Having suffered enough after reading those 14 mainly crappy comics from last week, I've decided to reward myself by reading the three comic books I'm most looking forward to from this week, Amazing Spider-Man, the Fear Itself Prologue, and Children's Crusade: Young Avengers. Yes, after suffering through Krypto defeating Kid Flash in a race, and Deathstroke's eye inexplicably being pulled out, I think I deserve a break. So thank you Marvel, for helping me remember why I collect comic books with these three awesome issues.
Amazing Spider-Man #656:
Summary: Picking up from last issue, Massacre has kidnapped a mess of hostages and has shot one and blown 7 of them up as a warning to the police to stay away so he could steal some money from a bank. Spidey(still without his spider-sense) arrives on the scene to help, and manages to get a spider-tracer attached to Massacre before getting shot in the gut. Spidey tells the cops to let Massacre get away, since he figured he'd be able to track Massacre with the tracer. Unfortunately, Spidey's spider-tracers use his spider-sense to tell him where the bad guy has gone, and with no spider-sense, the tracer is useless... D'oh! Mayor Jameson gets wind of Massacre's massacre(what?) and holds a press conference stating the usual lines(we'll catch the bad guy, we're strong people, etc). After the press conference, Jameson meets up with a young child whose mother was one of the people Massacre killed, and still reeling from the death of his own wife, Jameson promises the boy that Massacre WOULD die for his crimes. From there Spidey rigs up a new armored Spidey suit to compensate for the lack of a spider-sense just as Massacre takes a few hostages at the stock brokerage he worked for before he went crazy and became a costumed super-baddie. It appears Massacre has discovered the spider-tracer and wants Spidey to show up so he could kill him. Spidey(in his shiny new costume) arrives on the scene and immediately covers Massacre's hostages with webbing that blocks radio signals, thus preventing Massacre from blowing them up. By this point Mayor Jameson has arrived on the scene and has ordered the police snipers to kill Massacre once they had a clear shot. Massacre tries to shoot the hostages, but Spidey leaps in the way and deflects the bullets. Now officially pissed, Massacre pulls out another remote control and threatens to blow up some hostages that he hid away from the scene of the battle. Spidey webs the remote to Massacre's hand, which blocks the radio signal and leaves Massacre with only one useful hand, at which point Spidey pummels the villain into near submission. Massacre manages to stagger towards an open window, right in the line of the police snipers, who fix their sights on him and fire, as per Jameson's orders. Spidey jumps in the way and deflects all of the bullets, which saves Massacre, since Spidey refused to see ANYBODY die while he was on the scene ever again. The paramedics take Massacre away and Jameson confronts Spidey over saving Massacre. Spidey tries to use the old, “If we kill him we're as bad as him” speech on Jameson, which simply serves to infuriate Jameson further. With that, Spidey swings away and this issue ends.
Thoughts: This was yet another really good issue of Amazing. I mean since I started collecting this series again, I don't think I've scored any issue under an 8, which is REALLY impressive. I like Massacre as a villain, and was glad he didn't simply get blown away at the end, since I think he has some real potential. I also really liked the way Dan Slott emphasized how important Spidey's spider-sense was, and how difficult it was for Spidey to function without it. Sure, there were a few things here that bothered me, like Spidey dodging all but one of Massacre's bullets WITHOUT any help from his spider-sense, and Spidey's co-workers(sorry, they just don't have the same charm as the Daily Bugle staff), but all in all, this was a highly enjoyable comic, as usual.
Score: 9 out of 10.And with that, Spidey gets the big ol' FAIL award!
Avengers: The Children's Crusade: Young Avengers #1:
Summary: We kick things off with Iron Lad exiting the timestream to confront his future(and EVIL) self, Kang the Conqueror. Iron Lad prepares to defeat his future self when grown up versions of the Young Avengers(notably minus Wiccan) arrive on the scene and tell Iron Lad to leave Kang along since he's one of the Avengers now, same as them. Iron Lad is totally floored by that revelation and tries to remind his former teammates that the reason they first banded together was to defeat Kang, NOT team with him! From there we get a flashback from before the Young Avengers first went public and only included Iron Lad, Wiccan, Hulkling and Patriot on their roster. The flashback is AWESOME, and involves the kids trying(and failing) to defeat Electro right before Electro breaks out all those super-villains from the Raft, which accidentally leads to the reformation of the Avengers. Back to the present(future?) where Kang and the grown-up Young Avengers explain that the reformation of the Avengers was actually a really bad thing as the Avengers had become more willing to permanently eliminate anybody they believed was a threat, including Wiccan. Kang tells Iron Lad that after Wiccan and the Young Avengers tried to rescue the Scarlet Witch from Latveria, the Avengers came down and killed both Wiccan and the Scarlet Witch. Iron Lad can't believe that fact and rushes back into the timestream to prevent these grim sounding events. Once Iron Lad is gone, grown-up Wiccan emerges from the shadows and asks Kang if it was really necessary to lie to Iron Lad. Kang says probably not, but that the lie would send Iron Lad to Latveria, where Iron Lad would start the chain of events that would turn him into Kang and destroy the Avengers... Forever!!!
Thoughts: Um, it was Allan Heinberg writing the Young Avengers, drawn by Alan Davis... How do you THINK I felt about it?!? I LOVED it! EVERY page of it! First off, the art gave the comic a younger X-Men-ish feel, which actually fits this series very well. But then Davis is one of the FEW artists whose work I can pick out of a line-up, so it was cool to see him lend his distinctive style to my favorite band of teenage heroes. And yes, the Young Avengers ARE my favorite group of teenage heroes, probably ever, so needless to say(and unsurprisingly), I loved this issue. Nobody writes the YA's like Heinberg, which he proved again here. What more can I say? This issue was a weird little fill-in issue in the middle of the Children's Crusade mini-series, but I loved it, and it has me anticipating the next issue of Children's Crusade more than ever!
Score: 10 out of 10.Good art, a good story AND funny as hell? What more could I ask for?
Fear Itself Prologue: Book of the Skull #1:
Summary: This issue gets underway with Baron Zemo assisting Sin in breaking into one of her father's(that would be Herr Red Skull)secret bases. Why is Zemo there, you ask? He owed Sin for the information she gave him about Captain America(Bucky Barnes) a while back. They head to Egypt and infiltrate the base, getting past several of the Skull's deathtraps and discovering a book. Sin starts to read the book, which takes us back in time to WWII. During the war, Skull had some Hydra magicians preform a ritual sacrifice of some Atlantians to gain the favor of some dark god. The dark god sent something to Antarctica, which is where Skull and his Nazi goons decide to go. They are followed by Captain America(Steve Rogers), Bucky and Namor, who is VERY angry about the sacrifice of his fellow Atlantians. The Nazis arrive first and discover a golden hammer(which nobody is able to lift) and a giant blue creature. By this time the heroes arrive, and Skull tells his magicians to hide the hammer, while he hops in an airplane to escape. The heroes fight and defeat the giant, figuring that the giant was what Skull had summoned, never knowing about the golden hammer. After reading all of that, Sin decides that she has to find the hammer, so she could do what her father never could, find a way to use it. Zemo and Sin manage to escape the base before it blows up, and Sin shoots at Zemo, damaging his teleporting device, since she didn't want him sharing in the secrets they learned. From there Sin teleports onto Zemo's plane, leaving an angry Zemo lost in a desert in Egypt, swearing revenge.
Thoughts: First things first, I could read Cap's WWII adventures FOREVER when written by Ed Brubaker. So needless to say, I LOVED the flashback sequence. This issue gave us our first real glimpse into what Fear Itself is going to be about, and it has me quite intrigued. I'm going to guess that Sin discovers the location of this mystery hammer and manages to lift it, giving her the powers of a god. And quite frankly, there are few things worse than somebody as insane as Sin gaining the powers of a god... I've been loving the work Brubaker has been doing with Sin, so I'm looking forward to seeing where Matt Fraction decides to take her, especially if she really DOES become a universe-level threat. Needless to say, I am PSYCHED for April 6th , which is when the first issue of Fear Itself arrives. I can GUARANTEE that it'll be WAY better than any event comic that comes out of DC in 2011. Hands down, no doubt.
Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.The beginning...