It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for another Four-Color Bullet, the only comic-book review column not guest-starring Deadpool.
On the Marvel side of things, the Spider-Man of the 1930s returns, this time not only up against the man called Mysterio, but knee-deep in the multiverse-spanning event that will affect every known spider-powered hero in existence, in Edge of Spider-Verse #1 starring Spider-Man Noir; Captain Marvel and her cat, Chewie, must fend off an alien intruder. They will both discover that in space, no can hear you meow, in Captain Marvel #7; and in the march to Axis, Marvel’s next big event, Magneto discovers the Red Skull is hauling mutants off to re-education camps, and is in possession of Charles Xavier’s powers, in Magneto #9.
Over at the Distinguished Competition, Batman Beyond and his team must make their move on TerrifiTech, in Futures End #19; Amanda Waller’s covert war against the United States reaches the tipping point as the Suicide Squad takes the White House, in New Suicide Squad #1: Futures End; Batman and Robin are about to be turned into pasta thanks to General Gumm’s death trap, forcing the Green Hornet and Kato to bring in Gumm and the Joker on their own, in Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet #9.
And from the Valiant Universe, Archer’s assassin-for-hire sister Mary-Maria takes center stage in a roller coaster ride into next month’s game-changer, in Archer and Armstrong #24
When last we left our intrepid web-slinging hero, the now-psychotic Black Cat was about to unmask Spidey on live television while Spidey’s new ally Silk fought Electro, and good ol’ J. Jonah Jameson himself narrated the unmasking. I thought it was going to be a gimmick. That Amazing Spider-Man #6 would roll out and Peter had a mask under the mask, or something similar.
Friends, I was wrong. Spider-Man has been unmasked. Again.
The first story arc of Peter Parker’s return to life ends here, with him unmasked on live television, and he and Silk fighting off Electro and the Spidey-Scorned Black Cat. Writer Dan Slott is showing no signs of slowing down, actually keeping the action moving, moving, moving with virtually no time to rest. Black Cat is so ticked off she’s forming her own criminal empire just to take Peter down. Then we have Silk’s intense attraction for Peter, and some brewing trouble at Parker Industries. Thankfully, we’re not getting mindless slugfests every month, and Slott is developing plot threads in true Dan Slott style to keep the fifty-year-old character interesting, and fans coming back to the book. Penciler Humberto Ramos does some great work with his action scenes, keeping up with the frenetic pace of the story.
However, I am still having serious issues with Black Cat’s violent anger toward Peter. I get that when SpOck nabbed her while in Peter’s body, she lost everything. Wealth, credibility, all of it. But Peter and Felicia have history, and in my opinion it shouldn’t be that easy for Felicia to just develop a psychopathic anger toward Peter, when Peter has proven several times over, and again in a scene in this issue, that Otto was driving the body when he caused Felicia’s downfall. I’m left wondering if something’s up with her. Symbiote, mind-control, something.
Overall, I liked this issue and the feel of the series overall. There’s a lot building with Silk, Black Cat’s obsession with destroying Spidey, whether or not Peter’s unmasking comes back to haunt him, and the ramifications of the upcoming Spider-Verse event. There’s definitely going to be a lot to look forward to.
I am not a fan of DC’s current need to run a line-wide event in almost all of their titles. This month, the Futures End event that puts the DCU five years in the future has gone through most of the titles as tie-ins and restarted them (sort of) as first issues. The one I picked up this week was Justice League United #1: Futures End, because for a couple of months, DC has touted the return of my much-loved Legion of Super-Heroes in the book. As I read my comics on Comixology, I pre-ordered the book, excited to the point of vibrating because the Legion was coming back. All of the solicitations said this was the return of the Legion! This comics geek was happy!
Then I read it. You know what I got? Dawnstar. Now, don’t get me wrong. Dawnstar is one of my favorite Legionnaires, and it was nice to see her in action as a member of the future Justice League, and it was nice to see she, and maybe the others, were still around after Legion Lost ended. This Legion fan was left wanting more. But it is a two-parter, so we shall see.
The Legion disappointment aside, it was a good story. I like writer Jeff Lemire, especially his work on Justice League Dark, which is probably my favorite DC title right now along with Batman. In the story, Equinox gets a telepathic call from Martian Manhunter, essentially warning her that super-powered criminals on a Mars prison complex have escaped. As this is five years in the future, Equinox rounds up what’s left of the Justice League to head to Mars and deal with the problem.
There’s some pretty good character development and world-building here, as we see what has become of the Justice League United team during the Futures End event. It’s well-paced, with snappy dialogue, and an interesting cliffhanger. What I didn’t like was the art. Jed Dougherty isn’t a bad artist, but his work with facial expressions are unusual and off-putting, and his action scenes aren’t my favorite either. I suppose the word is “static.” I’m not sure he was the right choice to pencil a Justice League title.
With all of that out of the way, I will say that there will be a big Legion/Justice League team-up in the pages of Justice League United in October.
Overall, a decent addition to the Futures End event that offered some much needed hope that the Legion of Super-Heroes will return.
And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. Email and comments are always welcome, if you wish to sound off. Make your comics shop owner happy and clear those files out.
It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next week!