Monday, 24 August 2009

Amazing Is Amazing Again...

Sorry readers, my regular blogging schedule that should have brought you an 'Only a Mother Could Love' post has once again been derailed by something I just read and feel compelled to blog about instead. The something in this case is Amazing Spider-man #602 (yes, the one with the plastic Mary Jane auditioning for Quadrophenia on the cover).

First up I have to say that despite my icy feelings toward the editorially mandated devil-divorce that befell the Spidey books I have been enjoying the hell out of the new direction ever since. Dan Slott, Joe Kelly, Marc Guggenheim, Fred Van Lente and the rest of the rotating Spidey-team have been making this one of the most consistently fun and enjoyable books coming out the House Of Ideas, three times a month no less! I've been loving every minute of it. They've been introducing new villains, new supporting characters, giving old standards like Aunt May and Harry Osborn a new lick of paint and generally setting up a whole new status quo for Spidey and the readers to have a boatload of fun in.

This issue though, with Fred Van Lente at the helm (I shouldn't be surprised it's great with the guy who wrote The Weapon calling the shots), does something which when done well is one of my favorite comic book tricks:

To take an old lame villain and make him cool, menacing and threatening.

Hey, Fred already did it to The Spot a whole bunch of issues ago and now he's doing it to the Chameleon:Now if you thought it was tough making the Spot cool, just consider this guy. The most interesting thing about him is that he was the wimpy little friend of Kraven the Hunter. I mean dude resurrected Peter Parker's parents while simultaneously teaming up with a Vulture who was powered by a youth-stealing machine and still failed to be cool!

Luckily for us Mr. Van Lente knows his job. Making characters awesome is his bread and butter. More than that he makes it look so simple. After reading this issue every writer that has ever tried and failed to make Chameleon badass will be kicking themselves and saying:

"Dammit! All I needed to do was dress him in a bathrobe, give him an uzi that shoots flesh coloured slime and have him tie dudes to chairs and drop them in a big vats of acid!"That my loyal readers blew my mind, and it happens on page four before the story has even got rolling! Before we witness the long-awaited return of Slyde (anyone remember Slyde?)! Before Slyde loses a fight with a manhole cover! Before the mouthy return of Glory Grant! Before that scene where Mary Jane dances with a mop! Before we learn that evil Statues Of Liberty are not to be messed with!

"Hold on. What? Evil Statues of Liberty?"

Yes indeedy my friends you heard me right. Peter Parker does in fact get attacked by an evil Statue of Liberty in this issue:So next time you're at Liberty Island, watch your back!

Between me reading issue 602 and writing this post issue 603 has come out. It's every bit as good as this issue. I've been enjoying the hell out of everything the Spidey-guys have been dishing out recently. Marvel have definitely hit on a winning combination here and I hope these guys all stick around for a long time to come.

Devil-divorces or not - Spidey is back on top people.

Start picking up his book before they sic Mount Rushmore on your ass!

Jack Kirby Had A Unique Vision Of The Future...

Hey if the 'World That's Coming' includes a chick who is also a TV, I am so there!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


Friday, 14 August 2009

War Machine, Awesome? Who Knew?

I had planned to do an 'Only a Mother Could Love' post today but while catching up on all of the Secret Invasion hoopla that went on in the Marvel Universe a few months ago I stumbled across Iron Man:Director Of Shield #33 and was bowled over. Now I'm not normally a James 'War Machine' Rhodes fan, especially when he hogs the limelight in what is supposed to be an Iron Man book, but this particular issue was undeniably awesome.

For a start it had some quality artwork. I think this is the first time I've ever seen Sean Chen's art but judging by this issue he's someone I should keep an eye out for in the future. In this issue he gets to flex his artistic muscles drawing everything from Tony Stark and the Avengers in the Savage Land to James Rhodes funky, cybernetic face to massive Skrull invasion fleets. However I was most impressed with his ability to make War Machine's grey, normally dull-as-dishwater, second rate Iron Man armour look bitchin':
Being a Secret Invasion tie-in issue this issue is a little light on Skrulls. It's got a lot of Skrull ships but not to many of the lil green fellows themselves - which is a shame because Skrulls, as any avid Marvel reader will tell you, are awesome!

However one Skrull does get a bit of face-time here and just to make up for the lack of his emerald bretheren he decides to show up in the most ridiculous costume he can find. I mean as if the Nova-style bucket hat wasn't enough, who told him the big glowing nipple lamps were a good idea? Then to top it all off he adds a big flowing purple cape. I mean I know they're aliens and all but come on, hasn't advanced Skrull technology managed to invent these guys some mirrors?
I hate to be the fashion police here but his cape matches the Hulk's pants for crying out loud. How could his mommy let him leave the house like this:
Shockingly the fantastic art and fashionally-challenged alien invaders were not the most awesome thing about this issue. Oh no my friends, that accolade goes to Christos' Gage's cliffhanger ending. An ending so cool that it could've co-starred Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox and still won an Oscar!

So Rhodey and the last remaining Stark employee Suzi Endo are trapped aboard Tony Stark's secret, satellite hideaway surrounded by a thousand Skrull ships itching to reduce them to atoms. Luckily there is one hope left - y'see good old Tony Stark (the Batman of the Marvel Universe) has planned for just such an eventuality and built in a special function to his secret satellite.

So Rhodey plugs himself into the satellite's control systems and gets his Autobot on...Dude turns the whole freaking satellite into a giant suit of Iron Man armour! Can you believe it? Now if that's not a steaming bowl of hot delicous awesome then I don't know what is.

Michael Bay wishes he'd thought of that.

One minor complaint though - I don't think James Rhodes should tell people to 'Recognise', It's much too Jay-Z. Unless of course he's prepared to go the whole hog and form a hip-hop group with Luck Cage and the Hypno-Hustler. In that case you'd have me at hello.

Word to your mother.

Friday, 7 August 2009

How To Flirt The Spider-man Way...

Splurt!! The old "here's web in yer eye" technique

Hey, dude married a supermodel so he must know what he's talking about!

(Today's social networking seminar comes to you from the pages of Web Of Spider-man #75 wherein there is an almost reunion of Spider-man and his Amazing Friends. Also Spidey gets smashed in the nuts by a seven foot tall ballerina. Good times!)

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Embarrassing Moments In Super-Villainy #1

Foliage 1, Scorpion 0

Is it any wonder Mac jumped at the chance to be Venom instead?

(This cringeworthy delight was served up courtesy of Amazing Spider-man #343 wherein Spidey lets the Black Cat get whaled on by six, count 'em, six super-villains while he gets his science nerd on in the other room. What a guy! It's no wonder his wife devil-divorced his sorry ass!)