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Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #1

Posted by Donovan McComish 17 August 2014

Hello everybody and welcome to my review of Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #1. So far, Miles has encountered villains such as the Scorpion, the Prowler, Venom, Taskmaster & the Devourer of Worlds himself, Galactus! But now, he's about to meet two of the biggest players in Spider-Man's history 

Synopsis:

In the aftermath of Galactus' invasion of Earth, S.H.I.E.L.D has been disbanded due to their failure to protect the planet from the World Eater, which means everything funded by the organisation has also been shut down. We begin this story at a secret S.H.I.E.L.D containment facility located in Washington D.C, where a government representative is informing the S.H.I.E.L.D agent in charge there of this. Asked what will be don with their "special guest", the rep replies that 'Prisoner 26-654-2345354' (isn't there a less verbally-busy way of referring to this guy?) will be moved to a federal prison. The agent's worry soon turns to apathy as he signs the responsibility over to the representative. He then unlocks the door to the room where the prisoner is located, telling the rep that he is now the proud owner of a Norman Osborn.

Yep, it turns out that ol' Stormin' Norman didn't die in that fateful battle with Peter Parker, but instead became a prisoner of S.H.I.E.L.D, with Nick Fury keeping his survival secret to all but a few. Naturally the rep is surprised to see Osborn alive, pointing out that he's responsible for the death of the original Spider-Man, to which the agent responds that, as he is no longer a duly deputised agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, he can finally express his feelings about that. He then punches Osborn right in the face, knocking out a tooth (I like this guy). Osborn's responds by angrily muttering "yrl gna brn". The agent translates that as "your all going to burn" before leaving, commenting that the representative should keep an eye on Osborn's meds, stressing that he'll really want to make sure he does that.

Over in Brooklyn, New York later that day, two loaders are wheeling a trolley of containers into the back of a truck whilst discussing the recent death of Captain America. One of the men believes that Cap is in fact alive and is just taking a break, saying that's what "the super hero guys" do. His co-worker points out that a funeral was held, to which the other retorts that there was probably a funeral for Cap back in World War II. The guy maintains that Cap will return, saying that super heroes come back when we need them the most, adding that there is a cyclical pattern to it (your not that far off to be honest mate). Both men are distracted from their debate however, when they notice a pair of shadowy figures -- with eyepieces resembling those of Spider-Man -- perched on the wall opposite them. One tells them to walk away, but the men ignore him, reaching instead for their guns. The two figures then attack the men, revealing themselves to be clad in armoured suits. They overpower the loaders and make off with the truck, though they take a moment to wave at the security camera.

The next day, at Brooklyn Visions Academy, Miles Morales meets up with his girlfirend Katie Bishop at school break for a snog. She asks where he was last night as she had texted him. Miles, having been out fighting crime alongside his teammates on the All-New Ultimates, lies that he must have dozed off doing his homework. Katie however is slightly saddened by this, saying she got all excited as she thought Miles' dad had come back, which Miles affirms did not happen. Katie apologises for bringing the matter up, but Miles assures her that she didn't, saying that it's all he thinks about. He even stops by his family apartment every day, which he accesses using his wall-crawling ability, as well as setting up Google alerts in his fathers name, yet every day, he finds nothing. Katie asks why the police aren't doing anything. Miles answers that they believe that Jefferson is just another casualty of "The Coming of Galactus". He tells Katie that his dad freaked out and ran away (leaving out the crucial detail that it was his unmasking as Spider-Man in front of his father that led to Jefferson's departure), to which Katie says that it doesn't make sense why Mile's father would run out on him. Miles asks that she believe him on this, which she agrees to. He tries to explain that there's more to this than it seems, but is cut off by one of the teachers, who tells them they should both be in class. She adds that everyone sympathises with Miles' predicament, but that he shouldn't take advantage, which prompts a well-deserved glare from Miles before he heads off to class.

Meanwhile, on the Long Island Expressway, an armoured van driven by former S.H.I.E.L.D agents is driving Norman Osborn to the federal prison he will be held at. All a restrained Osborn can do during this silence is repeat his mumbling "yrl gna brn". Suddenly, the van explodes in a ball of fire. Osborn soon emerges from the fire in his Green Goblin form, looking more than a little pissed off.
Elsewhere, at Ganke's house, Miles has come to a decision. He is going to tell Katie the truth, that he's Spider-Man, saying that if it were the other way round, he'd want to know. Ganke thinks it's a terrible idea, saying that the less people know, the better. Miles points out that he knows, but Ganke replies that he's "special" as he makes the webbing (he also suggests that Miles sets him up with . Miles says that theirs only one way to find out and starts texting someone he refers to as "the expert", asking to talk to them, to which they respond that they'll be on break in twenty minutes.

The expert turns out to Mary Jane Watson, who, after being startled by Miles appearing upside down to her in costume, greets him with a hug. Miles asks M.J when exactly Peter told her he was Spider-Man. She replies that it was pretty much straight away, as Peter didn't want to lie to her. Miles also asks if there was any downside to it, which causes Mary Jane to remember when the Green Goblin threw her off the Queensboro Bridge. She answers that, while it had it's ups and downs, she's glad Peter told her, doubly so now, as she would have broken up with him ages ago if he hadn't, not wanting him lying to her, but she likes to think that she would have figured it out eventually (As her mainstream counterpart did). M.J then correctly deduces that Miles is asking this because he has a girlfriend. She says that he should make sure his relationship with Katie is the real deal before he tells her. He might as well be asking her to marry him, as that's how Mary felt with retrospect after Peter told her, like they were bonded for life.

The following afternoon, Miles swings over to his apartment in costume for his daily inspection. Along the way, he catches sight of a Daily Bugle banner showcasing a report on the "Spider-Twins" theft, dismissing it as he has enough on his mind right now. Arriving at his apartment, Miles calls out to check if his father is there. As usual, he gets no response. As Miles unmasks, he suddenly hears a rustling noise, which he traces to his room. Opening the door, he finds another boy, slightly older than him, going through his wardrobe. Miles remarks "I think one of us is in the wrong apartment". Before he can put his mask on, the boy turns around and replies that he's sorry about that, but he was just hoping to get some of his stuff back. Much to Miles shock, the boy appears to be a very much alive Peter Parker, who adds that it's more than time for the original Spider-Man to get back in the game...

Thoughts:

Despite Miles having faced Galactus alongside the Ultimates in Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand, the events that begin to unfold in the first issue of this new volume feel arguably more exciting and impactful (though that could just be down to the overall quality of Cataclysm). Rather than taking the slow burn approach as did for the previous two volumes of the book, Bendis straight away sets up a bunch of intriguing and very promising plot elements.

First off, it's good to see that Katie Bishop is becoming involved in the story after sitting on the periphery for the last storyline. Miles struggling with whether or not to tell her he's Spider-Man is a nice contrast to when Peter revealed his secret identity to Mary Jane in Ultimate Spider-Man #13. There, Peter revealed his secret to M.J right away as he has known her for quite some time and knew he could trust her, whereas Miles, while he is quite close with Katie, doesn't know her well enough to completely trust her with his identity yet. It seems Bendis is making a point with this storyline about how much of a quandary it is to tell someone your secret identity, the pros and cons of which he lays out through Miles' interactions with Ganke & Mary Jane, however obnoxious the former may be. M.J in particular gets to be a little more jokey here, which is a nice change since she's been quite sad and subdued in her previous appearances (though for good reason of course). As for Ganke, it's a bit weird to see him not make any mention of his kiss with Gwen Stacy, especially now that he has an interest in Dagger.

We also have multiple villains for this arc, though it's clear which one we're all more interested in. Norman Osborn's return is handled really well by Bendis, as it makes complete sense that Nick Fury & S.H.I.E.L.D would have suppressed all knowledge of his survival. In fact, I'd really like to see a flashback scene showing Fury incarcerating Osborn, as there's bound to be plenty of bad blood between the two given that Fury admitted to M.J that he loved Peter like a son. I'm not saying that the "Spider-Twins" are uninteresting however, far from it. I reckon they'll somehow be linked to the Green Goblin, perhaps even being the ones who helped him escape.

Now for the big reveal, Peter Parker is still alive. While I totally called that (see my review of Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #3 for proof), it's still an excellent twist given that most people who die in the Ultimate Universe stay dead. While it does seem pretty likely that this could be a clone, I'm really hoping that isn't the case as it would be very predictable, not to mention we've already got a Spider-Clone running around in the form of Jessica Drew. There is perhaps some evidence to suggest that this is the real Peter we're dealing with, and that's the conversation between the two loaders over Captain America's death. Following the twist that Peter is seemingly alive, it's clear that the back and forth on Cap was foreshadowing for that and it's done really well, but it's also the line about heroes coming back when we need them the most that caught my eye. Given that Norman Osborn, often thought of as Spider-Man's greatest enemy, is now free to wreak havoc on the world, this is arguably the time when the Ultimate Universe needs Peter the most, which would give this arc a nice thematic thread. Also, if Peter is still dead and Osborn alive, then that would greatly diminish the impact of The Death of Spider-Man story-arc, something I'm pretty sure Bendis doesn't want to do.

As with the Cataclysm tie-in, I'm very glad that David Marquez has been retained as artist for this series. The fact that this issue is mostly dialogue orientated goes in his favour as Marquez brings a variety of expressions to the characters, which goes very well in hand with Bendis' script. Again, like the Cataclysm tie-in, I do think that relaunching this as a new series is pretty unnecessary, but all in all, this is a strong start to this new volume. Let's just see if it will still be called "Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man" when this storyline is over...

Score: 4.5/5.0

Amazing Spider-Man v3 # 5

Posted by bulletproofsponge 15 August 2014

Amazing Spider-Man # 5 Review



Original Sin


This issue begins with the Black Cat and Electro, trashing the Eel's party. The Eel scoffs at the Black Cat at first after seeing that Spider-Man ( Ock) had humiliated her publicly. Felicia however is determined to prove herself. With Electro's help, Felicia takes out the Eel and his men. She has intention to prove to the Maggia and all the criminal empire that she is not to be messed with.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man and silk are getting hot and heavy up on the roof. Their spider carnal nature is taking over and they can't keep off one another. When silk tries to take Spider-Man's mask off however, he comes to his senses and stops her.


 Silk tells Spider-Man that she knows he is Peter, which gets Peter further frazzled. Them coming to their senses and stopping the heavy making out however, does not last long and they are later seen back at Peter's apartment making out on the ceiling, just as Ana Maria walks in.


Ana Maria has been looking for him as Parker Industries is scheduled for an interview at the news tv channel that Jameson is working at. Over at the TV station Jameson gets the news that Parker is bumping off his first air on tv and is not at all impressed.

Meanwhile, Sajani, who was last seen taken captive by Felicia and Electro, is being treated like a queen with Champagne and Caviar. Electro asks her what the company is planning and is shocked to hear that Parker Industries is trying to heal him.

Over at an abandoned warehouse, the Eel was supposed to meet Mr Negative and Hobgoblin ( Phil Urich) to discuss some bad guy things. The Eel soon drops in from the roof, clearly beaten, followed by the Black Cat. She comes in, stating that she will be taking the Eel's part in whatever was supposed to go on that night. While Mr Negative thinks her as a low level criminal, she assures him that she will do what all of them could not - smash and break the Spider-Man!

Peter, Ana Maria, and Cindy (Silk) all end up at the TV station. Cindy tags along as she is behaving slightly protective over Peter, even feeling somewhat threatened by Ana Maria ( its a spider thing).

Over at Aunt May's apartment, Jay switches on the TV to watch his son on the news, but is shocked to see Peter instead.

While Peter is being interviewed on air, Cindy signals to him from far that there is danger coming. Seconds later, Peter's spider sense comes starts to buzz. We soon see Electro and the Black Cat trashing the party with intent to kidnap Peter to draw out Spider-Man and humiliate him on live television.

What they didn't expect however was to be attacked by Silk, a  female faster version of Spider-Man. Peter takes the opportunity to change into Spider-Man and helps Silk. While on live, Spider-Man again tries to explain to the Black Cat that it was Dr Ock who humiliated her and not him. Jameson takes the opportinity to film everything as he too has a vendetta against Spider-Man thanks to Dr Ock.

Though Silk, with hyped up spider sense, seems to avoid every single electrical shot at her from Eletro, Spider-Man eventually gets hit. Felicia takes the opportunity to pin him down and intends to unmask him on live television, just like how the Superior Spider-Man did to her. Peter begs Felicia not to do this to him.


Thoughts
This was again a pretty good issue, but the final scene is not as dramatic as it seems since Silk is no where to be seen. It wouldn't take much for Silk to step in and save the day, or at the very least web up the camera before Spider-Man's mask comes off.

This story however dwells on the fact that Spider-Man and silk are more primal than we had ever known them to be. Spider-Man's origin has evolved a fair bit since the introduction of Ezekiel in the early 2000's. Since then, Spider-Man has never quite been a simple man who was bitten by a radioactive spider by accident.

In this story we see that with the introduction of a female of his kind he loses complete control ( yes, his human factor is no longer in control here). The same goes for Silk as she is behaving extremely protective in a animal like behavior, wanting to fight off any threat against her "mate."


As for the role that this regression character plays in the story is still very vague, but will be explained clearly soon enough I believe. Till the next issue.






Superior Spider-Man # 32

Posted by bulletproofsponge 10 August 2014

Superior Spider-Man # 32
Edge of Spider-Verse

This story begins way back, when Spider-Man 2099 first got stuck in the current timeline in Superior Spider-Man # 19.

In that issue, Spider-Ock went missing for a while as he was zapped out from existence. This issue covers what happened in the time he disappeared.

Spider-Ock finds himself stuck in the year 2099. He meets Miguel's brother, Gabriel, whom Peter Parker had met before. Otto however has no memory of Gabriel. Gabriel, thinking Spider-Ock is Peter, brings him to Miguel's apartment, giving him free access to anything he needs to get back to his time.


Otto, takes advantage of the situation and learns everything he can about time travel and what is needed to do it.  Very soon, Otto steals whatever items he needs to build his own time travel device. In the process, he also recreates Miguels computer avatar to look like Ana Maria.

The Superior Spider-Man time jumps successfully, but finds himself in a different universe altogether. He soon finds that the Spider-Man of that universe has been killed, along with the Fantastic Four! Realizing that this is not his universe, Otto decides to try again. He repetitively fails several times, noticing that in each universe, Spider-Man is killed in the exact same manner, leading him to conclude that the same killer is jumping across universes and committing these murders.

Spider-Ock, realizing that no single Spider-Man is strong enough to take out this killer, takes it upon himself to gather as many Spider-Men as he can before they get killed so they can unite and try to take out this spider killer.

The Spider-Sanction


Probably among the most notable of the Spider-Men, is a version of Peter in which Peter has given up trying to be the 'Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man." This Spidey has left the USA, and his family and friends behind. He still misses them, Mary Jane and Aunt May in particular, but had decided upon Gwen's death that he had to kill his enemies - Punisher style. He enlists the help of Wolverine  to help train him to be a killer and seems to have a romantic interest in a character called Alex (girl, just in case you're wondering.)

As with the other Spider-Men, Otto manages to time jump in time to help this Spider-Man fight the enemy. He explains his plan to gather Spider-Men and eventually kill the enemy. After much persuasion and convincing, the Spider-Man of that time agrees to follow Otto, after having seen Wolverine killed at the hand of his pursuer. Spider-Ock convinces that Spider-Man to follow him on the grounds that they are most alike, and another Spider-Man who is also willing to kill when necessary must be present in the team if they are to succeed.

Thoughts

While I have summarized the two stories as much as possible, I would like to highlight that there is so much brilliance that takes place in this issue alone. It serves as a perfect build up to what seems to be a great story in the making.

Upon hearing that the Superior Spider-Man would be returning, it was hard to imagine a situation in which he could return and yet play such a large part in the story. This issue however has just made Spider-Ock, most critical to the whole story line in my opinion, and possibly be the only chance the spiders have against what is coming.

It is still unknown whether the Superior Spider-Man knew or recalled all that had taken place when he returned to his correct timeline in issue # 19, however, if he did remember, it would be utter genius of him to sacrifice himself, knowing fully well that he would be able to return at such a time as this.

By the end of the whole Spider-Verse story line, we may very well end up with the Superior Spider-Man and the Amazing Spider-Man coexisting at the same time in the same universe.

The Punisher version of Spider-Man displays how our Peter may have turned out in another universe. While Peter is about 99% always a good guy who does not kill, there is a 1%, or less, of him that at times certainly wishes he could kill his enemies and finish them once and for all.  We see in this character a different side of Peter that is usually hidden, which will certainly be most entertaining.





Guardians of the Galaxy #14

Posted by Donovan McComish 04 August 2014

Hello everybody and welcome to my review of Guardians of the Galaxy #14! This anniversary instalment (celebrating over 100 issues of those lovable, space-faring rogues)  features three seperate tales from Brian Michael Bendis, Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, as well as everybody's favourite symbiote superhero, Flash Thompson, aka Agent Venom. Oh, and there's a talking raccoon and a sentient tree here too.

Synopsis:

The main story opens with Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Y'know, the legendary outlaw? Forget it) trying to sleep in his room onboard the Guardians spaceship. He bemoans the lack of a real mattress and considers going back to Earth to get one. He also considers calling Kitty Pryde of the X-Men (who he met and flirted with in the All-New X-Men/Guardians crossover, 'The Trial of Jean Grey'), as he really did like her, as well as just heading back to Earth and trying to be a "normal person" for a bit, which he is sarcastically sure he would have no trouble adjusting to. His thoughts wander to why he isn't attracted to Angela (Neil Gaiman's creation from Image Comics who he brought over to Marvel because why the heck not?), and why he is to Skrull women, before coming full circle back to "why can't I sleep?!"

His thoughts are interrupted by Rocket Raccoon, who asks that he come up front. Quill tells him to get Drax, but Rocket replies that he isn't here. Suddenly, a mysterious 'BOOM' rocks the ship. Turns out that Rocket was trying to tell Peter that they're under attack, from elite Spartax warships no less. As they arrive at the bridge, where Groot also happens to be, Quill quips (hey, that should totally be a thing, 'Quill Quips') that Rocket could have been more "appropriately alarmed". Rocket humours that remark only for Quill to tell him not to be a "flartnard" (I have no idea what that means). Peter begins to ask where Gamora and the rest of the Guardians are, but before he can finish, a bunch of laser blasts strike the bridge, injuring Star-Lord knocking Rocket unconscious. On Planet Spartax meanwhile, Star-Lord's father, J'son is informed that his elite commandos have found and engaged his sons ship. His assistant asks him if they should eliminate the ship and crew, or bring them in punishment for crimes against the Spartax Empire. J'son hesitates in answering as he watches his son lose consciousness.

Elsewhere, in a city on an unnamed planet, Gamora is attempting to call Peter to request "some of that thing you call backup", as she is being pursued on hoverbike by Maxilin the Accuser (Ronan probably hates this guy), the same bounty hunter who previously tried to capture her, and who Rocket seemingly killed, in #4 (the same issue where she got jiggy with Tony Stark). Receiving no response, Gamora is then forced to ditch her vehicle when Maxilin lands a shot on it's engine, causing the hoverbike to crash and explode on a rooftop. Maxilin lands and heads towards the fiery wreckage, at which point Gamora attacks him, only to be electrocuted by her adversaries suit. Maxilin gets to his feet and tells the immobilised Gamora that he is humbled and impressed by her as her reputation matched her actual skill, also noting that if he had failed to capture her, it would have ended him, which he knew when he accepted the bounty. He then marvels briefly over defeating the most dangerous woman in the galaxy (pfft, he totally cheated) before knocking her out with a stun blast from his gun.

Elsewhere still, Drax the Destroyer is visiting a shopping bazaar on Knowhere, a port of call near the end of the universe which is housed in the severed head of a Celestial (WHAT?!), with new addition to the team and Avengers representative, Corporal Flash Thompson, aka Agent Venom, who is in awe of how immensely alien everything is. Reaching their destination, a weapons store, Drax tells Venom to present himself with an "air of authority", which Flash interprets as acting cool, to which Drax replies "I don't know what that means, but if it is the opposite of whatever you are doing right now...then yes." They enter the store, only for the owner to tell them "we don't serve your kind here", referring to the Venom symbiote. He persists for them to take their "parasite" - saying he knows where it came form - and go until Drax drops a bag of coins made of Skrull metal in front of him, requesting new firepower for Venom. Flash protests, saying that there is no other gun like his gun, but Drax insists that he cannot be seen in public with Venom while he carries those weapons. The shop owner also makes a cutting remark that Earth weapons are child's toys and continues to call Flash a parasite, which irritates him. The owner asks if Flash even knows what system his "parasite" is from. Flash's answer, "the symbiote planet"? The ship owner says to Drax that he now knows why he keeps Flash around, calling him funny, before setting them up with some new toys.

Now armed with a pair of space pistols, Venom bounds out of the store (with a new look no less), requesting target practice. Drax however wants to get off-planet, saying they've made too much of a show of themselves already. Venom asks him what the Crakili shop owner meant about him and his symbiote. Drax tries to dodge around the question, but Flash demands he answer, reminding him that he left everything behind on Earth to go into space and help the Guardians be Guardians, all of which he adds he's grateful for, but if Drax knows something about him that he doesn't, he owes it to Flash to tell him. Drax smiles, saying that Flash spoke well, and asks him what exactly he knows about it. Before Flash can finish answering, the pair are attacked by a group of Shi'ar spaceships, which abduct Drax and briefly incapacitate Venom, leaving the latter stranded on Knowhere.

Gamora meanwhile is violently awakened by her captor, who has arrived at his destination. Maxilin tells Gamora that he wants her to be awake for the delivering, to see who paid him to ruin her. These mystery employers are in fact the Brotherhood of the Badoon, whose homeworld Maxilin's ship has arrived at, and apparently are very eager to see the daughter of Thanos again.

Back to Star-Lord, who wakes ups on what appears to be an actual bed with an actual mattress (at least his dad is accommodating), on which his dad is also sat, wanting a talk with his son that he believes is long overdue. He acknowledges that Peter blames him for his mothers death, saying he can understand that from a human perspective, which angers Peter. He responds that the reason he might blame J'son for his mothers death is because he came to Earth, got her pregnant and left, not doing anything when the Badoon killed her and tried to kill his son because, in Peter's words, he was busy "building this galactic empire of blood". J'son argues back that he was at war, protecting the universe, and that keeping Peter and his mother on Earth was keeping them safe. But that's not what's really got Peter mad. He's angry that he grew up to discover that his father is a conniving warlord who thinks the galaxy should answer to him alone, whereas Peter believes that this galaxy should be allowed to be free to think and create without worrying what J'son will do about it.

J'son retorts that he leads because it it the nature of things. If not him, it would be Thanos, or the Skrulls or Badoon would run amok. He points out that Peter could easily join him and embrace all of the good fortune their position in life has to offer, that he could use his birthright to make the galaxy to a better place. He brands his son "a punishing disappointment", a sentiment Peter gladly returns, before informing him that the Guardians of the Galaxy are no more. Each of the team's enemies have been rewarded with the capture of one of their members (as we just saw with Gamora). As for Peter Quill, he will apparently be "dealt with" according to Spartax laws, with no special courtesy or favour according to his father, who then leaves, telling Peter that he is an enemy of "the Empire" ("dun dun dun, dun d-dun, dun d-dun!") and that no one will come to save him. Little does J'son know that help is coming, in the form of the super-powerful, totally badass Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel!

Groot's Tale:

Some time ago, on Planet X, the capital of the Branch Worlds, Groot is seen living amongst the rest of his kind. At sunrise, the inhabitants of Planet X are shown absorbing the collective conciousness of generations of Arbor Masters from their sun through photosynthesis. The Arbor Masters are the custodians of the Branch Worlds, as well as teachers, protectors and monarchs of their people. 

While walking through the Herbaceous Habitats, Groot is seen by several small, furry animals who he waves too fondly. Later, after singing in a tree, Groot goes for another walk, spotting four of his brethren, who have cornered one of the creatures from earlier, with the clear intent of doing it harm. A furious Groot springs to the little one's defence, attacking the other tree-people and driving them away. He then returns the small animal to his friends, who crawl all over Groot's body as a way of thanks (I guess so anyway?). One of Groot's brethren however, refuses to take no for an answer and attacks all of Groot's little friends, laughing as he terrorises them. Overcome with rage, Groot fights and kills the bully by removing his head, at which point the other three flee. 

Realising the severity of his actions, Groot sinks to his knees and sobs while his small friends try to comfort him. The Arbor Masters suddenly arrive, shocked by what Groot has done.The next morning, at the Planet X Spaceport, Groot stows away aboard one of the ships there, sadly looking upon the surface of his homeworld one last time as the ship leaves Planet X and heads onto pastures new...  

Fight For the Future:

In the year 3014, on Planet Earth, a young woman named Geena Drake narrates about how the future used to look bright, but now there isn't a future at all. Thanks to the Brotherhood of Badoon, Earth burned along with the other peaceful worlds of the United System and human culture collapsed overnight. The planet is now a dystopian mess (now why doesn't that surprise me) with humans forced into labor camps with a life expectancy of three days. As she is forced out of a cage by one of the Badoon and put to work, Geena's narration continues, saying that people speak of a resistance war, and rumours speak of the Guardians of the Galaxy, fighting to liberate Earth from the Badoon. The workers in the camp cling to those stories to keep their spirits up, but Geena believes that that's all they are, stories, manufactured by hope to keep them all going. 

Geena's work isn't fast enough for one Badoon, who kicks her to the ground and prepares to shoot her despite her pleas, branding her as worthless human filth (well she's certainly nicer-looking than you, you ugly S.O.B). Before the alien can shoot her though, a familiar shield strikes him in the back, knocking him to the ground. The shield returns to it's wielder, not Captain America, but in this case the leader of the Guardians, Vance Astro, aka Major Victory who tells Geena and the others to get to cover. He then makes a psionic-amplified call to his teammates before kicking some serious Badoon ass! Another Guardian soon arrives in the form of Martinex T'Naga, who alerts Astro that the Brotherhood are deploying Gun-Tracks (more like space tanks really), making sure to blow one of them up. Another Gun-Track falls to the muscle-bound, genetically engineered Charlie-27, while the Centauri warrior Yondu Undonta takes out the guard towers. 

With the Badoon troops vanquished, Vance Astro instructs the prisoners to head to "the wastelands" where resistance cells are waiting to take them to safety underground. One of the prisoners asks how four people can guard the galaxy when the Badoon number millions, to which Major Victory responds that they are just the figureheads, the rallying point. He continues that the real Guardians are the survivors who take up arms and join the growing resistance, requesting to the now-liberated prisoners that they join them and become Guardians. Astro then asks for Geena, who is naturally surprised that he knows who she is. It turns out that the Guardians chose to liberate this particular camp because Geena was in it, as they apparently require her help. At this point the fifth member of the team, Starhawk, appears, confirming that Geena is the one they're after. Starhawk explains that his divination has shown that centuries may pass before they overthrow the Badoon. Worse still, it appears they have fought this war before, many times, maybe even won it. According to Starhawk, the future is refusing to align, the timestream eroding, and the Guardians are being forced to replay their struggles over and over again. To save their future and win the war forever, they must venture into the past, find whatever it disrupting history and stop it, and to do that, they need Geena. How and why they do not know, but Starhawk's divination has shown that she plays a vital role. All Geena can ask at this point is "And if I join you?" "Then maybe Earth will overcome" answers Vance Astro as he stands with his fellow Guardians, finally asking "What do you say?" (Yes, obviously)...

Thoughts:

It's safe to say that Marvel's resident 'Space Avengers' are going from strength to strength right now. With a feature film from Marvel Studios out now in cinemas, a sequel that's been greenlit for release in 2017 and an animated TV series in the works, not to mention this brand-new series written by the superstar writer that is Brian Michael Bendis, the Guardians of the Galaxy have got it good. And as this issue celebrates over 100 issues of the comic book, it's not hard to see why.

The main story by Bendis mainly serves as a jumping on point for new fans regarding the current storylines, though importantly like the FCBD issue, it doesn't feel like a re-hash of information. Star-Lord's previous encounter with his father was more subdued. They even shared a bit of banter that time, whereas here, things are brought to a logical head and the encounter is more direct. There's definitely a Star Wars-like vibe to this father/son conflict. J'son even wants Peter to join him so that with their combined strength, they can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy (Sorry...I just really really like quoting Star Wars). Peter also feels like a fusion of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, though he has his own likeable and snarky personality as well as an awesome costume (I'm a sucker for trench coats).

The rest of the Guardians fare well here, though Rocket and Groot don't have much to do other than share banter. Gamora's fight and capture by Maxilin the Accuser is exciting and unexpected, though it does beg the question as to why she would leave the team and go off on her own when she knows there is a bounty on her head. I'm hoping Bendis will give her the chance for revenge against Maxilin in future issues. Venom's visit to Knowhere with Drax meanwhile is the highlight of the issue. Unlike Iron Man, who had already journeyed into space multiple times before joining the Guardians, this is a first for Flash and it's funny to see how, even equipped with a symbiote, he's pretty out of his depth. Bendis' voice for Agent Venom is a bit more playful than Cullen Bunn and Rick Remender's interpretations of the character, but it doesn't feel out of character, the guy's walking around an interstellar market housed in the head of a Celestial after all!

As for the supporting tales, Andy Lanning's origin story for Groot is simple, but very effective in telling us what kind of being Groot is and his defence of the furry creatures of Planet X is a nice foreshadowing of his friendship with Rocket. The mythology behind the Branch Worlds is a little confusing at times, but it's still very interesting and it's something I'd like to see the series visit again in the future. It's also surprising how cohesive the story is considering the only line of dialogue we hear is "I am Groot". Finally, Dan Abnett's future-set tale involving the first incarnation Guardians of the Galaxy is pretty by-the-numbers, but it does have an energetic pace and seasoned Marvelite's will no doubt revel at the sight of Vance Astro, Yondu, Charlie-27 and co, though the lack of any female members here is a little glaring. The reveal at the end once again builds on the events of Age of Ultron, showing how all of time and space has been affected by Wolverine's meddling with it, and the prospect of the original Guardians visiting the present-day Marvel Universe and interacting with their modern counterparts is both intriguing and exciting, especially since Abnett will be continuing this plotline in the recently announced Guardians 3000, due to arrive in October.

Art-wise this issue is pretty good also. Nick Bradshaw's zany and detailed style is a really good fit for this comic. The characters all look great. Venom receives a new look for this series and while I much prefer his previous appearance, it perhaps suits this series better to have more of an alien look to the character. There's also a bunch of cool easter eggs in the panel where the Guardian's ship is hit with laser fire and Star-Lord and Rocket are thrown across the former's room along with a bunch of his stuff. If you look closely you can see the Ninth/Tenth Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver from Doctor Who and the Golden Idol from Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as an old Iron Man figure (still boxed), and the issue of the Incredible Hulk depicting the first, full appearance of Wolverine. Jason Masters & Todd Nauck take over pencilling duties towards the end of the first story and while their work is a little rushed in places, that final page of Captain Marvel looked absolutely awesome! Phil Jimenez & Gerado Sandoval provide the art for 'Groot's Tale' & 'Fight For the Future' respectively and they also acquit themselves well. Jimenez's work really adds to the heart and depth of Lanning's script, while Sandoval's suits the dystopian setting as well as the larger-than-life nature of the original Guardians, though I have to say, Vance Astro's face when he first appears looks a little...weird, like he forgot to see a man about a space-dog. I also liked the little touch in the Badoon's word balloons showing the artificial nature of their translators.

Overall, this is a really good celebration of over 100 issues of the Guardians and the Galaxy. If you're a fan of this series, or you're looking for a jumping on point, this will serve you well, and like me, you'll likely be hooked enough to carry on to the next issue (I tried for a "Hooked on a Feeling" reference, but it just would have been too awkward, better luck next time?)...
Let's make this quick, I need the space-john.

Score: 4.0/5.0

Amazing Spider-Man v3 # 4

Posted by bulletproofsponge 30 July 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man v3 # 4 review


Original Sin tie-in

This issue, being part of the Original Sin story line that is currently taking place in the Marvel Universe, focuses on the hidden, unknown past related to Spider-Man that even he did not know about. This is essentially we have all been teased about from the first issue of the relaunch - the long awaited meet between Spider-Man and Silk.

The issue begins in Parker industries, where the staff are all still working on a cure for Electro. Peter gets a call from the Avengers, to which he is delighted to attend, giving him a chance to explain that his brain was switched for the past few months with Doc Ock to everyone.

As soon as he leaves however, the Black Cat, kidnaps Sajani, wanting to find out how the newly developing tech works.

Spider-Man joins the Avengers who are busy fighting the bad guys who have stolen the 'Watcher's eye.' For those who do not know, the Watcher is an all seeing being in the Marvel Universe. Anyway, the bad guy, drops the Watcher's eye, which immediately releases all the secrets kept hidden from them.

For Spider-Man, the Watcher's eye revealed to him about Cindy's existence and how she was bitten by the same spider that bit him. As soon as he recovers, Spidey swings off to find the girl, whom in his vision he saw was captured and contained not too far away by Ezekiel.

Spider-Man finds the bunker and releases the girl, who is at first furious at him for doing so, stating that Morlun will come for them and destroy the world. She very soon warms up to Spider-Man however, once Spidey explains to her that he killed Morlun.

Far away however, we see Morlun, sitting on his quarters as if he has had nothing to do for years. Morlun, from far away, manages to catch a whiff of Cindy, and narrates to himself his intentions of causing destruction.


Meanwhile, Spider-Man has come to terms, realizing he is the lesser "spider being" of the two as she seems to be better at him at almost everything except spider strength. She creates a new costume for herself from webbing which she sprays out from her finger tips and calls herself Silk. 

Spider-Man follows her, concerned that she has no idea about how the world has changed since she was locked up. Strangely however, his Spider Sense prompts him to follow her, as opposed to how it usually prompts him to go away or avoid instead of follow.

Silk swings to her old home where she hopes to find her family but is disappointed to find that they are not there. She finally settles down and asks how long Morlun had been dead. Spider-Man explains that he killed Morlun twice. Upon hearing this, Silk again grows furious, knowing that if Morlun could rise from the dead before, he is probably still alive! She begins to attack Spider-Man, but ends up kissing him on the building.

Thoughts

To clarify the last scene, Spider-Man and Silk ended up making out, not so much because it is a typical movie couple thing to do, but because, like animals, they were uncontrollably drawn to each other. as the scene below shows quite clearly.



So, from this issue we find that, like most spiders and insects for that matter, the female spider is more powerful than the male. Silk has the ability to control her organic webbing quite well, able to shape them to her liking. She also has heightened spider sense, speed and everything better than Peter except strength, of which Peter's is marginally better.

Honestly however, after being taught Kung-Fu by the Iron Fist, I wouldn't think battling this slightly better version of himself should be a problem.

As far as content in this issue, again, there is not too much taking place. The story is quite straight forward. Not being a big fan of the mystical spider totem and essentially all the stories involving Ezekiel, Morlun and etc, I might have a slightly biased review for this issue. It appears that Spider-Man is becoming less human like.

While the story is still building, I'd like to see an explanation to why Spider-Man was never drawn towards Spider-Woman ( Jessica Drew) this way before in the past, or why Morlun didn't previously come when Jessica Drew first became Spider-Woman for that matter.

Regardless, this is the beginning of the Spider-Verse event that is coming very soon. There will certainly be many repercussions from this story line of which we will have to wait for.


Rating: 3/5



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