I should have called this week’s column Superior Bullet Reviews because we have a healthy dose of Spider-Man books here: Hinterkind #1, Justice League #23.2, Superior Carnage #3, Superior Spider-Man #18, and Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #3
HINTERKIND #1 (Vertigo)
Vertigo Comics, the famous offshoot of DC focusing on darker, abstract stories, has taken a bit of a fall in the past year. The cancellation/ending of Hellblazer, Karen Berger leaving the company, and a sudden disappearance of many books (one of my favorites, Saucer Country, was among them) left Vertigo a shell of its former self, but Vertigo has bounced back in recent month’s full-force. With a bevy of new books hitting the shelves, Vertigo seems to be enduring a rebirth with a new variety of books. Among this new variety is the new ongoing comic Hinterkind, by Ian Edginton and Francesco Trifogli. What Hinterkind explores is a dystopian society, but a different kind of one. Things seem far brighter and with an overabundance of nature and wild-life than the typical charred-to-ashes dystopian setting. This is central to the plot in a way, as nature has reclaimed the land from humans. Humans have fallen to the bottom of the food chain, and at the top has risen all sorts of mutations of various kinds of creatures. This leads to humans living in an enclosed colony in the middle of a forest that seems to have grown in the middle of New York. Edginton builds his world slowly and methodically, with plot points being mapped out for later and more immediate use. He also gives his protagonists Angus and P distinct motivations, personalities, skill sets, and emotional cores that leads them to be believable, almost realistic characters living in an unrealistic time. It’s a very survival of the fittest theme reaching down into the book. Francesco illustrates this by drawing elegant depictions of wild greenery clashing with the composite grays of New York. It’s flourishing into something beautiful. Hinterkind #1 is a strong debut from the new line-up of Vertigo. -Juien Loeper
JUSTICE LEAGUE #23.2 (DC)
Now, I’m a big fan of Lobo. I’ve been an avid reader of anything Lobo-related since his first miniseries came out in 1990 and was really worried about how DC was going to ‘change’ him for the New 52 and when they finally got around to introducing him all hopes of having the Main Man around were shattered. Rob Liefeld put out a really bad parody of him that made no sense at all… then there is this. After being lied to about him (remember the writer saying the early look at him wasn’t how he was actually going to look into the comic?) what we actually end up with is the vampire from Twilight hitting puberty and pretending to be a bad ass. This is not Lobo. It’s the worst rendition of the character since he was wearing an orange and purple jumpsuit (I’d actually prefer that over this). But is the story any good, you ask? Well, I’m not exactly sure. Suddenly we’re introduce to a guy we’re supposed to just accept as the ‘real’ Lobo even though he doesn’t look anything like Lobo nor does he act like a ruthless, evil, maniac. There is a lot of inner dialogue here, Lobo, or as I call him TwiLobo, thinking to himself a lot… Way out of character but I guess since this isn’t actually the character we’re supposed to think he is it’s alright. I commend the creative team on what they were trying to do but the old saying ‘if it isn’t broke don’t fix it’ works best here. We have a Lobo. He’s been consistent since 1990 and he’s been just fine that way. It’s also annoying that they use the image of Lobo that we are all familiar with on the cover while inside the book claiming he’s a fake. This whole thing is a disaster. I’m just glad it doesn’t go next to my Lobo comics in my collection, IF I decide to keep it. The 3D cover is just headache inducing as well as misleading if this isn’t the ‘real’ Lobo. I’m also not sure about the label Villain. Lobo has never really been a ‘villain’ in the strictest sense. He’s just a violent monster of a man but he has a sense on honor, I just never saw him as a ‘villain.’ -Skott Jimenez
SUPERIOR CARNAGE #3 (Marvel)
The long and short here is Carnage has a new host body and is now under the mental command of The Wizard. This is very bad for everyone especially when you consider the deteriorating mind of The Wizard: Once his mind goes then Carnage is once again back in full control over himself and he’s added a love of guns to his collection of killing tools and that makes him even more dangerous. But the biggest thing here is his new look, it’s gotten a lot of positive response from people but I’m still not decided on if I like it or not. I don’t DISlike it, however.
But as we near the ending of this miniseries we’re finally getting to the meat of the story which sounds a little anti-climatic: The Wizard wants to take over City Hall to impress his son, one of the kids in the FF series. It doesn’t sound very interesting but when you hit the last page and you find the Superior Spider-Man waiting for The Wizard and company, you just know things are going to get even more out of control. This is something I’ve been wanting to see since we upgraded from an Amazing to a Superior Spider-Man and I plan to have front row seats for this fight!
I have to admit that while I had little in the way of expectations for this series, it’s proven that it can be one of the most exciting and unique updates for a classic Spider-Man villain. On top of the fact that this series has more than proven itself on the inside, it’s also had some of the best Carnage covers ever and this one, an homage to the 1986 version of The Fly, is one of my favorite covers of the year! -Skott Jimenez
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #18 (Marvel)
While I’m loving the heck out of not only seeing Spider-Man 2099 again, Ryan Stegman’s art is only adding to that excitement, I have to wonder how certain things are going to be explained here. For one thing: when in 2099 is this story taking place? It’s apparent a lot of things are either being ignored or retconned away. Towards the end of Spider-Man 2099 we saw that Tyler Stone, the man Spider-Man 2099 is in modern times to save, knew that he was Miguel’s (Spider-Man 2099) father and he also knew Miguel was Spider-Man. There is also the part where Stone was killed when Roman, leader of New Atlantis flooded the world. But my guess is since all that wasn’t written by Peter David, the captain of the Spidey 2099 ship, that it’s all being ignored. Not a bad thing but what makes this a great story, and a mini-event for longtime fans of the World of 2099, is this story firmly places 2099 in Marvel Continuity (remember when that was an important thing?). This is one of those crossovers that is living up to expectations which is what I expected considering Dan Slott is writing. His love for all things Spider-Man really shows here as Miguel is written perfectly and the subtle hints of the history between him and Peter are touched on nicely. But as much as I loved Slott”s story I have to say or the first time ever it’s been over shadowed by the art. Ryan Stegman has done Spider-Man 2099 proud, his version of the costume is astounding and all I could think of as I was reading it was Stegman needs to draw a new Spider-Man 2099 book!
Thanks go out to Slott and Stegman for bringing this great character back and not messing it up, as if there was ever any doubt! -Skott Jimenez
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #3 (Marvel)
An Infinity Tie-In!
The Avengers are away and all hell is breaking loose on Earth and that leaves a lot of the ‘street level’ heroes to pick up the pieces. This issue features one such moment as Spider-Man works with his team of Mighty Avengers (no doubt in his mind he should be the leader) fighting against the hordes of Thanos. It’s apparent that he isn’t endearing himself to the other members of the team but whatever, they are merely Mighty and far from Superior, right? Just kidding, but the interactions between Spider-Man and the others is very entertaining. It’s fun seeing how the rest of the Marvel Universe reacts to this new Spider-Man.
While Spider-Man is being his usual arrogant self, as well as figuring out ways to successfully defeat the invaders, he also has to deal with a new super powered person in the Marvel Universe as a young girl is transformed into pure energy and it appears the only person capable of helping her is Spider-Man. Lucky her.
All in all, another fun issue though it’s sad that it’s being forced to be part of a larger event when it’s barely had a chance to build its own foundation. But that’s one of the drawbacks to having a favored title from a publisher who seems to think the only way comics work is when there is a huge event going. But I really did enjoy Michael Del Mundo’s art here, it’s a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing more! -Skott Jimenez