Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review- AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE



AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE (Marvel, First Printing, 2015; Softcover)

Collects Edge Of Spider-Verse #1-5 (cover dates November- December, 2014)

Writers: David Hine, Fabrice Saplosky, Jason Latour, Dustin Weaver, Clay McLeod Chapman, and Gerard Way
Artists: Richard Isanove, Robbi Rodriguez, Dustin Weaver, Elia Bonetti, and Jake Wyatt
Colorists: Rico Renzi, Dustin Weaver, Garry Brown, and Ian Herring

Boy, talk about selling folks a false bill of goods. Branded to sucker fans of Amazing Spider-Man into plunking down their hard-earned money, these What If...? stories on steroids are not worthy of your money, only your contempt. Cynicism kills any artform dead, and this is as cynical as it gets.

This crop of writers give us five doppelgangers that disappoint in five different ways. This lazy “elseworlds” thinking is creatively bankrupt. It's as if they are so bored with Spider-Man that they feel there are no fresh angles to be explored, and so the writers feel the need to do “mash ups” to make things more interesting. The same writers who feel it is a good idea to explore these elements are the same kind who decry excessive continuity. The irony here is that a real working knowledge of said continuity is required to understand what is supposedly so clever about what they are doing.

Spider-Man Noir (issue 1) doesn't work for a number of reasons. While all of these multiverse Spider-people/things have divergent and disparate elements, this one fails miserably because it takes place in 1939, decades before Peter Parker or any of the other characters here even existed. Even Fabrice Saplosky's brilliant artwork couldn't save this. The funny thing is that if Marvel had made this it's own thing and not a Spider-Man retread it would be an enjoyable ripoff of Sandman Mystery Theatre. As it stands it is a retread and a ripoff.

Artwork by Fabrice Saplosky.


Spider-Gwen took the world by storm, and for the life of me I cannot understand why. You don't get it old man, she is like Spider-Man, but a girl. She was bitten by the spider instead of Peter. That's all well and good, except for the fact that Gwen Stacey was not present during the demonstration where Peter Parker was bitten by the spider, nor did she even know Peter until his freshman year of college. Thanks to the movies and Ultimate Spider-Man, there is an alarming number of folks who accept this continuity gaffe as canon. This is a weak concept by even weaker creators.

#3's The Spider-Man is interesting, but this is a waste of time for those of us who have read House Of M: Spider-Man. #4's I Walked With A Spider was a cynical, dark view of the Spider-Man mythos. It is a creeper version of a Spider-Man that stalks his neighbor. Last and most certainly least is #5's SP//DR written by that My Chemical Romance loser, Gerard Way. This story sucks as bad as his band does.

I borrowed this from the library, so at least it didn't cost me anything to read. I still want my money back. I wouldn't recommend buying this book unless you hate your money. Fortunately my son opted out of reading this one with me, as Spider-Man wasn't in it and he wasn't interested in these characters. I should have followed his advice.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 1 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I find library copies to be fascinating studies of durability in the workmanship and materials of these collected editions.
Paper stock: Coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Review- MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL



MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL (Yen Press/ Hachette, First Printing, 2013; Hardcover)

Writer: Ransom Riggs
Artist: Cassandra Jean

Yen Press offers these standalone original graphic novels which are targeted at school age kids. They primarily sell them through bookstores and Scholastic book fairs and book orders. You don't see too many of them in comic shops, nor do you hear much about them in comic book circles. This strikes me as odd, as the ones that I have read are polished and enjoyable.



Jacob Portman grew up listening to his grandpa's fantastic, surreal tales of his youth on a tiny island off of the coast of Wales during the second World War. As he grew older Jacob believed his grandfather less and humored him more, until something happens and Jacob finds out that his grandfather's tales and seemingly fake pictures of his friends from when he was growing up are very real indeed. I won't be going into much more detail because I dislike reviews that are filled with spoilers and come off like 9th grade book reports. I like to think that this blog is written at the level of at least a tenth grade book report.

This concept is a retread of The X-Men and a smattering of other properties, blended together so well that it would take me a while to sit down and pinpoint what was borrowed from where. That is beside the point though, because as a read this is some solid stuff. The hook is strong, the art is Manga-influenced yet Western-minded comic audience accessible, and the writing is what my 9 year old son calls “easy reader” style. You can fly through this book yet still be satisfied that this was a complete story.



I discovered that there is a movie based on this book coming out in a few months. Tim Burton is directing it, and I find that to be curious because the imagery isn't dark or Gothic. I saw the trailer and most of the events shown in it do not occur in this book. As always, I recommend that folks read the source material first. I checked this out from my local library. Maybe your library has it too.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This is smaller than an average graphic novel and larger than a Manga digest sized book.
Paper stock: Thick coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Perfect bound, although the book block is glued to a flexible piece of cardboard that mimics a block with sewn binding with room in the casing to flex.
Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: This is a library copy, and the dustjacket has a Brodart sleeve and is fastened to the hardback 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review- AVENGERS VS. X-MEN



AVENGERS VS. X-MEN (Marvel, First Printing, 2013; Softcover)

Collects Avengers Vs. X-Men #0-12 and Point One #1 (cover dates January- December, 2012)

Writers: Jeph Loeb, Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, and Matt Fraction
Artists: Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, Frank Cho, John Romita, Jr., Scott Hanna, Oliver Copiel, Mark Morales, Adam Kubert, and John Dell
Colorists: Morry Hollowell, Jason Keith, Laura Martin, Larry Molinar, and Justin Ponsor

I picked this one up at my local library. I tend to vote with my wallet against these endless crossovers, but for free...why not. This is a crossover built on the back of the umpteen crossovers that came before it, from Messiah Complex to House Of M and everywhere in between. Bendis seems so impressed with himself that he needs to reference his own work to convince everyone else of how important his empty calorie writing really is. Bendis references his past works as much as Roy Thomas, although he lacks Thomas' love of the characters and actual knowledge of the history of the artform to back up his ego.

The basic gist of this is that Hope Summers, the “messiah” first mutant born since the Scarlet Witch altered reality and depowered all but 198 mutants at the end of House Of M, is destined to become the host for the Phoenix Force, the primal force responsible for the death of Marvel Girl (Jean Grey). Phoenix has been so misused and crapped up that it is best left to the history books, as most writers don't know what to do with it.

The Avengers determine that the Phoenix Force is a threat to Earth and go to the mutant island base Utopia in order to bring Hope into custody. Cyclops sees Hope as the messiah sent to save the mutant race, and a fight ensues. It becomes a battle royal, with Hope becoming a hot potato in reverse. Iron Man devises a way to splinter the Phoenix Force, figuring that would eliminate it. Instead, the force goes into five different X-Men. Lots of broken bones and back and forth fighting later, and the predictable ending happens.



I had all but given up on modern Marvel. My 9 year old son has since softened me on modern Marvel Comics. I can accept that these characters as they stand today are his definitive versions of them. This is his golden age of comics. I have learned to let go of a lot of things these past few months. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what this “old man's” opinion is. My day is done. The future of the medium belongs to him, although I think I'll hang around for quite a while to yell at you kids to get off of my lawn.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I find library copies to be fascinating studies of durability in the workmanship and materials of these collected editions.
Paper stock: Glossy coated stock.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.