FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #3 & MORE! [Mini-Reviews]

Aquaman #45 CoverAQUAMAN #45/ Script by KELLY SUE DECONNICK/ Pencils by ROBSON ROCHA/ Inks by DANIEL HENRIQUES/ Colors by SUNNY GHO/ Letters by CLAYTON COWLES/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

The amnesiac “Andy” has learned of his power to breathe underwater but still has no clue as to his past or the identity of the red-haired woman whose face fills his dreams. He has finally agreed to accompany the woman Caille across the sea in search of her mother, but her own identity may be in question as well.

DeConnick spins a marvelous myth here, which is told in counterpoint to the action of the issue. The whole thing echos classic Greek mythology in a way that is pleasantly familiar without being derivative and the tense sequences of Andy and Caille battling the ocean are thrilling enough on their own terms.

The artwork is equally impressive, with Robson Rocha’s pencils crafting a vividly wonderful world. Daniel Henrique’s inks enhance rather than obscure the original pencils, with Sunny Gho’s colors offering the perfect finishes to the whole affair. Clayton Cowles, as always, does a fine job with the lettering and balloon placement. While I hope that we return to the adventures of Arthur Curry and Mera soon enough, I wouldn’t mind sticking with this diversion a while longer.

5-5

 

Batman #65 CoverBATMAN #65/ Script by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON/ Art by GUILLEM MARCH/ Colors by TOMEU MOREY/ Letters by STEVE WANDS/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Faced with an army of Gotham and Gotham Girl clones enhanced by Venom, Batman and The Flash must work together to overcome their foe. Unfortunately, this is the moment when Barry Allen decides to vent his spleen over Batman’s mysteries coming back to bite everyone in the butt.

There are few cliches I dislike more than the heroes fighting at the exact moment they should be working together, for no reason other than to seemingly pad out the story. I grant that my impatience with it here may be born more of my antipathy for anything relating to Tom King’s Batman run and Heroes in Crisis than any fault with the story.

That being said, Joshua Williamson is usually much better about twisting the usual superhero cliches than he is here. The one saving grace is that the artwork by Guillem March is far better than this story deserves. The detailing is fantastic, the inks perfect and the color art by Tomeu Morey perfectly applied. Just one more issue of this nonsense before I can go back to just reading The Flash and not caring about Batman.

 

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #3 CoverFRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #3/ Script by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by JUANN CABAL/ Colors by NOLAN WOODARD/ Letters by VC’S TRAVIS LANHAM/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Peter Parker’s the kinda guy who tries to help his neighbors, but he never expected one small act of kindness to take him to a secret subterranean city hidden several miles under Manhattan! He also didn’t expect to wind up working with an elderly superhero called The Rumor, but such is his life. Now if only he could save his neighbor and get her home to her children before Johnny Storm accidentally exposes Peter’s secret identity to his roommates.

Tom Taylor continues to amaze and amuse as he handles the hero he was born to write. It’s hard to say what aspect of the writing is best – Taylor’s gift for comedy, as he writes Spider-Man with all the snarky humor the character requires, or his gift for outrageous conceits such as the world of Under York. The artwork by Juann Cabal and Nolan Woodard is equally versatile, skillfully depicting both the mundanity of Peter Parker’s apartment and the spectacle of a modern metropolis stashed away in a hidden underground cave. On every conceivable level, this series is Spider-Man done right!

5-5

 

Justice League #18 CoverJUSTICE LEAGUE #18/ Script by JAMES TYNION IV/ Art by PASQUAL FERRY/ Colors by HI-FI/ Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Predictably, Brainiac’s offer to assist the Legion of Doom was a ruse meant to exploit their resources for his own gain. Now, with the most powerful electronic mind in the universe fighting to take control of his brain, Lex Luthor must wage a battle of wits even as he learns secrets even he never imagined about the powers of creation and the secret history of his family’s role in exploring those powers.

I do so love James Tynion IV’s little divergences into the relationships of DC Comics’ villains and his explorations of its untold history. I dare say I find these one-shots more interesting than the actual plot of Justice League. I can’t say too much about this one without spoiling it but if you’re a fan of the Luthor/Brainiac team-ups of old, you’ll love this one.

I wish I could be as enthusiastic about the art, but Pasqual Ferry’s work here is somewhat uneven. There are some odd textures in his character designs, with Sinestro’s hair looking like it was painted on rather than being an actual solid mass. Thankfully, it’s largely serviceable despite a few oddities and the colors by Hi-Fi are well-executed. Ignoring how unfriendly this series is to new readers, this is a solid issue that offers more of what makes Justice League so beloved.

4-5 

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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