Saturday, February 26, 2011

Comics Roundup for 2/23/11

The Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 - This issue was more of a preview for the new Venom series than anything else. The setup for this new version of the character has me intrigued enough to check it out. I never bought any of the other Venom solo series, mainly because I thought it was a bad idea to make him into a hero. This, of course, was when Venom was still Eddie Brock, who had more than a few loose screws. It was obvious that they were just trying to capitalize on the fact that he's a popular character. With this version though, we have Flash Thompson, somebody who is basically a good guy, and he's trying to control something that's clearly evil. Basically, he gets bonded with the suit for a limited time period in order to go on secretive government operations, and then he has to be removed from it before it completely takes him over. Of course, that's going to be easier said than done.

The Amazing Spider-Man #655 - I read recently that writer Dan Slott considers this to be his best work on the character yet. I'm not sure about that, but this was a damn fine issue. It's really extraordinary that I think this considering that the whole thing is a big dream sequence, and I really despise dream sequences. Shoot, there was an episode of The Sopranos that was a big dream sequence once, and I fast-forwarded through the whole thing. Basically, that kind of thing always feels like such a gimmick. "Let's see what's going on in his head!" Why not just write stories that give us a clear sense of this through actions that reveal his personality?

With that said though, I still found myself really getting into this one. I think it works for a few reasons. For starters, it makes it seem like all the stories that have come before really matter. I was really shocked to see that it made a reference to the now-classic Spider-Man Versus Wolverine, where Spider-Man inadvertently killed somebody. I remember buying that issue back when I was in junior high! Another thing that works is that Peter comes out of the sequence having changed, and if Slott follows up on this in the following issues, then it really will justify this entire dream sequence. Lastly, it works because Marcos Martin is one of the best artists to come around in a while. I've described him before as a perfect mix of Steve Ditko and John Romita, Sr. I'm going to stick with that description.

Wolverine #6 - This starts off with a rather brutal death for old Logan, and then it turns out it's just a simulation that Cyclops has created should Wolverine ever get out of control again (which he has been known to do). That sets things up rather nicely, as it seems by the end of the issue that Wolverine is indeed out of control, and Cyclops is going to have to make that simulation a reality.

Green Lantern #62 - Hal Jordan is a member of the Justice League, but he was a member of the Green Lantern Corps long before that. Now he's also part of a group that has representatives from the variously colored Lantern Corps from across the universe. Essentially this issue deals with where his true loyalties are, and it seems like the Justice League isn't really liking the answer.

The Avengers #10 - I suppose that if you're going to have ALL the various Avengers teams in one book, this is the title to do it. This issue was decent, as it's moving the story along, and it looks like the Red Hood is doing a pretty good job of becoming really powerful what with all those Infinity Gems. I also like the fact that the backup feature is an entire issue of the new Heroes for Hire. I haven't read it yet, but it looks like fun as it has one of my current-favorite characters, The Falcon.

Echo #28 - The world of Strangers in Paradise comes crashing into this issue, as the crime syndicate from that series plays a part in this one, and we even see the muscular Tambi in it. I guess that this is fine, but I really hope we don't see Francine and Katchoo in all this. As much as I loved those characters, they don't really belong in this world. Other than that? Another fine issue.

Secret Avengers #10 - Looks like Ed Brubaker's gonna bail on this series after the twelfth issue. That's too bad, as this feels like such an extension on his Captain America series. I'll give the new writer a chance, as there seems to be some good buzz on him, and maybe this will feel like more of a team book then. Aside from all that, this was a good issue, and I find John Steele to be an interesting character - next issue promises more of him, so that's good.

Detective Comics #874 - I actually found myself more drawn into the story involving Jim Gordon's son than what was going on with Batman. Still, that stuff was pretty good, and it's good to see him interacting with Tim Drake/Red Robin again, as these two characters always had an interesting dynamic.

Captain America #615 - Bucky gets himself out of one mess - jail time in America - and the end puts him in an even bigger mess. This was a solid installment of a great series, and I didn't even mind the "Nomad" backup, as at least it had some decent art this time, although it felt more like an advertisement for a new series starring the character. I wonder if they'll have a new backup feature next issue.

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