SPIDER-GWEN #1 — BOOK OF THE WEEK!
This book has a lot of advance buzz thanks to the Spider-verse storyline that ran through the Spidey books. Late to the party, I haven’t red those books so this first issue is my introduction to the character. When it was picked up for review, there were many doubts and reservations I had. Despite knowing where she came from, there was a certain amount of trepidation regarding the return of Gwen Stacey.
The first issue did a lot to alleviate those concerns, however. For the most part, this character feels like the Peter Parker we’ve all known and loved–hated by Jameson, hated by the city (s)he’s protecting, and obstacle after obstacle getting in the way of doing what’s right. Like most alternate universe books, of course part of the fun is seeing where familiar characters lie in this world. My concern with that, as with all alternate reality books, is that it will depend too much on that as a gimmick. While the first issue does use it, it feels like it’s more to set up future storylines than it is to be an “Oh, look who just showed up” affair. So, at this point, the benefit of the doubt will be given.
As for the art, for some reason it is reminiscent of Ryan Ottley to me. Simple, but it gets the emotions and expressions just right. It feels dynamic without being over-wrought. The first issue shows a ton of potential. Don’t miss out on what’s sure to be one of the hottest books of the year.
John’s pick of the week.
THEY’RE NOT LIKE US # 1 – 3
There is a mentor collecting the super-powered forgotten and mistreated, teaching them how to use their abilities. There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn to the X-Men. But what if Charles Xavier targeted the most vulnerable, the ones who could be coerced into doing acts that other people wouldn’t be capable of? Make no mistake about it–this is NOT the X-Men.
To be sure, this book isn’t going to be for everyone. If you like your superheroes clearly on the side of good, fighting for eternal ideas of righteousness, this isn’t going to be the book for you. Deeply rooted in moral relativism, there is a question that permeates the book as to what right and wrong even is.
That being said, the story is strong, showing the doubts of their newest recruit Syd as The Voice (the Professor X of this group) introduces her to this new world. Having been shuffled from hospital to hospital, she’s willing to listen to this mysterious benefactor, something the reader understands even in the few brief moments we are introduced to her.
The art is a little shaky in spots, but fits the feel of the book. It isn’t something that will bowl a person over, but it is serviceable for the story being told.
If you’ve wanted a darker version of the X-Men, some might even say a more modern take, then this is one you may want to check out. The story is brisk and poses some questions that and ordeals that are different from the standard superhero fare.
Mike’s pick of the last few months!
STAR WARS: DARTH VADER #1 – 2
Marvel is handling their new property Star Wars as one would expect–as an important property that deserves great writing and great art. While there are long-term fans of the expanded universe who will hate what has been discarded and changed, everything about Marvel’s assumption of the reins feels cinematic and impressive.
In this series, Vader is dealing with his deteriorating power base after Episode IV, something he is not going to take lying down. Without giving too much away, the first two issues demonstrate who Vader is, what he is willing to do to hold onto his power, and where his allegiances lie. The first issue has a great exchange with Jabba the Hutt.
Even better than that scene, however, is the fact writer Kieron Gillen imbues the character with qualities which make us sympathetic to his plight, despite him being on the wrong side. We care about what is happening to him, not just because of our familiarity with the story, but because we get to know his inner workings.
The art is amazing as it is supplied by Salvador Larroca. Every panel feels as though it were ripped from a movie we were deprived of, but have finally received.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, this is a must read–you won’t be disappointed. Matt loves what Marvel has done with the property and we’re all excited to find out what happens next.