Ultimate Spider-Man 71 (March 2005)

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And here’s the rewarding turn of events. It’s entirely depressing–maybe even beyond depressing–as Peter confronts his greatest fear… he’s going to get everyone killed.

Bendis doesn’t even try to end the comic on an okay note. Peter’s consumed with despondence; it’s palpable and Mary showing up to complete the bookend from the last issue just makes it worse. Bendis has all of a sudden turned the book into a look at the (super) human condition and he doesn’t have anything nice to say.

The Ultimate Dr. Strange stuff, which probably takes up half the issue, is great. Bendis practically hands the comic over to him; it works quite well. The character’s amusingly vain but still likable and sympathetic.

Bagley and Hanna change up the art occasionally, for Peter’s nightmare panels, and it’s rather effective.

For Peter, the whole thing is, quite literally, hellacious; Bendis drags the reader along.

CREDITS

Strange, Part Two of Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Superior Spider-Man 5 (May 2013)

Superior Spider Man Vol 1 5

I guess I didn’t realize it before, but “Brand New Day” Peter Parker is supposed to be unbelievably good looking. Otto lucked out in the bod department, apparently.

This issue features a really nice scene where Otto has dinner with his “tutor,” a very charming woman who happens to be a little person. Ghost Peter never says it, but there’s a definitely implication he’d never give her the time of day whereas Otto’s able to see past it.

Otto’s also able to see the benefit of coordinating with others (shouldn’t Peter have learned a little of that practice in The Avengers). Slott’s definitely developing Otto’s character in unexpected, thoughtful ways. Even the ending, which implies Otto’s megalomania hasn’t gone away he’s just using it for the greater good.

And who’s Otto to determine the greater good? Slott’s establishes him as the ideal choice as it’s a conscious effort.

Excellent issue.

CREDITS

Emotional Triggers; writer, Dan Slott; penciller, Giuseppe Camuncoli; inkers, John Dell and Camuncoli; colorists, Edgar Delgado and Antonio Fabella; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Before Watchmen: Comedian 2 (September 2012)

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Yeah, Azzarello definitely enjoys writing Comedian. There’s a lot of Vietnam War history here, a little American political history and almost no Watchmen connection. The Comedian could just be anyone. Azzarello never gives him anything superhero specific.

So, as a comic, it’s good, but–and I can’t believe I’m saying it–it fails as a Before Watchmen title. Eddie’s a corrupt, kill-happy advisor. Azzarello gives him no special personality, not even a real character moment in the entire issue. There’s a little with him hanging out with Bobby Kennedy, but not enough to make an impression.

It’s a war history comic. Jones’s art isn’t great for the subject, but he handles it better than superhero stuff I guess. There’s definitely a morose tone to it.

I’m hoping Azzarello doesn’t even try tying into the original series.

The pirate backup, shockingly, has a plot point. I didn’t they even bothered.

CREDITS

I Get Around; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, J.G. Jones; colorist, Alex Sinclair; letterer, Clem Robins. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, The Devil in the Deep, Part Eight; writer, Len Wein; artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Mark Doyle, Camilla Zhang and Will Dennis; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 121 (July 1992)

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Oh, good grief. All those nice things I said about Collins and this issue’s how she repays me.

Lady Jane has moved in. She apparently knows to read TefĂ© storybooks; there’s an implication Abby never did. Collins seems to have forgotten how she wrote Abby just a few issues ago (you know, as a protagonist and not a jerk).

Collins brings back Sunderland in the form of a previously undisclosed daughter to the late general. She’s out to get Alec, except she hasn’t been keeping tabs on him over the years. It’s all a coincidence she discovers he’s still around. Instead of, I don’t know, performing in Las Vegas. It’s idiotic.

Then, to make matters even worse, Collins brings in a goofy-named villain. It’s maybe Swamp Thing’s first goofy-named villain. It shouldn’t have any.

Eaton’s art is terrible. He’s painfully flat.

Just like the rest of the comic.

CREDITS

Laissez les Bon Temps Rulers; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

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