Ms. Marvel Infinite #1 Review

by Lindsay Young, CMRO Contributing Writer

Ms. Marvel Infinite

Issue #1

Written by G. Willow Wilson, Art by Adrian Alphona

Published: May 2014

Ms. Marvel #1

Kamala Khan is great at school, but sucks at fitting in. After she comes up against a mysterious mist that transforms her into a shape-shifting superhero, not fitting in takes on a whole new meaning.

Now with stretchy, noodle-y powers, Kamala goes up against a giant mechanical monster who’s mired in a New Jersey dump.

Ms. Marvel Infinite #1 is a really short read, written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona. It feels more like one of those “issue 0” things than anything else, which means that it really doesn’t have a whole lot of space to do much. Despite this, Ms. Marvel Infinite #1 manages to pack an impressive amount of information into its tiny page count.

Firstly, it paints a really fun, likeable picture of its protagonist. Kamala is a total dork, and she’s slightly awkward and weird in ways that are really endearing. She feels like an authentic teenage girl, which is always easier said than done. I like her a lot already, and her noodle-powers are equal parts silly and awesome. During the fight scene in the garbage dump, we get a pretty good idea of how those powers work, and how she uses them creatively to fight crime. We also get a look at her home life, and the family obligations she’s shirking in order to play superhero.

The artwork is also nice, with thin lines and varied expressions, and strong action that feels fluid and impactful.

There’s a particularly funny line at the end, where she questions why she wears a mask when she can shape-shift her face that sums up the tone of this book nicely. It’s a fun, irreverent, likeable introduction to Kamala and her world, and it’s utterly charming.

Is Sony Preparing to Reboot Spider-Man Again?

by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

Of all the myriad surprises which have come out of the Sony hacking scandal (especially if you’re Angelina Jolie or Seth Rogen) two big news items merely confirm what many have already come to suspect.

First, as reported by Deadline, are a series of email chains which confirm what has been strongly hinted at since at least the production of the first AVENGERS film: that Disney and Sony are in negotiations for Sony to license Spider-Man back to its corporate owner for an appearance in at least one Marvel film (which must rankle Ike Perlmutter something awful) – most likely CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, of which the unmasking of Peter Parker played a significant part in the plot.

The second, also not surprising, piece of info coming from the exchange is that not only will that likely be the characters next screen appearance (if it happens) but it will likely not be Andrew Garfield under the mask. The email show that the powers that be at Sony were highly upset at the drop in domestic revenue for the most recent film in the series (of which studios normally get a larger percent than foreign distribution) while Marvel itself was able to realize extremely high licensing revenue for Spider-Man at the same time (which must make Ike Perlmutter giddy with joy), a situation which seems to have finally gotten through to the studio bosses the depth of the loss of the fanbase for their current iteration of the character.

The first reaction to that realization is already public as Sony immediately pushed the release of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3 from 2016 to 2018, replacing it with potentially VENOM or the SINISTER SIX (whichever one they actually decide to make), in order to give the studio time to retrench and reconsider their approach to – by internal admission – their sole, current franchise. Based on the leaked emails this new approach seems likely to be at the least a re-casting of the role as executives vented their frustration over some of Garfield’s public statements about the percieved quality of the film, which he attributed to an excellent script being gutted in post to make room for more action and fewer character beats (such as Shailene Woodley’s Mary Jane Watson being entirely removed) which hurt both the structure and pace of the film.  I’m not sure more AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 is exactly what is needed to fix the film, but maybe that’s just me.

Based on the emails floating around inside Sony, it seems likely that Garfield won’t be part of whatever the next step is – which at the moment could either be a simple actor replacement or a total reboot (with Spiderman permanently part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) – and most execs are waiting to see how potential CIVIL WAR involvement shakes out before they take another step. Which makes a lot of sense as they have no skin in that game.

Now if only Marvel could get something worked out with Fox and Hugh Jackman . . .

Amazing Spider-Man #11 Review

by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer

Amazing Spider-Man

Issue #11

Written by Dan Slott, Art by Olivier Coipel

Published: February 2015

Amazing Spider-Man #11

If I went back 6 months and someone told me that by December I would be reading a mini-event where 50 dimension displaced Daredevils were running around wisecracking and saving the universe and that it would be the greatest series I had ever read, I would have laughed in your face. If you had in fact told me it would be Spider-Man then my response would probably have been something along the lines of ‘Over my dead body’ or ‘yes, and pigs will fly and hell will freeze over.’ I cannot explain how much I dislike the Peter Parker Spider-Man, a character who is so over used, and from my point of view misused, throughout the decades of Marvel. I have never found his humour funny, his near third wall breaking antics are an immersion breaker and his awkwardness around women so ridiculous given his incredible luck with so many hot women.

So here I am, it’s Christmas and I am praising a Spider-Man comic. No, not just praising it, sitting here seriously considering whether it is better than the Whedon run of Astonishing X-Men. For me that is my holy grail of comics, the series against which I set all my personal benchmarks. The art in it is utterly beautiful and the characterization of every major player so perfect that they will forever be my take on those heroes. I know it was not a perfect run, there have been prettier comics and there were a few weak points in the middle of the series, but over all those 26 comics are as good as it has ever gotten for me. Well, until now.

If you think I am over exaggerating how good this book is, please bear in mind what I have said – I have actively disliked Spider-Man for decades. Other than the first couple of volumes of Ultimate Spider-Man and parts of the Superior run I have intentionally avoided the character wherever possible. I used Daredevil as the example in the first paragraph because he is the only major Marvel hero I dislike as much as Spider-Man, but if I was to include all Super heroes then this is on a par with me praising a Batman series. He is a character that is so stereotyped and used and abused in DC comics that unless I absolutely have to, I refuse to read a book with him in it because I know it is going to make me sigh or groan. Well Dan Slott is clearly a genius because he made me appreciate Spider-Man during his Superior run and has now made me not only love the normal Spider-Man, but 50 other clones of him as well.

There are two things I would have changed in this book to have made it 100% perfect and I am using a microscope in order to find this issues. In fact one of them is not even an issue, it is probably something that is held over for another book and it is the wording during the fight between Peter Parker and the Superior Spider-Man. Otto thinks that he cannot kill Peter because he is a previous incarnation of his body and thus killing it would kill himself. Peter works it out in his head, but I would have loved for him to have beaten Otto to the ground and then told him that he is a later incarnation and thus that Otto lost. However the more I think about this the more I feel it is ground that is going to be covered later on and that this little punch up is not the end between them.

My second minor complaint with this is a few panels of the art. Peter really does look horribly insane and almost disfigured with his mask off, both as Peter and Superior. I feel incredibly mean for mentioning it because other than those 3 panels near the beginning of the book, the art in this issue is about as perfect as I have ever seen. There are 7 pages/panels where the art is so perfect it puts the cover of this book to shame and it is pretty perfect in itself. I cannot emphasise enough quite how stunning it is and specifically the inheritors who benefit so much from the heavily inked shaded appearance. The death in this issue, and that is not a spoiler because they have killed at least one Spider in every issue, is about as disturbing and important as they come.

It is interesting that this book came out this week because it is in fact the jumping on point for 3 other tie ins, two of which came out a fortnight ago. I stupidly read Spider-Verse Team-up before this issue and thought it was horrible, but in retrospect when read after this issue, it makes so much more sense. It is quite incredible to me that they managed to dedicate five full pages of this book to what amounts to advertising for other series and still made this feel coherent and important, it’s a master class that should have been read by the people doing Logan’s Legacy because issue one of that book as a travesty for this very reason.

I have well and truly run out of superlatives for this book, I think my biggest worry from here on out is that everything Spider-Verse has been so well done that there is no way Slott can carry on upping the anti week after week. Eventually he is going to run out of ideas or summits to climb and the resolution to the story is going to be a let down by comparison. I will leave my decision between this series and Astonishing until he resolves it. If he can top the concluding Giant Sized issue of that series then this will take its place as my new benchmark in comics.

Axis: Hobgoblin #2 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Axis: Hobgoblin

Issue #2

Written by Kevin Shinick, Art by Javier Rodriguez

Published: January 2015

Axis: Hobgoblin #2

In all my years of reading comic books, I don’t know if this has happened before. I didn’t hate Axis – Hobgoblin 2, but I certainly didn’t care for it. I was ready to write it off as inoffensive and boring, up until the very last page. And it’s a splash page at that! Of course, it doesn’t make up for the rest of the issue. It just wasn’t very compelling to me. It’s all character-based and I don’t have any particular love for these characters, but the last page sunk its hooks in deep and now I’m surprisingly curious to see where it goes.

Kevin Shinick tricked me. That clever, clever bastard pulled a fast one on me!

I’ve had a particular fondness for the various goblins in the Spider-Man universe, if only for their costumes alone. I was bummed when Ultimate Spider-Man made Green Goblin into a hulking beast that Norman Osborn actually transforms into, because I really dig the mask and the hood. It’s just a classic comic book look and I can’t get enough of it. So imagine my disappointment when Roderick Kingsley and Phil Urich spend more than half the issue out of costume. In fact they spend most of it just yelling at each other, which can be great, but without being invested in any of these characters it did nothing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for drama, but I really love Javier Rodriguez’s pencils (nicely complimented by Munsta Vincente’s brilliant colors) and the opening pages with the Hobgoblin and the Goblin Knight-turned-King duking it out are absolutely awesome. From there it screeches to a halt. There’s more action later on, but it’s just not as fun.

Then there’s the last page, which reveals the beginning of what could be an awesome goblin civil war. I’m aware that we just had a goblin civil war of sorts, but I love goblins and you’re not going to find me complaining. Hopefully issue 3 delivers on what the tail end of issue 2 hints at.