Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man: The Gauntlet

Hello again, blog readers. Remember when Spider-Man used to be good? No? Oh. Well. Remember when it was mediocre? Okay, good, we're on the same track then. You see, I can take a mediocre Spider-Man comic. That's pretty much why I haven't been reviewing them lately. If it's unusually good or bad, it's worth a review, but a mediocre comic just leads to a mediocre post. Today, we go past good, past mediocre, past bad, and into the horrible depths of what I like to call comic hell. Yes, today, we get:

Comic Review: Amazing Spider-Man 612

Now, I've read bad comics before, reviewed them. Unfortunately, Spider-Man comics have been some of them. Somehow I always get my hopes back up whenever I hear about a new "revolutionary" storyline in ASM. So when I heard about a new story called "The Gauntlet" I figured it might not be so bad. I was wrong. So, so so wrong. Anyway, let's just jump in.

The story begins with some guy with electricity powers (I wonder who?!) sitting in a bar, while he monologues on the situation.

He ends up electrocuting the girl sitting across from him, so he jams a fork into an outlet to create a blackout so he can escape. As he runs away, we see some lightning bolt shaped scars on old Electro's head. Which got there for no reason.

We then cut to Spider-Man, who complains about a recent heatwave hitting New York and wonders about the currect blackout. He performs his quota of superheroics for the issue by... saving a dog from falling out a window. Yeah, pretty much, the only heroic thing he does in this issue is save a dog. Not a person. A dog. This is going to get painful.

He heads to his old workplace, the former Daily Bugle, now called the DB, to see if Betty knows why there's a blackout.

While there, he also finds out Dexter Bennet, the new owner of the DB, has applied for a bailout from the government, and got it. Oh god. No. No no no. Whenever they bring politics bullshit into this, the whole thing goes to hell. Please, just be a passing mention, don't let it affect the story...

Anyway, we cut back to Electro, in a lab of some sort, powering The Thinker's machines with his electricity, and asks when he can get cured. Thinker informs him the procedure he would need would cost upwards of a million, and that he probably doesn't have that much.

Oh man, they really are going through with this, aren't they? This won't be good. Okay, so. We follow Electro as he leaves the lab, as he complains more about the government's bailouts and how he isn't getting any money. After picking up a copy of the times announcing DB's bailout, he explodes a newspaper stand. We shortly cut to Mayor Jameson, lauding how people hate Bennett and his bailout. He suddenly notices Electro on the TV, who decided he needed to look like an idiot.


...Okay, so, apparently, Electro's angry rant inspired people or something, so they protest the DB.

We then cut to Peter, in his apartment. Okay! Good! Back to Peter, no politics. I don't see any way this could go wrong! He mentions how he's been out of town for three days with the Avengers, which I actually liked, because usually they don't address how a character can be in more than one series at a time, as Spider-Man is with his solo series and New Avengers. So he and Michele are talking, mostly her being a bitch and trying to charge five bucks to sit in front of a fan. Then she brings up how he can't hold his liquor. (A reference to #601, wherein he got super smashed at his Aunt's reception and ended up sleeping with Michele.)

Wait. Wait wait. So Peter never got drunk in the first place? You're trying to tell me he had a placebo effect hangover and memory loss? I can believe he has spider-sense, but somehow I don't see this making sense. Any sense at all. Augh. Anyway, he sees Electro on the computer, so he decides to go to city hall to check out Electro's latest rally. Even though he hasn't done anything illegal quite yet, Spider-Man decides to beat him up now, just to be safe. As Spider-Man fights Electro, mostly unsuccessfully because of Electro's now poorly defined powers, the crowd quickly turns against Spider-Man.

As Electro makes another hit, Spider-Man falls into the angry mob, giving us the last page (Thankfully) of this comic.

Okay. So. What's to say? This comic was the definition of terrible. I didn't like the art style, Spider-Man does zero heroic things, there's a retcon of an event only 11 issues ago. And that issue WAS BY THE SAME WRITER. AAAHHH. Rather than being creative and making a good story, they decided to take an actual issue, but add idiocy and superheroes. I, personally, don't like the bailouts, but the fact that they're addressing this in a COMIC is infuriating! I haven't hated a comic this much since Venom: The Madness. But even then, that comic almost seemed like the more harmless kind of stupid that doesn't worry me. With this, however, it's only the first part of a big storyline. I severely doubt I'm going to pick up the rest of this storyline when it comes out, because, frankly, it's a mess. I hold Spider-Man up to a bit of a higher standard than other comics, because I really like Spider-Man, but then Marvel goes and makes the worst comics out of its flagship series.

P.S. As I'm reading the letter's section, I see one really long letter of someone complaining about how he doesn't like Spider-Man nowadays. Hey! Me too! 'Specially with-- What? You didn't like that he got drunk? You didn't like it that he had sex? What? You seriously want him to be a perfect saint all the time? I mean, what he did made perfect sense for his character and the situation he was in at the time. I'm willing to bet this one complaining letter is what prompted them to retcon his drunken-ness, for fear they may alienate his more straight-edge fans. But apparently nobody seems to care about the downhill spiral the writing has taken, or the general decline of story.

Anyway, that's enough angry ranting for me today, so I'll leave you with that. This is the W Defender, and that was a terrible comic.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dr. Horrible One-Shot

Hello blog-readers! Today is a joyous day! A Dr. Horrible comic has come out! And, if you couldn't tell, I am a very big Dr. Horrible fan. I got hooked when it was just three acts on a website. Before all this DVD and spin off business! I liked it before it was coo-- Uh, anyway. Comic, yeah.

Comic Review: Dr. Horrible

Now then, for those unfamiliar with Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, I would suggest watching it on Hulu, here. Being that it's only 45 minutes, I don't think I need to reiterate the plot. This comic serves as a prequel, much as Dark Horse's Myspace Comics are. This one, however, focuses entirely upon Dr. Horrible, rather than one of the side characters.

It begins in 1986, and we see young Billy, 8 years old yet in 6th grade, playing with Justice Joe and Mister Maniacal action figures. He's accosted by a bully, who also wants his lunch money.

Rather than give in to the bully's demands, he explains who Einstein was, earning a punch in the face. After school, Billy, now with a black eye, hears about a fight about to occur between the real Justice Joe and Mister Maniacal. Billy roots for Joe, until:

At which point his allegiance seems to change. Maniacal zaps Joe with a ray gun, while laughing maniacally, as we fast forward 20 years later. (Making the date of the Sing-Along Blog about 2006, and making Dr. Horrible 28.)

Billy, now Dr. Horrible, has formed a brilliant plan to put tiny explosives, disguised as quarters, into the cities' parking meters. Truely diabolical. A police officer points out his remote no longer seems to be glowing, so he runs into an alley, right into:

After the evil Doctor introduces himself and makes it known he's a villain, Hammer punts him across the alley. As he's about to deliver another blow to Horrible's face, we hear a sort of whinny.

Hammer runs off, and Dr. Horrible marvels at Bad Horse. Back at the laundromat, Billy tries to think of a way to defeat Captain Hammer, until he sees the Cute Laundromat Girl. (Penny.)

He hears a news report commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of Justice Joe, wherein Mister Maniacal shot him with a ray gun and proceeded to beat him to death with a pipe. Given that inspiration, Dr. Horrible comes up with a plan. He decides to go to the park where Captain Hammer is signing autographs, to get a DNA sample. After being punched the length of a football field:

Six weeks later, he explains the plan to Moist. Moist, however, doesn't really get it, since after Mister Maniacal killed Justice Joe, he was set on fire by an angry mob. Horrible explains that Maniacal weakened Joe, while Horrible is going to strengthen himself using Hammer's DNA to defeat him. After finishing the formula, Horrible and Moist set off to find Captain Hammer.

After some arguably "witty" banter, (consisting partly of Horrible's line: "Well this won't go over your head. It'll go into your head. It's my fist! I'm going to punch you!") Horrible gets in a good shot on Captain Hammer with his new-found superstrength, but is distracted when Captain Hammer tells him to look behind him at an "interesting bird." At this point, Moist figures out the problem.

He quickly gives Dr. Horrible the antidote to his serum, along with a bag filled with Dr. Horrible's at various rays. He manages to pull out his Transmatter ray just in time to transport a girder that Hammer had thrown at him into his lab. After searching frantically through his Bag o' Rays, he finds a little remote.

The story ends in Dr. Horrible's lab as he hangs up a newspaper detailing his first real fight with Captain Hammer.

I really enjoyed this comic. It was well written, well drawn, the story was entertaining and gave us a little insight into Billy's past. It's interwoven with the three online comics I mentioned (and linked to) above, which gives it an extra little something. Also it seems a big longer than a usual comic, so you get a little more bang for your buck. Now, this might not be the most impartial of opinions, seeing as how I'm a Dr. Horrible fanboy, but if you enjoyed the Sing-Along Blog, I can recommend all of these comics. Well, except for the Moist one. That was weird.

While writing this review, I got distracted, and this is one of the things I found on Youtube:

So uh, yeah. I think that said all that needs to be said. For next time: it's Amazing Spider-Man 612: THE GAUNTLET. And remember, dude, you're not my nemesis.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dark Avengers 9

Okay, although it's incredibly late, I finally got off my lazy ass (Or on, I don't stand up to do this stuff.) and wrote a review. This time:

Comic Review: Dark Avengers 9

Now then, recapping, the last thing that happened with the Dark Avengers is the whole mutant thing, which led directly into this List nonsense, so there we are with that. Another thing is what Nick Fury, former head of SHIELD has been doing. He's been setting up a team of Secret Warriors to counter HAMMER and Osborn, because that's what he does. In the process, he recruited Phobos, God of Fear, otherwise known as Alex, who is Ares' son. This has happened without Ares' knowledge, especially since Ares has been working for Osborn this whole time.

So we start with Victora Hand, Norman Osborn's assistant, on the phone with some White House secretary, who wants to talk to Osborn. She goes to his door, but when she tries to get in, he replies, "Not now." So she tells the person on the phone he's on a mission and walks away.

We then cut to the Bronx, in what is presumably Ares' home, where he wakes up Alex for school. While Alex eats cereal, he asks Ares about the mutant thing, and whether it was a good thing to do. Ares, in his ever so subtle way, tells him why it was good.

After Ares leaves, Alex goes with Daisy, second in command of Fury's team, to bring him to their new hideout. Unfortunately, Ares hadn't left entirely, and was waiting for them.

Daisy somehow doesn't notice a behemoth of a man on a giant motorcycle wielding a battleaxe following closly behind her. Anyway, once they arrive at the base, Fury's job for his crew is to read. Presumably about HYDRA and whatnot. Before that gripping portion of training can begin, Ares smashes his way in.

He proceeds to promptly take down Hellfire, and then moves on to Nick Fury. Fury orders the rest of the team away, so it's just Fury and Ares. Oh yeah, Ares vs. Fury. This is gonna rock. This is gonna--

Ooookay. I guess Fury is just Dr. Phil now. Either way, Ares agrees to let him keep training and whatnot, so everything works out without an epic battle. Yay.

Back at Avengers Tower, the rest of the Avengers have small talk about superheroes who think they're hilarious, when Sentry shows up. Sentry goes to his room, to look for his wife, Lindy.

Turns out she has a gun from Captain Marvel, because Bob is crazy and unstoppable. After reducing his head to a smoldering skull shaped piece of dead. The last panel is of Norman Osborn's door opening. Ooo, spooky.

This was pretty good, despite the unfulfilled promise of action. I really expected Ares to kick some major ass, being the God of War and all, but instead he decided to get all "I'm a terrible father!" I'm willing to bet Sentry's just going to heal and be all "Oh Lindy, what silly games you play!" I'm also guessing Norman might be all Goblin'd up again or something. It's hard to tell sometimes.