While I read just about everything, I’m quite picky about the titles I ultimately add to my pull list and the purpose of these mini reviews is to perhaps get you to pick up a new title yourself or to broaden your comic horizons. Most of the time I’ll write up the new #1’s I’ve chosen, or if the issue was truly spectacular, it’ll serve as a way to spotlight the series as a whole. Either way, let’s begin!
The Superior Spider-Man #1
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ryan Stegman
SSM picks up immediately where ASM #700 ended…with evil genius Otto Octavius embracing his new life as Peter Parker and saying goodbye to his old one. He encounters a new Sinister Six, but these villains aren’t anything great and he scoffs at their attempts. Otto finds many facets of having Peter’s experiences and memories annoying, especially when he saves an officer as he tries to flee a crime scene. He is baffled at everything Peter has put up with and frustrated that any accomplishments will be credited to Peter and not the Otto Octavius name. Of course, not everything is bad when it comes to Peter Parker. The increasingly creepy Otto delights in Mary Jane, even staring at her boobs during dinner, but she seems to be unable to pick up that anything has changed in Peter’s demeanor other than an ear piece he’s wearing. Peter (sorry, OTTO) has been listening in on plans the new Sinister Six has been making and lays down several traps for them as they attempt their scheme. He’s even called the media to be on hand as he brings the villainous group to justice and it is here, in these panels, that we see Otto’s darkness rise up. He begins to beat on Boomerang, and although Boomerang admits his defeat, secure in the fact that good ole Spider-Man will turn him over to the law, Otto continues to beat him. The close up fear in Boomerang’s eye is perfectly done and it’s very apparent Otto intends to kill him. He (predictably) is stopped by an apparition, but inexplicably he cannot see or hear it talk. It’s revealed to be Peter’s consciousness stating he is still in the game and vows to get his body back. Anyone know how long it’ll take for someone mastered in the magical, ephemeral arts to notice? Paging Doctor Strange, paging Doctor Strange.
Ryan Stegman has always done gorgeous art and his Spider-Man is absolutely wonderful at helping to ease readers into this new age. His sharp lines, even more enhanced with Edgar Delgado‘s color, really bring the point home that this Peter is not the one we used to know. Panel layout helps the narrative greatly without distracting you from the story itself.
If you were done with Spider-Man, much like I was after reading ASM #700, I implore you to take a moment, breathe deeply, and check out Superior Spider-Man. All of the hope is not lost.
Star Wars #1
Writer: Brian WoodArtist: Carlos D’Anda
The events of Episode IV have recently transpired and two our of heroes (along with the lovable Wedge) are flying near the Outer Rim in the hopes of finding the Rebellion a home. Princess Leia is now piloting her very own X-wing (something echoed by her future daughter, Jaina) and as the trio near the Dominus sector, an Imperial Star Destroyer appears out of nowhere and a TIE bomber forces Leia to crash land on Dominus III, where she dispatches an enemy pilot with a blaster shot to the chest. Meanwhile my favorite smuggler is discussing his current situation with his Wookiee compatriot, bemoaning the thought that he is unwelcome on most worlds now. He begrudgingly answers to Mon Mothma at the head of the Rebellion, and warps to the next rendezvous point. As more TIE bombers search the planet surface, quick repairs allow Leia and the others to narrowly escape back to the mother ship, where Mon Mothma summons her. Luke defends Leia to a grumpy old man who refuses to let Leia into his exclusive fighter pilot club and even goes a step further saying she is better than they are. Mon Mothma thinks there may be a spy among the rebels and as such, instructs Threepio and Leia to put together a “shadow council” to both find the spy and find the Rebellion a home, without having to report to her directly. As she steps to Luke’s room to recruit him, Emperor Palpatine shames Darth Vader who is resolute in regaining his honor.
Several panels are devoid of words and with the careful hand of Carlos D’Anda…it isn’t needed. So much feeling is put in each character’s face, especially that of the Princess, I feel words would be superfluous. D’Anda also captures the pure menace of Darth Vader and normally I hate how machinery is drawn, but he proves deft at that as well! Brian Wood is always a fantastic writer (check out Dark Horse’s The Massive to see what I’m talking about if you’d like!) and this is great display of his talents as he expands on a world I love.
Star Wars fans, I cannot tell you enough to grab this comic. It brings that magic you feel from the movies and wonderfully captures each character as they take their next steps in their battle against the Empire. This is the most “Star Wars-y” comic I’ve read in years.
Leia Calderon (never been prouder to be named after this princess!)