (a really neat concept, no?) and coming across a device that makes everyone within a certain radius overly hostile, not least Fantastic Four's The Thing who begins hounding Spidey across the city in a minor spell of misunderstanding that recalls the early 60s and put a huge smile on my face. There are several laugh out loud moments, particularly when the device's function is reversed to the point of affection replacing anger and our heroic pair are locked in a clinch I'm unlikely to forget any time soon, and the art from Brad Walker, John Livesay and Chris Sotomayor is fluid and defined throughout. There's even a little note from Williams at the back detailing his love of the character which is a nice touch. I've heard good things about his current stint on 2000 AD, which I'm worried I'll end up looking for before too long.
Should I buy it? I say thee yay.
Batgirl Annual #1
Any good? Certainly it's good, yes, it's well crafted on both fronts, but probably not enough to make a regular reader of me. Barbara Gordon, this series' and in general the most recognizable Batgirl, has a welcome distaste for violence as a tool in crimefighting and isn't just a spunky female version of Bruce Wayne or even Robin, so that's a plus, but there's a couple of factors in the issue that didn't sit well with me (like Simone's troubling attitude towards the definition of crime under coercion and the rote, generalised characterisation of ex-Owl and 'troubled person' Mary) and the art, which picks up with a change of penciller a little later in the issue, feels like the sort of illustration that wouldn't have been out of place in a children's novel about 20 years ago. If this is to act as the comics equivalent of a backdoor pilot (a male Owl, from this summer's Night Of The Owls crossover, has recently appeared in his own series), I'm not sure it was worth the effort.
Should I buy it? Nuh-uh.
Swamp Thing Annual #1
Any good? Confusingly, it appears to be set either after or during the subsequent issue (#14, mentioned above) so for reasons yet unknown Swamp Thing is massive and is told of, like, a past life he lived, or something like that? To be honest, Snyder's Swamp Thing has been a little hard to follow at times and I keep confusing bits of it with Alan Moore's run from the 1980s from which it takes a few cues. It paints a cute picture of a love that could have been between the series' two main characters and throws in a weak metaphor for the triumph of life over death but mostly it's unnecessary and quite distracting. It really doesn't help that the current story, Rotworld, seems to be set a year in the future where a few characters have bit the dust and will inevitably have to be reversed by the end of its run to fit into the current line-wide scheme of things at DC yet they're telling stories within those stories about things that may or may not have happened to people who may or may not have died. What? Exactly.
Should I buy it? I appear to have convinced myself that I shouldn't have bought it...
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #16.1
Any good? I cannot get enough. This issue is excellent comics. Like I said, Point One issues seem like another of these detours like all the annuals and zero issues but this one's the best of the week (and UCSM hasn't been the best in its week in a while, though that's the multiple-series crossover's fault and not really mine). Still, great ish, and with great art and a killer you-must-see-what-happens-next conclusion, it's that rare thing - a must -have sideline comic and the best issue in months. It features Betty Brant (with this series you're always resisting the urge to put the word Ultimate in front of every character's name) and her temporary obsession with figuring out who Spider-Man is, and plays out differently than you'd expect both because of the inbuilt differences from the main Marvel timeline and because, well, go on, predict that ending. Get. Oops, too early.
Should I buy it? Yes. Go all the way back to the start of the Parker issues and read the whole thing, it doesn't get that much better than this series and it's currently as hot as it's ever been. That's right: Hot. Like a DJ would say.
Be here next week (or possibly as soon as this weekend) for a look at the new Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Avenging Spider-Man and Daredevil: End Of Days and a special mystery comic! A MYSTERY. I can't even wait to get it.