Rating: *** 1/2*
This issue was a lot of fun. It was fast paced and it had non-stop action, which is good for the final issue of a comic book storyline. I also enjoyed the artwork this time; maybe I just grew accustomed to it, but the artwork didn’t bother me as much here in this issue as it did in the others.
Well, I called it in my last review when I said that Kaine would interrupt the stand-off between Peter Parker and Raptor so Peter wouldn’t have to reveal his identity; however, Kaine is there to assist the Raptor - not Peter. We also the flashback to the time when Ben Reilly confronted Raptor (then known as Damon Ryder) in his house - the same house that we know will burn down and kill his family. So we have a two fights playing out back and forth - Kaine showed up during that fight as well. Writer Marc Guggenheim does a nice job of jumping back and forth between the past and the present as well as building up a suspense to final outcome of both stories.
Screwball also shows up again as Spider-Man sets her up for a fight, but it really was a planned diversion for his confrontation with Raptor. This distraction enables Peter to free Harry Osborn and his cousins so that he can change into Spider-Man. Raptor is curious as to why Spider-Man continues to show up to help “Ben Reilly.” Kaine answers that question by pulling off Spider-Man’s mask. The clone situation is explained to Raptor, but Kaine says that Peter is the clone. I think Kaine explains it this way as an excuse for Raptor to take out his revenge on Peter. Raptor may not want to attack Peter if he knew that Ben was really a clone. Just my theory on this situation.
Rating: *** 1/2*
Part one of the “Who was Ben Reilly” story arc left me a bit disappointed two weeks ago. This week, the story continues and picks up right where we left off. This issue was a much better read as there wasn’t as much silliness here in this issue than there was in the last. For whatever reason the silliness annoyed me and here we have some serious action with a sprinkling of the Spider-Man wit mixed in.
When we last saw Spider-Man, he was fighting Kaine at Raptor’s abandoned hide out. Spider-Man wants to know the connection as to why Kaine has showed up at the same time Raptor has shown up thinking Peter is really Ben Reilly. Kaine reveals to Spider-Man that he is not here to fight him, but is instead looking for Raptor aka Damon Ryder as he maybe the only man who can stop his cellular degeneration.
Rating: *** 1/2
I began collecting comics in the mid-80s. I remember that my first issue of Uncanny X-Men was #188 and that my first issue of the Avengers was #250. My first Spider-Man comic was Amazing Spider-Man #264, but I also received around that time, the premiere issue of the new monthly Spider-Man comic book, Web of Spider-Man. This all took place during the hype of Spider-Man’s black costume which was featured prominently in this first issue. The suit was a symbiote, meaning that it was alive and it wanted to fully take over Peter Parker. In this issue, Peter fights back and we see the famous bell ringing scene that had Peter ripping the costume off of himself. An homage was made in Spider-Man 3.
Since I read the amazing (no pun intended) Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36, I’ve been looking forward to more Spider-Man stories focusing on the Spider-Man story the Clone Saga. In Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36, we saw the premiere of the character called Raptor who has a grudge against Ben Reilly. He blames Ben for the death of his family and he’s out for revenge. Since Peter obviously looks like Ben, Raptor has set his sights on Peter.
Our story begins with Spidey battling it out with the relatively new super-villain Screwball. I wasn’t reading Spider-Man back then so this was my first introduction to the character. I like this character. A perfect modern character that uses the Internet in order to get that “celebrity” status that comes with it if you can get people to watch your videos. Peter tries to use his photos of the fight to try and sell them to Ben Urich at Front Line. Raptor whose name is Damon Ryder shows up to the offices of Front Line to confront Peter. Ryder calls Ben and hands Urich an old newspaper clipping of the fire that occurred at his house that resulted in the deaths of his family. A sketch of the suspect matches that of Peter’s face.
Finally, Marvel will be returning to the infamous Clone Saga storyline with a mini-series that is set to tell the story of the Clone Saga as it was meant to have been told. As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, I was a big fan of the Clone Saga when it first began and have always liked the character of Ben Reilly. So this week, issue one of the revisited Clone Saga storyline hit the stands, and while it did not blow me away, I was entertained. Two of the writers working on Spider-Man back in those days have come on board to tell the tale: Tom Defalco and Howard Mackie.
Before I go into my review for this issue, I must profess my love for the Spider-Girl title in which Defalco worked on. Defalco’s Spider-Girl/M2 universe sprang from the stories that were created during the Clone Saga, and he was able to make a grown up Spider-baby May Parker work well along with continuity of those storylines. Marvel completely abandoned the characters for years in the regular 616 universe until the upcoming Who was Ben Reilly? storyline that we’ll see next month in Amazing Spider-Man.
The relaunch of the Ultimate Universe continues this month with issue two of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. I liked this issue, but it was nothing spectacular. Where issue one showed more of the aftermath of Ultimatum, this issue sets up the various stories that will be taking place in the book. At the end of issue one we saw the Kingpin fall to his death thanks to Mysterio. Issue two confirms that as for now, the Ultimate Universe’s Kingpin is now dead. I say as for now because you never know with comics. Maybe that guy wasn’t the Kingpin. Maybe it was an actor playing the Kingpin. Right Aunt May? Ugh!
Anyway. Mysterio is looking to not simply be the new Kingpin of Crime, but the ruler of the world. Get in line Mysterio, so does every other bad guy in the comic book world. I like this version of Mysterio better than the regular Marvel Universe one. Although I like the classic fish bowl look, you could never really take Mysterio seriously as far being a serious threat to the world. This Ultimate version doesn’t have the fish bowl and gives off a Dr Doom like vibe as far potential to really do some damage in the Ultimate Universe. It would be cool to see if Mysterio did become a major bad guy that all of the Ultimate Universe would have to unite against because he’s so dangerous. We’ll see.
The return of the Chameleon continues. In the last issue of Amazing Spider-Man, the Chameleon captured Peter Parker and stole his identity—it appears as if Peter has also been killed. This issue follows the Chameleon as he impersonates Peter Parker. The Chameleon goes about Peter’s life discovering all of things that make Peter tick, from his new job working for J Jonah Jameson to his relationship with Mary Jane. He also decides to take advantage of the situation as he ends up sleeping with Peter’s roommate Michelle Gonzales. How that will all play out when the real Peter Parker returns should be interesting.
Although this isn’t the real Peter sleeping with Michelle, it still bothers me to see Peter hooking up with another woman—it’s like he’s cheating on MJ. I hope that they eventually put them back together; there’s too much history there for them not to be together.
“Peter’s” first Jameson assignment is to take pictures of Jonah with the returning war hero Flash Thompson. Since I haven’t been reading Spider-Man until recently, this was all new to me as far as Flash goes. I like that they’ve made him into a veteran and have him disabled—this adds something new to the character that can bring about some great drama.
Marvel’s Ultimate line of comic books began in the year 2000. It was an attempt to get new and young readers on board without them having to jump in and figure out the years of confusing continuity that’s existed before. I wasn’t collecting comics at the time when issue one of Ultimate Spider-Man came out, but I decided to pick up the first few issues. I thought it was okay. In my opinion, I think Ultimate Spider-Man really took off after the first story arc. The comic lasted for over one hundred issues and there were some moments where I lost interest in the book. I think I stopped collecting around the time Ultimate Moon Knight showed up. However, I got back into the title when writer Brian Michael Bendis introduced his own take on the Clone Saga for the title. I don’t know what it is about clones and Spider-Man that makes me go crazy. The Clone Saga got me to pick up Ultimate Spider-Man again and now it’s done it again with the regular Spider-Man book.
After the Ultimate Clone Saga ended, I dropped the book and haven’t read it since. With Ultimatum wrecking havoc in the Ultimate Universe, Marvel decided to cancel all of their Ultimate books and relaunch two of them with new number one issues. So Ultimate Spider-Man is now Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and The Ultimates is now the Ultimate Comics Avengers. So does Bendis deliver the goods once again with this new Ultimate Spidey title? You betcha!
Rating: ** 1/2*
As readers know from my postings here at Comix 411, I just recently began reading Amazing Spider-Man after a long absence. I was turned off by the “Brand New Day” storyline and refused to collect Spider-Man. Well, the latest Amazing Spider-Man annual got me interested in Spidey again after a great story revolving around Ben Reilly. I also really enjoyed issue #600 of Amazing and was looking forward to this issue after we saw the return of Mary Jane at the end of #600. Since Amazing Spider-Man began being published three times a month, we’ve had a revolving team of writers and artists. In this issue we see Mark Waid take over the writing chores and, unfortunately, I was disappointed.
Mark Waid has done some great comic book work in the past. He’s the reason I love the characters of Captain America and the Flash (Wally West). His stories and the development of these characters was amazing and textbook for what I consider good comic book writing. Over the past few years, Mark Waid’s work hasn’t really interested me all that much.
The story opens up with Peter Parker in bed with a hangover from Aunt May’s wedding. He notices that he’s not alone and instead of Mary Jane being in bed with him, he discovers that he slept with his roommate Michelle Gonzales. Peter has no memory of their night together, which upsets her and results in her storming out. Thinking that he no longer has a roommate or a place to live Peter spends half the time this issue trying to find a new place to live. The other half is spent trying to remember when and where he was going to meet up with Mary Jane. While at the wedding reception, Peter got up the courage to talk with her and they made a date to talk.
After last week’s excellent Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36, I decided it was time to get back into Spider-Man. For all of us fanboys who rant and rave about never collecting a title again because of something that is done to our favorite comic book character, I think very few of us are ever able to hold onto that promise. Let’s face it, if it’s a good story and great artwork, we always come back and I’m sure that’s why Marvel had no problem making the “Brand New Day” decision a few years back because they knew we always come back.
This issue of Amazing Spider-Man is of course a huge milestone as it’s the 600th issue of the title. I know that the original title was canceled and this is part of the renumbering that was done a few years ago, but still it’s amazing (no pun intended) to see that Spider-Man continues to wow us after so many issues of Amazing and various other Spidey titles.
This issue marks the wedding of Peter Parker’s Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson Sr. The issue opens up with long-time Spider-villain Doctor Octopus talking with a doctor about all of the blunt force trauma he’s suffered over the years in fighting Spider-Man and various other heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe. The prognosis? He’s got about a year or so left to live. With this news, Doc Ock decides that he must do something worthwhile before he dies. Doc Ock decides to use his “brilliant” mind to benefit mankind. He will use the technology that he has to enable him to control the city of NY. He wants to make the trains run on time like Mussolini. Gee thanks, Ock!