ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
I watched Spider-Man: Homecoming this afternoon, and it was a lot of fun.

cut for spoilers )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
...why is it that the logo on Spider-Man's back looks more like a tick than a spider? I mean, it has eight legs, but otherwise looks like a blob. The Watsonian explanation I can think of is that Peter's artistic and sewing capabilities for his homemade costume aren't that great, but the logo on the front is more delicate and is segmented, and looks much more like a spider. Maybe it's more simplified for distance visibility on the back?
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #11-19 (written by Peter David, pencils by Todd Nauck and Scott Eton, inks by Robert Campanella, Rodney Ramos, and John Dell)

I enjoyed those three stories. While they aren't outstanding all are solid and entertaining action-adventures with Spidey and some of his classic villains. All are set during Civil War and the direct aftermath, but not closely connected to any Civil War plots, except for Peter's identity being known. In the first several Mysterios appear at the school, mayhem ensues, and Flash deals with Peter as Spider-Man, the second, is set after Peter changed sides to oppose registration, and the government employs the Vulture to fight and capture him, but it's mostly irrelevant why the Vulture is attacking Peter just then. In the third The Sandman seeks Peter's help to exonerate his father from the murder of the alternate Ben Parker, so that also brings the future Spider-Man story to a close. Actually I liked the last least, probably because I wasn't too fond of that earlier plot in the first place. There's also a strange school nurse with a spider affinity and spikes like Peter's new poison stingers, so I assume she's the spider-creature from Spider-Man: The Other.

I've read somewhere that Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is going to be canceled soon in favor of ASM coming out more frequently, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand I like ASM better, and having it come out more often with more room for a single, consistent Spider-Man plot arc isn't bad, on the other hand FNSM seem to have hit its stride and provides decent adventures with the classic Spidey villains, and it's kind of nice to have a slightly less angsty break from ASM.

Amazing Spider-Man #539-541 -- Back in Black (written by J. Michael Straczynski, pencils by Ron Garney, inks by Bill Reinhold)

I kind of hate it that I'm now caught up so that I have to wait for the next issue again, especially with cliffhangers. But I like the story so far. Peter is hunting down those responsible for shooting Aunt May, and it's fast paced and tense. Peter being pushed to his limits, not just from the assassin shooting Aunt May, but also from Captain America's death and from being hunted himself, comes across as very believable here. I also like how he keeps in contact with MJ. And I'm curious what will happen during the fight with Fisk. I mean, Fisk isn't going to die, especially not since this seems to be set before the whole FBI deal in Dardevil ended, so he obviously survived, and I don't see Peter dying yet again either, but still.

One random quibble though-- what is it with comic rats having canines?? I've complained about this before, but let me say again: rats are rodents. Their incisors are plenty sharp, but they just don't have canine teeth, nor are any of their teeth pointed. Giving them canines doesn't make them look more scary, it just looks ridiculous.
ratcreature: RatCreature is buried in comics, with the text: There's no such thing as too many comics.  (comics)
Okay, figuring out the reading order was a bit of a pain in places, especially between ASM and the main Civil War series since I just couldn't get a real grip how the events sort out into a single timeline for Spider-Man. (A bit more on that below.) Also I haven't bought all the tie-ins, so I'm missing chunks, and I think I've rad the specials (War Crimes and The Return out of order).

Anyway, the Civil War issues I read were:
Road to Civil War: The New Avengers Illuminati
Amazing Spider-Man #529-538
Civil War #1-7
Civil War: Front Line #1-11
Civil War: The Return
Civil War: War Crimes
Civil War: The Confession
Civil War: The Initiative
New Avengers #21-25

Overall I quite enjoyed Civil War. cut for lengthy rambling )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
Well, all that Spider-Man reading has some nice side-effects: I had a neat Spider-Man/Superman crossover dream last night. Sadly no slashy content or anything, just a wacky action-adventure, and I mostly forgot the details soon after waking up. Still, nicer than lots of other dreams.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #5-7 (written by Peter David, pencils by Roger Cruz and Michael Wieringo, inks by Karl Kesel)
These issues were kind of forgettable, except for the brain-hurting part where they somehow compressed or relocated the timeline to make weblogs a common thing when Peter attended high school, but it is best not to notice these details. Also, I'm really not interested in wrestling, much less into mythical wrestling gods or whatever that villain was, so it didn't do anything for me, and some angsting by Peter about the origin of his powers (i.e. are they (comic-book) scientific or from magical totems?) didn't make up for my lack of interest in the rest.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #8-10 -- Jumping the Tracks (written by Peter David, pencils by Roger Cruz and Michael Wieringo, inks by Karl Kesel and Mike Manley)
And this story was just-- it just didn't work for me. It's not even the timetraveling future Spider-Man whose daughter is the future Hobgoblin as such. I mean, yes, that's weird, but this is comics and you deal. But the whole setup was lame. First, some crazy torturing Peter with his guilt over dead relatives and friends yet again gets old, and really there is no need to bring back Uncle Ben (again? maybe they don't count the ghost thing). Also, to me it made no sense that a future Spider-Man ends up as the boss of the time police, and that they don't even prevent that stereotypical apocalypse that apparently happened. And the whole thing with the alternate Uncle Ben just got more boring with him seemingly shooting that Spider-Man. Obviously the "real" Uncle Ben, or a reasonable equivalent from another universe as the one in the Spider-Man as pro-wrestler AU flashbacks seemed to be, wouldn't just turn into a homicidal lunatic, even when he's depressed, so the shooter isn't that Ben, no matter what the artificial tension is supposed to be. So he's either some evil!Ben brought from yet another universe (but that crazy timetravelling Green Goblin said she only brought one) or some shapeshifter bad guy who will then try to trick Peter (*yawn*), only I was confused by the clothing issue. The guy who confronted alternate!Ben first appeared to wear a woolly hat, and then later the dead!Ben (whom I assume is alternate!Ben) wears a baseball cap, so where did that come from? Alternate!Ben didn't wear any hat. Other random annoyances: as far as self-referential meta jokes go the "retcon bombs" were on the really clumsy side and not that amusing.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
Spider-Man: The Other--Evolve or Die (in Amazing Spider-Man #525-#528, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1-#4, and Marvel Knights Spider-Man #19-#22, written by J. Michael Straczynski, Peter David, and Reginald Hudlin, pencils by Mike Wieringo, Pat Lee, and Mike Deodato, and inks by Karl Kesel, and Joe Pimentel. )

Overall I really enjoyed this crossover. I think the changes to Peter's powers have cool potential, and it was really creepy in parts. Some of the subplots didn't quite come together for me though, and I thought the first half was a bit weaker than the second.

For example I liked Tracer okay as a villain, but he vanished rather abruptly and didn't seem much connected to the main Morlun and spiderpowers plot thread. Also I was disappointed that we never found out what caused Peter's cell degeneration illness in the first place. Was it random? A long term after effect of the initial bite? of Peter not accepting the spider fully? or a side effect of that radiation thing he did to defeat Morlun the first time? Also I was a bit confused why Morlun wasn't always visible to others besides Peter.

I thought the part where he travels to see all these other scientist-type heroes was somewhat boring. I mean, I guess it makes sense that he had to ask around, but it just didn't do anything for me. MJ an Aunt May helping him to play with cool gadgets at Dr Doom's place was fun though.

Another random thing I liked in the first half was MJ beating up that creep with her pool cue. Granted, the creepy stalker fan cliche was trite, but MJ was cool. Peter imagining this plan to make money in Vegas was cute too, though I think a better bet for financial security for his family would be patenting his web fluid or something.

Anyway, IMO the story really picked up once the main fight with Morlun started. Things got much more tense and creepy. Morlun gouging out Peter's eye was really gross, and I actually found it almost OTT for a Spider-Man comic because it wasn't as necessary for the story as the later grossness when Peter transformed. That transformation Peter went through afterwards almost shocked me. I mean, he mutated before, like in stories where he grows extra arms, and that iirc fairly recent change (I forgot when it happened exactly) that brought the comic powers in line with the movie version so that he produces his own web fluid, but the teeth? weird poisonous spikes? and most importantly that then Peter ate Morlun?? It's creepy and unexpected when a hero goes for cannibalism. Not bad though. I actually kind of liked it in this story's context. And it even escalated further when he somehow pupated or something, shed his skin and then regenerated in that cocoon. Somehow cocoons have an inherent creepiness.

I've been a bit dubious when JMS first introduced these spiritual spider connections earlier in ASM, but here Peter's dream of embracing his inner spider or whatever that was, worked for me, and I'm intrigued about Peter's new powers and his control (or lack thereof) over them. I mean, he reacts now faster and on instinct just to being touched in a friendly way, and has suddenly possibly poisonous spikes at his disposal during a fight, that opens a lot of potential way for him to hurt others without meaning to. Especially considering that he already ate one guy, even if it was a villain.

I'm less fond of the upcoming costume change, I like Spidey's classic costume and and gold just isn't as nice, also kind of ominous in that those are Iron Man's colors (and it's not like I want to slash these two) and it's bad enough that apparently Tony Stark listens in on Peter and MJ making out like a stalker. Though I guess it's related to the whole Civil War event.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
Amazing Spider-Man #519-#524 (written by J. Michael Straczynski, pencils by Mike Deodato, inks by Joe Pimentel)

I liked this Hydra storyline better than the previous arc. While terrorism plots aren't exactly my favorite, it was a solid action-adventure, and how it mixed with the personal B-plot in the aftermath of their places burning down worked for me. And the sinister foreshadowing of Peter's worsening symptoms, first subtle then more and more serious, has left me actually curious now about their cause.

While the story didn't seem to rely much on being familiar with non-Spider-Man comics, I think it was still a stumbling block for me that I don't know much about the Avengers. Like, I don't really know Tony Stark, but he comes across as kind of smarmy here when he offers Peter help, and I wondered whether he's always like that. Also reading this I wondered whether I shouldn't have read a bunch of the New Avengers comics that are apparently overlapping with ASM first to better follow what's going on here with Peter, his family and how he became part the Avengers now. I'm also quite lost with all this Hydra stuff, their world domination scheme and how they cloned? duplicated? the Avengers.

Also, maybe I just don't know enough about the Avengers operation, but how was Aunt May and M.J. moving in with them supposed to work while Peter still has a (at least somewhat) secret identity anyway? I mean, Aunt May has neighbors, Peter teaches at a high school, and M.J. has a job with people needing to know their address too, right? How do they intended to explain staying with the Avengers? (I can't imagine that Tony Stark blackmailing reporters into silence was the first choice of plan.) It wasn't even discussed between Stark, Peter, M.J. and Aunt May when they moved, though in a later issue it seemed to be implied (by that reporter confronting M.J.) that it wasn't public knowledge that this was the Avengers' headquarters, just that it belongs to Stark, and apparently they didn't even think of a good cover story. Though I thought that the Avenger place was known. Then again maybe that was one of the previous places. Wasn't some mansion destroyed not too long ago?

Jarvis and Aunt May are cute together though. And on a somewhat random note, am I the only one who thinks it's kind of pathetic of Hydra to produce hoodies with their logo on the back (like the one we see in the closet in #522)? At least I assume it's a hoodie because that piece of clothing didn't look anything like the spandex Hydra uniform Peter puts on later.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
Amazing Spider-Man #509-#514 - Sins of the Past (written by J. Michael Straczynski, pencils by Mike Deodato, inks by Joe Pimentel)

The story didn't really grab me. I'm not fond of affairs and children who are retconned in years later in the first place, and while I like the basic Gwen Stacy storyline, I don't think it needs to be changed/retold again to get yet another Green Goblin out of it. Also somehow I couldn't really feel for Peter and his angst here. I guess this was supposed to be shocking, the sudden (retconned) "revelation" that Norman Osborn had had sex with Gwen and got her pregnant to make little future Green Goblins or whatever, and I didn't think it was awful or anything, but mostly just felt indifferent.

Amazing Spider-Man #515-#518 - Skin Deep (written by J. Michael Straczynski, pencils by Mike Deodato and Mark Brooks, inks by Joe Pimentel and Jaime Mendoza)

Why do the scientist geeks in comics always go completely insane when they mess up with their weird, irresponsible experiments? There's no reason why that Charlie guy had to escalate to hurting the rescue workers and worse. Obviously with the lab blown up, the work there was already lost and the plot device of the chemicals making him insane and irrational was lame, and it's not like he intended to be covered with his armor goo. So any normal person, even a somewhat obsessed mad scientist type, would want to be checked out by some medical professional just then, not murder their rescue workers and go on to become some crazed supervillain/serial killer type. And I'm completely sick of the stock character of the geek who somehow becomes insane or looses any ethical perspective because some bullies hassled him in high school, and never gets over it either. Not to mention that the counterpart, the perpetually mean/evil jock, gets old too. Also if Peter knew that guy had problems he should have known better than not to keep at least an eye on him. I mean, living in the Marvel universe he's seen enough supervillain origin stories to be apprehensive about such setups. Well, at least Peter is somewhat aware that he should have known better, but still. Anyway, this story was made of fail, IMO.
ratcreature: RatCreature smokes Crack (crack)
Untitled Highlander AU/Andromeda, by [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke. Het and slash (though there's no romantic focus, so it feels quite gen), Richie/Amanda, Duncan/Methos. (ca. 2,900 words)
Andromeda/Highlander
These are more glimpses at a universe than a fully realized story, but the setup is just very cool.

Necessary Changes, by [livejournal.com profile] devilc. Slash, Jason Street/Scott Summers, also Logan/Jean and some other pairings, both het and slash are implied. (ca. 24,000 words)
Friday Night Lights/X-Men
Jason discovers he's a mutant on top of everything else and is invited to attend the Xavier Institute. I'm really liking Jason here so far, and also his friendship with Tim, and of course I always have a soft spot for stories with Scott.
(It's still being posted, one part a day it seems, but the author's notes indicated it's finished and the total length, so in two days or so it should be completely posted.)

Days Like This, by [livejournal.com profile] killabeez. Gen, Angel, Dean Winchester. (ca. 9,200 words)
Angel/Supernatural
Dean and Angel meet on a hunt, and fight a gross, tentacled monster, but really the best thing in this story is the banter and the many great lines.

Untitled SGA/SPN snippets, by [livejournal.com profile] kitsune_tsuki WIP
So far more an enticing glimpse at a backstory and an opening snippet than a single story, but I thought the premise that Sheppard grew up as a hunter like Sam and Dean, and now encounters creepy supernatural stuff in Pegasus was cool.

To Conquer Fear, by [livejournal.com profile] marag. Gen, Gil Grissom, Batman and their teams. (ca. 2,800 words)
CSI/DCU
They work together to catch the Scarecrow in Las Vegas. The story is told mostly in emails and more on the fun than on the angst side of things.

Hailing From Parts Unknown, by [livejournal.com profile] sister_wolf. Slash, Logan (Wolverine)/Alec (X5-494). (ca. 3,500 words)
X-Men Movieverse/Dark Angel
Alec and Logan and cage fights. Why wouldn't you read this?

Office Hours (ca. 10,000 words) and the sequel The Wisdom to Know the Difference (ca. 30,000 words), by [livejournal.com profile] tartanshell. Gen, Peter Parker, Hank McCoy, Matt Murdock, and Scott Summers.
Spider-Man/X-Men/Daredevil
Peter meets Hank (at first not yet blue) as one of his biochemistry professors in college. This is just an awesome and very entertaining crossover, that has a great blend of humor and angst.

Floodlights on the Highway, by [livejournal.com profile] thassalia. Gen, Dean, Cam, Vala.
Stargate: SG-1/Supernatural
How could you not enjoy Cam and Vala meeting Dean at a car show?

Riggins & Winchester, by [livejournal.com profile] thisisbone. Slash, Tim Riggins/Dean Winchester, also Billy Riggins, Sam Winchester. (ca. 4,800 words)
Friday Night Lights/Supernatural
The Winchesters are passing through Dillon. This gives a great look at the characters, also of course it's hot.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
I've read Marvel Knights Spider-Man #2 (written by Mark Millar, pencils by Terry Dodson, inks by Rachel Dodson) and...
cut for the spoiler phobic, because it's very recent )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
This week I got 1602 #2, Supreme Power #2, The Spectacular Spider-Man #4, Batman: Death and the Maidens #2, Gotham Central #11, and Nightwing #85.

I decided to comment on the Marvel stuff first.
my comments on 1602 #2, Spectacular Spider-Man #4, and Supreme Power #2 )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
Okay, so I found this scan of a page from a Daredevil/Spider-Man x-over short story (from Daredevil Volume 2 #20). And it's just too slashy not to share, so I uploaded the page to my webspace for you to take a look. In the panel Daredevil and Spider-Man are sitting in a bar, Spider-Man has his arm around Daredevil, talks about tossing him, and another guy at the bar thinks: "That Daredevil -- wotta waste! If I looked like him I'd have a babe on each arm, instead of shmoozing with another superhero!"

a scan of the page, about 160K )

Now I so want to read some Daredevil/Spider-Man buddy slash, where they both happen to be in some relationship woes at the same time and turn to each other for some uncomplicated buddy sex. Any recs? Anyone?
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
Wow, that was really fun, in the best classic Marvel superhero way. I mean, the storyline as of now isn't very sophisticated or socially conscious or anything, but Spider-Man fights bulky transdimensional monsters together with the Fantastic Four, Thor and Iron Man, then Doctor Strange appears, explaining that this was actually a ploy by one of his great foes Dormammu, and they all messed things up... It sounds utterly ridiculous, and in a way it is, I guess, but J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna created really entertaining 23 pages, and I'm happy that the story leading up to the #500 issue is a classic fun "superhero plot." Of course there is also the usual daily struggle for Peter (right now with the administrative assistant at the high school, among other things), humor and the ongoing romance -- in short, all what makes Spider-Man such a great mix.

The other comics I got today -- and haven't read yet, in an Amazing Spider-Man week I usually start with that one, because it rarely fails to entertain or make me laugh -- are Batman #618, Batman: Tenses #1, Gotham Knights #44, Superman: Red Son #3, Wolverine #4, and Empire #2. So now I'm off again, to see what strange plot twist Loeb has thrown at us this month in Hush...
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
I'm not very knowledgeable about Spider-Man comic canon, basically I started reading the current Amazing Spider-Man series because of JMS, and I've also read the earliest Amazing Spider-Man issues #1-43 in TPBs (and intend to buy the other "Essential Spider-Man" collections eventually, unfortunately I just can't buy all comics I want at once *sigh*) because the Spider-Man from back then is just a classic and also lots of fun.

Anyway, I've thought that there are currently two Spider-Man continuities, the regular, and the one from the Ultimate universe. So when I ordered the relaunched "Spectacular Spider-Man" series (written by Paul Jenkins, pencils by Umberto Ramos, inks by Wayne Faucher), I expected it would be in the regular continuity, as it's not advertised as an Ultimate title. But I can't make sense of it at all. It seems to feature a younger Peter, but still Aunt May knows he's Spider-Man, and it refers to past events as if it is the continuation of a rather complex earlier backstory. And -- as usual -- I'm just confused.

I mean, the series is now into the third part of a five part story, and I figure I'll get the next two issues at least, because the story is interesting enough, and the art is decent, though a bit too cartoony for my tastes. My best guess is that somehow this series is connected to the "Peter Parker: Spider-Man" series, a continuation, or at least in that universe, that has to be different from the regular Amazing Spider-Man continuity. But I wish they had said so in their catalog ad, because I never followed that series.

I don't know, I guess I need additional footnotes to make sense of this stuff, or a legend, or something.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
I've just finished reading the Essential Spider-Man Vol. 2, and it was a lot of fun to read that many of the early Amazing Spider-Man stories in one setting. That way it's much easier to follow the drama of Peter Parker's daily life. I got the Essential Spider-Man Vol. 1 collection when I first started reading the current Amazing Spider-Man -- which I can btw recommend also, currently it's written by J. Michael Straczynski, art by John Romita Jr. (pencils) and Scott Hanna (inks), the team that took over with issue #30 of the current series, and both art and writing are great -- and just now the second one. Marvel's "Essential" collections are great value: You get over 20 consecutive issues in one paperback for about $15.00, and personally I like very much that they're in b/w.

Anyway in Essential Spider-Man Vol. 2 you can read for example about the on-going problems Peter has with his costume: His one costume gets wet, preventing him from getting out as Spiderman when he needs to be, then he decides to sew a second one, but his aunt finds that, and admonishes him not to wear costumes of such superheroes to parties, finally he looses his original costume, and falls back on one of the Spiderman costumes sold by a costume store, however that one is of inferior quality and throughout the issue it always slips and hinders him during his fights...it's hilarious.

You'll need some tolerance for "meta-commentary" during the issues, however that's part of the unique style of these comics, so it doesn't bother me that the narrator addresses the readers sometimes. It does set those comics apart from the usual current style of story telling in comics though. I think it's a fun way of not taking themselves too seriously, that at the beginning of a fight scene, you'll sometimes find a text box like "And now, we promised Artie Simek we'd let him go wild with sound effects for a page or two, so here goes --" and then follow eight panels of fighting with outrageous onomatopoeic words.

Anyway, for good escapist fun that has lots of important character development for Peter Parker/Spider-Man as well, you should get Essential Spider-Man Vol. 1, collecting Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #1-20 and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, mostly by the team of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, covering the time from 1962-65, as well as Essential Spider-Man Vol. 2, collecting Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #21-43 and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2-3 (that is the non-reprint parts of the Annuals of course), those mostly by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and later John Romita, covering the time from 1965-66. The other "Essential" collections are most likely worth reading too, but I haven't read those yet.

The first issues of the current team of Amazing Spider-Man are also available as collections already: Coming Home collects #30-35, Revelation collects #36-39, and Until the Stars Turn Cold collects #40-45, if you don't want to track down the single issues.

Also I'm afraid I'm boring any non-comic fans among my few readers to death recently...

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