Thursday, June 30, 2016


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 3: SPIDER-VERSE (Marvel, First Printing, 2015; Softcover)

Collects Amazing Spider-Man #9-15 (cover dates January- April, 2015)

Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Oliver Coipel and Giuseppe Camuncoli with Inking by Cam Smith, Wade Von Grawbadger, Livesay, Victor Olazaba, Mark Morales, and Roberto Poggi
Colorists: Justin Ponsor with Antonio Fabela

My son and I's Spider-Man bedtime reading marathon continues! We were finally able to check this out of the library, as it was checked out for a while and we had to wait for it to be returned.

Morlun and the rest of the Inheritors are on a quest to kill every single Spider-totem across every world in the Multiverse. There are so many different Spider-Men (and women...a pig...and even a monkey) running around that it becomes a joke. It is funny but it's not. It smacks of the worst aspect of DC's hodge-podge continuity which always drove me nuts as a kid. The whole “it's all make believe so who cares” attitude that permeates modern day fandom has destroyed what once made Marvel so special: continuity that was as tight as a drum.

Dan Slott may be a jerk to fans on Twitter but the man does know his Spider-Man history and trivia. The kids these days call them “Easter eggs”, and there are a ton of them on each and every page. I know my Spider-Man stuff, and some of these were a real treat. Slott has used this silly event to bring each and every incarnation of the character from every medium into the real Marvel Universe (or the 616 Universe as they call it in a post-Alan Moore civilization). I particularly enjoyed the Spider-Man from the 1967 animated series and the brief glimpse that we got of his world.

All is revealed here. The origin of The Inheritors. The identity and purpose of the Master Weaver of the Web Of Life. The fate of MC2's Spider-Girl after her series cancellation. How Spider-Gwen (the dumbest retread of an idea, ever) and the second, non-Peter Parker Ultimate Spider-Man got stuck in the main Marvel Universe.

My 9 year old son's take: It was good. He liked That it was not like any other Spider-Man comic and he was traveling through dimensions. How it used a bunch of different versions of Spider-Man. His dislikes are It has too much swearing. The *boxes with the endless tie-ins were annoying.

Does swearing make this edgy or cool? No. Does swearing alienate a lot of potential new readers? Yes. It's sad that I have to edit that stuff out as I read it to my son. Comics are ostensibly written for "adults", but the reality of it is that Marvel/Disney aim this stuff right at kids through merchandising and cartoons. 

This was a fun read, but I still really dislike the whole Multiverse angle. Do you want to know what I really dislike? Crossovers. And boy is this a crossover! They use those *footnote boxes to try and suck you into multiple titles with each issue. It's ridiculous and insulting. Stunts like this are why I refuse to pay for modern Marvel Comics, content to check them out of the library and read them for free. If you pay for gimmicks like these crossovers then the terrorists win!
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone-
Paper stock: Coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


THE X-MEN EPIC COLLECTION VOL. 1: CHILDREN OF THE ATOM (Marvel, First Printing, 2014; Softcover)

Collects X-Men #1-23 (cover dates September, 1963- August, 1966)

Writers: Stan Lee and Roy Thomas
Artists: Penciling by Jack Kirby, Werner Roth, and Alex Toth, with Inking by Dick Ayers, Chic Stone, Paul Reinman, Vince Colletta, and Joe Sinnott

This is not only the third time that I have read these issues, but the third time that I have bought this material as well. Allow me to explain. I owned the first three hardcover Marvel Masterworks many moons ago but sold them when the hardcover Omnibus came out, as the Omnibus boasted vastly superior linework and color restoration. The Omnibus fell out of print, and when I saw how much it was going for I dumped it a year or so ago and picked this book up. As long as I have the material with the finest restoration I am fine. Plus, I honestly enjoy the paper stock in this Epic over the one found in the Omnibus.

One of the creepiest Stan Lee plotlines ever. Professor X's crush on the teenage Jean Grey (Marvel Girl). This was thankfully dropped and never referred to again as far as I know. I quit buying new X-Men comics a few years ago. 

OCD upgradeitis/ eBay flipping exploits aside, I enjoyed this material more the third time through. The X-Men were always the red-headed stepchild of Marvel's Silver Age. Neither Stan Lee nor Jack Kirby seemed to give this series much thought out of the gate. Compare these issues to anything else that these two were doing during the same cover month and you will see what I mean.

Kirby's successor was Werner Roth. I disliked Werner Roth's artwork until a couple of years ago, when I read his 1950's Atlas output. I still feel like his style is not as energetic as Kirby's, nor as nuanced as Ditko's, because he draws superheroes that look like regular people. If you read this as a book about normal teenagers who happen to be mutant superheroes his artwork makes more sense. He is a solid artist that was ill-suited to Silver Age superhero comics.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby lay down the entire foundation for the series here. Professor Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters. Cerebro, Professor X's mutant-detecting device. Magneto as well as the Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants. Future Avengers Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. The Blob. The Juggernaut. The Sentinels and the first wave of anti-mutant hysteria that Roy Thomas and later Chris Claremont would use to great dramatic effect. It's all here, even if it isn't spit-shined or ready for prime time yet. Like I said, neither Lee nor Kirby nor Thomas nor Roth made this series seem like it was their priority. It falls short of every other book that Marvel was publishing during this time. Reading this for the third time was the charm, though, as I finally got what made it special to a small group of fans back then. It was those fans who would become the creators who would go on to make this one of Marvel's most popular titles a decade or so later.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

If you enjoy Magneto in the movies, thank Jack Kirby. 

The OCD zone- When I returned to comic books in 2003 after a thirteen year hiatus I discovered the Essential line, which were 500 page black and white phone books. At the time I wished that they were in color. The Epic line is an answer to my prayers. Five hundred page chunks of classic comic books at a reasonable price.
Linework and Color restoration: The absolute best version of this material, using the same files found in the Omnibus and softcover Marvel Masterworks. Excellent linework and a color palette that is faithful to the original comics.
Paper stock: Matte coated stock of sufficient thickness and weight. This is the same stock found in the softcover Marvel Masterworks and Epic line books. This paper is my favorite paper used out of any collected editions from any company.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


CAPTAIN AMERICA VOL. 3: LOOSE NUKE (Marvel, First Printing 2014; Softcover)

Collects Captain America #11-15 (cover dates November, 2013- March, 2014)

Writer: Rick Remender
Artists: Carlos Pacheco, Klaus Janson, Mariano Taibo, and Nick Klein
Colorists: Dean White, Rachelle Rosenberg, Rain Beredo, and Val Staples

While I read and enjoyed the first two volumes in this series, the never-ending barrage of comics released each week made it impossible to keep up with everything, so I dropped this title. My local library has a ton of collected editions, so I grabbed Vols. 3-5 of this series when I saw them. The price was right.

Remender is a good writer, and while this isn't as good as Brubaker's run on the title (what is?), it was still very enjoyable. Fast paced and action packed, Remender manages to pack enough of the suspense and intrigue which were the hallmark of Brubaker's run into his run.

Cap is back after spending twelve years in Dimension Z. He was gone from Earth only a few moments, but twelve years of his life were spent there. Nuke is on a rampage, and Cap barely has a second to catch his breath before the son of Nick Fury pushes him into action. A new heavy, The Iron Nail, is revealed in this arc.

The artwork is all decent, the writing is good, and there is no unnecessary swearing. This would even be worth paying money to read.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone-
Paper stock: Good weight coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.