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Spider-Man Crawlspace Reviews: @Marvel Venom, Carnage, Superior Foes, Spider-Man


Here are today's Guest Reviews from the guys at Spider-Man Crawlspace for Marvel's; Venom #38, Superior Carnage #2, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #2, and Superior Spider-Man #15. I have also added my rating after each review. If you have any questions about my rating or want to discuss anything just leave me a comment.


See the Review Rating Overview page for more information on how I rate each comic.


Venom #38


Venom's evolution as Philadelphia's makeshift, seat-of-your-pants Avenger continues!


But is KATY KIERNAN dead set on learning all Venom's secrets?


How does Flash protect his secret identity while trying to protect himself from a hit that's been called on him?


Preview



Jack O’Lantern Returns


Plot

We start by seeing Andi's (the teen I usually refer to as “sullen girl”) home life and meeting her father and for the first time since Bunn created her she actually seems like a real character and not a background prop. Her father is also an instantly likeable character.

Next we jump to the park where Venom disguised as a nun, meets with reporter Katy Kiernan. She helps him set up an information network for his crime-fighting. We also get a montage of clips of Venom fighting the various bounty hunters working for Lord Ogre (whose ranks now include the Brothers Grimm from the original Spider-Woman series and some dude with a shotgun I don’t recognize.) At the end of the montage we see Flash is being watched by Jack O’Lantern.

Review

This book was excellent on every level. The best issue of this series since I began reviewing it.

The big thing this issue accomplishes is Flash finally has a real supporting cast and the book as a whole actually feels like it has direction, which is a huge improvement from those four issues before the Brock fight. I like Katy Kiernan and the idea of her and Flash having an underground network of sources is solid. We even got a cameo of Creepy Museum Dude, who was in the first issue I reviewed, who is an expert on the occult and urban myths and I think he’s a character that could also aid the overall direction of the book in the future. Andi is finally fleshed out in this story and her dad was instantly likeable so that his death feels like a tragedy even though we just met him this issue. So on that front: kudos all around.

As for the super-heroics, holy cow is Jack O’Lantern an effective villain. I know of this incarnation from the reviews on this site before I took over this title but this is the first time I've seen him for myself. It amazes me that what was a notoriously bad villain concept originally can be so effective on both a visceral and visual level here. For those who don’t this is at least the fourth character to use the name: the original rode a frickin pogoball into battle and then screwed up the Hobgoblin identity, the second was a C-list Cap foe whose real name or back-story they never even bothered to reveal, and the last one I saw was a little old lady ripping off Mysterio's shtick and even that was actually an improvement over the first two. But this Jack, I love him. He actually manages to make the formerly ludicrous pumpkin head costume look supernaturally creepy, he’s viscous, and he has these fascinating little poppet things following him around and helping him stalk his victims.

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 3/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 3/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 5/5
Verdict - 4 - 
(Pre-Order Venom TPB Land Where Killers Dwell) SAVE 20%


Superior Carnage #2


CARNAGE IS CAPTURED! But can the Wizard and Klaw subdue him long enough to create their SUPERIOR CARNAGE?


KEVIN SHINICK (Avenging Spider-Man) and STEPHEN SEGOVIA (X-Treme X-Men) perform unspeakable acts to create their own monster issue!

Preview




I Am His Family


Plot

When we had left off, Klaw and The Wizard had freed Carnage from imprisonment so The Wizard could take control of his mind and recruit him into the Frightful Four. This issue, we meet our fourth member, a paraplegic doctor named Karl Malus. Malus explains that Cletus Kassidy’s lobotomy is what is stopping The Wizard from controlling Carnage, since their is no human mind to control.

Review

This issue was much better than the premiere, as it decided to go dark and not try to be a funny book as well. That’s not to say there isn't a few jokes, because they are and they work well, but they’re often related to The Wizard going more and more insane as the issue goes on. A particular favorite of mine is the clever way the summary page is a file The Wizard is looking at in the context of the story, with pages of Venom and Carnage, but when Klaw looks at it, it’s just pictures of normal people and scribbles. Bentley Whitman has clearly gone off the deep end and with the revelation that these are his final days, it gives this story a tragic twist of a brilliant mind going insane just before he dies. I wouldn't quite say they manage to make The Wizard sympathetic, but it’s some great characterization. SpOck also manages to get some good characterization in the few pages we spend with him and I’m almost glad it’s him and not Peter that’s going to get drug into this mess. Klaw as well, but it’s a bait and switch as we think he might wise up and help Malus only to reveal he’s just as insane as The Wizard. Even Malus gets some decent character work, but it’s weak in comparison to the other three and it was quite obvious he was going to be their “Flash Thompson” when they introduced him.

The art is once again really strong. Segovia can make average people like scary, from the blank haunting expression of Cletus Kassidy and nearly mechanical expressions of Klaw to the way Bentley looks insane as he calls his teammates the name of his son. And don’t even get me started on his Carnage, who expands and fills the panels he is in with his massive frame and tendrils. One of my biggest complaints over in Thunderbolts is that Venom’s tendrils don’t look menacing at all; that’s not a problem under Segovia’s care. He also does a couple neat tricks throughout the issue, like the way he illustrates part of the back story by flashing characters through the eye pieces of SpOck’s mask and changing the Wizard’s demeanor from insane to smug and confident every time he puts the helmet on.

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace

My Rating



Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 3/5

Verdict - 3.6 - (Pre-Order Superior Carnage TPB) SAVE 30%


The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #2


With superior villains come superior problems as the year's sleeper hit continues!

Out of bail and aiming to stay out of jail, Boomerang must get his cronies on target - but does the PUNISHER have them targeted already?

Nick Spencer (AVENGERS) and Steve Lieber (HAWKEYE) continue this most evil exploration into the Marvel U!

Preview



I Miss Titles


Plot

After the crew decides that they do not need a sixth member to be the Sinister Six and Boomerang has a meeting with his lawyer, the group pulls a job on a fancy new restaurant. While they’re enjoying the spoils (they basically stole a really expensive meal) the Punisher crashes through the window and everyone runs away but Boomerang, who is just too drunk on expensive wine to really do anything.

Review

It’s funny, when I was about to start writing “the story” section up there, I was thinking it was going to be pretty short because not too much happened in this issue. But I look up there and I see a plot summary that is actually longer than a lot of them that I write. So it sure seems to me, given that, that Nick Spencer packed a good amount of story into this issue without making it feel overly dense, and that’s actually a plus where I thought I Superior Foes #2 had a minus. That’s a pretty good way to start, if you ask me.

This is a second issue in a row that I really have almost nothing but good things to say about. Starting right from before you even open the cover – that is a great-looking cover by Ed McGuinness. A bit of an homage to other classic Punisher covers with the gun sight view, and just great aesthetics on our fledgling team inside it. It looks like this series, at least initially, is employing a rotating roster of great cover artists to do something new and creative each issue, and that suits me just fine.

And once again we have art from Steve Lieber that is both good looking and creative. There’s a brief sequence when Boomerang is meeting his lawyer that shows Boomerang’s daydream of taking the guy’s head off with a boomerang, and the little sequence is drawn like a child’s drawings. That’s a pretty funny commentary on Boomerang’s mind, I think. Beetle also continues to get a couple of nice little bits like captions of images coming out of her phone and when she counts to five (explaining why there should be a sixth member), it’s sort of illustrated (it’s hard to effectively describe – check out the bottom of the second preview page). Maybe my favorite panel is the last one on page 4, when the Sinister Six meeting is over, and all you see are the things each of the four sitting down has been toying with the whole meeting – Shocker’s sandwich, Speed Demon’s bottle, Overdrive’s toy car, and Beetle’s iPhone.

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace


My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 2/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 3/5
Layout & Flow - 3/5
Story - 3/5
Verdict - 2.9
 - (Buy The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #2) SAVE 10%


Superior Spider-Man #15 - Run, Goblin, Run! Part 1 of 2: The Tinkerer's Apprentice


"Run, Goblin, Run!" Part 1 of 2

What's it like to be a villain in the Marvel Universe...once the Superior Spider-Man sets his sights on you?

Find out, from Phil Urich's point of view, in what might be the final days of the Hobgoblin.

Plus, what is the secret of "The Tinkerer's Apprentice"? Who's been helping the Terrible Tinkerer? And how is he, of all people, the reason everything in Spider-Man's life will be changed forever?!

Preview



An Issue So Epic


Plot

Spidey’s minions locate Hobgoblin. While fighting Spider-Man, Hobgoblin’s weapons fail due to Ty’s tampering. Spider-Man follows Hobgoblin to the Daily Bugle, where he discovers the Hobgoblin’s true identity. Spider-Man pirates all the television channels is New York, tells the world that the Hobgoblin is Phil Urich, and provides a 1-800 number so that citizens can call in with information.

Review

I initially rated this one as a B, but Don and Ryan’s reviews persuade me to slap a big old minus on that bad boy. They reminded me of the absurdity of the entire supporting cast’s failure to move past the “oh my, something’s off with Peter” phase. The dude just trampled into the middle of Manhattan in an A.T.A.T., killed a bunch of magic ninjas in cold blood, and (as far as the cast knows) murdered Wilson Fisk. In a world of super heroes, someone would put a stop to this. Mayor Jameson, whom Spider-Man identified as his font of authorization and funding, would be federally investigated. And Carlie Cooper, who has known about the mind swap since Amazing Spider-Man #700, should quit standing still and warn society that a psychopath has basically taken over the New York.

But what lets me look past the story’s flaws is this: Dan Slott is having an obscene amount fun and that enthusiasm infects the reader. (Yes, I presume to speak for “the reader.”) Honestly, I think the three recent Christos Gage-scripted issues helped me appreciate better the enthusiasm Slott brings to the table. Guys like Christos Gage and Chris Yost (good writers, by all means) write SpOck like it’s their job, or like a writing challenge to puzzle through. But Slott writes SpOck like there’s nothing he’d rather do. At every line of pompous dialogue like “minions, attend me!”, and at scenes like where SpOck’s face appears on all the Times Square monitors, flashing the 1-800-555-SPDY number, I visualize Slott giggling to himself at his writing desk. Not that a middle-aged man giggling in an empty room is a mental image I actively seek. Not that there would be anything wrong with it if I did. But one finds oneself swept up in the gleefulness with which Dan Slott writes Superior Spider-Man.

By the way, I think that was the first time I used the portmanteau “SpOck” in reference to the Spider-Man/Doc Ock hybrid. It’s my least favorite moniker fandom has constructed for that character–I've always preferred “Peterpus”–but “SpOck” caught on and I've quit resisting it.

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace


My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 5/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 5/5
Story - 5/5
Verdict - 4.7
 - (Buy Superior Spider-Man #15) SAVE 10%

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