Tag Archives: Spider-Man

Great, Good, Decent: Milestone Amazing Spider-Man 850

Introduction

“Amazing Spider-Man 850 coming soon”. I texted these words to Chris last week as I was organizing my comics for the big October 2020 reviews. He replied with, “Already?” I know that he was very excited for 800. He collected several variant covers for the issue as it was the penultimate before the Legacy renumbering.

Even so, there is some evidence that Marvel might not be all that great at counting in some of these Legacy reveals.

I followed my announcement up with the fact that the the new number 50 came right after number 750. I wondered if they might try to celebrate both anniversaries in succession. Luckily, it looks like they realized the quandary and will use #50 in a different manner by launching a new story. I have to ready myself because this one looks dark. Surprisingly the (spoiler alert) return (again…how many times now?) of Gobby wasn’t. Read more in my Amazing Spider-Man 850 review, starting now.

The Great

Gobby is Back! – I already told you this in the introduction. Granted, I gave it a sarcastic comment. That’s just my nature. Trust me. I’m always here for classic villains returning in any book. I loved it when they introduced Leader into Immortal Hulk. Joker War has resurrected Batman and Detective Comics.

Now, the Green Goblin returns to–

*checks notes*

*rubs eyes*

*puts on reading glasses*

*whispers off camera* Is this right?….Okay, here goes. *ahem*

Now, the Green Goblin returns to fight side by side with Spider-Man. The Sin Eater (more on him later) proves to be a bit too much for our favorite wall crawler. And, so, Norman Goblinizes himself to join the fray. Together, they triumph. Goblin uses the good deed to proclaim his original debt to Peter repaid and returns quickly to his villainous ways. Expect to see more of the Green Meanie in future issues.

The Good

Spider Family – I either misread or misinterpreted the end of the previous issue. The Spider Family is, in fact, back. However, I interpreted them as being back to stop Spider-Man or work against him. While that part is true, their actual intentions became more clear in this issue.

They came back from the future (or an alternate dimension, I guess it isn’t that clear) to help Spider-Man survive the fight with Sin Eater. So, they stopped Spidey from preventing Norman from changing. That allowed the Goblin to help Ol’ Webhead defeat the Sin Eater. I may still be misinterpreting this whole scenario. To be perfectly honest, I just skimmed some books last week to get the reviews done.

The Decent

Sin Eater – I’ve made no secret of the fact that I haven’t been the biggest fan of the Sin Eater arc. He just doesn’t “feel” like a proper Spider-Man villain. He belongs more with Doctor Strange perhaps, with a few modifications. Ghost Rider would prove to be a worth foe. For me, Spider-Man doesn’t match up well against these supernatural types.

With that being said, I like Kindred. He’s back at the end of this book. Perhaps that means he will be part of the next story. I mean, we find out in my Marvel comics review for November on Friday or Saturday. Part of me wants to sneak a peek, but I’ll be good. I already had to warn Chris of potential spoilers in this article.

The Vignettes

Instead of following in the footsteps of DC Comics and filling this issue with short stories, Marvel instead split the main story into 3 acts (how Shakespearean of them) and then featured 3 short stories at the end of the issue. Coincidentally, they split nicely into a Great, Good, and Decent.

The Great (A Family Affair by Saladin Ahmen and Aaron Kuder): Tells the story of Vulture’s granddaughter getting into a scuffle with Spider-Man due to a misunderstanding. Spidey puts her straight (possibly) and she may have a reckoning with granddad.

The Good (Four Shoes by Tradd More): A weird story where Spidey is taken into an alternate dimension via a glowing cube on the Brooklyn Bridge. His mission? Save a dog from some kind of knight/wizard lady? I don’t know. It’s better than I’m making it sound here.

The Decent: (All You Need Is… by Kurt Busiek and Chris Bachalo): I expected more from these names. This story felt like a way to simply jam as many Beatles references into the story as possible. I….am not a Beatles fan, so I don’t see that as a worthy goal.

The Verdict

Amazing Spider-Man 850 is all I hoped for. The return of the Goblin is predictable. However, I didn’t see the team up coming. Also, I enjoyed the history lesson in the second chapter of the story. Sin Eater is gone (good riddance), Kindred returned, and Gobby is on the loose. This books was wavering a bit for me recently. However, similar to Joker War and Leader, this issue might serve to refocus and bring it back to greatness.

Great, Good, Decent: Marvel Comics October 2020

Introduction

After a month, we’re back with Marvel Comics October 2020 review. I was just trying to organize my thoughts to see if I could get this thing back on track by the end of the year. I’ve been okay about updating over the last couple of weeks, so maybe I can keep that momentum going through the end of the year. That sounds familiar because I said the same thing at the end of last year.

Except he didn’t say half of the things he said, don’t you know?

As I organized, I noticed that I set October aside as horror month once again. And, once again, it passed without any discussion of horror games. Also, at the beginning of the summer, I started writing a series of horror short stories that got forgotten for another year. I mean, really, this whole October has just been lackluster. So, let’s try to forget with some Marvel Comics October 2020.

The Great

Captain America 21-23 (Ta-Nehisi Coates and Bob Quinn): I’ve made it abundantly clear in the past that I don’t like these “ripped from the headlines stories”, but this one has me hooked for some reason. Unlike some of the other books that have tried this, Coates layers on a much better metaphor that makes it entertaining instead of exhausting.

Immortal Hulk 36 and 37 (Al Ewing and Joe Bennett): I will be saying this for the next year or so, but I can’t believe they are killing this comic. It is the most consistently entertaining story of the current Marvel era. I hope they reverse this decision.

Maestro 2 (of 5) (Peter David and German Peralta with cover by Dale Keown): When I saw that my favorite Hulk writer was working with my favorite Hulk artist (even if it was only for covers), I knew that I had to have this book. There was the definite possibility that it could have not lived up to the hype. But, it very much did. Looking forward to the rest.

The Good

Amazing Spider-Man 46-49 (Nick Spencer and Marcelo Ferriera): Sin Eater story is fine, but it’s already getting a bit old. Gobby’s back and the Spider-Family is after Peter. Things are setting up nicely for a showdown in Legacy 850 next month.

Avengers 35 (Jason Aaron and Javi Garron): I have been liking the Khonshu story and the Tony and Carol “Raising Arizona” side story is entertaining as hell. Now, they’re setting up for an epic battle next issue between Khonshu and the Panther.

Venom 27 and 28 (Donny Cates and Juan Gedeon): When Chris and I talked a few months ago, he agreed that my giddiness about comics was only due to the fact that they were back after the Covid19 hiatus. I think that’s correct. I don’t see this being the fun story that I thought it was after reading issue 26.

The Decent

Fantastic Four 22 and 23 (Dan Slott and Paco Medina): More proof that the glow faded. I don’t think that Empyre is as exciting anymore. This is still a solid issue and I will buy Empyre later. Don’t tell Chris, but it will most likely be a trade.

Thor 6 and 7 (Donny Cates and Nic Klein): A let down for the end of the previous arc. It got progressively weirder and lost me when Thor ended up as the herald of Galactus. Now, Thanos is involved in the story somehow. The next arc is a 2 part interlude. Hopefully, whatever’s after that gives the king of thunder a good story. Otherwise, I might stop collecting this title.

X-Men 10-12 (Johnathon Hickman, Leinel Francis Yu, et al): Chris likes this title. I liked the previous title with Hickman in charge, too. These issues weren’t my favorite. Not sure why the X-Men are involved in Empyre. Now, another event looms on the horizon. Hopefully it captures some of the magic again.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics October 2020 are a decidedly mixed bag. Initially when I started to rank the books for this article, I found that I rated them too highly. So, Chris was right. Some of my joy a few months ago came because comics were back after being gone for so long. That’s not to say that the books are bad. Far from it. Overall, I enjoyed them. Just not as much as when they returned from the Covid19 break. Until next month, Excelsior!

Marvel Comics June 2020

Introduction

Now, for Marvel Comics June 2020 Review. Before that, it’s time for honesty. This week was supposed to celebrate the release of Mortal Kombat: Aftermath. Instead, I celebrated staff meetings and report cards. I didn’t want to totally lose the momentum I had been building on the page, so I decided to shift to comics this week.

And, so, I reviewed the four DC comics that I received from DCBS yesterday. Likewise, I only got 3 Marvel comics in that shipment. But, as I emphasized in the previous article, it’s good that we are getting any comics. After a two month hiatus, any amount of books is good news. So, let’s talk Marvel Comics June 2020. Like my DC article, each book gets its own section.

The Amazing Spider-Man #43/Legacy #844 (Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley)

The Great (Classic Spidey): Every since Nick Spencer took over writing for Spider-Man, I’ve loved the book. He is able to capture the fun of Spider-Man in a way that some others miss on a huge level. I understand that comics have grown with their audience. However, maybe Spider-Man is just supposed to stay the goofy guy we always knew and loved.

The Good (Bromance): I’ve been all in on the Spidey/Boomerang bromance since the beginning. There was less focus on it in this issue, but it was still fun to have in the book.

The Decent (Kingpin?): Look, I’m all for a good old fashioned Spidey/Kingpin showdown. I loved that part of Into the Spiderverse. However, it just didn’t feel like it fit very well in this particular story. It felt like a definite filler.

Avengers #33/Legacy #733 (Jason Aaron and Javier Garron)

The Great (Lesser Known Avengers): Instead of being reduced to cameos, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider take a headlining role. Later, Black Panther and Thor try to play hero, but nobody can take down the big bad, Moon Knight! Very cool to see these hereoes front and center.

The Good (Nothing but fights): This book was a good old fashioned (using that term a bit in this article) beat em up. Sure, there was dialogue. However, it was mostly in the service of getting to more punching. You may know that I’m not usually a fan of this, but every now and then, it’s fun.

The Decent (Why?): My notes say, “Where is this story from?” But, that seemed like a long subheading, so I just went from why. I feel like lately I’ve been missing a lot in comics and I don’t just mean literally missing them. I mean, a lot of this is going over my head. Why the heck is Khonshu pushing Moon Knight over the edge? Hopefully we find out.

Venom #25/Legacy #190 (Donny Cates and Marc Bagley)

The Great (Eddie’s Recap): I’m not normally a fan of Cates’ writing in some other books, but he has a feel for Venom. I like the voice he gives Eddie. He also brings and edge that the book needs. This one is Eddie telling the Avengers about his time on Venom island and I’m completely here for it.

The Good (Bonus Story): Being a “milestone issue” (latest new number 25), they have a bonus story at the end. It’s a fun little story and it has an Easter Egg. They give the name that Eddie and the symbiote might have chosen in a different Marvel Universe.

The Decent (Knull, etc): I’ve made no secret that I’m not a fan of the Knull storyline/retcon. It’s not that I don’t like it. I just don’t completely understand where it came from and why it exists. I’m not sure that it adds much to the overall lore.

The Verdict

Marvel Comics 2020 hasn’t quite picked up where they left off. However, other than the fact that they were planning another super summer crossover event, I was very excited about the direction that marvel was taking with their books. So, the Covid-19 sabbatical hit them harder than DC. As long as they find their momentum again, I’m excited that Marvel can get back to where they were and hopefully DC can join them.

Tales from Marvel Civil War: I am Spider-Man

Disclaimer

The following is a work of fan fiction. As eluded to in the title, it happens during the events of Marvel Civil War. All properties are the trademarks or copyrights of their respective companies.

Introduction: Spider-Man is Not as Cool as Batman

He loved this city. Correction: He loved this city from up here. Perched on the edge of a gargoyle hundreds of stories above the ground, eh felt almost like that man who liked to dress as a bat. What was his name? Oh well, it doesn’t matter. That guy is way cooler.

He can drive and takes advantage of that by driving the coolest vehicles ever invented. J. Jonah barely pays me enough–for pictures that he then uses to demonize me–to keep a roof over my head. Not that Bat-Guy (Bat-Dude)? He has way better PR. I always see him in the papers shaking the hands of the commissioner even after letting that clown blow up a few city blocks. Sometimes life is so unfair.

Heck, he’s even cooler up here. He stands on the edge of these things, cape blowing in the wind, his scowl somehow penetrating that mask of his to remind all the bad guys who is in charge. Maybe I need a cape. I already have the mask, but it covers my whole face. How do you show off a scowl with a full mask?

He tried a few scowls underneath the mask and just felt ridiculous. Taking off the mask, he tried a few more scowls. He felt no less ridiculous. Holding the mask in front of his face, he imagined it as Doc Ock or maybe Gobby. After one or two more practiced scowls, he felt even more ridiculous.

It’s just hard to scowl as your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

He looked closer at the mask. He did need it, right? Set aside the face that J. Jonah had this weird vendetta against it. He had to protect his family. From what, though?

He put the mask back on.

Act 1: Who is Spider-Man Really Protecting?

At first, I needed the mask to keep those around me safe. I might be imbued with the awesome powers of the spider, but not many others have been. If anyone found out my secret, those around me would have been put in danger and I couldn’t live with myself if any of them got hurt. Not even J. Jonah.

He thought back over the years that he had been Spider-Man. Several times over, the mask had proven to be necessary for just that purpose. He grimaced under the mask. Too many times. He hadn’t exactly been careful about protecting that trade secret. Sometimes it felt like J. Jonah was the only one in the world who didn’t know.

Maybe Tony Stark is right.

That voice that had taken up permanent residence in the back of his mind spoke up. He could always hear it muttering back there. It only became audible at times like these when everything else in his brain went completely silent. Once it took over, there was no stopping it. It picked up on his thought train from earlier.

We are super powered beings. Granted (or born with) powers that far beyond the comprehension of the average person, ee are dangerous. There is collateral damage. What happened in Connecticut must never happen again. Something had to be done.

Do I really have to be one of the faces of it, though?

Well, why not, Peter? Honestly, why not? You already had to admit that the mask doesn’t always serve the purpose of saving those around you. You bemoaned that sometimes you feel like the only one who doesn’t know that you are Spider-Man is J. Jonah. Who is the mask protecting?

Act Two: The Death of Spider-Man

He stood up–and jumped, executing a perfect swan dive. Windows flashed by and he dropped through the air. Most were dark, but a few had lights on and he saw men and women still working at their desks at this hour and one overly excited custodian waved gleefully as he passed. Tomorrow morning, he was going to have one hell of a story to tell his family. I was there when Spider-Man killed himself.

I’m only kidding, of course. Or, am I? It would be so easy to just let it happen. Make it look like my web slingers malfunctioned. Thinking about it now, it’s actually quite easy. Plus, it solves my problem of having to make the decision to reveal my identity.

His Spider-Sense tingled, interrupting his train of thought. That was strange. Granted, it often went off during times of pending harm and he was hurtling towards the ground to certain death. What he had learned during his occasional non-suicidal leaps from buildings is that it only generally worked when that pending harm wasn’t self-inflicted. Someone needed help and they were close. A faint burglar alarm confirmed this. He shot a web in the direction of the sound.

Act Three: Spider-Man Saves the Day

He quickly discovered the source of the alarm. It was one of those mom and pop deli shops that somehow survived in this city and made it unique. He smiled under the mask. He may not always love this city up close, but it had its moments. Busting petty crooks holding up a neighborhood deli was always a highlight of an evening. Landing amidst the chaos of the scene, he opened the door and entered the deli.

Compared with the street, the deli was quiet. The only sound was a burglar alarm blaring its tones, that he found that surprisingly easy to ignore. Quickly surveying the store, he saw that the register was in the back, so the crook stood with his back to the entrance. He’s a real amateur. He hadn’t even looked back to see if the police had arrived. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Grabbing a bag of Doritos and a Dr. Pepper, he stood behind the robber in an odd mockery of normalcy. The thief was so engrossed in his potential pay day that he didn’t even notice. Spider-Man tried to act as nonchalantly as possible. One wrong move and things could go very wrong very quickly. As he often did in these situations, he thought back to that first fateful encounter.

“Sir, could you please finish your business? Some of us have to get to work.” Spider-Man said.

The thug started and turned to face him, a look of pure surprise on his face. Spider-Man took advantage of the distraction, disarming the man and webbing him to the ceiling in his customary fashion. Walking to the register, he placed the items on the counter to pay. Looking no less shocked than the thief, the deli owner stammered before finally speaking.

“Please, take them. On the house. As thanks.”

Epilogue: I Am Spider-Man

Spider-Man shook his head. Grabbing a pen and a scrap of paper, he started jotting down an IOU.

“What’s your name?”

“My friends call me Bob. You can call me Bob.”

Spider-Man put his hands over his heart and tilted his head in a pantomime of the “Awwww” gesture. Expressions were tough in this mask.  After he finished the note and handed it to Bob, he turned to leave the deli. Pausing briefly at the door he turned his head.

“Keep that note, Bob. I will be back to pay it. This probably isn’t your first rodeo, but make sure that gun gets to the police. By the way, there’s no camera in here, right?

Bob pointed to the corner.

“Besides that fake one?”

Bob shook his head Spider-Man removed his mask. The look of surprise on Bob’s face became exaggerated. It mirrored the one he imagined J. Jonah would have before the old goat keeled over.

“My name is Peter Parker,” Peter said, “and I am Spider-Man.”

He put the mask back on and swung off into the night.

END.