Monday, October 15, 2012

Extra! Extra! Pull List Review (Part 1: Spider-Books)

Hi all! This week's Monday post is going to focus on the Spider-titles from this month's Pull List. Throughout the course of this week, I'll post the rest. Keep an eye out to see who got cut, who might get added, and other fun things that popped up for me this month in comics.

So far, it's been a pretty good month!

Oh, and, in case you missed it, here's my review of Minimum Carnage, which I picked up with this Pull List but loved so much I gave it its own post.

Amazing Spider-Man #693
This issue has us seeing some more of the obnoxious Alpha! He becomes even more of a super-douche and then manages to get kidnapped by Jackal and his new Spider-Queen-Clones or whatever.

Spidey saves the day, because Alpha is still his responsibility, and gets to watch Alpha obliterate the "Alpha Clones" Jackal cooked up (at which point Spidey reminds himself to never tell Kaine about the incident, which is a perfect line). The end result has Alpha completely striking out on his own, attempting to out douche his douchiness. And Spidey says "Alpha: No More." Because that isn't overdone.

I'm... liking things. I like the slow reintroduction of MJ we're getting, I don't hate Alpha (any more than I'm supposed to), and I'm never really sure where things are going. This gets an 8/10 and is a solid read.
Amazing Spider-Man #694
Peter works on his plan to de-power Alpha while Alpha lives it up like a celebrity Alpha gets called in to defeat an invasion of the Earth, but almost kills civilians (including Jay and Aunt May) in the crossfire. Alpha's powers are obviously growing, but so is his recklessness.

Spidey stops a plane crash (by acting as a replacement strut), gets thanked by JJJ (what!?), and then manages to trick Alpha into having his powers majorly regressed. Spidey couldn't remove them without killing Alpha, so he did the next best thing and made it so they'd need to grow back on their own.

It's actually kind of sad for the kid. Unfortunately, there was never really any personal back story for the kid, so we can't be too attached. We just know that he hated his unimportant self, which is what he's more or less back to. Issues a bit of a cop out with Alpha, but I like the airplane scene especially... So let's give it a 7/10.

Then we're told that next issue features some Hobgoblin action, and I have to say, this excited me!
Amazing Spider-Man #695
First, anyone thing the recent covers have been going back to old-school awesome quality? I've been liking them a lot.

As for the issue itself, we see the New Hobgoblin and the Old Hobgoblin moving in circles, the Old hunting the New, setting up what will hopefully be a decent confrontation. We also see the Spider-Sense Jammers back-firing and boosting Spidey's Spidey-Sense, which is awesome... Until we realize that it becomes a problem the second time... Peter can't handle the over-drive of his Spidey-Sense because EVERYTHING is dangerous (and gets humorously labled throughout the issue).

While Peter is losing it, he's abducted by the New Hobgob. The issue tries to make it seem that Urich figured out Pete is Spidey, but I'm sure next issue will show that Urich is only capturing Pete because of the recent Bugle article explaining Pete is Spidey's tech-guy. Pretty sure this shtick was pulled when Pete was Spidey's photographer... but oh well!

I don't care for characters who can see into the future, so Julia Carpenter's storyline throughout this doesn't interest me, though she's apparently foreseeing her own doom, which may or may not have come due to the Spider-Sense Jammers (or Enhancers, if you will) that are giving Pete such a hard time too.

Despite not caring about Carpenter, I really enjoyed this issue and can't wait for Kingsly to show Urich the what-for. Or for Urich (whom I've been enjoying) to pull a fast one over the pro. Whatever works, and that's why it will be good.

This issue pulls in as a 9/10 for me, and I'm enjoying the current art style we've been seeing with ASM, this issue especially. I really appreciate it when attention to detail is paid to characters out of costume.
Avenging Spider-Man #12
A Spider-Man and Deadpool team-up would usually be up my alley, but I really didn't like this issue.

It starts with us out of sorts and not really knowing what's going on, which is an over-used gimmick. Deadpool is, for some reason, helping Spidey fight through his dreams because someone is trying to control Spidey through them.

They go through a lot of goofy lines and scenes and eventually succeed. Turns out, Deadpool was hustling Spider-Man to help free the Hypno-Hustler (why, just why?). We'll see the result of this next issue.

I get that any team-up with Deadpool has to be on the goofy side, but I really dislike overly goofy villains. This issue is a 4/10 for me, though I really enjoy the cover.
Scarlet Spider #9
This issue is the finale to the recent arc featuring Scarlet and the Rangers going up against Roxxon. It's mostly just action, with Kaine using some smarts to defeat the energy monster Roxxon dug up. It's a decently pulled off heroic issue for the Scarlet Spider.

Then he punches out the leader of the Rangers for offering him a position.

The issue was enjoyable enough, just nothing spectacular. I'd give it a 6/10. I enjoyed the art and the writing, and I'm looking forward to seeing Scarlet's involvement in the Minimum Carnage crossover we'll be seeing next month.
Venom #24
The symbiote got possessed last issue, and looked corny as hell. This issue made it look a bit more badass and is really playing up the supernatural stint with Venom, which is kind of unusual. The demon in the symbiote wants out because it isn't kosher to inhabit someone "marked," but for some reason it can't pull away.

Towards this end, Flash hunts down and ambushes Hellstrom (thanks to some info via Flash's new female reporter/informant). That's when Venom is forcefully introduced to the rest of the cornily named "Monsters of Evil," which are giant possessed animals... and things.

I... don't care for the supernatural twists. I've never really cared for the supernatural side of Marvel, so I don't even have enough background to really apply to the Hellstrom character. However, the writing wasn't bad, the art was strong, and they're going in a different direction. So I'll give this issue a 7/10.
Venom #25
This issue is the close of the Monsters of Evil run. Venom has some interesting fight scenes with the more-interesting-than-I-thought possessed menagerie, and then pulls a new trick that he's discovered -- for some reason, he can tell the demons what to do. We learn that this is due to him being marked, which apparently means he's been chosen (as the hellish legend goes) to participate in something called "the Descent."

This supernatural bit might get interesting after all! The legend says that, "one of the Hell-Lords will fall farther tahn the others... and in so doing will become the true devil." Venom (along with Rulk, X-23, and the new Ghost Rider) has been marked as one of Mephisto's potential heirs as he tries become the actual Devil. The other Hell-Lords are supposedly also gathering their forces...

Hopefully they don't drag this one out too much and it comes after Minimum Carnage, but we'll see. This issue is an 8/10 because it was interesting, had gruesome fights, and has a cover I enjoy (something the Venom titles have been seriously lacking).
Spider-Men #5
It's the finale to Spider-Men and... And it's actually quite boring. For the length of it, barely anything actually happens. The good guys catch Mysterio. He kind of breaks free and then is quickly apprehended again. Miles sees 616 NY for a moment and Pete gives him some Spider-Advice before going home.

Other than the lackluster finish, I also have a gripe that this Quentin Beck is NOTHING like the past few times we've seen him (I'm thinking mainly during the Gauntlet run), where he's actually managed to be mildly interesting. Now he's just a crazy, ineffectual nut who is obsessed with hating Spider-Man (wait, didn't we just work on getting RID of Doc Ock?).

The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. Peter decides to Google Miles Morales to see what he's going in 616 and... has a really shocked expression. The end.

For a run that I've been mostly enjoying, I really hated this issue. It gets a 3/10 from me for having almost no motion at all and an annoying cliff-hanger. The mini-series itself was decent, maybe a 7-8/10, but this issue really brought it down from what it could have been.
Ultimate Spider-Man #14
This cover is terrible, simply for Cap's face.

The issue, on the other hand, is pretty good. Cap gets told off by Gwen Stacey and Aunt May (and MJ shows up too -- I really hope we see more from her Ultimate character), who then give Miles Peter's Web-Shooters (called it!).

Despite being told he can't be Spider-Man, Miles swings in to help Cap in a fight against Rhino (after some obligatory web-swinging). The fight scene is awesome, we see some uncertainty on Miles' part when he remembers his uncle (which I think is important), and Cap finally recognizes that Miles needs training, not rejection.

I... like it. 8/10, I hope they can keep up the interesting stories with Ultimate. That being said, not much is touched upon in regards to the state of the United States in this issue, which you'd think is kind of a bid deal...
Ultimate Spider-Man #15
This is a Miles issue, not a Spidey issue, and that's something Ultimate Spidey needs. We get some interesting scenes between him and his best friend, Ganke (whom I enjoy), and then we see some tension when Miles visits home to find the police waiting for him. Maria Hill, as a detective (and Ex-Shield Agent) has questions about Miles' Uncle, the Prowler. Miles is happy to learn he didn't kill his uncle, though still haunted by his death and the last words he spoke: "You are... just... me."

Back at school, things switch up -- the school is closing down until it is safe for students to return (due to the nation being in turmoil and all of that). Miles decides it's time to try and help out the Ultimates. The issue ends with him making a fool out of himself in front of Cap and informing the super soldier that Spider-Man is reporting for duty.

9/10 simply because we need more character driven super heroes, and Ultimate seems to be doing it right. I'm hoping next issue we get to see some more of the over-arching issues going on in the Ultimate-verse, but we'll just have to wait and see.

That's it for the Spider-Titles, check back soon when I post the rest of my pull list. This month some issues didn't make the cut, and a couple new ones will be added on, so keep an eye out for the next Pull List Review!

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