The Comic Rack - Amazing Spider-Man #539, Aquaman #50, Spirit #4 - Reviews for March 21st, 2007

The Amazing Spider-Man #539
(w)Straczynski (a) Garney

“Back in Black” Part 1 (of 5)

First let me say that I find the fact that all the Spider-Man titles feature the cover sidebar “Back in Black”. I understand he’s in the black costume…I can see that on the cover already…having this on all the books makes it confusing as to which issues are actually the “Back in Black” storyline, and which others are just Spider-Man stories where he’s in the black costume. Now…having gotten that out of the way…

This issue was awesome.

I haven’t read much of Straczynski’s run on Spider-Man…organic webshooters and Gwen Stacy banging Norman Osborne kept me away…so this is the first issue of Spider-Man I’ve picked up in a long time. The first page recap was very much appreciated, and something that I think more comics should be doing. It makes it much easier to jump in with both feet and enjoy the story.

Now, I don’t know what the deal is with Marvel heroes and snipers lately, but a sniper (not the sniper that popped Captain America…another one) was aiming in the window where Peter, MJ, and Aunt May were standing. When he fired a shot, Peter tried to protect MJ, but in doing so made it possible for the bullet to make it’s way into Aunt May’s gut instead.

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Not good.

So this issue opens with Peter getting Aunt May to a hospital, then starting a quest for revenge that takes Peter to a dark place. Possibly as dark as he’s ever been…and it works really well. With all of the things that have happened to Peter of the last few months, Mr. Parker has been beaten down just about as much as one could be. He’s gone from living in Stark Tower to a slummy hotel. He’s gone from hero to outlaw…and now he may have lost his Aunt too…(just forget that she already died once, ok? It’ll make it a lot easier to enjoy this…)

I highly recommend this issue if you’re a Spider-fan…even if you’ve been away for a while like I have…this is a great jumping on point.

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #50
(w) Williams (a) McManus

“Cold Water”

Dear DC,

Please put this title out of it’s misery.

This may be the worst comic book I’ve ever read in my entire life.

I picked up this title when it first relaunched with a new Number One and a King Arthur slant. I like the liquid blue hand they gave Aquaman, but the title really didn’t hold my interest. I tried to get into it again when they sank half of San Diego and turned it into Sub Diego…and I’m trying it again with issue 50…and the first arc of new writer Tad Williams. Williams has been making a career of writing sci-fi and fantasy novels, and I’m sure he’s good at it…but this is just a terrible comic book.

This book reads like a generic underwater fantasy novel that is far too jokey to be taken seriously. From the fart jokes, to the squid-guy inking himself, (heck the squid guy in general is a poor man’s JarJar Binks) to the shark-man who just can’t stop eating people, this thing just plain reeks.

The guy that looks like Aquaman is named Arthur Curry, but he’s not the Aquaman we’ve known for years. After reading this issue I’m still not sure who the hell he is…all I know is that the “real” Aquaman has apparently been turned into some kind of half-squid mentally challenged guy…

This thing is just a mess. A real mess. I won’t be picking up issue #51. The biggest complaint I have about this whole terrible angle they’ve taken with Aquaman (that Kurt Busiek started) is that it’s going to be incredibly hard to un-write…and it needs to be un-written. Now.

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #4
(w)(a) Cooke

“Hard Like Satin”

This book gets better with every single issue. In issue four we follow our loveable hero and a CIA agent named Silk Satan as they attempt to chase down the ring leader of the “Octagon”. This series continues to be classically inspired stories that are done-in-one – and more happens in an issue of The Spirit than any 4 other comics you could pick up off the shelf. If you’re a fan of…well…comics…you owe it to yourself to pick up this amazing series.

Darwin Cooke’s art is a bold mix of Bruce Timm and Will Eisner, with enough flare to be completely his own. He is, bar none, my favorite creator in comics right now, and I hope he stays on this title for a long, long time.

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