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Bullet Reviews #19: Amazing Spider-Man, Flashpoint, The Walking Dead and More!

BR 19

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #664 (Marvel)Amazing Spider-Man
Let’s see more Spidey!! For some reason, I’m having a hard time jumping on board with the “Big Time” era of the Spider-Man franchise. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a fan of Brand New Day, BUT I can confidently say that at least that season in the life of our favorite web-head found its footing early on. It knew what it was about and stuck with it, regardless of whether I liked the look and the feel of it. But this one just hasn’t clicked yet. It seems disjointed and jumpy. I’m waiting for the characters to sit down and really examine what is going on instead of having big thing after big thing happen. Slow down and explore some of this. He got a job, he lost his Spider Sense, he got new costumes, there’s a new girl, there’s a new Hobgoblin, everyone’s getting spider powers, he’s being trained by Shang-Chi. All these are GREAT IDEAS! They are, they truly are. But, what am I? A.D.D.? Do I not have the capacity to enjoy a story that explores these things a little at a time? But really I can’t because the bug soldiers have attacked and Jameson’s wife died (Did she? Was that her? I don’t know, I can’t keep it all straight!). All I’m asking for is to spread these stories out. One good thing about BND is that it wove a tapestry from story to story. I like that. The art–meh? But what story is Slott trying to tell me? It feels like he is just trying to throw all his ideas out on the pages before I lose interest. I’m not that picky. Treat the reader like he or she cares enough about the character to stay for a while. I mean, you have the time…Spider-Man is the flagship character. -Andy Kirby

FFFF #5 (Marvel)
Another all-around good issue by Hickman. Quick side-note (I know we just started the Bullet Reviews here…oh well) I was really worried when I heard Hickman was jumping over to Marvel’s Ultimate U. I wondered whether or not his current book count on the 616 side would go down. And sadly, I just found out that it will. We will not have Secret Warriors anymore. I’m not too happy about that because that book, FF, and SHIELD have been consistently interesting stories since the beginning of Hickman’s work on them. But enough about that, let’s focus on this issue. I was thrilled with the interplay between the characters as well as the inclusion of more classic villains and Marvel history. I liked the tension between Sue and Reed, when Reed has to finally fess up and tell her that he was doing something behind her back (even though we really didn’t get to see this on panel). I love how Hickman writes Spider-Man. From an outside perspective with no inner monologue, it’s clear that Hickman gets it. I’m EXTREMELY excited about Black Bolt’s return, but that was the only thing I really didn’t understand. I assume that we will find out how this happened and how this is possible, but I’m a little irked that it showed up in this book first and not in Abnett and Lannings “Space Opera” that they’ve got going on. Either way, I can’t wait for the next issue. I love the scope of Hickman’s stories and how everything ties together. -Andy Kirby

Ollie Queen as an arms dealer is not a terrible notion for a story. For one, it undercuts the hackneyed vision of the character as DC’s token liberal, a reputation he has been stuck with ever since the ‘Hard Traveling Heroes’ era. It has become something of an empty descriptor for Green Arrow, because as Elliott S! Maggin first observed, surely with Ollie’s financial clout he could accomplish a lot more as a politician than as a man running around roof-tops with a bow and arrow. Former Vertigo editor Pornsak Pichetshote takes the character in a new direction, pitching him as a self-made billionaire who relieves supervillains of their tech before re-purposing it for sale to military interests. While having an initially interesting premise, this issue opens with a scene uncomfortably similar to Jon Favreau’s Iron Man and then becomes bogged down in a fight between an ineffectual Ollie (“I couldn’t shoot a bow and arrow if my life depended on it”) and a mysterious assassin. Before that though, we have the main character whining about how Big Business is always thought of as evil, a change from his clichéd rants about ‘fat cats’ in the DC proper. Pichetshote’s script feels strangely truncated, with the attack on Green Arrow Island occurring during a page transition. The abrupt massacre of Ollie’s anonymous henchmen is extremely odd, introducing a note of confusion that never properly lifts. A sad disappointment. – Emmet O’Cuana

IncorruptibleINCORRUPTIBLE #19 (BOOM! Studios)
This issue sees Max Damage sidekickless and new (not exactly super) villains cropping up now that the Plutonian has gone. Damage is under pressure from the Paradigm to prove his abilities as a fully reformed villain and to become a true superhero. Also a young supervillainess approaches him with an unusual proposition to test his will and see just how far Damage can walk the line.
Incorruptible has thrived on its notions of questioning the superhero mythos and just what lies in the nature of heroes and villains. Although, despite what some may say, this series is inexplicably linked to Waid’s Irredeemable and it’s hard to imagine anyone reading one without the other. Still, there is a lot to like here; twists and turns, the violence is kept in check at a great pot-boiler pace to fully impact when characters do come a cropper. Damage may be a frustrating character with his staunch mentality, but he is surrounded by a great supporting cast and once again, a side character almost steals the limelight. Hello Safeword… -Thom Atkinson

MARVEL ZOMBIES SUPREME #5 of 5 (Marvel)Marvel Zombies
After what seemed like forever, the most recent Marvel Zombie Proper story comes to an end. In a universe that wasn’t identified and featuring characters that are not very interesting, Supreme had to rely on the cosmic character Jack Of Hearts to give this series a punch. Jack was great, it’s always nice to see him featured but even he couldn’t save this series. The characters from the team Supreme are not even the originals in that universe. They were clones that ended up being zombies. Arguably the worst of the Marvel Zombie books, which isn’t bad when you consider how many there are, I would say the less said about this one the better. Wait, I really don’t like being so down on a Marvel Zombie series… let me say that while it was bad, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the Marvel Zombies/Marvel Apes crossover. THAT was really bad! -Skott Jimenez

VenomVENOM #4 (Marvel)
Wow, I really can’t believe how much fun this series is! The first story ends with Venom returning to New York and ends up in a confrontation with a badly disfigured and quite mad Jack O’ Lantern who has learned about the man beneath the symbiote and kidnapped Betty Brant. This is bad enough, but while Flash tries to get control over the alien he also has a fight with Spider-Man on his hands! What’s really fun here is Spider-Man is also looking for Betty and thinks Venom somehow remember’s who Spider-Man is under the mask and is going after him again! It’s a nice back and forth between the two, more fun as a reader who knows what’s going on. -Skott Jimenez

THE WALKING DEAD #86 (Image)Walking Dead
This series has its patterns. We have something major happen, like what happened with Lori and the baby, then a moment of calm where we are left to pick up the pieces followed by another big moment. Back in issue 83 we had a pretty big event happen which is still being dealt with. Following the invasion of the Walking Dead in the Community and the loss of life and safety, Rick decided that this is where he still wants to make a stand and begin a life for him and…Carl. Last issue we lost another long running character and Michonne deals with that loss while everyone else seems to be just trying to regain some of the safety they felt they had before No Way Out began. This is a ‘sit back and catch your breath’ issue, which makes me wonder when it’s going to hit the fan again and how bad it’s going to be! Beginning soon this series will be leaving Bullet Reviews and returning to its own stand alone review! -Skott Jimenez

Another brutally disgusting issue. Why do I keep reading this? I often write about Jason Aaron’s PunisherMAX series and how, by looking past the brutality, you see that Aaron is telling us something about Frank that we don’t know. I think the only reason I am reading this is to see how messed up we can make Wolverine. There is no character development, no real continuity, no real class here. It’s just a way to milk the Wolverine franchise to its fullest by putting Logan in the worst possible scenarios. But the ideas are somewhat shallow. What’s next? Let’s see if Logan can regenerate and heal if he were put in a blender and then fed to pigs and popped out?! Now, I will give Huston the benefit of the doubt. I just got done saying that Slott needs to slow down, so I’ll say that seven issues into this, I’m not sure where Huston’s going. I’m definitely waiting to see if this ties into an overall story that goes somewhere beyond a gruesome festival of happy, murderous psychopaths. But, let’s face it. You can’t read this with your wife or kids sitting next to you. Maybe the first six issues were the “narrative hook” that keeps me tuned in; let’s hope so. Either way, I’d like to see a little tighter continuity (Beast still with the X-Men?) and a little more story (between Emma’s boob shots does not constitute a setting for a story). We’ll have to wait and see. -Andy Kirby

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