Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

Underrated: The Amazing Spider-Man

I drastically overslept today, so rather than the planned column, we’re revisitng one from 2017 when I went to bat for one of the more maligned Spider-Man movies.


This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Amazing Spiderman


Today I wanted to talk about the first reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise from waaaaaaaay back in 2012. After the Sam Raimi trilogy which, lets be honest, didn’t exactly end on a high note, Sony would eventually decide to relaunch the Spider-Man movie franchise, and it’s the result of that reboot that I wanted to talk about today.

If you’re surprised that this is the movie we’re focusing on today, then you may have missed that the Marvel Studios/Sony collaboration Spider-Man Homecoming is in theaters  (and the MCU!) now; and you may also have been unaware of the amount of people who are now complaining about this movie (or maybe that’s just the people I hang out with?) – or you may have never really enjoyed this movie. But regardless of where you sit, I’ve always really enjoyed this movie, and feel that it’s stronger than a lot of people give it credit.

Why? To the bullet points!

The chemistry between the leads
One of the strongest aspects of the Amazing franchise is the relationship between Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. Their interactions on screen approach poetry in some scenes, and without a doubt these two actors elevate the film beyond what a typical pair of romantic leads can do.

 Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man
Garfield may have been to cool to genuinely pull off a nerdy Peter Parker, but his Spider-Man was top notch; his boundless energy and fast mouth was unlike anything we had seen before in live action, and Garfield pulled it off spectacularly. This was a Spider-Man whose failures were a palpable weight on his spandex clad shoulders, and in the quiet moments throughout the movie you can genuinely sense that through Garfield’s body language.

 The webswinging
The effects team did a wonderful job guiding Spider-Man’s journey through the skies in what is, for my money, the most realistic depiction of a man flying through the air on super strong glue to date.

 The costume
I’m kidding. I wasn’t exactly fond of this movie’s Spider-Man look. The orange lenses weren’t my thing, and the way the red came down the legs weren’t my favourite.

 The lack of the actual words “With great power there must also come great responsibility”
I know this is probably a contentious point to make, but loved that Peter learned this lesson throughout the film without having the quote used just for the audience who feel they must hear those words in the movie. It was far more powerful for Peter to learn it through his actions and reactions than have the lesson spelled out in what could have been an awkward and stilted scene. Plus, it lent a much heavier weight to Uncle Ben’s voice message at the end.

There are quite a few aspects of The Amazing Spider-Man that I thoroughly enjoyed, more than I should probably talk about in this article, but I’m aware that this isn’t a flawless movie – it’s not even the best Spider-Man movie- that honour is reserved for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Yes, The Amazing Spider-Man  did have its issues; the Lizard wasn’t the most compelling villain, and his design was somewhat weak, but he isn’t the weakest in any of the Spider-Man movies (Topher Grace a Venom will hold that title for quite some time). His rationale is still just understandable enough when you break it down for yourself, but you do need to be aware of his misguided, yet deeply hidden altruistic thought process. And only a few years removed from Spider-Man 3, did we really need to see Uncle Ben die again? Not really.

I’m aware that it had it’s problems, but I don’t care; I love it anyway. For years, this was one of my favourite Spider-Man films, until we got the two Tom Holland flicks. I’ll always enjoy this movie, but it won’t be the first Spider-Man movie I reach for.


There we have it. Are there other comic book related stuff out there that is, for whatever reason, underrated and under-appreciated?

Absolutely.

Because of that, Underrated will return to highlight more comic book related stuff  that either gets ignored despite it’s high quality, or maybe isn’t quite as bad as we tend to think it is. In the meantime, though, if you do get a chance check out the characters in thisUnderrated, then you may need to hunt through the back issue bins for some, but others do have some stories collected in trades.

Until next time!

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2019

2019 was an interesting year for me comics-wise as I did not get to read as widely or deeply as I liked because of a variety of factors, including my final two semesters of graduate school, working two library jobs (Where ordering and promoting comics were part of my duties.), and an impending move. Also, I decided to catch up on some “classic” comics like Miracleman, Ghost in the Shell, Junji Ito‘s Tomie, and most of Brian Michael Bendis‘ and Michael Oeming‘s Powers, and Gail Simone‘s run on Secret Six.

However, I did have the opportunity to read some fantastic comics in 2019 as two of my favorite series of all time reached their conclusion. I also branched out a little bit, and this is the first time my year-end list has featured books from Ahoy and Harper Collins as well as a self-published comic.

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion

10. Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion (Dark Horse)

Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá, and Nick Filardi‘s Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion is as wild and anarchic as the Netflix show was tame and Muggle-friendly. Hotel Oblivion is a love letter to Silver Age supervillains while actually taking time to deal with the relationships between the Hargreaves siblings. Bá and Filardi’s visuals are a chaos magic-shaped bullet to the head and especially sings in the world and city-rending set pieces towards the end of the miniseries that I read in trade paperback format.

Dreamers of the Day

9. Dreamers of the Day (Self-published)

Beth Barnett‘s self-published graphic memoir-meets-historical biography Dreamers of the Day is one of the most unique comics I’ve read in recent years. It chronicles the author’s trip to England as she conducts research on a graphic biography about T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia and is educational while being emotionally compelling. If there’s one word to describe this comic, it is “enthusiastic” as Barnett’s passion for making art, studying history, and making it relevant to contemporary readers shines through in her iconic, Herge-esque art style and accessible prose.

Winter Soldier

8. Winter Soldier #2-5 (Marvel)

Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis create a redemptive narrative for the sidekick-turned assassin-turned superhero and occasional black ops agent, Bucky Barnes in their Winter Soldier miniseries. The comic’s beating heart is the flawed relationship between Bucky and RJ, a child assassin, that Bucky sees a lot of himself in. There is both humor and tragedy in their interactions. Reis’ lush pencils to color art style works for both the emotional breakdowns and action beatdowns.

Steeple

7. Steeple #1-4 (Dark Horse)

The fantastic John Allison (Giant Days) both writes and draws this miniseries about an Anglican priest in training named Billie, who is assigned to a parish in the kooky village of Tredregyn, Cornwall. Steeple has an “anything but the kitchen sink” tone as its plots include fights against sea monsters, a charismatic Christian cult connected to windmills, and an ongoing conflict against the Church of Satan. (Billie also strikes up an unlikely friendship with the Satanic priestess, Maggie.) Allison mines a lot of humor out of the idiosyncrasies of different religions and small town life as well as the melodrama of good versus evil, and his art is expressive as always with the help of colorist Sarah Stern.

Second Coming

6. Second Coming #1-5 (Ahoy)

Speaking of religious satire, Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, and Andy Troy do an excellent job of showing how the historical figure Jesus would be received in the modern world with the twist of having an “edgy” superhero named Sunstar as a roommate. Beginning with a retelling of the creation of the world, Russell and Pace walk a tightrope between reverence and irreverence touching on a variety of issues, including megachurches, homophobia, and Pauline theology. Another enjoyable part of Second Coming is Leonard Kirk’s inking when the story decides to be a traditional superhero comic for a second, or there’s a flashback to Satan tempting Jesus as he plays a complex role in the narrative.

Once and Future

5. Once and Future #1-5 (BOOM! Studios)

I knew Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain‘s Once and Future would be my cup of tea when it featured Arthurian legends and the town of Bath where I studied abroad in summer 2014 as plot points as well as having a complicated relationship between a grandmother and grandson at its core. Once and Future is action-packed read steeped in Arthurian lore with dynamic art from Mora and a mystical color palette from Bonvillain. It’s a straightforward adventure/dysfunctional family/romance comic that also plays with the symbols (Excalibur, Holy Grail etc.) and tropes of these kinds of stories, and I’m glad that it’s an ongoing and not just a mini.

Giant Days

4. Giant Days #46-54, As Time Goes By (BOOM! Studios)

Esther, Daisy, and Susan finally go their separate ways in the final issues of John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar‘s Giant Days plus a reunion one-shot where Daisy and Susan tag-team and rescue Esther from the clutches of Type A London publishing types. The final year of Giant Days had a lot of pathos to go with its usual comedy with several issues focusing on the strained relationship between Susan’s boyfriend McGraw and his father and his reaction to his sudden death. There is also all the usual college shenanigans with moments of reflection to show that these women have come a long way from randomly sharing a room back in far off 2015.

House of X and Powers of X

3. House of X #1-6, Powers of X #1-6 (Marvel)

In their ambitious twelve-issue House of X/Powers of X “event”, Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, and Pepe Larraz made the X-Men relevant again thanks to a heavy dose of speculative fiction, geopolitics, and good old fashioned superhero soap opera. Hickman gave B-list characters like Goldballs, Doug Ramsey, and of course, Moira MacTaggert and the sentient island of Krakoa pivotal roles in his story of a rise of a mutant nation as well as the usual suspects like Magneto, Professor X, the Summers family, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost. He created a fantastic sandbox for these fan-favorite characters to play in as well as leaving some intrigue open for the spinoff stories. (The whole Moira X thing, Kitty Pryde being unable to enter Krakoa, Apocalypse and Sinister’s intentions.) I haven’t been this excited to read the X-Books as a line since Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen were writing Wolverine and the X-Men and Uncanny X-Men respectively. Plus the Hickman designed diagrams add great depth to the story and area visual treat.

New Kid

2. New Kid (HarperCollins)

New Kid is a middle-grade graphic novel by cartoonist Jerry Craft that was recommended to me by my supervisor at the public library I worked at. Itis about an African-American teenager named Jordan, who transfers from a diverse public middle school to a less diverse private one. Over the course of the book, Craft fleshes out Jordan and his relationships with his old friends from his neighborhood to his new ones at the private school as he navigates playing soccer, racial microaggressions, crushes, and bonding over art and video games. The comic deftly navigates race and class issues while being an enjoyable slice of life story with Craft adding some fun visual flourishes like making the title page of each chapter a pop culture homage. New Kid‘s clear storytelling and a relatable storyline about not fitting in at a new school make it a book that I would recommend to kids and adults, comics and non-comics readers.

The Wicked + The Divine

1. The Wicked + the Divine #41-45 (Image)

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson really stuck the landing in the final arc of The Wicked + the Divine, which was titled “Okay” and followed the surviving Pantheon members as they gave up divinity and lived normal lives. Basically, they grew up, and so did I. The last issues of WicDiv are peppered with powerful moments as Gillen and McKelvie connect flashbacks of the millennia past to the Pantheon’s reality and let Ananke/Minerva be a manipulator, Luci be wicked, Baal be a protector, and Laura be human one last time. The final issue is an epilogue set in the future and filled with love and emotion with McKelvie and Wilson nailing the look of the elderly, former Pantheon members. It’s sad to see WicDiv go, but it had a beautiful ending and was my favorite comic, both of 2019 and of the decade as a whole.

Around the Tubes

X-Men #2

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d everyone get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Newsarama – Russo Bros. to Produce Marvel vs DC Docu Series – This could be interesting or just inflame things.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Kyoko follows one girl’s rebellion in the face of incredible odds – Free comics!

Reviews

The Beat – Arab of the Future 4
Monkeys Fighting Robots – Family Tree #1
Flickering Myth – Folklords #1
Monkeys Fighting Robots – Olympia #1
Monkeys Fighting Robots – Runaways #27
Monkeys Fighting Robots – Steeple #3
IGN – X-Men #2

Around the Tubes

La Voz de Mayo Tata Rambo

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below. While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Newsarama – Best Known Copy of Marvel Comics #1 Expected to Fetch $1 Million at Auction – Who wants to go in on this?

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Punching up with The Blue Valkyrie – Free comics!

Reviews

Newsarama – Black Stars Above #1
IGN – Fallen Angels #1
Newsarama – Fallen Angels #1
By Why Tho Podcast – La Voz de Mayo Tata Rambo
Comic Attack – Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Talking Comics – New Mutants #1
Talking Comics – X-Force #1

Underrated: Scarlet Spider (2012)

I recently, finally, found the Scarlet Spider Marvel Legends action figure after more than a year of searching. In honour of that personal triumph, I decided to reread the 24 issue Scarlet Spider series from 2012… and because of that, I wanted to revisit the series here.

It more than holds up.


This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The 2012 Scarlet Spider run.



Scarlet_Spider_Vol_2_1

I have always enjoyed stories about villains becoming heroes. With 2012’s Scarlet Spider we get exactly that. When I originally aded this to my pull list, I had assumed that the Scarlet Spider in question was Ben Reilly in a new costume, and not Kaine. I’m sure had I been reading the Spider-Man comics at the time I’d have known better, but I figured this was a good place to jump on board – and I wasn’t wrong.

But not for the reasons I expected. Instead of a heroic story featuring Ben Reilly, Scarlet Spiderdelivered something I wasn’t expecting – and ended up loving more than I thought I would.

The story starts with Kaine trying to get to Mexico, having recently been cured of the cellular degeneration he was suffering as a clone (it’s a whole thing that’s explained in multiple stories and other resources), he’s seeking a chance to finally live his life free of the constant agony he used to suffer. But, as with any good story featuring a Spider, things inevitably get in the way of that and Kaine gets stuck in Houston, quickly becoming the city’s own resident super hero. The series was written by Chistopher Yost, who was joined by a variety of hugely talented pencillers, inkers and colourists throughout the series 25 issue run (there were also  couple of specials and tie-in issues that bulk up the issue count if you want the whole story).

The full run remains one of my favourite Spider stories, in part because of the redemptive nature, but also because it’s just really good. But like all series that features a lesser known character it was cancelled because of low sales. Scarlet Spider is a brilliant alternate to Spider-Man as we see a hero with, as the tag line so eloquently puts it, “all of the power, and none of the responsibility.” But Kaine is still a Parker, and as he begrudgingly accepts the responsibility of being the Scarlet Spider, we get to see a villain slowly change into (well, almost) a hero.

This is a fantastic run, easily one of my favourite parts of my collection, but it’s one I don’t see getting the love it deserves – that’s why the book is Underrated.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: Marvel Comics #1001

Marvel continues to celebrate 80 years with Marvel Comics #1001 continuing the creator packed anthology comic.

Story: Various
Art: Various
Color: Various
Letterer: Various

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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NYCC 2019: Marvel Giveaway Variants Revealed

Marvel has revealed more exclusive variant giveaways for fans at this year’s New York Comic-Con, starting Thursday, October 3 through Sunday, October 6!

Earlier this month, fans got a glimpse of Marvel’s massive panel lineup, including teasers for exclusive variant giveaways at select Marvel Comics panels. Now fully revealed, fans won’t want to miss these all-star panels with some of their favorite Marvel creators!

Friday at 1:30pm: Marvel: Cup O’ Joe – Attendees will receive an exclusive DAREDEVIL #12 variant cover featuring art never-before-published by Joe Quesada!

DAREDEVIL #12 variant cover

Saturday at 2:15pm: MARVEL COMICS: Marvel Fanfare with C.B. Cebulski – Attendees will receive an exclusive ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: MILES MORALES #2 variant cover (previously classified!) by Giuseppe Camuncoli.

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: MILES MORALES #2 variant cover

Saturday at 5:00pm: MARVEL COMICS: X-MEN – DAWN OF X – Attendees will receive an exclusive POWERS OF X #5 variant cover, featuring a stunning Dawn of X-inspired image by Arthur Adams.

POWERS OF X #5 variant cover

Marvel will also have multiple signings throughout the weekend at the Marvel Booth (#1354) from Marvel Comics, Marvel Games, and Marvel Television for fans to meet some of their favorite stars. 

Thursday at 4:00pm – Writers and artists of the bold new Marvel Comics X-Men initiative DAWN OF X will be signing the NYCC 2019 DAWN OF X giveaway poster, as well as special EXCALIBUR, FALLEN ANGELS, NEW MUTANTS, and X-FORCE posters that are exclusively available as part of the signing!

Friday at 11:00am – Don’t miss the Marvel booth INCOMING signing!  Catch lead writer Al Ewing and a host of other mighty Marvel contributors including artist Pat Gleason and writers Ed Brisson, Donny Cates, Tini Howard, Greg Pak, and Matthew Rosenberg – who will all be signing an over-sized poster of the cover to INCOMING, the one-shot comic that acts as the closing chapter to Marvel’s 80th year while propelling the Marvel Universe into the year to come.

Saturday at 3:15pm – Drop by the Marvel booth at 3:15pm for a special MARVEL COMICS #1000 signing with legendary artist and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada!  While supplies last, Joe will be signing FREE copies of his stunning MARVEL COMICS #1000 wraparound variant, featuring an image of a classic Avengers team line-up facing off against one of their greatest foes, Ultron!

MARVEL COMICS #1000 wraparound variant

Around the Tubes

King Thor #1

It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What’s everyone looking forward to? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below. While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The Comichron – August 2019 comics sales estimates: Absolute Carnage #1, Marvel #1000 both top 200k copies – For those that enjoy the horse race.

CNET – The Far Side could be back from extinction, and the timing’s so right – Yes, please!

Boing Boing – Furries deplatform Milo – Good.

Kotaku – We Have Reached the Inevitable: Warner Bros. Is Making a Funko Pop Movie – Is this the jumping the shark?

Reviews

AIPT! – Flaming Carrot Comics Omnibus #1
Talking Comics –
King Thor #1

Around the Tubes

Marvel Comics #1000

It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What’s everyone excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

CBLDF – Free CBLDF Banned Books Week Webinar Announced! Addressing Identity Censorship – This should be interesting to watch.

Newsarama – Hailee Steinfeld in Talks for Hawkeye‘s Kate Bishop – Report – Interesting casting choice.

Reviews

Comics Bulletin – Coffin Bound #2
Fortress of Solitude –
Marvel Comics #1000
ICv2 –
Owly: The Way Home
The Beat –
Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-san

Around the Tubes

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

WABC TV – New York City comic shop allows kids to learn, create, sell own comics – Amazing to see this.

The Beat A Year of Free Comics: Valley Ghouls is a spooky slice of afterlife – Free comics!

Comicbook Disney+ Offer Reduces Cost to Less Than $4 per Month for 3 Years – It’s a good deal.

Newsarama – Longtime DC Staffer Tom Pattison Dies at Age 64 – Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

Newsarama – Eternals Confirmed to Feature Openly Gay Family Man – Cool.

Reviews

CBR – Ghost-Spider #1
The Beat –
Grass
CBR –
Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
Newsarama –
Marvel Comics #1000
The Beat –
The Necromancer’s Map #1

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