Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spider-Man

Okay, now recently, the 600th issue of Amazing Spider-Man came out, and I bought it. This isn't a review, but a post in tribute of that.

Many of you may be wondering why I bothered to buy the 600th issue, if recent issues were any indication of its quality. This is because, no matter what, I will continue to like Spider-Man. See, Spider-Man, at his core, is something that can't be tarnished. It's the story of a boy, who fell headfirst into some powers, made a mistake, paid for it, and now he just tries to do good whenever he can. With the loss of his uncle, the closest thing to a father he's ever had, he learned an important rule: With great power, there must also come great responsibility. By now it's been drilled into my head so many times by all the adaptations, but it's what first motivated him to fight for good. He may not always know exactly what's going on, or make the smartest decisions, but he never gives up, can never be taken down for long. If he's outsmarted, he just derives a new way to win. If he's beaten down, he just uses his head.

I've been watching and reading Spider-Man since I was little. The first thing about him is his super powers. The thing that makes him special. But along with that is something different, his intelligence. Even though most problems could be solved, in a way, with brute force, he was smart enough to find other ways. I always noticed he got bullied by people like Flash Thompson, but he never really fought back, never used what he had to get his ultimate revenge. Sometimes, to conceal his identity, he would take a hit or two, and just keep going about his business.

The most important thing is that no matter what, Spider-Man didn't give in. He never became darker and edgier, never started killing his villains, just kept cracking jokes. This is exemplified in this Marvel/DC webisode, when the Joker tries to do just that.

"Maybe I don't know when I've been beaten. But maybe that's why you can't beat me. You tried to make me think all my loved ones were killed in order to make me some darker version of myself. Well guess what, my mother is dead, my father is dead, my uncle was shot, even my girlfriend was murdered! [...] The point is, I have lost everything I ever cared about and I'm still here with all the morals I started with. Now you're looking for some magic button to push to change me. Well you give it all you got, because I'm either just too strong or too stupid to lose hope! "

Spider-Man frequently sacrifices his normal life to save people, and he doesn't care if the paper hates him, if he has an impostor, or if it seems like the odds are completely against him. He is an archetypal hero. He's more than just a comic book character, he's an ideal. He has the same problems as the rest of us, but does all he can to do what's right, no matter what's taken away from him. Batman wears a costume to scare criminals. Spider-Man does it to protect his family, of which he's already lost so much. Captain America fights for his country. Spider-Man fights for good, and for the memory of Uncle Ben.

So there, that's why I will continue to read Spider-Man, because at his core, he's incorruptible. Anyway, that's my fanboy ramblings for today. If you got through it, that is. Anyway, Place Vendome review is up next, when I get up ambition to write it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comics Bought on 7/29

Here's what was on the shopping list today, for your comic-loving blog-man.

Deadpool: Suicide Kings #4: Good issue, took a while to come out, but was worth the 4 bucks. Deadpool + Spider-Man = Instant Comedy.

Ultimatum #5: Eeeh. The ending to the big Ultimate Marvel crossover. Basically, every character you liked is dead. I don't really like it, personally. Kinda steers me away from Ultimate Marvel.

Ultimate Spider-Man: Requiem #2: Pretty good, has a new story drawn by Mark Bagley, gives me a little hope for the future of Ultimate Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man #600: One gigantic issue, and thing is, I kinda liked it. I had a few gripes, but overall, a good comic. Also: Mary Jane is back! Woo!

I probably won't make any large reviews, but there is an upcoming Spider-Man post I plan to write at some point, and the Place Vendome review when I get around to it. That's all for now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

American Son Parts 4 and 5

Okay then, I finally got the last part of the American Son saga, so now for the review you've all been waiting for.

Comic Review: Amazing Spider-Man 598 + 599



Now then, last time, we were left with the tantalizing notion that Spider-Man may have gotten shot and killed in responce for his extremely stupid behavior.

This issue starts with Harry and Norman having a heart-to-heart, Norman telling his son that he's proud of him, while he's covered in blood. Norman reveals to Harry his plans for the American Son project, and when Harry asks if Spider-Man is going to live, Norman gives a negatory.

We next cut to Spider-Man, strapped to a wall, blood on his face, and a laser shooting his head. See, the Venom mask he had was created by Reed Richards, who took precautions in case Spider-Man's completely idiotic plan somehow found its way toward trouble. Osborn, content to keep his hands from getting dirty, promises a bonus to Hawkeye if he can get Spider-Man to reveal his identity, or get his mask off.

We then cut to a pretty useless interlude where we follow Norah as she flirts her way to restricted security levels.



Anyway, then we go back to Spider-Man, as Hawkeye shows how he'd rather be known as Bullseye for no understandable reason.



I mean, in the Dark Hawkeye limited series, people dressed as Bullseye are currently trying to drive him insane. So, you know, by all means he shouldn't have the inclination to dress in his former persona. Just another example of an author not bothering to care what else is going on in the universe, or about any changes to character.

After that pointless costume change, Norman shows Harry the armor and explains to him the treatment he will be receiving won't be drugs, per se, but more of a compound, like the super soldier serum. I mean, it's not like every attempt to replicate that has ended in failure or anything.

Anyway, while Spider-Man is still in incredible pain, Norman reveals he can break down the compound in his mask, and while he does so, he proceeds to tell Spider-Man that Harry sold him out for a woman. Obviously he's never heard of "bros before hos." Harry, in the meantime, gets to Lily, and tries to give her the cure to the Goblin serum. She freaks out, and knocks Harry down. Osborn, in turn, drops some significant foreshadowing in two words.



It then shows Lily, turned into a new and improved Menace, who for some reason doesn't look pregnant at all anymore. Apparently the baby changes or something so she can have a flat stomach again. I don't know. Anyway, the foreshadowing Osborn dropped before is quickly uncovered before anyone can speculate on it.



Spider-Man finally breaks free from his little prison, and proceeds to beat the shit out of Norman and Bullseye. Harry runs away from the new Menace, who laments her old boyfriends ball-growing.



Norman gets the upper hand on Spidey again, and is about to rip off his almost entirely destroyed mask when Harry bursts in, with the American son suit assembling itself on him.

When the next issue begins, the bleeding near unconscious Spider-Man has a flashback amid Harry and Norman having a supersuit fight. I actually like this flashback, because it, at least, is well written, and it's from the time when Norman liked Peter more than Harry, so Harry got in a fight at a frat party to take out the anger. It's sentimental, but I liked it. Anyway, they fight, and there's a nice splash page.



So they fight, and the dialogue pretty much amounts to "Daddy! You used me!" "You know what? GO TO YOUR ROOM." Until Harry decides to bring it all out in the open.



After smashing Norman through the wall of the skyscraper, Harry goes to a shadowed, unmasked Spider-Man, and Harry tells him that he hasn't seen his identity, and to stay out of the fight. As the fight is taken outside, Norman tells Harry he couldn't make Harry into the son he wanted, so another opportunity presented itself.



Norman then gains the upper hand, and looks like he's about to win, so guess who comes to save the day!



There's a battle royale between Norman, Menace, Harry, and Spider-Man, until Harry stands triumphant. Harry is about to kill him, until Spider-Man gives him the old "If you kill him you will become him" speech, so Harry backs down, takes off the suit, and walks away.

Next Peter is in the hospital, with the explanation that he was hit by a car, and that's why he has a black eye and random other injuries a car could not possibly inflict. Harry, who tells a doctor about the goblin serum, gets an offer for a prescription of Oxycontin, which could foreshadow more drug addiction for him, right after he got sober again. Norah, Peter's whore friend, talks to the editor at the paper while she reviews the footage she got from the Avengers building. Instead of what she wanted, she gets a recording of the friend she stole the keycard from being tortured, then footage of her using it, with a voiceover saying "I never forget the people who meddle in my affairs. NEVER." So she gets too scared to continue her story. The last part of the story has Norman talking to his yet-to-be-born son about how he's going to kick everyone's ass. Then the issue ends.

Okay. Now. These issues. First of all, the "Norman Osborn boned your girlfriend and now she's having a kid" was done before, with Gwen Stacy of all people. I mean, I get the feeling these comics are just a retreading of old stuff, only in a worse way. Of course, saying Norman Osborn knocked up Gwen Stacy wasn't the best thing ever written in the first place. I mean, man, he implied he was impotent before, but he's the opposite! Who hasn't he banged yet? I heard he winked at a girl once, and the next day she was in her third trimester.

Anyway, these two could have been better, Osborn still talked like Frank Miller Batman, but the last issue had some redeeming factors, and it finally ended. I'm probably going to get Amazing Spider-Man 600 since I heard Mary Jane was going to be in it. I bought a new Place Vendome CD, so I'll probably write a review of that in time, for those sick of these reviews. Anyway, until next time, this is the W Defender, signing off!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dark Avengers 6

It's been a bad time for Marvel comics lately, and by that, I mean Spider-Man. Amazing Spider-Man is bad, Sinister Spider-Man is worse, and Amazing Spider-Man Family made me sad. Luckily, there's still something good in all of this, for all of you that are sick of my more scathing comic reviews. It is:

Comic Review: Dark Avengers 6



Last time I reviewed one of these, Norman Osborn had put together his team of Avengers from former criminals and the like. After that, they responded to a distress call from Dr. Doom, who Osborn was in league with. They beat some evil magic woman called Morgana Le Fey, who was pissed at Doom because he broke up with her or something. During the battle, the Sentry was apparently killed, but when they returned home, there we was, good as new. While Osborn gave an interview on the TeeVee, Ms. Marvel was gettin' it on with the new Captain Marvel, and revealed to him that they were all criminals, which he didn't know because he really wasn't one. At the end of the issue, we see Atlantean people riding on manta rays and whatnot, attacking Los Angeles.

At the start of this issue, we see Namor, former prince of the now fractured empire of Atlantis, flying out of the sea towards the new Avengers tower. It's a really nice shot, and makes me appreciate the artists who made this.



Anyway, he joins in on the meeting of the Cabal, Osborn's secret evil group of evil people, who are trying to take over the world, or something else just as vague and evil. In it are: Dr. Doom: Ruler of Latveria and Scientist/Magic Man; Emma Frost: Former X-Man, was evil, then good, now apparently evil again; The Hood: A small time crook who hit the big time when all the superheroes were distracted with Civil War; Loki: Norse God of Mischief, turned himself into a woman for reasons I don't understand; and finally, Namor. They're meeting because Osborn wants Namor to publicly denounce the Atlantean terrorists, destroy all but one, then drag that one through the streets as retribution. Namor asks why, and gets a cogent response.



Ignoring that thoroughly polite reason, Namor refuses, so we cut to the next day, in Avengers Tower. Nobody knows where Captain Marvel is, so they ask Ms. Marvel.



Osborn comes in, and tells them all about the situation, and that him and the Sentry are going to kick some Atlantean ass, and the rest will be the second wave if necessary. Osborn's assistant, Victoria Hand, suggests he takes this mission off, because he hasn't slept since he became director of HAMMER. Osborn silently agrees, and proceeds to send only the Sentry. As Sentry is flying away, we see a small flashback-ish thing, with Osborn talking to Sentry right before the mission. He tells the Sentry, "We need him." and "To exact God's wrath on them." Sentry replies thusly.



Osborn says, "Kill them. All but one." We then see shots of Sentry's eyes, entirely black, which I think is a nice effect. The next few pages have no dialogue, just Sentry killing Atlantean shit. He brings up an Atlantean for the press, as Osborn talks to the President about how well it went, etc. Next we see the Atlantean thrown in a cell, where he isn't exactly going to get due process.



Osborn asks Ms. Marvel where "his space alien" is, and freaks out a bit. He walks out of the room, and collapses in Tony's old armor vault. Then the issue ends on an interesting note.



See, Dark Avengers is why I still read Marvel comics. Bryan Michael Bendis is an awesome writer, Mike Deodato and Will Conrad are exemplary on the art, and the story is good. Each character keeps their personalities, it's got action, everything. So yeah, I love Dark Avengers. Even in the face of Cannibal Venom.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Comics Bought

I went over to the comic shop today, and picked up a few comics. I'll give my initial impressions of them, with one or two full-scale reviews to follow.

1. Amazing Spider-Man 596: Just about par for the course, considering the last three issues I've read. Not really good. At all.

2. The Sinister Spider-Man 1: Meaning it's actually Mac Gargan Venom, posing as Spider-Man. He eats people, and kills prostitutes. That is definitely what I want to be reading.

3. Dark Avengers 6: Pretty good, just about the same as the previous issues, still gives me hope for Marvel comics as a whole.
So yeah, I'll likely post reviews for the Amazing Spider-Man, and the Dark Avengers one. If I can think of anything else to post to give a little break from the comics, I will do so. Until next time, farewell.