On the Panel

Mar 26, 2014 | Posted by in Comics

Hello all and welcome to the second edition of on the panel, my weekly roundup of all the new comics I’ve been reading. Couple of #1s this week so this could get interesting.

Superior Spider-Man #30

Wow, what an issue. Picking up right where #29 left off with Superior Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 (hereafter referred to as Spidey and 2099 respectively) squaring off against some Goblin controlled Spider Slayers. Spidey quickly leaves after he finds out that the Goblin has captured the love of his life Anna Maria, leaving 2099 in the lurch, we don’t see poor Miguel for the rest of the issue. Spidey is faced with the rare conundrum of having lost all of his resources and having no backup plan to face the threat. He is also unable to deal with massive failure he has experienced when trying to protect the city.

Peter Parker’s personality chooses this time to reassert himself, defiantly stating that he’s going to take back his body and finally being aware of what’s going on in the outside world. Needless to say he’s utterly shocked that Ock could let things get so bad and there’s an amusing moment when he finds out that there is a business set up in his name.

Ock is at his lowest point and admits that Peter is the Superior Spider-Man. It’s a very nicely written exchange where he admits that he was arrogant and that he overcompensates for his flaws while pointing out that Peter sabotages himself because deep down he knows that he’s better and smarter than everyone else. I don’t think that Peter sees himself as better than others, he definitely knows that he’s smarter than some others but he never thought he was better. He also points out that when lives are in danger Peter doesn’t hesitate and instinctively knows what to do. This is an instinct that Ock does not have, as is shown when he isn’t sure what to do when there’s a subway train speeding towards a helpless child. It’s a nice moment that highlights how similar Peter and Ock really are but at the same time how different they are. Ock realises that the city needs Peter Parker since Ock in all his intelligence has no idea what to do when he is low on resources, something Peter Parker has been faced with all his life. Touchingly Ock proves himself to be heroic by erasing himself from Peter’s mind because he loves Anna Maria and acknowledges that Peter is the only one who’ll know how to save her. The issue ends with Peter wearing his old costume ready to face the Goblin.

This was a very good issue with some great payoff. If this is to be Ock’s last appearance as Superior Spider-Man then it was a good way to end. He goes out as a hero and proper respect is paid to the character. Really nice touch with Peter crying at the passing of his old foe. Well done to Dan Slott and co for giving the character such a good sendoff and for bringing Peter back. The artwork is great too, some really vibrant images in there.

Black Widow #1

This came free with Superior Spider-Man #30 which was a nice surprise. The story as presented is quite elegant in its simplicity. Natasha is trying to talk a suicide bomber out of blowing himself up, to do this she tells the story of a desperate and broken child who becomes an assassin for hire.

In true Black Widow tradition there is a twist to this tale in that it’s completely fictitious, Natasha Romanov is an expert liar and she wields that skill perfectly here. The story ends on a morbid note as Natasha introspectively questions how long will it be before she can atone for everything she’s done or if she can ever truly atone for it.

This comic was great, well written and well drawn with a deep character story. Unfortunately I doubt I will continue with the series due to the fact that I’m reading so much else at the moment and this stuff gets expensive, I might find myself purchasing the collected volume of a few issues when it appears on a comixology sale, I’d definitely be interested in seeing how this series continues someday.

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #11

I really liked this book, while in the clutches of the Spider Slayers in Superior Spider-Man #29 set during the time that Norman Osborn was believed dead and was in hiding recovering from his not quite so fatal wounds. Doctor Octopus is invited to meet Norman Osborn and the two of them form a very twisted friendship, each admiring the others intellect and bonding over their hatred of Spider-Man and plotting his destruction.

Through their interactions we see a slightly (emphasis on slightly) softer side to Norman as he discusses his late wife which causes Ock to reminisce about a fiancé he once had that his mother didn’t approve of.

In a classic Norman Osborn move he seeks to make Ock understand the pain of losing a loved one by first finding Ock’s ex fiancé and having her car run off the road. When that doesn’t kill her he infects her blood with a deadly virus and grins maniacally as he reveals what he’s done. The reader will find out the resolution of this next issue.

This was good stuff, really darkly funny and it’s great to see Ock and Osborn interact with one another, both bringing their respective character strengths to the table and aware of their position as two of Spidey’s most formidable foes. It’s great to be getting all this sympathetic insight into Ock with his departure looming. The artwork was really good as well, the book was very stylistically drawn in places but everything was clear and the Green Goblin especially looked amazing.

All New Ghost-Rider #1

I don’t have an awful lot to say about this one really. It’s not something that I’m particularly interested in.

The new Ghost Rider is a mechanic who moonlights as a street racer named Robbie Reyes, he has no family other than his handicapped brother and he is hard up for cash, He’s being hassled by some unsavoury characters and is gunned down before being resurrected as Ghost Rider.

All I can really say about this is that it’s boring, it does nothing interesting with the mythology of Ghost Rider and the characters just aren’t engaging. Everything in this book is over too quickly as well. I really thin this would have benefitted from 2 or 3 issues setting up the character and delaying his transformation a little. The artwork was nicely stylised but it’s not enough to hold my interest for any considerable length of time. I won’t be reading issue #2.

Silver Surfer #1

When I heard that Dan Slott was to work on a new Silver Surfer series I was sold immediately, I love the work he’s done on both Amazing and Superior Spider-Man over the past while so I’ll pretty much read anything that he does at this point.

This book reintroduces the reader to the former herald of Galactus as he finds himself in a new area of the galaxy that he hasn’t been to before. When we first see him he is using his powers to reignite a sun to save the lives of a billion aliens, we see right away that he hasn’t lost any of his nobility or compassion. Before that there’s a flashback detailing his first visit to Earth when he was preparing to summon Galactus giving the reader a clever juxtaposition between when he was preparing to have a planet destroyed to him saving one.

The remainder of the plot is classic science fiction. There is a seemingly impossible planet called The Impericon that is under constant threat by a force called The Never Queen so naturally they have need of a champion. Norin Radd meets the leader of this planet, a being named The Incredulous Zed and petitions to make him the champion fighting for this world. To inspire the Surfer to help he opts to kidnap someone close to him but there’s a snag – the Surfer has no idea who the person is.

She is a girl named Dawn who seems to be a bit of a dreamer and in something of a rivalry with her twin sister. Little is known about her at this point other than people confuse her with her sister and she seems to be in denial about how she lives her life, the comic makes clear that she wishes she was well traveled like her sister Eve. Despite the fact that the Surfer doesn’t seem to know her, the opening flashback shows some form of connection. Guess I’ll have to keep reading to find out what that connection is.

A good start for a new series I think. The Silver Surfer feels fresh and interesting as well as being pretty light-hearted. Previous appearances are often very introspective and melancholy so it’s refreshing to see the character handled with a bit of levity. I’m wondering if Slott’s plan is to set up something of a Doctor Who scenario in this series where Dawn serves as the companion who follows him on these outlandish and exciting adventures, I look forward to finding out more. Lastly, the artwork is great. It really evokes the light-hearted tone that the series is clearly trying to achieve and everything looks so vibrant.

Captain America Homecoming

Set in the cinematic universe, this one shot serves as a prequel to the just released Captain America: The Winter Soldier (follow the link for my review).

The plot is very simple, Steve Rogers takes Natasha Romanov (Black Widow) back to the neighbourhood he grew up in and talks about his life back then until they are ambushed by mercenaries and have to fight their way out.

Nothing really jumps out as being good here but nothing really seems too bad either, there’s some nice dialogue as Cap reminisces about his past and the things that have changed but as a supplement to the movie it can definitely be left alone. It doesn’t enhance that story in any way and it’s very much a throwaway story.

The artwork is nice enough and the digital copy comes with the first appearance of Falcon in Captain America #117