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


Here are today's Guest Reviews from the guys at Spider-Man Crawlspace for Marvel's; Superior Spider-Man #18, Thunderbolts #15, Venom #41, and Scarlet Spider #22. 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.


Superior Spider-Man #18 - Smack to the Future


Superior Spider-Man vs. Spider-Man 2099. Who will be the most superior Spider in the Multi-verse?

Plus: secrets uncovered in time!

Preview



Showdown!


Plot

Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, has arrived in a timely fashion to save Tiberius Stone’s butt from getting thrashed by the Superior Spider-Man a.k.a. Doctor Octopus.

Review

 I’m unsure how I feel about this issue. It has its good points and not-so-good points, but overall while I think I liked it, the storytelling doesn’t seem very focused. This story deals with characters from two different timelines, and the quick cutting between them and a third and fourth party keeps the narrative from leaving much of an impact. So much is going on that you’re interested in seeing where certain things are going, but the weight of it all is lessened. The storytelling is so frenetic that it’s hard to get a bead on all of the chess pieces being moved around, much less care about them. Ultimately I think I enjoyed this, but it has its problems to be sure.

The best part in all of this chaos, thankfully, is Spider-Man 2099. He drives the action and shows more intelligence than the rest of the characters. His father and grandfather are abject tools, so the thought crosses his mind that maybe letting Spider-Man waste Stone is actually a good thing. He doesn’t decide on it, but it’s enough of an independent thought that I appreciated the character’s consideration, especially when things are so high pressured back in his own time. I don’t get the impression that Miguel O’Hara is anywhere near as smart as Peter Parker, but as a super hero he comes with enough common sense to use his brain even when the plot doesn’t demand him to. It’s a nice thing to see.

Conversely, Ock-Spidey is really getting on my nerves. For all of his blustering about his superior intelligence, all he does in this story is run around hitting people for zero reasons. The moment that 2099 hints that he’s an ally of the Parker-Spidey, Ock had a perfect opportunity to use and manipulate him to further his goals. It wouldn’t have worked out, but Ock doesn’t know why O’Hara’s there. Instead, Ock just hauls off and socks 2099 for no real reason. All that does is incriminate himself even further and give him another enemy. What exactly is he thinking? So Tiberius Stone games the system to get Liz to own Horizon Labs. Does he really think killing him publically  will set things straight in the quickest and consequence-free fashion?

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace

My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 3
Art, Colors & Inking - 4
Layout & Flow - 4
Story - 4
Verdict - 3.9 (8/10) - 
(Buy Superior Spider-Man #18) SAVE 10%


Thunderbolts #15


INFINITY TIE-IN!

Thanos' hordes come crashing down...

...right in the middle of the Thunderbolts' mission!

Preview



The One Where There Is An Alien Invasion.


Plot

The issue opens with our New-York based Thunderbolts arguing about transportation in the back of a black van stuck in traffic. Deadpool wants to take the subway, but The Punisher is against it. Deadpool decides to leave and take the subway to a pizza place, planning to meet up with the others later.

Review

Another solid issue of Thunderbolts from Charles Soule and Jefte Palo, though not quite as good as the first issue in this arc. It still has a strong balance between the characters, especially those in New York. There’s good development in the relationship between the Black Van Trio; Flash plays good cop, Frank plays bad cop and Elektra falls somewhere in the middle. Frank’s obsession with “the mission” is definitely not making him any friends in the Thunderbolts, but neither is Flash’s desire to do good and help out. I don’t really see things working out well for either of them; Flash could end up getting himself killed with those morals of his and Frank could end up facing more than just Elektra when the time comes. And while I wasn’t overly fond of the way Elektra was used here (seduction), it was nice to see her lead Flash away from the webbed up thugs so he thought they had taken the moral high ground, while Frank hung back to ‘clean up’.

The creative team also bring a strong sense of humor to the title. It’s especially funny to see Soule cut loose with Deadpool while the other characters are so damn gloomy. It was also nice to see Deadpool decide to be the hero of this issue; for all his wanting to do good Flash ends up in second place after Deadpool jumps into the fray to save the day. The art also remains cartoony and light-hearted though Palo can draw one badass looking Venom.

That being said, the art is also the weakest part of the issue. Venom’s helmet often looks like a gas mask, there are times the little girl looks like she’s being stabbed through the chest (even though that’s just how Palo depicts her clothing), and nearly all the pages are laid out the same way. Also, his seductive Elektra does not look attractive in the least (though I never found Elektra’s outfit all that provocative to begin with).

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace

My Rating



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

Verdict - 2.6 (5/10) - (Buy Thunderbolts #15) SAVE 10%


Venom #41 - Mania, Part 2 of 3


Venom and Mania tackle Lord Ogre... and Crossbones and the DOA!

Flash and the symbiote have a heart-to-heart.

And how can Hellstrom be in so many places at once?

Preview



Descent


Plot

Hellstrom tells Flash what the Descent is: one of the major hell-lord demons is going to become the Devil, at which point someone who has a pentagram mark on them will have chance to take over that hell-lord’s current position. Also when Hellstrom learned about this some months back, he created a bunch of mystic clones so they could live in the world and help him decide if he wants the job when the time comes; and now he’s no longer sure if he’s the original or not.

Review

And things had been going so well the last few issues.

There is some good here, but not a lot. The fight scene at Lord Ogre’s house plays out very well on pure action level, though it would be nice to know something about the other villains in this story. Also the Andi-Mania storyline is still interesting; particularly as we see her getting more and more reckless as the chemical weapon scene shows. Plus she has another nice moment with Flash as we see a glimpse of her rage at losing her father.

The problem with this issue is I don’t care about this Descent thing at all. When Hellstrom describes what it is my first thought is ‘I have no desire to see how this plays out.’ And I could probably pick some nits about continuity but I don’t care enough about the dark-side of mystic Marvel to bother. When I read Hellstrom’s speech it reminds me why I’ve never read Hellstrom’s solo titles; or Ghost Rider, or Man-Thing, or the Midnight Sons, or even Dr. Strange unless he was crossing over with something else I was reading. I just don’t care about the magic horror corner of the Marvel Universe; and I don’t particularly want to see it in a Spider-man related comic. And yes, you can argue that the original Venom mini-series from the 90s often stuck him against mystic horror-themed foes, and I will accept that argument as true; but I will also counter-argue those mini-series were rarely any good so it’s not a direction I feel we need to pick up on.

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace


My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 3
Art, Colors & Inking - 3
Layout & Flow - 5
Story - 5
Verdict - 4.1 (8/10)
 - (Buy Venom #41) SAVE 10%

Scarlet Spider #22 - Into the Grave Part 2


INTO THE GRAVE PART 2 (of 4)

Kaine's life is being ripped apart piece by piece.

His body broken, his soul is next.

Enter the Hunter.

Preview



Hunted


Plot

Kaine wakes up in a grave and then quickly finds himself fighting a tiger. Meanwhile Kraven the Hunter tells Aracely his origin story all the way up to his resurrection by way of Kaine. Ana Kraven attacks Kaine, but Kaine stops himself from killing her and webs her up instead. He goes to face Kraven and finds his friends – Wally, Donald, Annabelle, and Aracely – tied to poles with tigers circling them. Kraven leaps at Kaine shouting that he wants Kaine to kill him.

Review

If the summary seemed short, there’s a reason for that: This issue wasn’t very heavy on story. In fact, out of 20 story pages, 3 were devoted to retreading Kraven’s life story, 1 was a full page of a tiger jumping Kaine, and 2 were a 2-page spread when Kaine met Kraven with his friends tied up (and at least there was some story there, but not enough that it needed 2 pages). That leaves 14 other pages which themselves were something of a mixed bag.

What works here is the fight between Kaine and Ana Kraven. Especially since we all still remember the sting of seeing Kaine run from her like HE was the little girl way back before The Grim Hunt, it’s nice to see this little “rivalry” finally put to rest. She’s initially unafraid of him, and in her position she’s totally justified, but Kaine finally turns the tables and wipes the floor with her. The bit of characterization for Kaine when he decides not to kill her and not to let himself be manipulated anymore is also quite nice, though a little heavy-handed in the Ben Reilly flashback area (I like being pandered to as much as the next guy, but we just had a whole issue of Ben Reilly referencing).

Sadly not much of the rest of this issue works. The 3-page Kraven rehash is really quite annoying since it should not take that long to get done. Most of it is entirely irrelevant, too – we don’t need to know all about his early days becoming a hunter and going to fight Spider-Man for the purposes of this story. A quick bit of Last Hunt and a quick bit of Grim Hunt would have gotten it done, and there’s no reason any of it should have taken longer than a page. Heck, every character with their own book has their origin recapped in a paragraph at the beginning of every issue. It takes one comic book style page to review this whole series at the beginning of the issue. Why does the audience need these 3 pages of overly drawn-out Kraven back story halfway through a 3-part arc?

Read the rest of the Review at Spider-Man Crawlspace


My Rating


Cover & Solicit - 3
Art, Colors & Inking -4
Layout & Flow - 4
Story - 4
Verdict - 3.9 (8/10)
 - (Buy Scarlet Spider #22) SAVE 10%

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