Review: Ms. Marvel: No Normal Volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No NormalMs. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kamala


Introduction:

Now I must admit. I have heard about Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel a couple of times from fellow comic book readers, but I had never really read a comic book about Captain Marvel before and therefore, I do not know much about her character (other than the fact that she had a rivalry with Rogue from the X-Men, due to Rogue stealing her powers and putting her in a coma). So, when I heard that Marvel was making a “Ms. Marvel” series that would have a protagonist who was of Muslim background, I was seriously excited at the prospect of having a diverse superhero in the Marvel Universe!


What is this story about?

Kamala Khan was your average teenage girl who happens to live in Jersey City and comes from a Muslim family. One day however, a mysterious mist overcomes Jersey City and Kamala soon finds herself obtaining powers such as stretching her limbs out to unbelievable lengths and shapeshifting into different forms. Unfortunately, not only does Kamala have a hard time controlling her newfound powers, but she suffers from an identity crisis as she tries to figure out what kind of superhero she wants to be: a superhero that is exactly like Captain Marvel or a superhero where she can express her true personality and beliefs through her newfound powers?


What I loved about this story:

G. Willow Wilson’s writing: I will admit that this is the first time that I had ever read a comic book by G. Willow Wilson (or this could possibly be her first comic book), so I was interested to see what kind of new storylines G. Willow Wilson could bring to the Marvel Universe. Lo and behold, I was pleasantly surprised by G. Willow Wilson’s witty and emotional writing of Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel! I loved the way that G. Willow Wilson wrote Kamala Khan’s character as Kamala is shown as being a spunky girl who wants to be a superhero, but she is not sure of what kind of superhero she should be and I loved the fact that this issue is explored and how it affects Kamala throughout the story. I also loved the fact that this story is extremely lighthearted with some intense moments here and there as it gives the story so much depth regarding the characters and it is nice to have a superhero series that has a light tone that could resonate with the readers. I also think that G. Willow Wilson did an excellent job at not making Kamala’s Muslim background into something stereotypical, but into something that makes Kamala unique in her own way and it was great seeing what Muslim culture is like within a superhero community as it gives more diversity to the story since it is rare that we see Middle Eastern superheroes being portrayed in superhero comic books.

Adrian Alphona’s artwork: Adrian Alphona’s artwork is both gorgeous and hilarious to look at as the characters are drawn realistically and there are some panels where the characters’ skins glow against sunlight and moonlight and gives their appearances a mesmerizing feel. I also loved the way that Adrian Alphona drew the humorous expressions on the characters whenever they are shocked or scared as it made the artwork into something unique as you have both comedic and dramatic artwork within the same story.

Kamala


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like language in comic books, this graphic novel does have some language such as the constant use of the “p” word, but other than that, this graphic novel is pretty tame compared to some of the darker and grittier superhero comic books.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Ms. Marvel Volume One: No Normal” is truly one of the most creative and inspiring stories I had ever read from Marvel NOW and I am definitely looking forward to reading more adventures from the new and different “Ms. Marvel!”

5 pows

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Power Girl: Power Trip by Jimmy Palmiotti

Power Girl: Power TripPower Girl: Power Trip by Jimmy Palmiotti

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So…I dived into the latest Shallow buddy-read.

No one better than Power Girl to fulfil the criterion of an embarrassing amount of cleavage on display, am I right? I mean, she’s on the banner and all.
Though at this point it’s gone beyond the event horizon of cleavage…
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Review: Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction

Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a WeaponHawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hawkeye


Introduction:

Now, I will admit that when I first heard about Marvel launching their “Marvel NOW” line (which is similar to DC doing their “New 52” reboot, except that “Marvel NOW” is not a reboot), I was a bit hesitant about reading any of the comic books from this line because:

1) I did not like the direction that Marvel was taking some of their franchises (X-Men in particular).
2) Since I have not been reading Marvel Comics (or DC comics for that matter) that long, I was afraid that I would not understand some of the new comics coming out since I have not read a lot of the previous comics before the 1970s and some from the 1990s yet.

But, after I heard so many good things about this comic book, I just had to put my reservations about the “Marvel NOW” comic book line on hold and give Matt Fraction’s hit series “Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon” a chance! Lo and behold, I found myself loving this series and I wanted to read more from “Hawkeye!”


What is this story about?

Basically in this volume, it details the adventures that Clint Barton, also known as the legendary Avenger, Hawkeye, has whenever he is not with the Avengers. Along for the ride in these adventures, is Young Avenger member Kate Bishop and she and Clint end up fighting crime in New York City while wielding their bow and arrows in the process!


What I loved about this story:

Matt Fraction’s writing: Now I will admit that this is probably the first time I had ever read an “Avengers” comic book since I am more of an “X-Men” fan, but after hearing so many good things about this comic book, I decided to give Hawkeye a try and I found myself loving this volume! Matt Fraction has done a brilliant job at keeping this story self contained (which was what I was looking for when I picked up some comic books in the “Marvel NOW” comic book line) and I really enjoyed the solo adventures that Hawkeye went on. I also loved the way that Matt Fraction made Clint Barton into a truly hilarious and active character and I loved his little quips throughout the entire story. Some of my favorite lines from Hawkeye was when he was making fun of how the older comic books would set up the dialogues whenever they are translating foreign languages (like you know how the older comic books would tell the readers “translated from Russian” or “translated from Japanese”)? Well, his dialogue would go like this:


“(Some Spanish-sounding stuff)!” or “(French Stuff).”

I also loved the way that Matt Fraction portrayed Clint Barton’s relationship with Kate Bishop as it is both heartwarming and hilarious to look at and it was fantastic seeing another character who had the same sharp-shooting skills as Hawkeye does.

David Aja and Javier Pulido’s artwork: David Aja and Javier Pulido’s artwork were fantastic in this volume as they are reminiscent of the artwork in Frank Miller’s classic “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” comic book. I loved the way that David Aja’s artwork in the first three issues is scratchy and bold lined while still capturing the essence of each action scene involving Hawkeye and Kate Bishop fighting against criminals. Javier Pulido’s artwork in the fourth and fifth issues are much lighter in color tone and much more detailed in designs and I really loved the way that they captured the characters and the action scenes.

Hawkeye


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

Probably the only issue that I did not care for in this volume was the “Young Avengers Presents #6” issue. For one thing, I do not normally read the “Young Avengers” comic book series, so I will admit that I was a little confused about what was going on, even though this issue is supposed to be when Kate Bishop first meets Hawkeye. Another thing about this issue was that I felt that the tone of the story was way too different from the tone of the rest of the volume, which was light hearted and action-packed while this issue was dark and had too much soap opera drama for my tastes. So, all in all, I think that this issue was just average and not as good as the rest of the issues in this volume. Although, I did enjoyed Alan Davis’ artwork in this issue as it was gorgeous to look at and the characters’ facial expressions were realistic.


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon” is one truly brilliant volume for anyone who is a huge Hawkeye fan and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of his series in the near future!

Rating?

5 pows

Review: Night of the Living Deadpool; by Cullen Bunn

Night of the Living DeadpoolNight of the Living Deadpool by Cullen Bunn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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At first, I thought this was about the walk of whore-ers…so I wondered why we had a whole theme of reading about Lono’s Wednesday afternoons…then I realized it meant SCARY Stuff (Then again, I’ve seen some of those Whores…yikes! and Lono’s balls? it’s like Emperor Palpatine’s neck in Jedi!). But I digress…

Anyhow, this is a short, fun, funny, and only conceptually scary book. It’s about zombies, so I know it counts. Also, it’s a tribute to the Romero films and enjoyable. I LOVE the colour palette, black, white, read, and other shades but those 3 are the best. The Covers are art. Pure art. I’d hang some on my walls, but then I’d have to take down the Dukes of Hazzard and Kathy Ireland posters…

This is one of the better Deadpool’s I’ve read; Cullen Bunn has a good handle on him now, and there’s not too much smartass 4th wall stuff, but just enough funny bits to make you chuckle in a good way.
“This is a Civil War Graveyard”
“We talkin’ Cap versus Iron Man or Patrick Swayze versus James Read?” ZING!

Superhero cribs smell more like testosterone and B.O. less like mold and fertilizer…

Singing Rush songs? “Working Man”…hilarious!

Making a Jack-o-Lantern out of a severed zombie head and a flashlight? So he can have his sword/gun hand free!

Complaining that killing zombies is actually kinda sad: “But I’ve played video games!”

Clarence, the AIM scientist zombie head companion, then the joke about every time a 9MM Rings…an Angel gets his wings!

Going out in a blaze of glory…”Young Guns Style”! Yes.

The plot itself is pretty decent too, Wade wakes from a food coma (all you can eat Chimichangas) to find that there’s a zombie apocalypse, and all the heroes are dead…except him, and some ragtag peeps in an El Camino all jacked up. There’s the usual stereotypes left in the party, and what happens is what we expect.
(of course the 8 week search for a perfect hideout until they find a terrible one is pretty funny)

Then the usual sliver of hope, and whatever happens from there, Deadpool puts himself into his work…and a different, yet nifty ending.
I’d love to see it continue in some way, but who knows. (We also get to see Bunn’s notes on what he might have done with the series in the back).

So pretty fun, some good laughs that hit my pop culture target, and we have a whore-if-eye-ing good time!


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Review: Ultimate FF Vol. 3 – N-Zone; by Warren Ellis

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 3: N-ZoneUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 3: N-Zone by Warren Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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OK, so Volume 3 again is helmed by Warren Ellis, who for me, has done nearly the best sustained job of writing Reed Richards that I can recall. He gets just how smart this guy is, but also in the Ultimate version, makes him have a slightly more in-tune with other humans vibe. (If I can put it this way, most people write Reed like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory in the first season, whereas Ellis writes him more like Leonard, who’s still super smart, but gets the social contract a bit more…) After our adventures with Victor Van Damme last volume, here we focus on the N-Zone (negative zone).

The science in this book is fascinating, but done on a level where anyone who reads it slow-ly can un-der-stand. I love that Reed takes the time to try and metaphorically explain things to Ben, who fully admits that he’s clueless, but I love that this Reed cares enough to try.

Adam (& Andy) Kubert is back on art duties in this volume, and one thing that jumped out at me, is that he totally captures just how sad Ben Grimm’s eyes are. There might be 5 panels in the book where he doesn’t have that sad distant look in them, and it’s brilliant…Ben is completely cut off from his humanity, unlike the others who still maintain human forms. However, a small conversation with the usually shallow Johnny kinda hits home for him: Ben wanted to play football, and Johnny says OK so you wanted to be broke and washed up at 30 with bum knees to score a few goals? Dude, you punched out a Sea Monster the other day. You get to be a Superhero! Are you really going to be that sad about not playing ball?

It’s things like that, this Fantastic Foursome are not just cardboard cutouts or generic FF settings, these are actual young people, who’ve undergone a huge change in their lives, and are mostly excited about what that change presents them with…Sue is strong, fiercely intelligent biologist in her own right, not just ‘Reed’s Girlfriend and Johnny’s Sister’ or the kids’ mom. Johnny is the young one of the group, not tremendously different from the regular version, but he’s still excited and eager, and not as jaded or douche-y as he can be. Ben as I’ve mentioned before, is an actual person, not just a dumbass with catchphrases (though we do see the etymology of his famous rallying cry, which is neat), he’s self-aware, mournful for his lost humanity, but also a strong and loyal protector to these people.

We also see humour that’s not just canned stale jokes, these guys rip into Reed for his naming of things Fantasti-anything, and as a result, Johnny gets to name the Shuttle, which of course, he decides on ‘Awesome’ which he and Ben love, and the other 2 are mortified about.

The science of the N-Zone is handled in a intelligent way, so that we get what is being talked about; I feel like in the regular FF we sometimes are forced to take things for granted and just accept them, whereas here, there’s an effort to understand, like how it’s impossible for Sue to be invisible, yet she is…and how Johnny suffers some adverse side-effects from using his powers, but we see a sort of evolution/change in them as things go on.
We see just how FANTASTIC they really are, and can be, when put into the hands of a smart writer who’s engaged with them. If I knew this title was so good, I’d have told everyone who didn’t like FF to read this. It really makes them fresh and interesting and people I care about.

Of course, what would a trip be into the N-Zone without contact with another life form in a new universe…this one is called Nihil, or as Ben calls him E-Vill. (Annihilus of our universe) the first contact is done very well, I wish I had faith our own first contact would ever be so intelligent…
math forming the basis of communication, the extreme excitement from Reed that nearly blinds him to the dangers that Sue and Ben seem to sense a bit more…it’s just so easy to read this without ever thinking the’re stupid, or the writing is off, or you’re being forced to accept too much weird stuff.

The of course, there’s the final action sequence, straight out of Con-Air, and I loved it for that. General Ross as mad as hell, until Reed tosses him a piece of space tech from N-Zone, and then his proclamation of love for young Richards.

We also see Ben missing his family, the public reveal of the team, a bit more of Reed’s non-contact with his family, and the bonds of this group getting stronger…

I really was so impressed and enjoyed this, it all came together for me, even if it’s not a 5 star book, I enjoyed the hell out of it like one. So what more do you really want in a book but to enjoy it and not have any problems?
(OK, one prob…that was the last of Ellis on this book…SAD FACE!)


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Review: Ultimate FF Vol. 2 – Doom; by Warren Ellis

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 2: DoomUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 2: Doom by Warren Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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More tardy Foursome Shallow Buddyreads!

Volume 2 picks up on the hunt for Victor Van Damme, and we discover that he’s had to construct himself a suit of armour to cover his decaying body. He’s based in a squatters area in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Before we get the first showdown before him and the Four, there’s some other stuff to take care of…first off: Warren Ellis is writing!
He’s got a different style than Bendis and Millar, less for the masses, a little more intelligent, but still highly enjoyable. (That isn’t a knock on Bendis or Millar either, I very much enjoy both men’s work).

But here we get explanations of scientific questions about the four that many of us would ask if we ever had the chance: Does Ben still use the potty? (Yes, but it’s not pretty) How strong is he? (7 Tons of psi per hand!) What happens to Reed’s organs when he shifts shapes? (Turns out he doesn’t HAVE any anymore, just some lung-like remnants that oxygenates the blood!)

Very cool stuff. I really liked it.
Victor builds a bunch of robot insects to attack the Baxter Building, which lets Reed know he’s still alive, and he’s got the codes that he changed before the test that changed them all. Reed wants it at all costs, but first, they need to survive the attack. We get to see Reed as the helpless one here, with Johnny and Ben fighting and strong, Sue strong in the use of her powers (and mind, she’s an internal biologist!) and pushes herself to the edge many times.

We also see some jokes about names, like the Human Matchbox, and the Asbestos Thing (Ben isn’t affected by heat in this version, and is also bulletproof (last volume)). We also get introduced to the Fantasti-car, which Reed built at 13, using info Tony Stark put on the internet and his own brain.
Ben and Johnny mock the everloving shit out of Reed, calling everything Fantasti-something. It’s a nice way to develop characters, and also keep Reed from being too high and mighty above everyone else, which was something I always found off-putting about Marvel U Reed a lot of the time.

Sue’s also no slouch intellectually, which I greatly enjoy!

This all leads to a breakout where the Four go after Victor, and we see a showdown, only broken up by the arrival of the Army, and then the realization that he’s got diplomatic immunity…as a Danish citizen…
However, we see a bit more anger and action from Reed here, so it’s a different direction, but I will for sure be following along with this one.


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Review: Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1 – The Fantastic; by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Millar

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The FantasticUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The Fantastic by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Better late than never…my library was just a little slow on the delivery, but I now have a stack of 9 FF volumes to get through for our Foursome Shallow Buddy Read…from LAST week…my bad…

Anyhow, here we go! Welcome to the Ultimate Marvel Universe, a place which varies slightly from the normal Marvel U, and which allows us to tell familiar stories with slight twists…

Here, Reed Richards is still a super smart kid, Ben Grimm is a big jock who defends Reed from bullies in exchange for help with Trigonometry homework, and Sue and Johnny Storm are kids of Dr. Storm, the head of the Baxter Building.
Reed’s father (Gary, not Nathaniel) here is a bit of a dick, mad that Reed breaks the blender and other devices…eventually, the Baxter Building program for super genius scientists recruits him at the Science Fair, and off he goes, but even there, there’s not much love from the family still (mom is OK, but dad isn’t).

Sue is a smart one here, Reed is in love from day one, and Victor (Van Damme, not Von Doom – though I hope it means he’s great at Kung Fu and does Volvo commercials!) is his main rival. Mole Man is a professor at the BB who’s fired for doing human DNA work and General Ross (Thunderbolt?) and Dr. Storm fire him for immoral work.

Johnny’s his usual self, a bit younger, and Ben just happens to come visit one day when they’re doing a big experiment…it goes wrong, and they all wake up in different places with variations of their powers (Earth – Ben, Air – Sue, Fire – Johnny, and Water – Reed (makes more sense than Elastic)) However, Victor is still missing…

There’s a Mole Man creature who shows up to attack the city, and Ben and Johnny dive right into ass-kickery, Reed a little less so…they then discover that Sue was found by Mole Man, and there’s some awkward shit there…

We’re left with the whereabouts of Victor still unknown and the army concerned about what the four have become, especially Ben…

So this is a great variation on the origin story, and a fun place to jump into a series that can alienate by being too high concept and science-y for some of us troglodytes, but it also corrects the blatant sexism of the early 60s FF when they weren’t quite sure how to deal with Sue…

I’m looking forward to continuing the series, and cannot wait to see how Victor will manifest himself. I’m also happy to see the comedy and action mix, courtesy of Bendis and Millar, who wrote this together! Now, onto Vol. 2!

This should have been the required read for Foursome Week…great fun read that’s not too fluffy or too heavy.


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Review: The Dark Knight Vol. 4 – Clay; by Gregg Hurwitz (end of series)

Batman: The Dark Knight, Vol. 4: ClayBatman: The Dark Knight, Vol. 4: Clay by Gregg Hurwitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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This book is choc-full of evil villains. (It’s BATMAN! Duh…)

So anyhow, The Dark Knight has been one of the 4 main Batman titles, (Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin) yet it’s probably the least known one. It made the mistake of having Gregg Hurwitz not write the first volume, he just drew it. Once he took over, things got better. Most of the Dark Knight seems to focus on villains and their origins (Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, and this one…Clayface) and that’s a cool thing to do when Joker and Riddler (and Penguin to a lesser extent) dominate the rest of the Bat world.

I’m happy to see they’ve decided to go with the “original” Clayface, Basil Karlo, a very plain man who wanted to be an actor, but just didn’t have “it” to get noticed. Eventually he goes to Penguin to get help, and Penguin gives him some native thingy that turns his face to clay like malleability, so he can be a great facial actor. He in turn ends up doing things for Penguin, but things go wrong and he soon becomes all clay, but can become anyone he touches.

We see here that he’s taken as a very dangerous, almost invulnerable force. Arkham needs a special containment unit for him. We also see that he needs people to like him, as he stays calm in Arkham because his neighbour in the cells is a fan and they talk…only when he dies does Clayface go nuts. He takes it to another level, going after Penguin and taking him out, then seeks out the Joker to give him some Joker Gas/Serum. He then rampages thru town and takes people hostage to get an audience who he pumps full of Joker toxin so they laugh at his work non-stop.

What’s different here, is that Batman is written with just the slightest sense of humour…he and Alfred trade wits and barbs, and he even jokes around with Gordon (announces his arrival before he scares the shit out of Gordon in the dark.) The best part is when Clayface impersonates Gordon at the start of the book and kills a bunch of people…then later on, Gordon uses the Bat Signal, Batman appears and bitchslaps him…(sorry Jim, just had to make sure it was you)….HAHAHA effective but funny.

In addition, Batman actually listens to Alfred who tells him to get some help, and we get brief appearances of Black Canary and Condor (who? ya, no, this guy looks like a twat). Eventually Clayface is secured, and the sad chapter closes.

The next 2 books arc is called Voiceless, and is done entirely without dialogue. Alberto Ponticelli takes over the art here from Alex Maleev (who did a very good job with the Clayface arc, very dark muted tones and great use of browns). Alberto does different work, with good facial and body language artwork, but his is even more important in a wordless story.
The story is about a family of Mexicans, the mother works in a sweatshop, and when she accidentally breaks one of the angel figures she’s making, she is fired on the spot. She goes home and her young son is quite ill, she runs to the drugstore, which is closed, offers all her money to the pharmacist, who just drives off…you can figure out what happens next, since this is Batman…
They see advertisments for Gotham, and get into trucks to go there, but are separated. (Granny and young daughter in one, mom in the other) The Daughter and Granny are working in a Gotham sweatshop making Christmas ornaments, when Granny sees that granddaughter is alive, she decides to break out…but one of the captors sees her sneaking out a window, and well…that’s that.
Batman comes upon Granny’s body, and the art on this page is superb.

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It gets down to the very essence of what Batman is all about, and even now, looking at it for like the 10th time in the last 18hrs, the raw emotions just hit me very hard.

Well, long story short, Batman kicks the everloving shit out of the sweatshop folks, who of course, report to the Penguin…he rescues mom, has her reunite with the daughter in the hospital (cue more tears, Anne, you better take a box of hankies) and then throws down furious vengeance. Because this is still Batman, we see the Penguin get out of jail due to his many lawyers. Wayne Enterprises attempts to employ many of the workers, and we see the mother has a job there, as Bruce Wayne walks by and smiles at her in one panel.

The last page has Batman checking in on the family, and he smiles and waves to the little girl who waves back to him, then we see the final image…the broken angel on top of the Christmas tree, made up to look like Batman.

The final story is about the evilest villain of all: Abraham Langstrom, father of Kirk Langstrom, and new Man-Bat. Langstrom Senior is a corporate raider, who buys up companies and strips them for parts in a very ruthless manner, we also see that he owns pharmaceuticals and has no problem sending defective medicine to Africa to be used there because “It’s Africa.”. Yup, easy to dislike him. We also see he’s bullied his son, and is obsessed with being the Man-Bat and feasting on Flesh…well there’s a showdown with Batman of course, and the manner in which Batman takes him out eventually is draining…
(And thankfully, even in the midst of this, there’s a couple of jokes! Alfred makes fun of Bruce for saying Ouch while getting stitched up, and Gordon tells Batman people need to stop “Vigilante-ING” to which Bats replies “I don’t think that’s a verb”).

So all in all, a strong collection of 3 different stories, all relating to Batman, and giving us a nice connection to him and deeper understanding, all without extremely long and drawn out storylines. The Dark Knight is a great title to read if you like Batman but only want to dabble, or you want to jump in somewhere.

Sadly, this last volume marks the end of the series…I suppose it wasn’t feasible to carry this many Bat-titles, so we should be glad that this was around while it was. It’s also easy enough to read through separate from the major storylines, and good for filling your Bat-diction.


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Review: Superior Spider-Man Team Up Vol. 2 – Superior Six; by Chris Yost and Kevin Shinick

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Volume 2: Superior Six (Marvel Now)Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Volume 2: Superior Six by Christopher Yost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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Continuing EVIL week buddy reads with the Shallow Readers, here we’ve got Superior Spider-Man (Evil Otto in Good Peter’s body) alongside the Sinister Superior Six (Vulture, Electro, Sandman, Mysterio, Chameleon (and usually Doc Ock!).

Here’s an interesting twist on things: Otto has the other members of the Six under control via his Spider-bots, so he has control of all their actions, and is using them for various evil shenanigans good!

Of course, since this is Spider-Man, everything goes tits up…Otto is finding out the hard way, he’s got his AND Peter’s bad luck multiplied! The Wrecking Crew shows up to steal some Quantum Physics thing, and he gets help from some Sun Girl character.

Also, the Six talk about how something is off, because Spider-Man was never this mean and also not this long without a joke…talking about how it’s juxtaposed between their evil torture and his, and his taking control of them and imprisoning them to do his bidding is far worse than anything they ever did to him…and they’re kinda right.

Spidey Otto learns from Sun Girl, the minor nobody who wanted to be just like Spidey, what it really means to be a hero, and Otto chastises himself for being too cocky and losing sight of the real reason…there’s also some sad stuff about Sandman, and how he used to think Spider-Man wasn’t all bad, but now, it’s different, and Otto realizes that he’s done far worse than keep them prisoner, he’s united them in the bond of hatred they feel for Spider-Man. Irony of ironies, Otto as Doc Ock could NEVER get them all that together.

The next story Anne will love! It’s all about Otto Spidey being all woebegone after his failures with the Six, and deciding to turn himself into the Avengers and admit everything…but he runs into NAMOR!

Namor is being pursued by Wakandan assassins, and Spidey helps him out even though the Sub-Mariner wants nothing to do with him. Then Spidey tells his tale and Namor laughs in his face and tells him thanks, that’s the best laugh he’s had in years. Then Namor sees Spidey disarm the robot assassins (because they’re not actually Wakandan) and he says, forget this shit Insect Man, you’re superior, you’re better than the sheep you protect, never forget that. Namor is about to tell him he’s earned his respect when Otto straight up BITCH-SLAPS Namor.

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Yeah BOI!

Then he tells him that his bullshit better not endanger the people of his city anymore…and this convinces Otto not to be so emo, that in fact, he’s the greatest super hero EVER! So score one for Namor’s attitude making Otto Spidey stronger…and he gets bitchslapped. Awesome.

Next story is a switch from Chris Yost to Kevin Shinick, and while I enjoyed both, I think Shinick did a good job inserting a bit more humour into the rest of the volume.

This one features our favourite NYC Street Trifecta: Spidey, Daredevil, and Big Pun!
Spidey is internal monologuing about how the city sits on the brink of tension, like before WWI, the American Revolution, and:

“Or the bullet that killed someone named “TWO PACKS” that apparently kicked off some Bi-Coastal WRAPPING War…”

BWAHAHAHA! I laughed so hard at that one I woke my wife up. Two Packs…hahaha. OTTO I love you so hard.

He’s interrupted by Frank and Matt, Frank shoots him to get his attention, and Frank asks when the webbing became bulletproof…then Otto asks how he knew that, only for it to click that he didn’t know and he just shot at him! LOLZ! Oh you guys!
Anyhow, Daredevil says relax, the Devil made him do it…HAHA! (See? a Pun? Weak but funny. Even little ones like this would help DC) it was rubber bullets…at least Frank said they would be…and we need to talk.
Otto freaks out, to which Matt replies “We’re going on five seconds and you’ve already said “Egads” and “Confound it”. You’re NOT yourself…and I’m a tad concerned…”

When Spidey checks to see if Punisher followed DD’s instructions to use rubber bullets, his reply?
“Let’s just say I hear as well as he sees”

This is comedy gold. I mean a Punisher who cracks jokes? OK sure. This I love, and Spider-Man is the ruthless angry one…bingo. LOVE IT.

Down to business, someone stole some of Frank’s weaponry, and he and DD want Spidey’s help, plus they’re not sure if maybe he didn’t take it…so we go back to his secret lair Spider Island. There we discover that someone has stolen all of Otto-Man’s stuff, and that his whole team of minions has been infiltrated…a large battle ensues, and we see the trifecta working together, but Otto refuses to trust the other 2…Daredevil is all “bitch please, Punisher is blind from a flash bang, I’m blind, and we are running around, and Spider-Man doesn’t make ONE ‘blind leading the blind’ joke? who is the sketchy one here?’ (I paraphrase)

Then we have a revelation as to who could have engineered such a job, and gotten into everyone’s heads, once the 3 are on the trust game again (Punisher even makes a trust exercise joke, about falling backwards onto his knife. – I LOVE the Punisher being a smartass….here’s a free idea for Marvel…Peter Parker’s mind in Frank Castle’s body!) Otto Spidey gets SUPER MAD when he discovers that everything is Green Goblin!

The last 2 issues are a very cool retro-drawn look back at how Gobby and Doc Ock started to work together, and how Gobby fucked Otto over super hardcore. Otto’s realization that Goblin did the same thing to him a second time while he’s been Spider-Man is very cleverly illustrated over a 2 page spread, where we see the parallel situations…except this time, Otto thinks with his heart instead of his brain, and that’s what allows Peter’s soul to re-emerge in Spider-Man, and defeat Osborn where Otto never could.

Otto even refers to Peter as the better man, and says he saved both Otto and Anna Maria (Otto’s love while living as Peter). The last page belongs to Pete, telling us in a recap what happened, and how he’s learned about Otto by reliving all his memories and entire life…he won’t condone his actions, but he can empathize with him and relate far better. He also says that Otto deserves the credit for the goblin serum that removes it from those who were infected, so his brain actually was scientifically superior to any other. Then Pete’s final observation is the irony behind Otto’s victory over Norman is that he didn’t think with his mind for once…

I gave this book 4 stars but I think I enjoyed it more than that. I will say so because I just finished Superior Spider-Man’s whole run, and Otto went out in such a way…This feels like returning to a long lost friend…which means that Otto’s Superior Spider-Man was a success, because reading him again made me smile. I have to think that the Superior Spider-Man may be one of the best story arcs of the last decade plus. It took away someone we took for granted (Peter Parker) and it turned our perceptions of his longest running enemy (Otto) and flipped them. Otto as Spider-Man was a great idea, and executed so very well too, which is half the battle with good ideas, letting them come to fruition properly.

I will be seeking out the first volume of this Team-Up series (I did read another one, but it was actually Avenging Spider-Man issues with this title on them instead…).

Strongly recommended for anyone who liked Superior S-M. Very enjoyable, and I do hope Otto rises again somewhere, and is forever changed by his experiences.


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