It’s been a rough two weeks with the start of the second year of grad school. Still finding the time to work on the Comic Bastards Review, but having trouble figuring out when I can work on other book impressions. Oh well, thanks as always for checking the blog out.
Edge of Spider-Verse #5 by Gerard Way and Jake Wyatt
Not having read any of the other Edge of Spider-Verse issues, I cannot say with any certainty that this was the best of the bunch (although it easily wins for most captivating cover). I can say however that if Marvel is looking to look another Spider-man comic to their line (Spider-Gwen and Silk having been recently announced), then they should definitely try to lock in Gerard Way to work on a SP//dr ongoing once he’s through touring his new solo album. From start to finish, the former My Chemical Romance frontman and creator of the stellar Umbrella Academy, along with artist Jake Wyatt, takes us through a reimagining of the Spider-man mythos that continuously surprises while remaining true to the heart of the character.
Things open up this issue with the death of SP//dr’s first human co-pilot, a person that may or may not be an alternate universe Peter Parker. With no other option due to genetic compatibility, SP//dr’s researchers, Aunt May and Uncle Ben in drastically different roles than we’ve seen them before, enlist the pilot’s young daughter Peni Parker as his replacement. In order to do so however, Peni must be bitten by the genetically engineered radioactive spider and form a psychic link with it so that they can co-pilot the SP//dr armor. Following the bite, things skip forward five years as a now fourteen-year old Peni patrols New York as SP//dr with her spider-ally before fighting with an altered version of a classic Spidey foe, and later on, alongside an amazingly redesigned Daredevil.
Like his work on Umbrella Academy, Way’s script pulsates with energy thanks to dialogue that conveys tons of personality. I loved the relationship he sets up between Aunt May and Peni, one that resembles Bruce Wayne and Terry Mcginnis’s from Batman Beyond in that the former in both cases mentors the other while also fulfilling a parental role. Bits of dialogue like Aunt May promising to have dinner prepared once Peni has completed her night’s mission only to have her suggestion of chicken tikka rebuffed due to Peni’s newfound vegetarianism really give readers a sense of history despite both characters only having existed in our memories for a sparse three four pages (Read the complete review here).
Copperhead #2 by Jay Faerber and Scott Godlweski
Only two issues in, and it’s already becoming clear that Jay Faerber and Scott Godlweski have got major plans for the town of Copperhead. Similar to Cowboy Bebop, Copperhead somehow spins a western crime drama out of a sci-fi setting, and makes it seem as though it were the easiest thing in the world.
Clara Bronson and her deputy Boo have built a quick rapport already, the latter begrudgingly following the orders of his new sheriff. I loved the moment when Boo, in the midst of taking notes about the Sewell family massacre, complains about his boss on record only to quickly then delete said recording once he realizes that Clara would hear it. In that single panel, we understand that while Boo dislikes taking orders from an outsider who took away his opportunity at being sheriff, he remains someone who respects the hierarchy in place. I’m hopeful that Faerber gets around to exploring Boo’s origins sooner rather than later as his references to recent wars point to some point of trauma that would probably account for his detached attitude (Read the complete review here).
Black Market #4 by Frank J. Barberie and Victor Santos
My name is André Habet, and I had no idea that this was the last issue of Black Market. Regardles of my ignorance though, I’m glad that Frank J Barberie and Victor Santos decided to end things here. What started off as an interesting premise quickly lost steam due a mixture of unsympathetic characters all-around, excluding the too cool for this comic Tiger Man from last issue, and confusing plotting.
This issue picks up with Ray and his brother Denny, along with their muscle ex-hero Bruiser, as they prepare for a bank robbery to attract the attention of Ultra, an alpha-level super who the main characters blame for their recent problems. In an early page that’s laughable thanks to its self-seriousness, the brothers, dressed in black and sporting automatic weapons, flank Bruiser who’s back in his old duds for one last hurrah (Read the complete review here).
Prometheus: Fire & Stone #2 by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra
Is it bad that I just want this comic to ditch its salvage crew, and just give us a Nat Geo style look at the moon of LV-223? Like last issue, I continue to find things to marvel at the design in this comic. However, I was far less interested in the story about Captain Foster and her crew as they start of the issue traipsing into a downed human vessel that’s become occupied by xenomorphs who immediately attack them with teeth, claw and their trademark acid spit.
Despite any shortcomings with the story though, Paul Tobin speeds us through some story beats that lesser writers might have drawn out for a few more issues. Not long after the xenomorph attack, Captain Foster tells her crew about her actual intentions in making the voyage. The response from the crew is understandably one of shock and anger, and her lie and the distrust some of her crew most now feel towards her is definitely going to lead to bad things. Additionally, Tobin intros two Chekov’s guns comic, one a black mutanagenic goo called accelerant that the characters immediately puts to use, and another a badass alien rifle that Galgos finds in a downed alien vessel (Read the complete review here).
I decided to give Veil a shot because my life seemed as if it could do with some more of Greg Rucka’s writing outside of Lazarus. Little did I know how foolish it’d be for me to step into this story on the fifth issue. Regardless of my ignorance though, it was easy to appreciate the story-in-progress and take in the gorgeous color work by Aljosa Tomic with Toni Fejzula. While I was able to follow the action, it’s obvious from my brief research that I missed out on some big reveals that probably made up a large part of why this book has been well received so far.
At the start of this issue, the titular Vey’el is in full succubus demon form, something that had not become apparent until issue two of the series. Additionally, Vey’el has abandoned the use of rhyming nonsensical couplets to deliver dialogue, a device that many reviewers had commented on a trait that helped define her personality. This issue was pretty heavy on the violence with Vey’el enslaved by a man in possession of a chain that controls her, and her friend Dante coming in for the save, leading to some visceral images of opened abdomens and exposed organs, and of course, there are the demon rats (Read the complete review here).
Avengers/X-men Axis #1 by Rick Remender and Adam Kubert
I don’t know how I let myself get repeatedly duped into thinking that a crossover event comic from one of the Big Two will be a smash hit with me. As someone who doesn’t keep up with most ongoing Marvel titles, excluding She-Hulk of course, there wasn’t very much here that I found compelling. Avengers hit Red Onslaught (RO), RO tries to use X-men abilities to further nefarious ends, and then more Avengers and X-men show up. When I was younger, all it took was for all my favorite characters to join up in double-spread splash pages for me to lose my shit. Now whenever that occurs I can’t help but thinking, “Some of these characters need to leave.”
Despite my overall dislike of this opening issue though, there were some redeeming qualities that sadly don’t frequently appear in event comic, such as character interactions that have some actual pathos to them rather than just moving the plot along. For instance, late in the issue we get a great scene between Rogue and Wanda as the two ruminate over what they’ve recently loss and whether the planet is worth serving despite their tragedies. Not only do we get to see how far their relationship has come since the first arc of Uncanny Avengers, but the brief conversation also serves to show that Cap’s Unity Squad has provided some personal good for mutants (Read the complete group review here).