Comics to make your heart stop
Yes, it's Captain controversy here teaming up with Colonel Continuity to bring you the news and views on all the latest shakedowns and shenanigans in the wild, wonderful and wilfull wacky world of four-color comics. Today, we're looking at a controversial item that appeared in Newsarama this week which, prompted by the hints and clues and teases being dropped by Marvel over the current red-hot 'The other' storyline flaming through the Spiderman books right now and for a couple more months. The third part of the 12 part saga was so hot that it's been reprinted twice already and the sneaky bastards at Marvel have reprinted the issue with different costumed spidermen on the cover. http://www.newsarama.com/forums/showthread.php?s=6b3c969fde6cae5de658f7728642569d&threadid=48150
Now, the first costume was presumably just a cool graphic, being the ultra-sleek black alien symbiote costume from the 1980's. But the second one has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons with the use of the Ben Reilly, Spider-Clone costume. There had already been talk of a re-appearance of the Spider-clone in the Marvel Universe, said talk which was recently bolstered by Brian Michael Bendis' talk of the use of the spider-clone in upcoming issues of Ultimate Spiderman.
Given that the current spidey saga is 'evolve or die' and mentions this mysterious 'the other', naturally the clone comes to mind.
A lot of readers moan and groan about the clone saga which played out during the 1990's but it had some fantastic high points and wonderful ideas, not to mention the wonderful character of Ben Reilly himself and his own supporting cast which were unfairly dumped by the wayside when enough whining fans demanded a return to the status quo.
For those of you confused or not aware of the original clone story in the 1970's and the 1990's follow-up, here is an excellent series of articles on it that will set you straight. http://www.newcomicreviews.com/GHM/specials/LifeOfReilly/
My own personal opinion is that having the clone around is a great idea. If they had toned down the amount of other clones running around and nixed the idea that Peter was the clone and Ben was the original, there wouldn't have been such an outcry. The character of Ben Reilly himself was a relief and a great throwback to the Peter Parker of old who had been lost in one too many dark winding horror-filled psychological twisted storylines ( hi, J M DeMatteis).
Whatever happens with the current 'evolve or die' schtick, we can at least hold out hope that Ben Reilly will be back at some stage. I think that there are too many books for Spiderman to sustain and at least one of those could be given over to the spider-clone for a whole different flavor of spider-action every month.
Just finished reading 'Infinite Crisis' first issue- DC's big huge event series of the year and whilst it was enjoyable enough for what it was in the story itself, there was no way I would have predicted the ending. That left me sitting there going..uhhhh...wtf and where the f**k did that come from?!!
I'll post this bit under a spoiler for those of you who haven't read it yet (and it is worthe reading, unlike the creakingly boring and now confusing 'house of M')( Read more...Collapse )
I bought the fantastic collection of short comic strips called 'Toothpaste for dinner', def check it out next time you're in Barnes & Noble or Borders or your local comics shop- fantastic stuff in a beautiful little package. Hilarious anecdotal stories with wonderful drawings.
This week: Just got Essential Ghost Rider...yaayy! A huge phone-book worth of 1970's horror crap featuring angst, the son of satan, johnny blaze and a demon making motorcycles out of hellfire, villains with giant eyes on their head, spiderman, the hulk, a giant shark!!! 28 issues of magnificent nostalgic goodness all for a measly essentials price of 15 bucks. If you're too young to have read this when you were little, look at it and see if it will appeal to you, otherwise, go out and buy this!!
Ahem..and I couldn't resist the beautiful looking hardcover collection of 'Identity Crisis', which I never read but whose aftermath peaked the quality of writing across the board in the DCU and whose story looks like my type of deal so I'm looking forward to it.
Good issue of The Ultimates 2 as per usual- Captain America is set up, like Thor was and like Hulk kinda was. My money's on the Loki storyline kicking in soon and whether or not the traitor has anything to do with Loki will be interesting to see, but one by one the team is being shut down which sounds like an all powerful enemy getting ready to make a major move against them.
Good Captain America tie-in with the dreaded House of M(alarkey). Seeing Cap as an old man.
All-Star Batman and Robin is poop. Two issues in and the best Frank and Jim can manage is a flying batmobile. Oh God. Thankfully, Morrison and Quitely's All-Star Superman looks to be a humdinger of a title with superb art and crisp top-notch Morrison script. Fuck Frank Miller and his sarcastic approach to the superhero medium. If your heart isn't in it, Frank, then go away.
The Pulse continues to deliver with a wonderful all-female issue of Jessica, Sue Storm and Carol Danvers having lunch together and talking about motherhood and so on in the MU.
Eagerly awaiting DC's upcoming 'Essentials' type books with the first two being silver age superman and the beginning of silver age green lantern.
Gail Simone is really excelling on the DC 'Infinite Crisis' tie-in series ( well, yeah, so and okay, what ISN'T tied in right now at Dc??!!), issue 5 (of 6) which just came out yesterday. A series which I picked up originally on a whim has turned out to be one of the best written (and beautifully illustrated as well) comics in the DCU for quite some time now. Outstanding is the portrayal of Catman but all the characters are deftly handled with just the right amount of humor intermingled into sharp and realistic dialogue.
Well worth picking up as a good solid intriguing read. This HAS to lead for bigger things for Catman at least and most likely some of the other chars involved in here.
Yeah, yeah, I know; it's just 'ghost rider' without the 'the' but it feels like it should have a 'the' in front of it. The first issue has a definite slow-burner feel to it but with the combination of Garth Ennis's ability to switch effortlessly between legendary story-teller mode and modern day comics scene writer and Clayton Crain's beautifully powerful glimpses of Blaze as the titular Ghost Rider, this is without doubt a modern classic in the making.
"There's a tale they tell in the darkest depths of the pit" opens the comic with Garth on familiar ground. The story moves briskly along with the efficient introduction of the main players and the background of Blaze and the ghost rider being neatly filled in by the two angels who are setting the upcoming events of the series into motion.
Criticisms? The dvices being set up are perhaps a tad too familiar for longtime readers of Ennis with definite echoes of his 'Hellblazer' , ' The Demon', ' Preacher' and 'Hitman' storylines but nothing so outstandingly grating that it gets in the way of what looks to be a mere launch-pad for a sensationally enjoyable romp. The art suffers from over-digitisation in places looking a tad too rendered but this is a minor quibble and one which I am thinking will disappear as ther series progresses.
So overall, a title I would definitely reccommend. Also, don't forget that the long awaited Essential Ghost Rider is coming up either next week or shortly thereafter- a must-have for fans of 1970's Marvel Horror Comics and a nice set-up for the curent series to give you plenty of cheesy back-story action.
Ten Comic-book must haves
1) The Invisibles (because it's Grant at his most fantastic, it's life, it's magick, it's cool and it's all about the supercontext- read it!!)
2) The Return of Barry Allen tpb ( because it's superhero shenanigans done fantastically well and it builds up tension and action so expertly)
3) Promethea ( because it's Alan Moore and a magickal map of everything that is...)
4) Marvel Essential X-men volumes 1-6 ( because they're packed full of good stories and art and are cheap)
5) Global Frequency ( because it's Warren Ellis and full of brilliant new ideas)
6) Stormwatch ( because it's warren ellis and full of fantastic character interaction and dark superhero fantasy)
7) Transmetropolitan ( because Spider jerusalem rules...get this immediately)
8) Preacher ( Garth Ennis and Stevel Dillon's dark hilarious, tragic, angry, funny masterpiece)
9) The Ballad of Halo Jones ( because Alan Moore writes beauty better than most other writers)
10) Doom Patrol ( because Grant Morrison is a God of creativity)
Upon reading through Essential X-Men Vol: VI as I am right now, it's bringing back a lot of memories and reminding why I was such a huge Chris Claremont fan at one point and also why I got so tired of the mutant books back in the day.
The New Mutants, like X-Factor, was a very mixed bag. The first 14 issues were readable as an average collection of stories of a team of young mutant teenagers but nothing special, story or art-wise. Then Bill Sienkiewicz came on board and suddenly the title took off into orbit. Claremont has often said that he is the type of writer who will write to suit the artist and get a real kick out of said synergetic process. With Sienkiewicz, Claremont rose to the challenge perfectly as he had previously with John Byrne, Paul Smith and John Romita Jr.. The New mutants went from being a book about 'baby x-men' to being a challenging, gripping and addictive series about a team of young people struggling to exist in a very difficult world and acting like teenages when allowed and having to act like mature responsible adults for more of the time.
Once Sienkiewicz left, the good times continued and the storylines ditto.The ongoing storyline of Magneto's redemption and the promise to a dying Charles Xavier for him to take charge of the Xavier estate and the X-men and especially look after the novice team of The New Mutants was thoroughly explored in detail in TNM as it was with this team that the change of school headmaster hit home especially hard with the team finding it very difficult to accept Magneto as their new leader and teacher and confidante. Magneto appeals to the children to let him prove himself to them and to let him help them in their growth and development and in a wonderful scene where Danielle is attacked by some frat boys, Magneto, with the aid of Danielle's Asgardian steed, Brightwind, tracks the culprits down and shows that he has learned a better way than just violence and force. This helps the children to trust him.
With the horrible burden of the dreaded company-wide crossover, this time the phenomenally lame 'Secret Wars II', Claremont wrote one of the most memorable 'New Mutants' storylines wherein they faced the Beyonder and were all killed, only to be resurrected but with the memory of their deaths haunting their every waking moment. The trauma of such an event defeated Magneto in trying to care for the children and he ended up calling in Emma Frost to help, not realizing that it was through her student's manipulating of his emotional state that caused him to weaken and ask her for help.
Forst ends up taking all of the kids into her school and they even join the Hellions for a brief spell. When Magneto discovers Frost's deception, he sets out to rescue the children, and comes into conflict with the Avengers who never believed his reformation and now just see him trying to attack innocent school-children. Excellent characterization, great story-telling.
Magneto and Frost end up putting their differences aside to help the children work through the post-rebirth traumatic issues and then Magneto takes them back home to Xavier's school.
The New Mutants remained thoroughly enjoyable up through the mid 50's and early 60's but then became somewhat uneven. The whole Magneto strand was played quite badly after this point, with editorial going in one direction and Claremont attempting to go in another.
When Louise Simonson took over, the book became wretched and very much a departure from Claremont's careful characterizations.
Then Rob Liefeld came on and the team transformed into X-Force.
But looking back at the crossovers and the stories contained in Essential vi, it makes me remember fondly just how good TNM could be and how much Marvel needs to release at least one volume of the series in an essential edition, and preferably at least enough to take it up to issue 50.