Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 13th, 2011, 2:55 pm #101

Amazing Spider-Man #670
Officially Part Four of "Spider Island". All the infected people turn into actual giant spiders. Well, they look more like spider-dinosaurs with the way Humberto Ramos draws them.

Before Jonah Jameson is completely transformed, he helps Spidey fight off a few spiders, in a scene which seemed designed simply for the irony ("Spidey and JJJ-- Together Again for the First Time!"). As JJJ transforms, he tracks down the Spider-Slayer (Allistaire Smythe) and kills him. I'm guessing when this whole thing is over, JJJ either steps down or is removed as mayor of NYC.

Then there's the "big reveal" with "the Queen", the villain behind this whole thing who wants to rule a world filled with giant spider-saurs. It's not a Gwen Stacy clone, but apparently a random obscure character from "Spectacular Spider-Man".... I'm not sure WHICH volume. She's former military, so I'm guessing volume 2, from the past decade. Anyways, Spidey teamed up with Captain America to fight her. Which is when we're shown that CAPTAIN AMERICA is actually the mutated "Spider-King". Huh?

Plus, (Agent) Venom is infiltrating the Queen's ranks and Anti-Venom is hanging out in a church, as a faith healer of sorts since he seems to be able to cure the infestation. Reed Richards and the Horizon Lab geeks use his DNA to whip up an antidote as well. So I'd say they're closing down the widespread chaos portion of the story and are focusing on the final arc of "heroes vs villains", then finally Spidey vs the Queen's court.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 14th, 2011, 6:53 pm #102

New Avengers #17
Picking right up from "16.1" (again, WHY the "point one" if it's just a regular in-line issue?), the team helps Iron Man against a new version of Ultimo. They eventually knock Ultimo down, but not before it gets a blood sample of Wolverine which is then rocketed off to HAMMER and Norman Osborn. Cool that they're hitting the ground running with Osborn's return.

Only gripe I have about this issue is that Daredevil is on the cover but isn't present inside.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 21st, 2011, 9:40 pm #103

Amazing Spider-Man #671
Officially Part Five of "Spider-Island". Things go as planned-- the cure extracted from Anti-Venom (Eddie Brock) works and Captain America was apparently restored to normal, off-screen (or in one of the countless tie-ins). Tarantula (Kaine) is sent to take out Anti-Venom, but Spidey fights him off, knocking Kaine into a vat of the antidote. Kaine comes out looking exactly like Peter Parker.

In other news, JJJ just hurt the Spider-Slayer real bad... didn't kill him. It appears that "the Queen" blasts the Jackal to bits, but that could be undone considering Jackal's history with genetics n' stuff. Mary Jane gets spider-powers for whatever good that'll do to the plot. As expected, Spidey's Spider-Sense returns, thanks to the Spider-Jammers that were placed all over the city.

We're also finally shown the mysterious "Number Six" from Horizon Labs. It's none other than Dr. Michael Morbius --- who looks like he still walks around in his old vampire outfit (with the armpit wings n' everything). That's an unexpected swerve, so let's see if they do anything interesting with it.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 27th, 2011, 4:28 pm #104

Fear Itself #7
Things go as you'd expect: the Avengers get their souped-up Asgardian weapons and beat the tar our of the "Worthy". Thor goes one-on-one with The Serpent as both die in the struggle. Well, as dead as Asgardians can get. In the struggle, Thor loses his hammer, but Captain America picks it up and rallies the troops. The overall sense of distrust and panic among the general populace settles down and is replaced by hope as the heroes beat back the bad guys.

After things have settled down, Cap and Iron Man meet at the ruins of Avengers Tower and promise to rebuild everything.

With this issue, I really got the sense that it was Marvel's 10th anniversary tribute to 9/11. Especially during the final battle as regular people begin helping each other out and pulling together. Cap even specifically mentions the slow re-building of the World Trade Center to tighten the parallels. This is a tough line for Marvel to walk-- for me, their stories have always added a special appeal to the actual NYC. Yet this just comes off as rather trite and lacks the inspiration or meaning that Marvel was aiming for.

I don't want to go into exact detail, but on 9/11 I thought that all the stuff I was seeing was something out of a comic book, especially the Towers crumbling. It was like seeing the Baxter Building or Daily Planet buildings being blown-up or shot into space. I kept thinking: "shit like this isn't supposed to happen". Now, 10 years later it's rather tacky for Marvel to do their own "super hero version" of it, where the bad guys are punched and everything is tied up with a little bow.

Anyways, storyline-wise, here's the final fallout from the series:
-Bucky was killed and buried, so Steve Rogers is back as Cap in the traditional costume

-Thor is "dead"

-Odin returned to Asgard and left all the other Asgardians stranded on Earth.

-Hulk is now physically split from Bruce Banner. Hulk is out for revenge on Nul, the spirit that possessed him. To even the score, he's gone to Dr. Strange for help, which launches a new Defenders title

-Sin/Red Skull/Skadi is apparently on a quest to recover all of the Serpent weapons

-I couldn't see the exact connection, but there's a secret agent-type of guy named "Marcus Johnson" who will be getting his own title. This didn't have much, at ALL, to do with "Fear Itself", but it was included as an epilogue

-Over in "Avengers", Cap has decided to re-shuffle the lineup, AGAIN. It appears that Red Hulk will not be around, much. All that hype for his induction into the team, then he's gone after basically two stories.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

October 27th, 2011, 4:37 pm #105

Avengers #18
As mentioned above, Cap announces that he's going to re-shuffle the line-up. The main plot element in this issue is a new character named Dr. Carolina Washington. She was a SHIELD forensics specialist and has now gone over to HAMMER. In flashback, we see how she collected DNA from super heroes in the aftermath of the big battles of "Civil War", "Secret Invasion" and other events. With Ultimo snagging a blood sample of Wolverine in "New Avengers #17", you can see where this is headed.

SHIELD used to seem like an elite organization of top operatives, but in the past ten years or so, they've come off like dunderheads. Just the random personnel, who've included people like Victoria Hand and the new Ant-Man. Even Maria Hill, whose big skill is simply being a smart-ass. Seems like anybody can join SHIELD. You could consider that guys like Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan are running the show, but this "dumbing down" still drains the organization's credibility.
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The Swigg Lebowski
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Joined: December 11th, 2004, 9:07 pm

October 31st, 2011, 1:56 pm #106

I've now read the first two issues of each Superman and Batman title in the "New 52" and I find myself wishing they would just have left things alone. Not one made me want to keep reading, and most of them demonstrated the lack of talent of the writers. I know this because of all the books I read, Grant Morrisons was the best. That is sad, sad news
Scrooge McSuck wrote:I'm too hefty for my slacks. The zippers off it's tracks. I've stretched it to the maa-a-a-a-x.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 4th, 2011, 6:05 pm #107

Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America
What the?... thought this series was over. Nope, it's another "point one" issue (first of several) dealing with the loose ends. As kinda' expected, Bucky didn't "die" (see my review for Fear Itself #4). Instead, Nick Fury took his beaten body away, shot him up with the last of the Infinity Formula and nursed him back to health. In his place, they buried an LMD... and didn't tell Cap (Steve Rogers) about the ruse until just before the "funeral".

So they un-did one of the BIG CHANGES from Fear Itself. Everybody but Cap, Fury, Black Widow and some SHIELD cronies thinks that Bucky is "dead", once again. He was "buried" in Arlington as a war hero, so his name's cleared and he's free to roam off doing shadow-ops sorts of things in his new "Winter Soldier" ongoing series. I guess that works. I'm not a Cap reader, so I'm not sure if this is satisfactory.

Also noticed that Marvel seems to have First Issue Envy, as they're launching all sorts of new #1's, as their Distinguished Competition did. Sure, there's "Defenders" and "Avenging Spider-Man" (both of which I'll probably pick up), but they're also launching stuff like "Villains for Hire" and frickin' "Carnage". And it wouldn't surprise me if an "All-New, All-Different THOR #1" appears within six months.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 15th, 2011, 12:16 am #108

Fear Itself 7.2: Thor
Odin jumps back and forth between Asgard and it's unclear whether or not the Asgardians have gone back to Asgard or if they're still stuck on Earth. Odin summons this three wives, who preside over Thor's funeral and the (re?)birth of Tanarus, the NEW God of Thunder. He seems more like mid-80's Thor with a good dose of Hercules' braggadocious nature mixed in. Whatever.

Avenging Spider-Man #1
Tough to tell when it's supposed to take place, because Thor is still alive and well with the Avengers and Spidey talks about his "newly returned Spider Sense". Spidey and the Red Hulk jump to New York, where Mayor Jameson's marathon is interrupted by a horde of Moloids. A big ol' monster swallows Red Hulk and Spidey, while the Moloids take Jonah, the "king of the isle of New York" to their bosses-- not Mole Man, but a whole group of sword-slinging 6-foot barbarian Moloids.

Mole Man talks like a complete idiot, as his intellect seems to come and go at the writers' discrection. Also, if you picked up the free preview that was bouncing around, you've read about 75% of this book. There's also a free digital copy in each book... but I guess you need a mobile device or the Google Chrome browser to get the best use of that. I gotta' say...that's some cheap web development if you can only get it to work properly in one distinct browser.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

November 18th, 2011, 6:16 pm #109

Wolverine #26 (1990)
As "Patch", Wolvie plays poker with a Madripoor Rich Guy to obtain a priceless Japanese pot. In flashback, Wolvie recounts how the pot once belonged to a friend of his, named Bando (no relation to Sal). Bando was killed by his nephew in a scheme to steal the pot.

Basic revenge story, as Wolvie kills the Rich Guy, Nephew and pretty much everyone else he runs into. No real character advancement or memorable villains, just a nice self-contained one-issue story with "Patch".

Final page has a "Wolverine Gallery" featuring Todd McFarlane. His rendition is 90% of Wolvie is identical to a cover he did for his awful run on "Spider-Man" around this time. May even be the same thing.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

December 2nd, 2011, 3:57 pm #110

Amazing Spider-Man 672-674
672 and 673 are the official "conclusion" and "epilogue" of Spider-Island. Everyone in Manhattan turns into giant spiders and The Queen grows to Godzilla-size. Spidey uses the spider-sense jammers and Doc Ock's octo-bots to turn everyone to normal. As expected, his Spider-Sense returns.

Meanwhile, all the superheroes gang up on The Queen in Central Park. Kaine uses the "Spidey Stealth Suit" and kills The Queen by flying through her throat. Kaine then uses the stealth suit to slip out of town.

Afterwards, Spidey is recognized as a hero by (most of) New York, as he sits atop the Empire State Building with Mary Jane. MJ gained spider-powers, but wasn't mutated into a giant spider because she had built up an immunity from all the years of banging Peter Parker. Really, that was the catch they used. Spidey uses a cure-all serum from Horizon Labs to send MJ back to normal.

Peter returns to his apartment, where Carlie Cooper confronts him and says she knows he's Spider-Man. Pissed off, she dumps Peter and walks out.

On to issue 674 which has the Vulture returning. A buncha' kids have migrated to NYC, hoping to gain Spider-Powers. Instead, Vulture recruits them into his gang, as they do Vulture's OLD schtick of robbing high-rises.

Even though it seemed Carlie had been written out in 673, she's in 674 still wanting to work with Peter and not nearly as pissed off about their trust issues. Make up your minds. They also seem to be teasing a full-time return for Mary Jane.

On one hand, Spider-Island was fun because it was just a buncha' superheroes fighting the bad guys. On the other, it was like watching an episode of "Super Hero Squad". Aside from the Captain America/Spider-King swerve, everything went pretty much as you expected. Horizon Labs has become such a cure-all/deus ex machina for Spidey, that it's become a detriment to the title.

One of the appeals of Spider-Man is that he's this normal dork and faces insurmountable problems. You wonder "how the hell is he gonna' save the day?" Now, he simply hops over to Horizon Labs and can solve any problem. For instance, if Horizon had been around in the 80s/early 90s, the whole thing with the black costume and Venom would've never occurred.
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