- Posted by Johanna on January 12, 2009 at 8:00 am
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: Marvel
I spent the weekend catching up on two months’ worth of superhero comics, so as usual, I’m not the most timely with these — they came out a couple of weeks ago, but I enjoyed them, so I wanted to point them out. (It’s so easy to rip on the usual shelf-filler, but I think it says more to talk about what’s doing it right.)
Amazing Spider-Man #579
This is part two of a story written by Mark Waid. As such, I had high expectations, and they were fulfilled.
I don’t normally like Spider-Man, as a character, especially given what’s been done to him lately. Here, though, I got the essentials of the premise, and I understood why he’s got so many fans. The story gives you almost everything you need to know, too, with no need to study history or read anything else to enjoy the action. (I say almost because there was no room to explain why the J. Jonah Jameson connection was so significant, but that’s ok.)
Spider-Man is trapped underground with a group of civilians. A subway car containing a special jury hearing the trial of a mobster was bombed, and Spidey has to get everyone out safely. That’s a creative, unique premise, and yet it also has ties to essential Spidey stories of the past. (Yes, there’s a scene where he has to hold up an immense amount of rubble, beyond the point of his usual strength, although that took place in part one, issue #578.) It also directly ties the hated vigilante to defending the cause of law and justice.
Waid also captures the sound of Spider-Man, in his dialogue and concerns. It seems like it would be easy to write wise-cracks, but not every joke suits the character. Moreover, in the funny and the tension, Waid never forgets his heroism. There’s one particular sequence in the dark (while Spidey is lifting everyone out of increasing floodwaters) that gave me shivers, due to artist Marcos Martin’s skills. It’s very true to the setting but still really creepy.
I haven’t said enough about Martin here. He does an athletic Spider-Man that I really like, giving him a bit of an insectoid feel but not in a non-human way. His storytelling is clear but evocative of the underground setting. Between the two creators, this is an impressive achievement that will likely be overlooked, since it’s just a two-issue fill-in.
The Incredible Hercules #124
As part four of a storyline where the Amazons are trying to take over the world, there’s not as much to recommend here. I’m still enjoying reading it, but I’m more interested to see how the cliffhanger — an alternate world due to a changed timeline — plays out, since it also promises an all-female Avenger team with Sue Storm, girl Wolverine, Spider-Woman, and some chick in pink underwear I don’t recognize.
Namora and Hercules are funny in their fighting, but there’s not enough Amadeus Cho for my taste, since he’s just a chip being fought over. (Personally, I don’t understand why the bloodthirsty Amazon queen doesn’t just kill him, since he doesn’t seem to be of use or interest to her.)
The best part is the short glimpse into what everyone’s ideal worlds would be as they bobble catching the Maguffin.