Time for some quick reviews of recent comics.
Superior Spider-Man #1 is probably the most talked about issue in a long time. The last few issues of The Amazing Spider-Man seemed to attract much hatred, even death threats against writer Dan Slott, but the story he was creating is nothing extremely unusual for the world of superhero comics. In short, Doctor octopus was dying. He knew it, and wanted to live, so he swapped minds with Peter Parker. So, Peter is trapped inside the weakening body of one of his greatest enemies in his final moments, while Doc Ock’s mind is now in Spider-Man’s body. It’s a grand idea, but also sounds kind of silly. However, Slott made it work. Last week’s AMS #700 is the last issue, and is an anthology. The only story worth reading in that hefty issue is the one by Slott and artist Humberto Ramos, which establishes the new mind swap status quo that features in the new Superior Spider-Man title. It’s actually quite touching in parts, and having Ock relive Parker’s memories which turn him into a hero for the first time in his life is a great place to kick things off. This conflict is handled well in Superior. Ock now has a new Spidey costume, and is relishing being Peter Parker, especially ogling Mary Jane, and is frustrated at the new Sinister Six team of villains who are easily beaten by him. Peter Parker is dead, and no-one knows that, or that Ock is now really Peter, so amidst all the superhero stories there’s some good drama, and Ock’s monologues are entertaining.
I was thinking as I was reading it though, that Marvel can’t keep this up forever. For all the hype and press that this new direction has received, do people really want to read about a replacement Spider-Man, even if it’s a somewhat renewed villain who uses his vast scientific knowledge to fight the bad guys? And would they ever have “Peter” and MJ make love? That’s got to open a can of ethical worms for sure. However, the last page of Superior reveals that Parker is alive, of sorts, kind of like a fragment of Ock’s mind, trying to regain control. Eventually, he will. He has to, but it’ll be a fun ride until then.
Morbius #1 by Joe Keatinge and Richard Elson isn’t groundbreaking stuff, but is entertaining. I’ve always been a fan of C-List characters, and Morbius, The Living Vampire is certainly that. He’s been around since the ’70s but has never achieved superstar status. This is a good introduction to the character though, and Keatinge does well to establish the ‘rules’ for this particular pale, red-eyed vamp. Things kick off in the present with Morbius being blasted by a shotgun, and than flashback with Morbius explaining, “how I got here.” It’s more street-level than superhero which is a nice change of pace. Sure, Morbius now has a hoodie and streamlined goatee, and the gang leader has a blue mohawk and face piercings, but it doesn’t scream that it’s trying to be cool. Elson’s art is soft and likeable, and even the lettering and page designs are attractive. Nothing revolutionary, but a rare, accessible tale.
Star Wars #1. The time is right for this, with the new SW films being worked on nostalgia for the original trilogy is high, and writer Brian Wood’s star continues to rise, thanks to his work on The Massive, and a few Marvel series. Dark Horse have released so many SW series over the last 20 years, so it’s good to finally see a title focused on most people’s fave era. Wood and artist Carlos D’anda have given fans what they wanted – a thrilling new adventure with the classic characters. Set two months after the first film (Episode IV), the Rebel Alliance are looking for a new planet to call homebase. Luke and Leaia are flying through space in their X-Wings and talking about learning the ways of the Force, and trying to move on with the loss of so many of their friends when they’re ambushed.
Luke, Leia and Luke’s pal Wedge are forced to battle out of a tight spot, Han and Chewie have a talk about Han’s new heroic side, and the Emperor gives Vader a new mission, as does Mon Mothma to Leia. This is a fast paced ride filled with deft pacing and astounding, detailed visuals from D’anda. Vader has never looked so menacing. All the tech and ships look grand and the cast look similar to their movie counterparts. It’s a great time to revel in the Star Wars universe again.
This debut ish sold out within 24 hours, but the reprint is arriving on February 6.