Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Spider-Man: The Lost Years Parts 2 and 3

Remember a simpler time? When pasts were only mentioned in monologue and shadowy flashbacks? When mullets roamed free on motorcycles, and all windows were meant to be broken? We venture back into that untamed wasteland, after the Part One coverage, the 90's world of:

Comic Review: Spider-Man The Lost Years Parts 2 & 3

At the start of the next issue, Ben somehow knows that the house that exploded was Raven's, and that Tannen's men have him in the back of a car. Reilly smashes up the car and rescues Detective Raven, who is informed by the police cavalry that his wife and son are in the hospital.

Ben Reilly broods for a bit.

So does Kaine.

Back in jail, Tannen talks to the guard again, who reveals Raven's wife is dead, but the son is still alive. Tannen says he'll handle it in person. Detective Raven goes to a church and gets angry at God. After a bit of lecturing at the college, Ben runs into Janine outside, apologizing for missing their date. She forgives him, and we have a happy love montage. That night he busts up parts of Tannen's drug operations, while Kaine's gruff and mean exterior is challenged by his inexplicable love.

Things take a turn for the worst when Janine decides her relationship with Ben has to stop, and Kaine starts experiencing advanced cellular degeneration. He jumps out of a window from Louise's apartment, making about the 5th window somebody has broken so far. Kaine somehow finds Reilly about to beat up Jimmy "The Mouth" and uh, well just see for yourself.

So there's a lot of punching, after which Kaine vacates, I guess. Reilly's limp body is picked up by Mr. Mouth, but then PLOT TWIST

Turns out Kennedy's been working for Tannen. And Tannen is there, with Detective Raven's son. The issue closes on that.

The final part of this epic saga begins with Kennedy refusing to shoot Reilly in front of the kid, which gives enough time for Kaine to break through another window.

Ben regains consciousness and tries to keep Kaine from killing Louise, so she escapes in the ruckus. Ben also escapes, to find Jimmy with Raven's son. He punches "The Mouth" in the mouth, saving Kid Raven. He brings the kid to his father, who is currently brooding in the hospital. Ben decides not to tell him about Louise's treachery. He goes to Janine's house and collapses at her doorway. Upon waking up, Ben agrees to tell her everything, if Janine reveals the secrets she's been hiding. Turns out she's been named Elizabeth Tyne the whole time, and has been hiding because she's a murderer.

Before we get more explanation on that, we go back with Kennedy and Tannen, trying to regroup after their miserable failure. In actuality, Vincent Tannen is still in jail, but his twin brother Paul has been running things on the outside. That works out real well for him when Kaine sneaks up from behind and breaks his neck. Kaine's next target is Louise, who manages to talk him down.

Back with Ben, Janine, I mean, Elizabeth tells of how she shot her father after years of abuse and that she's been running from the law ever since. At the same time, Kennedy gives a rousing speech about how she's given into "the darkness" and allied with Tannen. Kaine's not too happy about it.

For some reason, Raven decides this is a good time to follow up in the Tyne case, figuring out it was Janine the whole time. Don't you want to, you know, figure out what happened with the whole Tannen thing? They killed your wife and kidnapped your son? Ringing any bells? No no, that's fine, go arrest the waitress who's done nothing to you at all. Ben takes Tyne on a superpowered joyride to convince her that he's actually a clone of Spider-Man. Instead of thinking he's a madman, she believes him, and they agree to run off together.

On their way out of town, they stop at a diner, and through some complete coincidence, that's where Raven and Kennedy were going at the same time. Huh. Ben tries to persuade them to let her go, when Kennedy recognizes him from the warehouse. She pulls a gun on Ben, who knocks it out of her hand, and rides away on his motorcycle. Kaine, however, ambushes them, trying to kill Ben again. Raven and Kennedy are in pursuit, and Raven realizes Louise has betrayed him. Amisdt the scuffle, Louise puts her gun up to Ben's head. Kaine has another idea.

After snapping her neck, Kaine burns his handprint onto her face, the first use of what's called The Mark of Kaine. It's not really explained how he does it, but he's a giant scary clone of Peter Parker, so I'll accept anything at this point. Raven finally catches up and tries to arrest somebody for his dead partner. Ben disarms him and knocks him out, and he and Elizabeth ride off into the sunset.

I really probably shouldn't like this, or at the very least I should feel guilty about liking it, but how can I?! Everyone has a troubled and sordid past, everyone falls in love instantly after meeting them, and the only way somebody can enter or exit a room is by jumping through the window! Not to mention the Clone Angst. I love me some good ol' fashioned Clone Angst. I wasn't too fond of Romita Jr's art in New Ways to Die but he is entirely in his element in this one. It's kinda dark and scratchy but it works because everyone is so serious about it! I mean, yeah, it was pretty silly if you're trying to be objective, but if you can suspend a bit of the "this is stupid" response, it's pretty enjoyable. Wishing I wasn't a clone, this is the W Defender!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Spider-Man: The Lost Years Part 1

I know I'm pretty negative a lot of the time here, "this comic is bad," "this movie made me sad," and whatnot. This time, I'm just going to talk about something I probably shouldn't like, but I love it anyway. It's the most 90's thing you will ever read in your life, it's:

Comic Review: Spider-Man The Lost Years

Back in the good ol' days, we didn't have none of this Superior crap. When the writers wanted to replace Spider-Man, they just came up with a convoluted and confusing storyline to replace him with a clone, then say the clone wasn't the clone, but then reveal that part was actually a lie, and by the end everyone just heaves a sigh of relief when he dies. Point is, Ben Reilly was a clone of Peter Parker, who ran away from home years ago. He spent a lot of time wandering and being all brooding, and this comic reveals what he was up to.

We start on a crowded highway outside of Salt Lake City. A truck driver passes out from exhaustion, and is about to smash into some people before a mysterious man breaks open the window, pulls him out, and redirects the tractor trailor off the highway. He gives mouth-to-mouth to the unconscious driver, and runs away before anyone can catch him. Who is this enigamtic figure? This guy.

The magnificent spectacle you are now viewing is the most 90's thing in existence. Look at it! He has a mullet, 5 o' clock shadow, and a long duster trailing behind him while he rides his chopper. The fact that it's drawn by John Romita Jr. only amps up the 90's. I would even say this is... radical?

Anyway, we cut to a bar in Salt Lake City, where apparently this is going to take place. There sits another mysterious man. Listen, we're just going to keep getting those. Let's listen to his internal monologue for a bit.

That's Kaine, another clone of Peter Parker, only much more dark and brooding, because he was a failed clone, which means he's stronger and more powerful than Peter. Wait, what? Oh, his face is sort of scarred, okay.

He's been chasing Reilly for a long time, for reasons he doesn't quite understand. He reveals, as will become a regular thing, that Ben Reilly was actually the original, and that Peter is the clone. Of course, this was later proven false by the end of the Clone Saga, so this story only makes sense in that tiny context.

Anyway, he's propositioned by a hooker, and is accosted by her pimp when he declines. Kaine beats the hell out of the pimp, and gives money to the prostitute. Aww, he really is a softy! Of course he does this while contemplating the misery and pain of his life. On the way out he bumps into a woman who asks his name. He replies, "You can call me Kaine." She's evidently there to meet up with some mob types.

We then cut to Kennedy's office at the police station, and her partner, Detective Jacob Raven. He's a damn good cop in a town gone bad. And I love it.

In a jail cell, we see Vincent Tannen, the local crime boss, organizing a hit with the help of a dirty prison guard. We don't get much of that before it's back to Ben, at a job interview for a teaching assistant at some college. Fake credentials and references get him the job, so he celebrates at a local diner. The next panel is best read if you're listening to the Romeo and Juliet Love Theme.

And Ben Reilly instantly falls in love with this redheaded woman for some reason. It's so weird, it's almost like she reminds him of someone else... Anyway, he asks Janine out on a date, and she says yes. That night, Kennedy catches a Tannen underling in a sting, but some goons ambush her, and it's up to one bearded man to save the day. Kaine beats up the goons, and they arrange a late night rendevous. Two other thugs pull Raven into a car, and he's spirited away. At the same time, Reilly happens to be cycling past a house when his Spider-sense goes off, and then the house explodes. He pulls two people out of the wreckage, while lamenting the responsibility that comes with his power.

Kaine has also fallen head over heels for a lady almost instantly after meeting her, and they just had some PG-13 rated relations! Louise gets a call informing her that Raven's house just exploded, and now she is sad.

At the close of the issue, Ben stands on top of a building, pondering whether he really wants to get involved with Salt Lake City's problems. On our next exciting episode: Who will decorate for Kaine and Louise's wedding? When will we find out Janine is also a clone? And can the mullets get any bigger? Find out next time on the W Defender!