Each week, we at Comic Booked like to offer some quick reviews of the previous week’s books in hopes of introducing fellow readers to new books, especially if you’re having a small week! Amazing Spider-Man #678, Avengers #21, Caligula #6, Daredevil #8, Fables #113, Legion Of Monsters #4 and Prophet #21.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #678 (Marvel)
Behind one of the first great covers I’ve seen this year is the first part of a very fun 2-parter by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos.
This time around Peter begins his day and heads to work, feeling pretty good, and has to check a fellow thinkers progress so they don’t “pull a ‘Victor Von Doom’ and blow their face off” which I thought was pretty good. His check buddy was Grady Scraps who invented a door that goes 24 hours into the future.
That was the fun part. The business part is when Peter walks through he sees New York City- destroyed! Now he has just 24 hours to figure out what happened and try to stop it! So, as Spider-Man, he teams with Scraps to figure out what Spider-Man was to do within those 24 hours to see where the event happened so he can stop it. Madame Web informs him that he just needs to do what he does and not let anyone know what may happen because it would directly affect the timestream.
Try as he might, Spider-Man just can’t be everywhere at once and doesn’t know that Flag Smasher has a bomb and is preparing to destroy NYC!
Slott is still showing what a huge asset he is to this series. Even after pulling off Spider-Island he’s not slowing down or slacking off at all! This series is still one of the best Marvel is publishing today…and one of only two that I’m reading from them now! –Skott Jimenez
AVENGERS #21 (Marvel)
This issue sees the continuation of Norman Osborn’s surprise attacks on the Avengers using his newly super powered H.A.M.M.E.R agents. For those who missed it, issue 20 saw a hologram of Osborn appear at the press conference unveiling the new line up of Avengers. Being caught off guard by the advanced technology used to project the hologram, the Avengers realize Osborn must have a larger following then they had previously thought and immediately split up to explore various possible places he or his supporters might be hiding. The various teams encountered H.A.M.M.E.R agents with super powers that mimic heroes. It is reasonable to presume these abilities came from the information given to Osborne by ex- S.H.E.I.L.D agent Washington several issues previous. Unsurprisingly for those who read Avengers #20, it didn’t end so well for our heroes. With Captain America, Storm, Iron Man, The Red Hulk, The Protector, Spider Woman, Hawkeye and Maria Hill Captured and defeated, it would seem their rescue relies on the recently rebuilt The Vision and Newbie Quake. Between a new team of Dark Avengers and a super powered H.A.M.M.E.R. (which now includes Hydra and A.I.M.) it seems Norman Osborn is building up his empire of psychos and villains to a whole new level. -Rob Conn
CALIGULA #6 of 6 (Avatar Press)
In the final issue of this mini-series Felix and his band of conspirators put their plan into motion and their lives on the line to free Rome from the demonically possessed Emperor Caligula’s reign of terror. To accomplish this goal they will have to deal with the demon horse Incitatus, and somehow relieve Caligula of the metal box he hides by swallowing, and that contains the souls that are the source of his power. Can this unlikely plan be executed without a hitch? So many factors could go wrong. Will Felix crack under Caligula’s pressure and tricks? Will Caligula use the memory of Felix’s own murdered family against him? Will Felix finally have his revenge, or succumb to Caligula’s temptations of power? All in all this series wraps up nicely, even if it is in the way that I could see coming from a couple of issues back. That said, writer David Lapham does throw a pretty sweet twist into the very end that caught me by surprise. The pacing of the series stagnated a little in the middle, but has come back for a satisfying conclusion. I have talked at length in other reviews throughout this series about German Nobile’s classically painted art style. The art has remained original throughout the series, and I applaud Avatar Press for bringing something different to the table. This is a very adult series, and the contrast between this classic art style and some of the horrific scenes that it portrayed made for a unique interplay between style and content. If you missed the series and aren’t offended by things like brutal wanton violence, nudity, or acts that I can’t even mention here; be on the lookout for Caligula when it likely gets collected in a trade at some point in the near future. -Robb Orr
DAREDEVIL #8 (Marvel)
Continues from Amazing Spider-Man #677! Black Cat has been framed for stealing a high tech holograph machine and Spider-Man calls on Daredevil to help clear her name!
Great story, fun art and I have to say if I were a Daredevil fan I would be loving this series as much as I love Amazing Spider-Man and Journey Into Mystery!
I don’t think I can really get into the sudden ‘connection’ between Daredevil and Black Cat, it seemed a little odd that they go from fighting to almost engaging in activities that she and Spider-Man used to engage in.
All in all it was a very nicely done crossover. It’s always better when these things happen with books that I don’t mind reading. Daredevil is certainly a book that could easily become the guilty pleasure for someone who doesn’t like superheroes or Marvel’s stuff. It’s a fine example of the kind of great books Marvel can put out if they really put their minds to it! And I love that cover! –Skott Jimenez
FABLES #113 (Vertigo)
In Those Days… This issue is a stand alone but also ties in with Cinderella: Fables Are Forever #1 which came out early last year! The format is a little different, it’s sort of a stand alone/tie in that tells four different stories that tie together at some points. We have P.Craig Russell drawing the first part, A Delicate Balance, in which a king punishes his unfaithful wife by turning her into a turtle until she can find someone to take her place. To sweeten the punishment, a tea cup is placed on her back, within is the shrunken land of her birth. Next up is A Magic Life in which a young sorcerer challenges the Emperor, aka the Adversary, to a magic duel. He doesn’t win completely but ends up in the Adversary’s court and places a spell on him, a spell which makes the Adversary uninterested in a land the young sorcerer inhabits. This is particularly interesting as, over time, the sorcerer comes to the mundy world and builds himself as Mr. Kadabra who, while living in the Mundy Realm, prevents the Adversary from invading due to the spell. Kadabra would be killed by Dorothy Gale and that begins the Cinderella story. This adds a lot because at the time we had no idea that it was Kadabra that was actually protecting the Fables!
What are the other stories? Well, I don’t think I have time to get into them now but I’ll say they are both interesting on many levels, the last one highly entertaining, and leaves me to wonder if we’ll be learning more about what we’ve been introduced to here in the future! I’d also love to have another issue like this at some point! -Skott Jimenez
LEGION OF MONSTERS #4 of 4 (Marvel)
The wrap up issue gives a lot of explanation about the virus that has been driving monsters mad and it all comes down to the man who has been trying to cure it: Morbius! Seems he was infected sometime ago and he, unknowingly, spread it. It all makes sense when he figures out that the virus has been controlled, and it was controlled by him.
So, the monsters are saved and their unlikely ally, Else Bloodstone, leaves the monsters to their own devices.
All in all this was a very entertaining series. With the apparent demise of my long time favorite line of Marvel Zombies books I think I could easily take the occasional Legion Of Monsters miniseries in their place. Marvel has a rich selection of monsters, both classic and contemporary, and very little is ever done with them. LoM might be a way to have some fun with the darker corners of the Marvel Universe. While this book might not be for everyone in it’s monthly format, the recently solicited trade paperback is something I could easily recommend! -Skott Jimenez
PROPHET #21 (Image)
The start of a brand new story and the perfect place for new readers to jump in, because it feels like the very beginning of a new series! This issue starts out with John Prophet coming out of a long period of hyper-sleep. The Earth has changed dramatically while he slept. The animals have evolved and the land is harsh and unforgiving. From his very first moments of being awake and almost ending up a meal for a critter, it becomes clear that John will have to use his limited equipment and cunning to stay alive as he sets out into the wild. Eventually he comes upon an abandoned and rusting man-made spacecraft more advanced than any he has ever seen, letting Prophet know that he is on the right path. Aliens inhabit the world, and some instinct tells John to make his way to the “Jell City” to meet his contact. The Jell City is an alien settlement made out of their organic spaceship, and ruled by a strict caste system. John bides his time, using his tech and cunning to remain undetected until his contact shows and his mission is revealed. Prophet is a unique science-fiction story set far in the distant future, with a cool mix of survival, aliens, bio-tech, and so much more. The art, if not hyper-detailed, doesn’t rely on blank backgrounds and throwaway panels to skate by, and in the end works quite well at depicting the wild SF elements of the story. One day after Prophet #21 was released, it was reported as being sold-out by Image, and began selling for triple and quadruple the cover price on eBay (with the original Prophet creator’s Rob Liefeld variant cover fetching a bit more), but by the end of the weekend cooler heads and prices had prevailed. If you like SF and can actually manage to find an issue, you might really enjoy Prophet. –Robb Orr
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