Thursday, February 11, 2010
Couple of quick reviews for everyone tonight and my two favourite issues for this week - Amazing Spider-Man #620 and Secret Six #18. Both great books for completely different reasons. ASM probably wins out between the two on the strength of the art, but no complaints about either issue.
Also, you may have noticed I've been a little lax on the reviewing the past week or two, and this post isn't exactly a huge increase in my review output compared to those past weeks, but I'm hoping to fix that when things settle down a little for me in real life later this month. Just started a lot of new projects and other committments that ate into my review time. Hoping to have time to update this post before the weekend with more reviews, but can't make any promises at this point in time. Wanted to put that out there for anyone wondering about the decrease in the number of books I've been reviewing lately.
Hit the jump for this week's reviews.
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Marcos Martin and Javier Pulido
While this arc started off a bit shakey and had me doubting it could live up the precedent set by the previous Sandman and Rhino stories, it really came through in the end with an exceptionally strong finish.
I think what this issue did right to really sell me on this arc was putting the focus on Mysterio. He'd been on the periffery for the first two issues, mostly as a behind the scenes player making the odd cameo and menacing remark, but this issue gave us some insight into his plans, showed us what made him tick and just had a lot of fun with the character.
For example, as he's been controlling the Silvermane robot and using it to control the Maggia crime family, he had to "kill" Silvermane off in the battle with Mr Negative's men. We get a hilarious behind the scenes look at him acting out the death scene in an over the top fashion. He even has thought boxes expressing how he wished villains gave out awards for this stuff.
Another great scene came when Spider-Man confronts Mysterio, who is employing fake Devil's Breath gas to fool Spider-Man into thinking it's the toxic gas Mr Negative was just using. Mysterio starts off with a Green Goblin-esque, "I've been behind every single bad thing that's ever happened to you and responsible for every person that's come back or died", schtick. Spidey doesn't buy it and we get the scene from the cover of this issue. However, Beck, in a genius move, then fakes he's dying to the gas, which is tailored to Spidey's genetic code (aka it only kills him and any family members) and states he's actually Spider-Man's cousin. Spidey is in shock and Mysterio proceeds to kick him in the junk in a hilarious getaway scene.
Most of the issue gives us fun scenes like these revolving around Mysterio, who even jokes about faking his death or how he might not even be Beck since he lies about everything. It was just fun watching him work and Marcos Martin draws one fantastic Mysterio. Technically, everything he draws is fantastic, but his Mysterio is particularly inspired.
Verdict - Must Read. It's pure fun. Loved every minute of this issue. It's the kind of fun you can only have with a Spider-Man comic and an issue I can see myself re-reading again and again.
Written by Gail Simone and John Ostrander
Art by Jim Calafiore
Secret Six never fails to impress and this issue was no different. It's the conclusion to their Blackest Night tie-in story arc and even with an all out brawl with the Black Lanterns, which is typically how most of the BN tie-ins ended, this still felt like a Secret Six story first, tie-in second; something most other tie-ins failed to do for me. They mostly read like a cookie cutter, cut and paste story with different characters and dead loved ones filled in for each.
Like most Secret Six issues, the dialogue and character interactions are the strongest parts of this issue. From various scene stealing one-liners by Ragdoll ("He's the All-Dead Atom. He's the flying fetus of doom!" is my personal favourite) to Deadshot's complete indifference to everything, even towards zombie super villains, everyone seemed to have their moments in this issue, even the Suicide Squad.
Hell, Amanda Waller even gets in on the action with her usual double dealing ways. She even saves everyone by taking control of a decommissioned Manhunter and using its stored up Green Lantern energy to take care of the Black Lanterns. It was a little deus ex for an ending (the Manhunter was introduced at the very end as a means to stop them), but worked within the confines of the story for me, so I had no problem with how "easily" they take care of the Black Lantern threat. Short of having Hal Jordan come in, there wasn't really any other alternative I could think of for stopping them that would have worked for me.
Verdict - Must Read. In the end, though, Secret Six is always about the characters for me. Each has a unique voice and they all play off each so well that it's a joy to read each month. They could, and have, sat around talking for some issues, even gone to strip clubs and nights on the town, and Simone has made it work. With Ostrander helping out now, it's just gotten that much better.