Ultraist Studios Blog Journal thoughts, musings and other rambling…

November 11, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #648 review

Filed under: Thoughts — M Kitchen @ 3:44 pm

We’ve all seen the trailer:

Well, now it’s here.
My review of Amazing Spider-Man #648. BIG TIME.

First off: Allow me to say that of all the costumed superheroes, Spider-Man has always been my favourite. Though it’s been tough to stay interested over the last two decades. Seriously.

I’ve checked in from time to time, only to be left shaking my head.

Let me say right off the bat that Humberto Ramos has been drawing my favourite Spidey for the last decade. So it was a no-brainer to pick this up for the art alone. And Dan Slott seems to have a handle on the character like no one else has in years. So going into this comic, my hopes were way up.

The first 16 pages of Spider-Man leading The Avengers against Doc Ock and his Mecha-Ock invasion was near perfection.

My only gripe here was the Wolverine line “Taking orders from Parker. Never gonna hear the end a this.”

Not sure where this started (I blame Bendis) but I absolutely hate it when we see masked heroes calling each-other by their secret identity names. Perhaps this was Slott’s way of correcting the bad writing of others, but it was the one line of dialog that popped me out of the story (well, that and the fart joke). Everything else was genius. Right down to the Black Cat cameo which impressed me how smoothly Slott and Ramos pulled it off.

The remaining 23 pages were hit and miss for me as far as story goes.
J. Jonah Jameson as Mayor is weird, but what the heck, it’s no weirder than Toronto’s Mayor Lastman.
Watching Peter Parker looking for a place to stay was the most bizarre and un-interesting thing in the whole book for me. Yeah, I understand Slott is trying to show where Peter stands with all the supporting characters. But it was kinda painful.

Peter Parker has another girl friend? Ugh.
Didn’t Joe Quesada just finish absolving Spidey’s marriage with the help of his divorce attorney Mephisto?

Geeze Marvel, when are you going to learn. You made the same mistake first issue of Brand New Day, turning Peter Parker into some kind of swinger on the very first page. Give the story some breathing room. Let the man be single. That’s why you’ve botched decades of continuity, isn’t it?
Sigh. You know what… enough struggling with contrived continuity.
All I want is a good story.

But things continue to get weirder.
Aunt May is married to a Jameson?
Who wrote THAT into continuity? (answer).
Seriously. The reason I’m buying a Spider-Man comic is NOT to be reading some Golden Girls soap opera.
I don’t want to read a story about Aunt May’s sexual exploits. No one does. Please. Stop.

Flash Thompson doesn’t have any legs?
WTF. Why? What does (or did) that add to the story?
(answer). Ugh.

AND the page that had me consider dropping the book again.
Page 25. Just had to rub the Peter and Mary Jane debacle in everyone’s faces.
Best thing that could have been done is just leave that character out of the book until the dust settles and everything gets back into the groove.
I thought the whole point of the past few years of cluster-#@*! was to absolve the Spidey marriage.
Why bother to force this back into the forefront of this new direction?

Seriously. I don’t understand. At this point I had to go back to the first 16 pages to remind myself how amazingly awesome the first chunk of this book was to move on…

Horizon Labs. Ah. This is refreshing. Something NEW that feels like it’s building the story rather than struggling through dead weight of the past. This was fun. And I see that Ramos literally based this building on the Pixar lobby. Which is weird for me, being a CG animator myself. But yeah, I can buy into this. Watching Peter Parker “laying down the science” was my second favourite part of this book, and got me firmly planted back into this story.

And seeing Spider-Man homeless and reading his science book in a web-hammock in late night New York has got to be one of the best iconic moments I’ve seen for the character. Well done!

But wait. There’s still two more pages.
Kingpin and… Hobgoblin.
Beautifully rendered by Ramos.
As a matter of fact, it was Ramos’s rendition of the Green Goblin that made me a fan of his work way back in Peter Parker: Spider-Man 47.

Okay. It was touch-and-go for a while there.
But you’ve got me hooked for another issue.
We’ll see where it goes.

Of course, I’ve just seen this image from over at The Beat…

… so I’m proceeding with caution and am ready to drop the book at a moments notice.

ADDENDUM: Been thinking about the whole Spidey romance thing, and realized that for the writers (Slott in this case) to make things work, they’re going to have to come up with someone better (that the audience loves more) than Gwen Stacy, Felicia Hardy and Mary Jane Watson-Parker.

And the thing is, it SHOULD be a side issue, because Spider-Man is a superhero comic and should be about scrapping with supervillians above all else.

Another thought: I have no problem with changing up the formula, so long as it works. My favorite comic book these days (Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon) is a book that happens in real time, and goes through DRASTIC changes (heck, the title hero is now the books villian and his now-grown-up-kids have to deal with him), but what makes it work is it comes from the heart of the guy who’s making it. The problem with Spider-Man, Bat Man et al, is that the “big changes” always feel like editorial edicts and are neither here-nor-there. Marvel had a HUGE opportunity that was squandered with the unmasking, also when Spider-Man had a chance to become the bad boy of the Marvel Universe when he joined The Avengers (given his media relations). Given that there was going to be a OMD, BND, OMIT reset there was a chance to go no-holds-barred wild in the book. But no. It was (in my opinion) this weird mushy “we’re changing things!… but not THAT much” kind of wishy washy “all new direction”.

I just want to read a fun superhero romp.
Been enjoying Astonishing Spider-Man | Wolverine.
THAT’s been fun.

Hope the rest of BIG TIME follows suit.

ADDENDUM 2: Looks like that Death of Spider-Man is an Ultimate Universe thing.

ADDENDUM 3: Amazing Spider-Man #649 looks like it’ll be great judging by the preview.

November 9, 2010


Filed under: Mantra — M Kitchen @ 8:17 am

Tony Robbins quote:

“Surmounting difficulty is the crucible that forms character.” *

November 4, 2010


Filed under: Mantra — M Kitchen @ 9:21 am

Hugh Macleod quote:

“Was it worth the cost? Not really. It never is. Van Gough once told his brother, ‘No painting ever sells for as much as it cost the artist to make it.’ I’ve yet to meet in the flesh any artist who could prove him wrong.” *

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