Read This Comic!
This is a thick issue of Spider-Man, true believers. And boy, does it offer plenty to read. In addition to the main story, the first part of “The Osborn Identity,” there are quite a few back up stories ranging in tone and subject. But let’s start with the focus of the issue. The Osborne Identity sees the return of, you guessed it, Norman Osborne, who continues to give Peter the slip. This story also features a surprise return of a classic Spidey character. I am a big fan of Dan Slott’s writing, and this is no exception. His version of Spider-Man, the older, more mature Peter Parker, is interesting. These adventures of the international businessman Parker sort of remind me of a superhero book combined with James Bond. He travels the globe, he has gadgets, and he beats up the bad guys. Putting together Spider-Man and James Bond is a win if you ask me.
In addition to Slott’s wonderful story telling, I thought the art by Stuart Immonen really stood out. There were a couple of big scenes in the book that I found quite beautiful. This was also helped by Marte Gracia’s colors. Those looked wonderful, especially the bright lights of Shanghai. Immonen knows how to draw Spider-Man. He has the poses of his body down, and the web slinging looks good. And what’s more important than that?
The backup features in this issue really had something for everyone. There were stories that felt more like classic Spider-Man (more quips and New York based action), a tie in with Tsum Tsum toys, a tale from Peter’s past, and a spot light on Aunt May. The book finished up with a backup feature centered on the return of an old foe! These backup features were fun. They had the feel of your enjoyable super hero story, and varying art styles that kept it moving. A couple of the stories had more cartoonish art which I personally enjoy. It was nice to read through them and get something different each time. Also, isn’t it just nice when there’s something extra in a book?
In the end, this is a quality book. You will have to allow yourself some time to read this hulking issue, but it’s filled with enjoyable content that helps to remind us why we all love the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Back when Wildstorm was its own brand, I read some of their titles. I was familiar with characters like Grifter, Midnighter, and Gen 13. They had some cool stuff every now and then. After a while, DC tried to put teams like Stormwatch in their main universe, and it didn’t last too long. Now they have Midnigher and Apollo in their fold, and I think that’s great. However, when I heard they were doing a Wildstorm series (I think it’s a limited series), I wasn’t totally sure how I felt about it. Well, then I saw Warren Ellis was going to write it. Ellis is a top-notch writer, and he doesn’t let me down here.
The basic premise of the story is that a group of people (I don’t know their names) tried to kill a man named Marlowe. This was thwarted by a woman in a suit that kind of looks like Iron Man mixed with the Predator (which is pretty cool). And now everyone is looking for said woman. Drama ensues.
The best thing about this story, I think, is that it makes you want to read more. This comic reads like a well-paced TV show, full of drama and intrigue. We switch between several groups of characters
while advancing the plot, but I never felt overwhelmed or rushed. I thought each bit moved just right, giving us enough of a story before switching, and then eventually coming back. While I have no real idea what will happen with this story, I found myself completely ok with that, knowing that someone like Ellis can and will pull it together to give us something good.
Jon Davis-Hunt also gives some really human looking art. I enjoyed how the characters in this story didn’t look like your average super heroes. They were more mortal, more vulnerable. That’s the kind of art I like to see. He also does an excellent job at conveying emotion through faces. There wasn’t a single time that I had to question what a character was feeling, and that was even before I read the words.
By the time I was done, I really did want to know what would happen next. And, in the world of monthly comics, that is a very good thing. This book really feels like an updated reboot of the Wildstorm Universe, and could go somewhere spectacular.
I’ll be honest, out of the books I reviewed this week, this is my favorite. And, for the record, it’s my first issue of Spook House. Albatross Press is the home of the weird books, and that’s because of Eric Powell.(@)
If you’ve read the Goon, then this book is for you. If you haven’t read the Goon, then this book is still for you. Eric Powell has a very signature writing and drawing style, and it shines through in this issue of Spook House.
When reading this comic, the tone constantly reminded me of Courage the Cowardly Dog. There were elements of horror, but told in a nontraditional way. That is, these situations were those of classic horror, but with Eric Powell’s sense of humor adding the twist to make each story light hearted and fun. While all stories are written by Powell, only the first has his art. And it’s his signature style here as well, which is a great fit for these stories (which makes sense because they are his). I also really enjoyed the colors by Marissa Louise in this issue. They really set the tone. Subsequent art, by Jake Smith and Ally Cat, also fit Powell’s storytelling perfectly. They helped the stories feel as strange and fun as they were.
What was really interesting was that the cover reads “scary stories fit for kids!” which is something I didn’t notice until I sat down to read the comic. But at no point did I find myself thinking this was a typical kids comic. I think readers of all ages could really enjoy this book. I think that blurb on the cover simply means that they are horror stories, without any of the excess of the genre. I found it a good balance of humor and horror.
If you’re someone who likes Powell’s work on Goon or Hillbilly, you will definitely want to pick this up. If you haven’t read those comics, then consider this: these short stories feature zombie bullies, a giant spider who takes the place of a boy, and a rockabilly bat from space. If that isn’t enough to excite you, I’m not sure what you’re looking for in your comics, but I don’t think I can help you. This book felt really fresh, but somehow familiar to me. I enjoyed reading this issue from cover to cover.