Seeing as how there's a decent stack to work with, I'm going to break up these posts a bit. The first will be the longest -- I'll be taking a look at all my Spider-Man related books.
As usual, these WILL contain spoilers!
|Amazing Spider-Man #691|
The end of our current Lizard Arc. Not a particularly exciting issue, though this is possibly related to the amount of time it took me to pick the end of the run up. Spidey makes the decision to inject the Lizard with the cure, even if it kills him. Immediately after injecting it, Peter panics and regrets his action, grovelling with a potentially too-late apology.
Fortunately for Spidey, the Lizard lives, but the cure didn't work... Or at least, not exactly. Curt Connors' brain was cured and is now permanently trapped in a lizard body.
Issue gets a 5/10 for me. Too many cop outs (the Horizon Lab gang turned into lizards, yes, but were non-violent because Connors wasn't mind controlling them.), and I hated Spidey regretting his action the panel after it occurs.
Amazing Spider-Man #692
The 50th Anniversary issue, made up of three smaller stories.
The first story introduces Alpha, a high school kid given incredible powers due to Peter having a lab accident during a field trip. I was interested by the idea, but the product doesn't interest me -- Alpha is a swiss-army-knife hero (other examples being Superman or the Sentry) who, due to the nature of his powers, is destined to be the strongest character, ever. And Spidey has to train him. It gets a hopeful 7/10, though I assume the kid will be de-powered sooner rather than later.
The second story is during the time Spidey threw out his outfit. A criminal picks it up and tries to be a hero for his sick granddaughter (via more robbery). A pointless mini-issue that I rate a 0/10. I didn't like the art and didn't find it at all relative to what's going on in the Spidey world.
The last story is about Parker dealing with Parker luck, feeling down on himself, then perking up after he helps a kid understand that he doesn't have to lie to get ahead. It gets a 5/10 because I've read the same story many times. I understand why it's in the anniversary issue, I just didn't need it.
I did pick up all the issues with the variant covers, something I never do. As the Wife told me, Spidey will only turn 50 once. The covers get an 9/10 from me, so all is not lost.
Kaine fights the Rangers while trying to uncover Roxxon's secrets. That's pretty much the sum of the issue, though the art, action, and writing were all on point. I especially appreciate Kaine's blunt opinions and responses to things going on around him. I'm MUCH happier with the character in his own title than I expected. Still don't agree that this character makes sense coming from the Kaine of the '90s, but I'm accepting the series, anyway.
The actual secret seems to be some sort of energy-creature that Roxxon has been feeding Native Americans too as if they were AA batteries. Hoping the next issue gets explosive.
Rated an 8/10 with me, and I'm eagerly anticipating Minimum Carnage.
|Avenging Spider-Man #10|
We see the end of Spidey's team-up with Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers' current alias). It turns out that the insane red head with a jetpack is an insane readhead prone to blowing up. There's a continuation of the argument between Carol and a character she calls "Robocop" that irks me -- it reminded me of a skit from Monty Python dealing with arguments vs. contradictions.
Issue gets a 7/10. Decent writing and art, just not particularly interesting overall. I always like the connection between Carol and Spidey, though.
|Avenging Spider-Man #11|
Being in line with the 50th anniversary, this issue takes place at Uncle Ben's grave with Peter and Aunt May having a heartfelt reflection on the past.
Personally, I'd rather have an especially interesting issue to commemorate the event, not something we've seen before that makes it look like the only thing Peter does is bash his head against a wall and forget all the good advice/acceptance he's had. That being said, we are shown a different side of Uncle Ben (a seemingly more honest depiction than we normally get) and even Aunt May is becoming more interesting (though this is nothing new -- take a look at Ultimate Aunt May).
Even the sentimental story would have been acceptable next to the art, though. It is probably the worst drawn issue of Spider-Man I've ever seen. Peter looks like he's got some sort of Jersey Shore blowout and every other character is just plain ugly. Every single panel is bland and unappealing. I had to double check to make sure it wasn't a new artist -- fortunately it was only a guest artist for the anniversary issue. If it was a permanent change, I'd drop the title on the art style alone. It's THAT bad.
2/10 would be my best rating for it. What a lousy anniversary for Spidey stories. The story itself should get a higher rating, but all in all it felt lack-luster to me and the art direction is absolutely repulsive.
|Ultimate Spider-Man #13|
Some big changes occur in the Ultimate Universe in between issue 12 and 13 of USM, and, unfortunately, I'm ONLY caught up with Spider-Man. The "Divided We Fall" event is ongoing and the US is in turmoil -- what's left of it anyway.
Somehow, the headlines are still broadcasting that the new Spider-Man is a murdered. Miles deals with the emotional turmoil over his uncles death and has a secret meeting with Aunt May and Gwen Stacy, right before Captain America crashes the party with the intent of revoking the Spidey title.
I'm pretty sure Miles is about to get his web-shooters -- it's not stated, but I assume the package May is holding contains Peter's web shooters.
I'd give this an 8/10. Solid title.
As for the event itself, it's pretty interesting and I'm hoping actually sticks (which Ultimate is pretty good with, actually). I should really catch up on Ultimate X-Men...
This is more of an emotional issue than anything else. 616 Peter, along with Miles, spends time with Ultimate Aunt May and Gwen Stacy, swapping stories about differences. It's a nice nod to Ultimate Peter, and I feel it was done very tactfully. May and Gwen get to say goodbye, though it does leaving you feeling bad for Ultimate MJ.
At the end of the issue, Miles uses his familiarity with Brooklyn to help Shield get a lead on Mysterio, which will culminate in the end of mini-series next issue.
This was a well done and well drawn story. There's no action to speak of, but that's a nice change in itself. I give this a 9/10, and would go so far as to say it's the best Spidey title I've read from this selection.
I was going to add the two Venom titles I've got to this list, but I'll lump them in the next post (or the one after that, if there's enough issues to warrant three posts).
Question for any readers: was anyone particularly pleased with Spidey's 50th anniversary?