Hello! I’m KK, new to the writing team here. [Editor's Note: Hi, KK!] During the day, I’m a software engineer for ThinkGeek. By night, I’m a geek girl into things like RPGs, Magic: The Gathering, and comic books. I’ll be primarily writing about comic books, sharing every week the books that excite me (and maybe a few that don’t).
I’ll read anything, but I trend heavily towards Marvel over DC, and tend to like character-driven material over things more action and violence-driven. I’m also not a horror person. (We have L for that!)
That said, let’s get right to this week’s comic pile!
Links go to Comixology, where you can generally get a preview of the first few pages and buy a digital version. (They also have a great iPad app, and probably Android as well!) The exception is Star Wars #1, since Comixology doesn’t have Dark Horse comics available, so I linked directly to their page.
January 30, 2013 Releases
The first title I want to discuss this week is Superior Spider-Man #2. To discuss this, I need to back up and discuss Amazing Spider-Man 698-700. In a very bold storyline, Doctor Octopus uses his extensive knowledge of Comic Book Science to swap bodies with Peter Parker while on his deathbed, and – I’m really going to spoil here – so if you haven’t read it, stop reading this post and go read it!
You still here?
Here’s what happens: Doc Ock wins. He defeats Peter Parker in Doctor Octopus’s body, and Peter Parker dies. But Spider-Ock still has Peter’s memory, and he has an epiphany about great power and responsibility, and decides to continue on as a hero, more or less. Like I said, bold.
I want to acknowledge a major complaint of a lot of people, particularly more casual comic fans. Lots of people love Peter Parker. (I love Peter Parker!) He’s a great character, and nobody wants to see him thrown aside casually. This is a valid place to be coming from, but I’m judging Superior Spider-Man by if it’s a good story. Also, not-so-fast on that Peter Parker is dead thing!
Superior Spider-Man is the relaunch with Doc Ock as Spider-Man. His personality is much rougher, arrogant and impatient, like our favorite supervillain with the tentacles. But he’s enjoying being on the other side for a change, and dealing with complex feelings about being a hero. Not to mention complex feelings about Mary-Jane Watson. It’s a nuanced, well-written character, and that’ll get my attention any time.
Plus, for lack of better words, the ghost of Peter Parker seems to be haunting him. It’s not entirely clear what this means, but it sure seems like Dan Slott has it all under control. Peter Parker will be back in control at some point. In the meantime, this is a fun, different, new Spider-Man story, which is hard to do for a character that’s had between one and four monthly titles for 50 years. It’s got the whole comics world abuzz, and it’s good. Check it out!
Secondly, Hawkeye #7. This issue takes place during Hurricane Sandy, and Matt Fraction is donating the proceeds to Sandy Relief, so even if you’re curious, pick it up. It’s a one-shot, telling two stories in the issue. Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, is helping one of his neighbors in his building aid his elderly father who doesn’t want to evacuate. Meanwhile, Kate Bishop, aka Hawkeye, is going to a fancy wedding-related affair in New Jersey, and also ends up having to help out in the storm.
It’s not a complex tale this time, but a very human one, and a nice jumping on point. This is a fantastic, fun series. Yes, Hawkeye’s sidekick also is called Hawkeye. It’s a thing. Whatever. Kate Bishop is awesome, and I don’t care.
Hawkeye (the comic) is notable for very sharp dialogue, one of the strongest female main cast members (Kate Bishop), a general noir feeling, and is an unexpected gem in the often samey-samey world of Superhero comics.
On a different bent, Mara #2 from Image Comics. This is an indie title from the always excellent Brian Wood. Set in a very believable near future, it follows Mara (shock!), a megastar athlete in a world where that’s a much bigger deal than our own. Raised from a small child in camps that are reminiscent of the Chinese or Russian approach to making Olympians, she’s a star among stars, one of the most famous and beloved people in the world.
And then, things start to go wrong.
I don’t really even want to set expectations beyond that. Just read it. It’s world class world-building. I didn’t expect much from this title, but added it because Wood has done good work, and it’s blown me away. Fantastic art, compelling storyline. I’m not sure where he’s going, but I’m totally there.
Star Wars #1 from Dark Horse is also written by Brian Wood, and takes place a heartbeat after the end of A New Hope.
The first issue is mostly Luke and Leia searching for a suitable location for a new rebel base, and dealing with Imperials. This is without a doubt the best characterization I’ve seen for these characters to date.
The characters we fans love, new storylines, and a world class writer – check this out, Star Wars fans!
Young Avengers comes from the incomparable creative team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. If you want to read some really good indie comics, hunt down their two Phonogram collections, particularly if you like 90s Brit Rock. (But even as someone who had no clue about the subgenre, they’re masterworks.) Really clear characterizations, fantastically written, and I dearly loved every page of it. This is going to be one of the best traditional superhero comics ever made, it’s clear. Get it!
That’s all for now, true believers!
Stay tuned next week, where I talk about whatever happens to be excellent in my comic pile! And now, I’m off to play some of the new Magic: The Gathering expansion, Gatecrash.