Venom takes center stage in Amazing Spider-Man 654.1; comic book reviews
The Amazing Spider-Man “Point 1″ issue, featuring Venom, is one of the highlights of this week’s comic-book releases.
“Amazing Spider-Man” 654.1 is the first full mission of the new Venom, who is in fact (POSSIBLE SPOILER) Peter Parker’s longtime friend (and sometime nemesis) Flash Thompson. The government is using the Venom symbiote to make Flash a James Bond-style secret agent. But can he maintain control of the creature? Dan Slott writes and Humberto Ramos draws. This continues the recent trend of “Amazing Spider-Man” being pretty darn good. If there’s a criticism, it’s that for a “jumping on” issue, Peter Parker is barely in the issue.
More comics from this week and the recent past I read this week:
“Jennifer Blood” #1 from Dynamite is by Garth Ennis and Adriano Batista. Jennifer is a homemaker, mother and wife by day, and a ruthless vigilante by night. Plenty of violence in the Garth Ennis tradition, though the humor and intensity comes closer to “Hitman” than “Preacher.” Still, plenty of blood and violence, so it’s not for the squeamish. But it’s a solid comic that should appeal to Ennis’ fans.
Greg Pak and Stephen Segovia bring back the skyrider of the spaceways in “Silver Surfer” #1, the latest miniseries to feature the character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Pak has a good handle on Norrin Radd, who in the aftermath of “Chaos War” finds Galactus a star to feed on. Returning to Earth, the Surfer is pulled into what seems to be a small conflict. But it quickly escalates, and ends up leaving the Surfer in a precarious position.
In Hulk #30, Ed McGuinness comes on for a guest shot as the Green Hulk and Red Hulk battle Xemnu. Jeff Parker gets in some pretty funny dialogue as the Impossible Man merges the Red and Green Hulks into the “Composite Hulk” to fight Xemnu and his minions. It’s a pretty silly issue, but fun, and should please McGuinness fans especially.
The Incredible Hulks #621-622 by Greg Pak and Paul Pelletier (with a cover by Carlo P0agulayan) is a follow up to “Chaos War,” in which the Hulk challenges Zeus. It’s “Clash of the Titans” Hulk-style as Banner attempts to get redress for his Hulk “family” but instead ends up getting beaten down by Zeus.
Heroes for Hire #2-3 feature Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning writing sort of a modern “Marvel Team-Up” in which Misty Knight calls in various heroes to stop certain situations. Misty herself, unbeknownst to the heroes, is under the control of the Puppet Master. The roster of street-level type heroes involved include Paladin, Silver Sable, Satana, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight and Iron Fist. Abnett and Lanning have done more to make Paladin interesting than I thought anyone would ever have attempted. This book may be flying under the radar, but it’s one to take a look at. Art by Brad Walker.
John Byrne writes and draws Jurassic Park: Devils in the Desert #1-2 for IDW and shows himself to still be a master craftsman. In a small Texas town, a rancher is missing after his cattle have been mutilated. When the authorities find the rancher’s horse alongside his mangled body, they’re sure no animal they’re familiar with could have caused the carnage. The FBI come in to investigate, but shortly it’s clear what the culprits are – modern-day dinosaurs. The series captures the adventure of the “Jurassic Park” books and films; I’m excited to see where it goes.
The Jim Shooter revamp of the Gold Key characters has been kind of up and down, but as the books go on they seem to be hitting their groove. Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom has been the weakest of the line, but with issue 4 it seems to be finding its groove, with Roger Robinson on art. This wraps up the first arc on the series, as Solar must battle the army of Moloch the Devourer, who was created from the mind of the horrific writer Pickerel. Mighty Samson #2 features Samson travels from N’Yark to Jerz, seeking the return of two girls captured as slaves. The Queen of Jerz, Terra, is impressed by Samson’s strength, and asks him to rule Jerz with her. He declines, though he’s obviously attracted. He declines, but she gives him the girls anyway. Art is by Patrick Oliffe, whose storytelling is dynamic yet clear. Bill Reinhold and Mike Manley provide the art for Magnus, Robot Fighter #3, in which Magnus attempts to shut down underground robot/human fights being broadcast from a secret location. This standalone issue nonetheless continues to build the relationships among Magnus and the supporting cast, and shows the book starting to hit its stride. The problem with all of these books is that as infrequently as they come out, it’s difficult to maintain interest in the story. But each series seems to be improving as it goes.
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