On the Panel
Some movement on many of the major things set up in the first issue here, though not as much as I would like in some cases. Not that I mind the fact that the stories are being given lots of time to develop but given that Learning to Crawl is also developing at the same time it does feel like movement on these stories is slow.
We get plenty of Black Cat which is something I always enjoy. I’ve always found Felicia Hardy to be a fascinating character who can sometimes be a self centered thief and others can be capable of a profound sense of wellbeing when helping others. The second side is one that Spidey likes to see more as he feels comfortable fighting alongside her to help people. Here we see a new side to her though, an angry and revenge driven madwoman who is out for Spidey’s blood for putting her in jail.
The conflict they have is brief but that was sort of the point, Spidey was in the middle of helping people when she confronted him and he had to get rid of her by imitating the Doc Ock persona which was both hilarious and effective. Naturally this causes further complications that pushes her to ally with Electro to stop Spider-Man. Black Cat was used very well here but it was mostly setup for the complications she is due to cause in the near future. Allying with Electro is a nice thematic choice as they are both characters who have been suitably wronged by Spider-Man when Ock was in control so there’s massive common ground there for them to ally. I can only hope that Black Cat won’t take this too far and remain fundamentally a good person.
Electro was really well done here, his appearance was brief but he is definitely mentally damaged by what Ock did to him which was shown through some fairly disturbing artwork. I like how tortured he is, cowering in corners terrified with no control over his life because of what he has endured. This could be the most interesting thing done with Electro in as long as I can remember.
Other aspects of the comment were good too such as Peter’s employees assuming that he might be bipolar due to the fact that he no longer acts like an impatient tyrant in the workplace. Anna Maria being the only one in on the truth is attempting to cover up for him but even she is unable to understand some of the work Ock was doing.
Not much can really be said about MJs new relationship with Fireman Ollie other than her type seems to be heroic life risking men. We see some more of Cindy -the girl who got bitten by the same spider as Peter- and find out that it is Ezekiel -find out here– who is responsible for her being locked up, I suspected as much as he tried to do something similar to Peter when Morlun -more info-was after him. I hope she gets out soon because I’m tired of the teases.
Another strong issue that is actually very light on plot, most of it feels like setup for another issue that we might have to wait some time for at the rate they’re coming out. I’m interested to see where all these stories go but for now I’m left wondering what will become of all these threads. Curiosity is what I’m feeling most often in regards to Spider-Man these days.
Geoff Johns having a writing credit on a comic vastly increases the chances of me wanting to read it, I really rate the guy as a writer and have enjoyed everything of his I have read. His turns writing episodes of Smallville and Arrow have proved stellar in all cases and his comic work is no exception. Anyway enough hero worship.
The opening of the issue immediately had me hooked with an all too familiar story in a Superman comic with an intriguing spin on it. It appears that certain doom is coming to a group of people in a lab who choose to send their son away so that he can be saved. Sound familiar? Why, that’s almost exactly like Superman’s origin! Naturally this parallel must be intention but the intrigue comes from the fact that it’s a group of humans who opt to send their son to “dimension 4” whatever that is. A mystery that will no doubt be expanded upon.
Back in the present we catch up with our familiar big blue boy scout as he’s punching a giant mechanical gorilla in the face. The artwork is incredibly striking -if you’ll pardon the pun- and Superman looks as strong and powerful as ever. Jimmy Olsen is on the scene to snap completely useless pictures due to Superman’s rapid movements. Jimmy is used really well in this issue, giving background on his family situation and how he doesn’t want that to compromise his work ethic. Some interesting depth to this character who sometimes lacks it.
It seems in the reboot New 52 continuity Clark Kent is just not interested in working for the Daily Planet which I find interesting on its own. His conversation with Perry White was really good, Perry comes across as intelligent due to the fact that he notices that Clark is deliberately keeping his distance from everyone and wonders why, he does advise him to find someone to confide in as everyone needs it now and then which leads to a funny situation where he calls Diana -Wonder Woman- and Bruce Wayne’s Butler Alfred trying to reach Bruce. I just found it interesting that Clark took Perry’s advice and a little tragically funny that none of his Superfriends were available to talk to him.
The issue closes with a battle against someone who seems to be as powerful as Superman, it’s heavily implied that this is the grown up version of the child from the beginning of the issue. He calls himself Ulysses which probably means he’s on some kind of Odyssey. He makes some cryptic remarks about Earth surviving when it should have been destroyed and we’re left with the question of what he was talking about.
What a great issue, it was completely packed with story without ever seeming bogged down. Johns’ effortlessly transitions from each segment of the story giving the characters used plenty of development in only a few short panels. If it sounds like hero worship, that’s because it is. The guy knows how to craft a story and knows these characters inside out. Colour me impressed and I’ll be reading more as this progresses.