Day: 19 September 2010

Superman: Secret Origin 1 (November 2009)

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Geoff Johns’s point seems to be to do another Superman origin retelling, this time integrating parts of Superman (Johns used to work for director Richard Donner), the “Smallville” TV show (Johns occasionally writes episodes for the show) and some of the stuff John Byrne left out of his Man of Steel origin retelling back in the eighties.

The result is about as jumbled as it sounds from that grocery list of intentions.

Seeing Gary Frank essentially draw a young Christopher Reeve in a few panels is pretty neat and having Clark and Lana Lang have a budding romance is cute.

Johns even gets in a Superman III reference, which is surprising (Donner didn’t work on that film).

But does it work? Another modernized retelling of the Smallville stuff? No.

Johns is too specific in his writing… except when it comes to creating a believable Smallville.

It’s cute instead of iconic.

CREDITS

The Boy of Steel; writer, Geoff Johns; penciller, Gary Frank; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

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Spider-Man: Fever 3 (August 2010)

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What a nice finish. I’m not sure if Spider-Man and Dr. Strange have any real comics history between them–besides being New York heroes who traditionally weren’t members of the Avengers–but McCarthy makes it seem like they ought to.

Even with the discrepancies in the colloquialisms–one panel Spidey’s using seventies slang, then sixties in the next (or vice versa), it’s a very nice finish.

When I say nice, I don’t just mean well-executed. For all the sinister magic and the soul-devouring, the story’s upbeat and friendly.

The series finishes well for Spidey and Dr. Strange, but McCarthy also introduces a solid supporting cast (who help the two). The setting is hard to define–it’s sort of like the insect realm, but it’s also magical–so a spinoff might be difficult.

It’s so nice to see Marvel publishing an interesting comic.

Too bad it didn’t sell.

CREDITS

The Dead Web; writer and artist, Brendan McCarthy; colorists and letterers, Steve Cook and McCarthy; editors, Tom Brennan, Joe Quesada and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Spider-Man: Fever 2 (July 2010)

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Well, the first issue was certainly no fluke. Here, set entirely in some magic dimension, McCarthy lets loose with both the art and the storytelling… almost immediately finding the humanity in it all.

He sets Spider-Man on a quest to kill a fly. Kind of a human fly (its soul is human). The story itself might even be set in the Ditko period McCarthy is homaging, given the lack of further complications (girlfriends, marriage) in Peter’s life. But it’s stunningly modern in its storytelling; McCarthy could be an example of why psychedelic should never be used as a pejorative.

The way he wraps it all in at the end–the idea Spider-Man only exists because of these magical, evil spider demons… it’s really nest. Maybe because it’s just a story and not some attempt to retcon the character.

And the Dr. Strange stuff is great. Funny and good.

McCarthy does well.

CREDITS

Strange Spiders; writer and artist, Brendan McCarthy; colorists and letterers, Steve Cook and McCarthy; editors, Tom Brennan, Joe Quesada and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.