Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Mike Hawthorne
Ink: Terry Pallot Color: Jordie Bellaire Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Mike Hawthorne, Nathan Fairbarn
Editor: Jordan D. White Assistant Editor: Annalise Bissa
In Shops: Mar 28, 2018
THE MARVEL UNIVERSE KILLS DEADPOOL!
• Wade is no stranger to gambling with his life…but this time the odds are longer than the bathroom line at a burrito joint with a broken freezer.
• What do you do when half the world wants you dead?
• Start pissing off the OTHER half!
Spidey definitely has the jokes in the new series Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #1 from one of comics’ greatest comedy writers Chip Zdarsky, stellar and steady artist Adam Kubert, and colorist extraordinaire Jordie Bellaire. (It rhymes on purpose.) Instead of trying to tell some epic, interweaving crossover story or as a vehicle for his Batman fan fiction, Zdarsky and Kubert focus on the humorous and relational sides of Spider-Man. In this issue, he stops a mugger, basically goes on a date with Johnny Storm, sets up a date with a new character which he will probably miss, and there’s a soap opera ending. Sure, there might be one or two too many guest stars, but a little bit of comedy covers a multitude of gratuitous superhero cameos.
In its page layout, Spectacular Spider-Man #1 evokes the art of late 80s/early 90s “hot” artists Erik Larsen and Todd McFarlane, who tried to make every double page spread a poster you wanted to throw up on your bedroom wall unless you were one of those Goth kids that liked Sandman and Sandman alone. Except Adam Kubert is a hell of a storyteller, who kicks off the issue Manhattan style with an aerial shot of Spider-Man and his (boy)friend Human Torch eating shawarma on a New York rooftop after a frenetic opening page that both retells his origin and pokes fun at the incessant retellings of his origin in both comics and films. In his art style, Kubert strikes a balance between the cartoonish goofiness of, say, Erica Henderson and the strong superhero work of Andy Kubert. There’s punching, web swinging, and size changing when Ant-Man pops up, but Kubert leaves the page open for Zdarsky’s banter with bright pops of color from Bellaire, who is operating in happy superhero mode.
Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert spend most of the time with Spider-Man in costume because his weak Breaking Bad puns as Peter Parker either fall flat or work as excellent “your parents just spent a weekend binging Better Call Saul and didn’t answer any of your calls” jokes. Plus it sets up excellent sight gags like Spidey trying and failing to do a good cop/bad cop routine when he investigates a hacked phone in Chicago. (His costume is too damn bright.) Kubert brings the iconic splash pages while Zdarsky brings Spidey back to Earth with awkward phone conversations with Aunt May about the copyright friendly version of Tinder or freaking out about his powers when it was really just Ant-Man lending a helping hand. Spider-Man is still about power and responsibility, but Zdarsky and Kubert show him struggling with his web fluid (This leads to so much dirty subtext if your mind’s in the gutter.) and freaking out whether to call or text back a standup comedian named Rebecca that he rescued earlier. Spidey is back to protecting ordinary people, being awkward and funny, and occasionally geeking out about science until Zdarsky pulls the proverbial rug out with a couple reveals in the last few pages.
And like a post-credits sting that stands alone as a complete narrative and adds a certain level of intrigue to the main plot, Chip Zdarsky, Goran Parlov, and Nathan Fairbarn cook up a one one one battle between Spider-Man and his fellow arachnid themed superhero, Black Widow. Zdarsky gives Spider-Man all the goofy, pleading dialogue he can handle while keeping Natasha silent and stoic until the final couple pages. She’s there to kick Spider-Man’s ass, and Parlov’s return into interior art is a true tour de force of action choreography. Spidey isn’t as good of a martial artist as Black Widow so he focuses on his speed, agility, and Spider sense as he dodges kicks that would incapacitate any ordinary person. However, his powerful figures aren’t lost under the speed lines, and you can see every move as the fight progresses. The backup makes you wish that Marvel would let Parlov draw an action-driven comic featuring any Marvel hero. Hell, he could even make Stilt-Man look badass.
If you want a Spider-Man comic that reminds you of flipping through comics with big, open layouts by John Romita Sr, Todd McFarlane, or Mark Bagley and still has a quirky, clever, and occasionally adult sense of humor, then Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #1 is the book for you. Chip Zdarsky is truly the king of comedy featuring iconic pop culture characters with his playful, sometimes encyclopedic, and joke-a-minute approach to the webslinger just like he did with Jughead for Archie.
Idealistic knights, political and religious conflict, and giant bugs? Lake of Fire #1 is one of the most unique comics of 2016 as writer/colorist Nathan Fairbarn (Multiversity, Scott Pilgrim) and artist Matt Smith (Barbarian Lord) spin the tale of two young knights named Theo and Hugh, who begin as crusaders, end up going on a mission to hunt out “heretic” Cathars in a rural village in France, and end up being Ellen Ripley circa 1220 AD. The double sized length of the issue allows plenty of time for Fairbarn and Smith to set up the cast of characters and the state of France in the 13th century without resorting to heavy-handed narration. Historical background comes naturally through banter between characters, like when Raymond, an old cynical baron and leader of the crusade, explains that the Cathars don’t drink wine, eat meat, and abstain from sex in the context of a masturbation joke.
Probably because its writer happens to be one of the best colorists in comics, Lake of Fire #1 is largely driven by its color palette. The comic starts out like a horror comic with minimal dialogue and plenty of terrified faces from Smith and speed lines to show the dust of the mysterious alien ship covering the countryside. Fairbarn uses a black and blue palette to ably convey the pain and terror of an alien invasion on a rural medieval town. He then cuts to the golden fields of France, which symbolize the youthful idealism of Theo and Hugh as they are ready to become the next great crusaders and make up for the last generation of crusaders, who didn’t make to Palestine and sacked Constantinople instead. The crack about the 4th Crusade made by the nobleman Montfort already shows that this comic isn’t going to be about glories of war as the palette goes from golden to faded green and brown when Raymond, Hugh, Theo, and a ragtag band of knights and creepy inquisitors ride out for the village of Montaillou. The only reason they’re going on this “crusade” is so Montfort can concentrate on taking a major French city without worrying about religious fanatics, drunks (Raymond in this case.), and worst of all, young people.
And there is already plenty of conflict without the aliens having to show up as Theo and Raymond clash over their views of the world, and the inquisitors in the party decide to go off the reservation and hunt down a young Cathar woman named Bernadette instead of investigating why all the citizens of Montaillou are huddled behind the wooden fence of their keep. The mismatches of age, class, military experience, and ideologies creates plenty of drama in Lake of Fire #1, and Fairbarn doesn’t have to resort to buddy movie cliches to create drama.
He also includes period-specific details to add realism to Lake of Fire as well as enhance the characters and themes. For example, Theo is a big fan of Canso (Song of the Albigensian Crusade in English), an epic poem about a previous French crusade against the Cathars that paints the crusaders as wholly good, and the Cathars as evil monsters. His love for this song, which kind of pales in comparison to superior medieval French romances that people actually read like Song of Roland or anything by Chretien de Troyes, shows his simplistic view of the world. In fact, the only Cathar we meet in this comic is Bernadette, who bravely holds her own in hand to hand combat against the Inquisitors and lives a simple life in the woods instead of riding around and hacking people to pieces. She is also kind of a badass and is about to deliver an epic monologue about the hypocrisy of the crusades when the alien bugs show up.
In Lake of Fire #1, Nathan Fairbarn and Matt Smith create an almost perfect fusion of historical fiction and action-packed science fiction. The comic deconstructs medieval romances and grips with the age-old battle between idealism and cynicism while also having some epic scenes of crusaders jousting against aliens courtesy of Matt Smith, who cuts loose with biting action choreography and a flurry of gore. It’s a feast for both historical scholars, action junkies, or any aficionado of stories that involve contradictory personalities trying to work as a team.
Story: Nathan Fairbarn Art: Matt Smith Colors: Nathan Fairbarn Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
On paper, Nightwing: Rebirth #1is a combination of flashbacks featuring supporting characters from Dick Grayson’s days as Agent 37 in Grayson (Including Midnighter, who gets some witty dialogue from writer Tim Seeley), a framing narrative featuring Dick trying to remove a bomb from Damian Wayne’s brain and bonding with him in the process, and finally a teaser of the upcoming Nightwing series featuring blue costumes and espionage. There isn’t a really a plot though as Seeley and artist Yanick Paquette try to pull off the Herculean task of tying together loose ends from both Grayson and Robin War and still giving the Nightwing title a fresh start and a hook. And they almost succeed thanks to some heartwarming character interactions and Paquette’s depiction of Dick Grayson’s cockiness and acrobatics as Nathan Fairbarn uses a variety of color styles to set up the globetrotting feel of the upcoming comic.
Despite the paucity of plot (which has been a problem with some of the new Rebirth titles as they feel like zero issues or prologue and not a new #1), Seeley and Paquette together get what has made Dick Grayson tick as a character in his best appearances: being the sun in the solar system that is the DC Universe. Through his time over the years, the New 52 wiped a lot of those classic relationships out, especially with the Teen Titans and after Dick’s secret identity was exposed in Forever Evil. However, these relationships started to be rebuilt in Grayson Annual #3 featuring guest appearances from Harley Quinn, Azrael, John Constantine, and more, and in Nightwing Rebirth #1, Dick is having them with Damian, Batman and even Tiger and Midnighter from Grayson.
But there’s a little bit of a twist that sets up the conflict in the upcoming Nightwing series as Dick Grayson doesn’t take any time for himself and goes right back to fighting the Parliament of the Owls under the Nightwing moniker that they “re-christened” him with towards the end of Robin War. Dick Grayson is wearing a superhero costume and even fights Z-list supervillains and visits in Wayne Manor in Nightwing Rebirth #1, but he is still very much a spy as he is using his identity of Nightwing to infiltrate the Parliament of Owls.
This spy story with a superhero aesthetic is apparent in Paquette and Fairbarn’s art, which is more bombastic than the sleek subterfuge and occasional mind screwiness of Mikel Janin’s work on Grayson. There are some fantastic full page spreads in Nightwing Rebirth #1 of characters in superhero poses, like Helena Bertinelli donning the costume of Huntress or Dick becoming Nightwing again, or battling monsters and villains, like Dick and Midnighter fighting some freaky unicorn hybrid creature straight out of Neverending Story in the Alps. And the first page of Dick in mid-descent kicking some colorful red, yellow, and orange costumed clowns (No connection to the Joker thankfully.) courtesy of Paquette and Fairbarn sets the stage for the action sequences in the issue, which are bookended by more intimate conversation scenes. The only time that shadow and subterfuge makes an appearance is when the Parliament of Owls shows up, and hopefully Nightwing series artist Raul Fernandez keeps this contrast between shady spycraft and bold superheroics in his art.
Even though it doesn’t tell a full story, Nightwing: Rebirth #1 creates both a mood and aesthetic for the upcoming Nightwing comic as well as catches up readers on the life and relationships of Dick Grayson if they didn’t pick up Grayson or Robin War.
SCOTT PILGRIM LEVELS UP TO A DELUXE FULL-COLOR, HARDCOVER EDITION
This August, Oni Press and Bryan Lee O’Malley will be bringing the uber-popular Scott Pilgrim series back to store shelves, but this time as an ultra-swank, 6 X 9, full-color hardcover edition. Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover, Volume 1 reprints the Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life for the first time in full color. The digital coloring is by the Shuster Award-nominated artist Nathan Fairbairn, the colorist for Batman Incorporated and Swamp Thing, and the whole thing is capped with a new cover from O’Malley.
“Everybody loves Bryan’s black-and-white artwork,” series editor James Lucas Jones explained, “but after seeing the few color stories he did with Scott and the gang, it was hard to avoid imagining a ‘what if?’ scenario. Now those wild dreams have come true. And to have one of the best colorists in the industry at the helm, that just seals the deal.”
“It’s been eight years since the first Scott Pilgrim book was published,” Oni marketing director Cory Casoni added. “Since then, the series has seen over twenty first reprints of the original format, with over a million copies of the first volumes sold. Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover, Volume 1 takes the familiar story from the original Scott Pilgrim series and gives it a new look. Plus it includes previously unpublished extras and bonus materials making this mighty tome one that’s required reading for Scottaholics everywhere!”
Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover, Volume 1 will be the first of six hardcover reprints to be published bi-annually. Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover, Volume 2 is currently scheduled for an October 2012 release.
Each volume will be sized at 6” x 9”, making it bigger than the original versions, as well. “We’re upgrading the presentation in every way,” Jones said. “The traditional black-and-white versions will be there for those who still prefer that option, but now everyone can have a choice. One, the other, or both!”
Scheduled for a August 8th, 2012 publication date, Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover, Volume 1 will retail for $24.99.