This week for the MMA Review segment, I check in on a couple books I haven’t been reading for awhile, one of which I never picked up in the first place. How do they hold up for a new(ish) reader?
Superior Spider-Man #26: Goblin Nation Prelude (Written by Dan Slott, drawn by Humberto Ramos, Marcos Martin, and Javier Rodriguez)
Christmas has been a shitty time for me the last two years; this year I lost my favorite Doctor and the year before that my favorite character was killed in one of the most offensive ways possible. Since then, I haven’t picked up a single Spider-Man issue but times change and any moment now, Peter Parker, he’s a-coming, so I’m jumping into the Superior book for the end.
To Slott’s credit, I was not confused at all. I got the mystery behind the Green Goblin, I got that Peter still existed as a ghost inside his body, I got that SpOck had raised an army and was doing bad things with them in his attempts to be the ‘Superior’ Spider-Man. That doesn’t mean any of it was well written, but there was some good parts.
The book is divided into three parts, each tackled by a different artist. My favorite story visually was my least favorite writing wise (The Avengers confronting SpOck about his actions as of late) and I was probably most impressed by the Goblin battle, since it had a nice twist with Kingsley at the end and the identity of the ‘Goblin King’ (seriously?) continues to puzzle even though he proclaims he’s Norman Osborn. I have no idea who it is that unmasks the fallen Hob-Goblin though (is it this Carlie Cooper Goblin I’ve heard about? I hope she bites the dust before this is over, I feel like they’ll use her death to bring Peter back.) The bits about Peter’s memories being erased down to their core could be more of Slott mishandling Parker or something interesting, it’s too early to tell. It does seem like this might play into the amnesic status of Peter in the Joshua Fiakolv penned Amazing Spider-Man digital series starting in April.
The credits seem to indicate that each artist had their own colorist and inker (Martin color and inks himself) and while the Rodriguez and Martin scenes have a nice visual continuity, Ramos work does not fit in visually. Aside from that, all the artists seem to be firing on top notch and it was nice to see Martin tackle some of the key moments of Peter’s history.
I’m curious to see how the “man who never gives up” makes his return over the next few issues. Let’s hope Slott handles Peter better than he has in the coming months.
Uncanny Avengers #16: Yesterday Didn’t Exist (Written by Rick Remender, drawn by Steve McNiven)
This was a book I was super excited for (Rogue on the Avengers), then bored with, then interested in again (thanks to the addition of Wasp), and then finally dropped thanks to the slow pacing. After the death of several characters last issue, I decided to check in again and… wow. Just wow. I thought Infinity had a badass Thor, but that guy is a chump compared to the Thor we get here. And Captain America proves why he’s the guy you never count out, because even though he is beaten both physically and emotionally, he never gives in and comes out on top. And though Wasp has only a couple minor scenes, I love her new costume design here and I love her personality; her voice stands out because of how down to Earth it feels in comparison to the epic grandeur of everyone else.
The art is spectacular here, McNiven delivers emotions in spades. The scene where Thor encounters his fallen comrades was heart breaking and the fuel it lent to Thor’s renewed angry assault was beautiful. And our heroes don’t escape from their fights without wounds, which look beautifully disturbing, especially Thor’s arm.
It’s not all golden though, as a lot of the stuff in the future just served to confuse me because I’m not aware of everything going on here. And while I like how everything continues to tie back to Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, it’s starting to get old, time to move on.
Thor’s “I CARE NOT” here is easily a contender for best line of 2014 already and the cliffhanger the book ended on will definitely bring me back for more.