Saturday, 8 November 2014

Comics Round-Up: November (1)

Jeebus, Marvel are determined to bankrupt me with all the Spidey stuff coming out. Spider-Verse has kicked off for real now, with the first two tie-in titles this week and two more next week. Good grief. Great news though, Spider-Gwen from Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 was so popular that she's getting her own series. Marvel have announced about a dozen big event projects that I have little to no interest in, any more than the DC equivalents, so I'll not be spending all my income on Axis or Future's End crossovers.

The Amazing Spider-Man #9; Spider-Verse Team-Up #1 (Marvel)

Some quite dark stuff in the first part of the Amazing line's Spider-Verse story. Lots more alternative worlds being preyed upon by the genuinely unsettling Morlun and his sinister siblings. Our Spidey is finally picked up by the new Spider-army, featuring various faces (well, masks) we've met over the last few months. Plus, we learn most of their official reality numbers, which is great if you're a weirdo completist nerd like me. Our Spidey is supposed to be the greatest of them all, but I'm wondering if they still think he's the “Superior Spider-Man” with Doc Ock's great intellect hitching a ride. Really, though, this is very good Spider-Man. Spider-Verse Team-Up is good fun, two little vignettes featuring alternative Spideys searching the worlds for more like them. The army of alternative Vultures are creepy. Best news is, both titles feature Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham!

Saga #24 (Image)

The Will's sister, The Brand, arrives looking for her brother. Gwendolyn and Sophie have really come into their own as characters, and having these two strands dominate the issue is no bad thing. We don't need to see Alana and Marko, the fallout from their lives is sufficient. There are some very nasty characters in this issue, reinforcing that this is a dangerous, war-torn universe, something that was perhaps beginning to slide a little in the last few issues. And god, Lying Cat is awesone. This is the end of Saga for now, with a painful hiatus to endure for the next few months.

Roche Limit #2 (Image)

Interesting developments as some kind of extraterrestrial power comes into play behind the scenes on Dispater. Some of the truth behind Alex's past is becoming clear, but there are surely more revelations to come. There's a wonderful juxtaposition between the noir story style backed up by grey-brown dingy environs, critical scenes enlivened by bold colours across stark panels, and the stark graphic design of the pages given over to sci-fi background information. It never feels like we're having exposition forced upon us, which is impressive, given the amount of information put across on some of these pages, in contrast to the tight-lipped characters on the strip pages.

Avengers Universe #6 (Marvel/Panini)

Nice fat issue this month. The first half of the book is given over to Young Avengers. It's encouraging to see a teen-oriented comic that's comfortable addressing sex and relationship issues honestly, albeit with spacemen and extradimensional parasites thrown in. The relationship between Teddy (the Hulkling) and Billy (Kaplan) is by far the highlight. If only all comics were able to portray homosexual relationships so positively. Kid Loki is a joy, too. Mighty Avengers begins its “Inhumanity” storyline, which is a good set-up for where Marvel's current releases are now. These reprint editions can be helpful. Uncanny Avengers continues “The Apocalypse Twins.” It's full to burst with spectacle and action but is very much part five of a longer story.

Rocket Raccoon #5 (Marvel)

I actually got this one as a freebie from a kindly benefactor. I'm glad I didn't pay for it. It's cute and reasonably amusing, but having a story narrated by Groot is one joke stretched to a whole strip, and essentially means you're paying three quid for a comic with virtually zero dialogue. Not recommended.

Gotham Academy #2 (DC)

Not as excited by this as I was with the first issue, but it's still enjoyable, well-told and very beautifully illustrated. There's a nice sense of foreboding building up as the seemingly supernatural events in the Academy are foregrounded. Maps and Olive are both really growing on me. Not sure how much can be done with this premise, but I'll stick with it for the time being.

Terrible Lizard #1 (Oni Press)

Stick a dinosaur on the cover, get me to buy. This is written by Cullen Bunn with art by Drew Moss, although Ryan Hill's fantastic colour work needs singling out for praise. It's the standard lonely teen dragged to the middle of nowhere by her father's work, but as his work involves opening transtemporal rifts from an isolated scientific compound there's a lot of fun to be had. The first such experiment goes awry and brings a Tyrannosaurus rex through, who young Jess immediately bonds with. So presumably Wrex is going to be her guard dog against the sundry other monsters that appear to have slipped through. There's also some clich├ęd science-vs-military stuff in here, but it's Jess and Wrex that are the main attraction. Not bad at all.

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