Another week where I read a bunch of comics, and provide a roadmap of the ones you should try out! How many comics do I actually read to make this column? This week, 23, and that’s a little high for me, but not that much. There’s a lot of pretty good comics coming out every week. But if you want just the really good ones, keep reading!
Superior Spider-Man #8
We last left off with the Avengers thinking something was wrong with Spider-Man (correct!) and starting a fight. This turned out rather anticlimactically, because gee, Avengers. But all they want to do is put him through a battery of tests, and prove he’s not a Skrull or mind-controlled. Which he isn’t! And they let him off with a Stern Warning, and a rather nice talk by Black Widow that seems to miss the mark.
And then the Superior Spider-Man (who is still, by the way, really Otto Octavius), goes after Cardiac, a vigilante who has stolen some Doc Ock tech to help run a clinic off of the books for seriously in need patients. And we think this is more of the downward spiral, but then it takes a turn!
Spider-Man is actually moved by a tale of trouble caused by his former self, and actually does the right thing. It could be sort of cheesy, but it’s not. Good writing makes this work. And it significantly muddies the narrative arc in good ways. Is the Superior Spider-Man redeemable after all? Can he clear the red in his ledger? Or is it just too late? And what about Peter Parker, anyway?
I know that this is all coming to a head this summer, and I can’t wait.
Adventure Time #15
This book is written by Ryan North, a name that’s seemed somehow familiar to me, until I finally realized that’s the guy who writes the very quirky Dinosaur Comics. And very quirky is exactly what Adventure Time calls for.
In this issue, we have Magic Man showing up and being a butt, because that’s what he does. He ends up stealing Jake and Finn’s voices, leaving them only capable of talking in pictograms. This is a fantastic experiment, and the kind of thing you can do in a comic a lot more easily than any other medium. And I love it when people do things like this.
Does it work? Yes! Finn and Jake are mildly annoyed by it, but embrace it with their trademark enthusiasm anyway. It’s surprisingly easy to follow some rather complicated ‘dialogue’ panels. And the best part, like often in Adventure Time, is BMO playing along, because BMO has been preparing for years for the ultimate Emoticon Game.
If you like the show, or just like quirky and creative stories, this is a great comic, and a particularly good issue! (There’s a backup that did little for me, but that happens from time to time.) Pick it up!
I’ve mentioned this title before, and it’s continuing to be interesting. Set in the near future that’s even more focused on Sports Heroes than our own society, there’s nobody that’s a bigger media superstar than Mara, Volleyball prodigy. She surpasses everyone else, until, in earlier issues, she becomes something more. I’ve read “first super-hero” stories before, but setting it in this almost hyper-real future setting is decidedly new.
By now, she’s been picked up by the military. It’s decidedly unclear which nation she’s part of, and that works just fine. They think they can use her as a secret weapon, faking her death and taking her out of the public eye. And with a brother in the service, they threaten him directly if she doesn’t play ball.
But the unexplained increase in Mara’s power level is continuing, far beyond what her would be overlords understand. It’s definitely shades of Doctor Manhattan here, as she disconnects from the mundane world and starts to become something greater.
This is a six-issue miniseries, and stands to be a quite memorable one. The story may be a well traveled one, but the unique setting and more than competent writing cause it to rise above the crowd – it’s one of the best of the first super-hero tales I’ve ever read.
And that’s it for this week. Stay tuned for some more excellent comics to explore next week!