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Spider-Man Crawspace Reviews: @Marvel Thunderbolts, Venom, Scarlet Spider, Superior Foes



Here are today's Guest Reviews from the guys at Spider-Man Crawlspace for Marvel's; Thunderbolts #14, Venom #39, Scarlet Spider #21, and The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3. 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.


Thunderbolts #14


INFINITY TIE-IN


New Ongoing Creative Team!


While the Avengers are away...the THUNDERBOLTS STRIKE!


Can they take out all of NYC's mafia before...anything goes wrong?


Preview



Infinity Part One of Five


Plot

After a quick “Help Ross kill a giant gamma monster” mission to open the story with, Ross brings up the premise the team is founded on; you do a mission for me and then we do a mission for each of you that you couldn’t do on your own. They draw names from a hat and Frank comes out on top.

Review

It was well worth the wait to see Soule’s take on the team as a whole. Gone is the dour days of Way’s team, Soule infuses the book with a lot more humor than we got back then. Not everything is fine and dandy and they are still a really dysfunctional team full of homicidal anti-heroes, but it doesn't take itself too seriously.

One thing that has surprised me about Soule’s run so far is how much better it has made Way’s run look in comparison. At the end of Way, I had hoped they would just ignore everything that happened thus far and start anew with Infinity, but Soule’s made gold out of crap and constantly references moments like Frank shooting Samuel Sterns in humorous context. There’s a lot going on with this team, a lot of which you don’t see on the surface, and Soule’s focus issues really help solidify the relationships between characters in place.

The art… I could take it or leave it, but I’m not going to put it in the con pile. Their are moments where Soule’s story and Jefte’s art work perfectly together (see the Ross moment on the right) and I really wish I could grow a beard like Mr. Paguro’s. Jefte Palo does try to bring the same expressions to the characters that Phil Noto did, though he’s not quite as successful. And he does try to play around with the panels, especially during the Punisher’s exposition drop. It does look like things will look better, judging from previews for issue fifteen and the last page of this story; looks like Jefte works better with alien designs.

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 - 3/5
Verdict - 3.1 - 
(Buy Thunderbolts #14) SAVE 20%


Venom #39


Venom's secret identity is discovered! And not by whom you'd expect!


A hit has been taken out on Venom's life--and cold-blooded killers are crawling out of the woodwork to collect!


Even in tough times, every super hero needs a sidekick, right?

Preview



Can this issue keep the trend going?


Plot

Andi is shocked to be a symbiote at first, but that soon dissolves as the rage over her father’s death transforms her into a Venomette. She and Flash take the fight to Jack O’ Lantern. Andi wants to kill Jack but Flash won’t let her and once they unmask him they learn someone new is under the pumpkin.

Review

This was another excellent issue–totally action-packed with enough mystery and character moments to give it depth. It’s a shame this book has been cancelled because it has totally hit its stride and found its identity lately with what I would consider a pair of grand slam homeruns the last two issues, plus a damn good set-up issue prior to that.

Let’s start with the big plot development of Andi getting her own symbiote. On paper this should be a terrible idea. First of all despite lurking for months, Andi didn’t really have a personality until last issue. And on top of that has anyone been clamoring for a teen sidekick symbiote? But wonder of wonders, it totally works in this issue. The scene where her rage transforms her is just really good use of the art to tell the story. Plus the story went exactly where it needed to go. There’s a two page spread of Flash and Andi talking between the two fights, and as I was reading the first page I was thinking to myself how much the instant symbiote bonding did not make sense in the context of Peter wore this thing for months without bonding to it and it was a few years (real time) between Peter discarding it in Web #1 and Brock showing up as Venom so that when Venom could do things with the symbiote Peter couldn’t you had that time gap of the permanent bonding to explain it. And then the next page, Flash says everything I was thinking about Andi bonding with the symbiote, and that what is happening doesn’t make sense based on past events. And just like that you take what could have been a plot hole and instead make it an intriguing mystery. End it with Andi refusing to kill Jack despite him having killed her father and she becomes a true hero, and it makes me want to see more of her. Plus let’s be honest Flash could use a sidekick. I think this is the first time I’ve seen him win a fight since I’ve been reviewing this book, and it is probably because he has someone to fight side by side with.

Speaking of character beats and using old continuity (which is what I would consider having Flash acknowledge the ways Andi’s bonding doesn’t make sense); I loved the scene where the Constrictor refuses to fight Andi when the mercenaries unmask her and he sees she is just a kid.

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace

My Rating



Cover & Solicit - 2/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 3/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 5/5

Verdict - 3.9 - (Buy Venom #39) SAVE 10%


Scarlet Spider #21 - Into the Grave Part 1


INTO THE GRAVE PART 1 (of 3)


After last issue's shocking ending, everything has changed for Kaine. His second chance at life is over.


At his lowest point, he comes face to face with the one man that's fueled his obsession, hate and guilt his entire life... BEN REILLY.

Preview



IS THAT REALLY BEN #%$^@*& REILLY?! 


Plot

Kaine is distraught about his clone degeneration scars returning and swings out of the hotel in a rage after nearly attacking Aracely. Dizzy, he falls to the ground and finds himself confronted by the original Scarlet Spider!

Review

Everyone who had a hand in marketing this issue did it a colossal disservice. Because this is actually a very good issue. We’ve been waiting for the showdown with Kraven for something like a year and a half now and we’re finally getting it, and Kraven’s plan is very good. It evokes both the Clone Saga and Kraven’s Last Hunt in the best ways. But that’s not what people are mainly going to be saying about this issue or what a majority of people will feel after putting it down. No, instead all the hype was given to try to fool people into hoping against hope for the incredibly remote chance that Ben Reilly would actually come back. And of course that was all a hallucination. End result? A lot of people will feel let down, ripped off, or just ambivalent about it, and that’s really sad.

I will say this issue didn’t offer any surprises for me, though. After my Scarlet Spider #20 review, the fifth comment was from a poster named sthenurus who said: “I dont think the degenerescence is back. Since Kraven is advertise in the next few issues, i believe it was some sort of halucinagenic dart that stung kaine in houston, not mosquitos.” And as soon as I read that I felt like a complete moron for not realizing the same thing. And once that point had been brought up, it seemed pretty clear that this dart would likely not only be responsible for the scars, but for Ben’s appearance as well. And we now know that all turned out to be absolutely true. So this was not exactly the most twisty and surprising story possible. but still a good one, I think.

The fact that there are two artists on this one issue is less noticeable than usual. It seems the creative team keeps growing, or at least shifting in different ways. Right now we have 2 writers, 2 pencilers, and 2 inkers. But the art actually blends together pretty well. Some pages and panels look better than others to be sure, but overall there’s a consistent look and feel and the majority of the proceedings look damn good. I’m happy that, while we may not have Ben back for real, we do have some pretty cool professional art of the two Scarlet Spiders together. Chris Sotomayor’s coloring talents shouldn’t be discounted here, though, considering his colors probably helped a lot to keep the tone consistent among the 2 pencilers and 2 inkers.

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace


My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 4/5
Layout & Flow - 5/5
Story - 5/5
Verdict - 4.6
 - (Pre-Order Scarlet Spider TPB Vol. 4 Into Grave) SAVE 30%


The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3


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



Well THAT escalated quickly…


Plot

Boomerang, ever our plucky narrator, recounts the most oft-believed tale of the head of Silvio Silvermane – that being that when Silvermane’s robot body was crushed, the head popped off and was found by the son of the owner of the scrap yard, who took it in and eventually Silvio became a real member of the family. This, of course, is horse crap.

Review

There’s just no other way to say it, folks – this comic book is flawless. It is without flaw. Flaw-free. I got no complaints. Not only was there nothing I didn’t like, I DID like everything. So if you’re not into positive reviews, this one ain’t for you!

Let’s start from the very, very beginning – the cover. This is a third in a row that is a cool, unique, eye-catching piece by a different cover artist. So far this series has had three different cover artists working in very different styles all creating images that flat-out rock. Why is this so important? Because we all know this is not a series you can expect people to just immediately be sold on and want to pick up. People have to be really enticed to pick this book up because it just doesn’t have the name recognition in its characters or creators (hardcore comics fans know the creators are great, but the casual fan probably doesn’t know their names yet). So you’ve got to do whatever you can to get the butts in the seats so to speak, because this book can be as good as it wants but it won’t matter if no one’s reading it. And great covers are a really important step towards catching a casual reader’s attention to pick it up off the shelf and give it a flip-through. But what’s even smarter is having completely different art styles do great jobs on the first several covers because it casts a wider net to get the interest of more people. Marcos Martin doesn’t catch your eye? Fine, how about Ed McGuinness? Not your cup of tea? Ok, well this month we have Mike Del Mundo for you. Really, really smart tactics by editorial there that I have to applaud, and for someone like me that’s buying the issues anyway, I just get great, varied pieces of art every month, so it’s win/win!

And how about the art on the inside of the cover? Still really damn good. Lieber’s art has the gritty, nearly grimy feel that sets the tone for this book that is about people you’d sooner call ‘crooks’ than ‘villains.’ And, as always, it’s the little touches that really make it shine. Lieber does a lot with doing a magnified bubble of a smaller piece of a panel with an arrow pointing to that smaller piece, and that often works great. My favorite image in this issue, though, is when Boomerang is narrating the fake story of Silvermane’s head being taken home by this little boy, and there’s a part at first where Boomerang says, “And he even tried to blot out the kid a few times at first, the old rascal.” And the art is a small, darkish panel of the little boy walking away from a chair, and you just see Silvermane’s head with a knife in his mouth throwing itself off the top of the chair and totally missing. Heck, that whole sequence is absolutely hysterical, and the art really makes it shine.

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace


My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 4/5
Art, Colors & Inking - 2/5
Layout & Flow - 4/5
Story - 4/5
Verdict - 3.4
 - (Buy Superior Foes of Spider-Man #3) SAVE 10%

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