Friday 28 April 2017

Comic Reviews

Have I been sent anything with Nazis in it this week? What is wrong with the world that this is even a concern for me?

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #1
Okay, old favourite character being relaunched by Nazis Are Cool-era Marvel. Deep breaths... deep breaths... open the comic... and...

Well, okay, so first thing we learn is Ben got his new costume by mugging a cosplayer and, of course, this all spins out of his recent heel turn as the Jackal in The Clone Conspiracy so this is hardly the Scarlet Spider I remember from the not-exactly-good old days. Peter David is doing his best, poor chap, but I honestly wonder if this thing is salvagable. Ben's USP back in the day was that he'd been dealt a truly crappy hand but the old Parker morals still guided him. I knew I wasn't going to get the old Daily Grind Coffee Shop crew back in this series but I had hoped Ben might be a bit more “himself” than he was as the Jackal.

What David chooses to focus on is the internal struggle between the two versions of Ben: the Scarlet Spider and the Jackal, with both turning up as delusions from time to time to get on Ben's nerves. Most of the issue is that, basically, with a little side trip to tease the fact that Kaine knows Ben's still alive and is pissed.

I'm in for the second issue but if that doesn't absolutely grab me, well, I get to save some money. Still, at least he's not a Nazi.

Infamous Iron Man #7
Well, shucks, if this wasn't the perfect example of why I still read Bendis' comics after all these years. Whether you like his very conversational, talky style or not, you have to admit that Bendis just gets how to write the relationships between characters.

The first half of this issue is a big fight, starting with a huge meeting of villains that Doom breaks up in order to lay the smackdown on just about every costumed villain in New York which segues into an after-the-fact post mortem of events. The other half of the issue is a gorgeously atmospheric conversation between Doom and Ben Grimm that Alex Maleev and Matt Hollingsworth draw the absolute hell out of: close-ups, deep shadows, the perfect level of detail to every facial expression. You couldn't direct actors this perfectly in a million years, its the sort of scene the sequential art form was made for. Bendis goes deep into the decades of feelings and emotions (both as people and characters) that inform how these two characters interact and then, with a fantastic cliffhanger, he promises to top it next issue.

And not a Nazi in sight.

Detective Comics #955
Dear James Tynion IV, stop making me ship things, your humble servant, James.

Seriously, that ballet dancer that yelled at Cass in #950 found Cass after she got slashed up by Lady Shiva and nursed her back to health. And she read Cass children's stories as she slept. Its too cute. Then Cass went and cut her way through about a million ninjas. Which was not as cute but was equally awesome. This is mostly a big fight issue with everyone aside from Cass captured and most of them naked, too.

Also, what is it with comic writers hating people called Ullysses right now? First that Inhuman who started Civil War II and now this Colony dickhead with who makes chemical weapons and steals Tim's costume?

Mother Panic #6
I really like how this arc is filling us in on Violet's home life at the same time as deepening the weirdness that surrounds her operation. For instance, in this issue we get some closure on the whole business of those funny rats Violet's mother was talking to and it just serves to make it all stranger. That aside, there's a great scene of a woman Violet us dating reacting to the violence of Violet's life in an interesting an complex way, not so much scared of the fact Vi can be violent (she even admits it was probably justified) but of the way Violet looks as she hit the guy. Its a more complex treatment, brief as it is, than most fiction usually allows for.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #17
And so it ends, my favourite series in the stands.

Its a self-consciously light weight little epilogue to the series as Patsy finally gets her royalties from her mother's books and takes her friends on a shopping spree. Everyone gets to do their bit: Tom and Ian are cute, Jubilee gets to do cool vampire things (and wear her classic costume!) and there's one last set of silly villains for Patsy to be unreasonably nice to. I'm going to miss this series and I hope writer Kate Leth and artist Brittney L. Williams have more work lined up because both have made such a huge impression on me over the course of the series.

This really just is the most adorable series.

Mighty Thor #18
Always good to see Quentin Quire knocking around, especially as it manages to act as a little bit of a Wolverine & The X-Men reunion with him, Kid Gladiator, Warbird and even Krakoa turning up. I've actually really enjoyed this arc with Thor and the Shi'Ar gods getting into a bit of barny and having Jason Aaron return to some of his old X-Men characters is a delightful little bonus.

Honestly, Quire is the main attraction of this issue, the narcissistic little puke gets a wonderful line in selfish prattle that completely flips the tone of the whole arc so far. Plus, that's always a fun personality to pit against someone as serious as Thor. 

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