- Posted by Johanna on May 26, 2013 at 8:47 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee
Because this is an oversized issue, there’s a backup story that really hit me hard and well. The main story does an excellent job showing what could truly frighten Daredevil and continues the pursuit by a mysterious villain, now revealed (unless that’s another fake-out).
Foggy is in the hospital for cancer, a well-chosen storyline that captures what a lot of middle-aged people have to deal with. By choosing a threat that Daredevil can’t do anything about, Waid puts him in a dramatic position that’s relatable but also reveals the essence of his character — the way he wants to be there for his friends but has difficulty with priorities and trust.
Anyway, the backup is just about Foggy. Since Foggy has met a number of the Marvel superheroes, he’s asked to visit a group of kids with cancer who are anticipating a visit from Iron Man. The kids are putting together their own comic book, showing all the heroes battling the villain they dreamed up.
It’s a marvelous piece, capturing all the things superheroes can (and can’t) do, and why they’re so important especially to motivate kids’ imaginations. It’s an amazing story that doesn’t talk down to the kids or the adults thinking “wait, but…” as Waid anticipated the concerns and twists most readers would come up with and addresses them all.
Plus, Samnee’s art makes conversations visually interesting, and he alternates between three drawing styles: his regular, one as kids would, and a blend that tells their story without too much primitivism. It’s a really great piece that belongs in a Best of the Year book. It’s inspiring while still acknowledging the concerns of the real world.
The Superior Spider-Man #10
by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman, and Cam Smith
It’s a bit weird to be enjoying a Spider-Man story where the hero is really a villain. Am I supposed to be rooting for Peter to come back? Should I feel bad for liking Otto as a more vicious, more practical superhero, one better suited for our age than one created fifty years ago?
A bunch of characters are becoming suspicious of Spider-Man, thinking he’s not the hero they once knew. Either it’s because he killed someone — which I still think heroes shouldn’t do — or because he’s too cocky about his intelligence or because a cop thinks “he used to be a lot funnier” (an observation more insightful than he realizes).
The two scenes that stand out in this issue for me are the one where Peter, May, her husband, and he brother-in-law are having dinner. It’s entertaining to see the two Jameson brothers, miles apart politically, going at it, particularly now that J. Jonah is on Spider-Man’s side! For long-time readers, that’s a switch that makes sense in this context but is weirdly unusual to see. (That’s good. Fresh is good. So is recontextualizing.)
The second is one where Mary Jane’s nightclub has been targeted by firebombs. She’s saved, but in an unexpected way that either contradicts or sheds new light on Spider-Man’s motto of great responsibility. I’d say it’s a more grown-up way of looking at things, but that brings me back to the first set of questions about this book.
I kind of want to be reading this story after it all wraps up, which is kind of cheating, but that way I’d know where it went and could track how it got there.
Justice League #20
by Geoff Johns, Zander Cannon, Gene Ha, Andres Guinaldo, Joe Prado, and Rob Hunter
It’s the first issue of Justice League I’ve been able to make it through since the reboot, and I thought that was worth noting. The reason I read it was that it features three newish characters joining the long-running team. The League has always been better when not focusing on the “big guns”, because writers can do more with lesser-known characters. Particularly those no longer appearing in their own titles, as is the case with Firestorm.
The other two are a revamped Element Girl — nice to see, although there are a lot more bimbo girl characters in superhero comics than himbo boy characters, so while her dizziness is entertaining, it’s also a bit cliche’ — and a female Atom I’m not previously familiar with. The three are on the satellite for induction only to wind up battling Despero.
I admit, one big reason I stuck with this issue was how familiar much of it was. The idea of introducing new characters who wind up proving their mettle under fire, Batman’s plans to take down all of his “friends” if need be, winding up in a cave in Happy Harbor… it’s all stuff I’ve seen before. On the one hand, that means the issue doesn’t get a lot of points for originality; on the other, it gave me something to hang onto when compared to a Superman who doesn’t look or talk the way I think he should.
There wasn’t enough here for me to want to come back, since the team fighting with each other isn’t appealing, nor is it what I want in a superhero book. And like all of DC’s recent titles, too much of this book is just a big battle. But it was pleasant enough to take that short nostalgia journey.