So here are my reviews that I call Bullet Points. These reviews will mention the highs and lows, favourite moments, and the best quotes contained within each issue. The second part will be strictly Marvel and focus on All-New X-Men #1, Amazing Spider-Man #697, and Fantastic Four #1. Also I should mention that there be SPOILERS in these reviews. You are warned!
Bendis begins his run on the X-Men line of books with a series that looks to the future while revisiting the past. Its premise is intriguing, bringing the original five X-Men into the present to talk some sense into Cyclops, but will it be a blast from the past or is it simply a dated concept? Read on:
Cover: A nice dramatic shot of the original five X-Men in iconic poses standing on top of a pile of rubble. It clearly gets across their importance and the backside features Cyclops’ current group of X-Men including Magneto, Emma Frost, and Magik. A great look at the differences between then and now as it pertains to the people Scott Summers associates with.
– The opening shot of Beast in pain, outstretching his hand while breaking the panel lines and encroaching into the surrounding panels is great and grabs your attention right away. Overall, Stuart Immonen really hit it out of the park in the art department. – New character Eva freezes time and freaks out over what has occurred. Said shot of her freezing time is superb with nice blue lighting effects as she becomes a being of pure white. Cyclops, Magneto, and Emma appear and tell her that she’s actually been frozen for 20 hours and hasn’t realized it much to her surprise. I also like the added touch that her hair changed colour (permanently?) after her power manifested. – I like the scene at the police station where new character Christopher is getting grilled by a detective yelling at him that there are laws in this country and he can just go around and-and-and– before Christopher cuts in with “help sick people?”.
– Just when it gets started it’s over already. – The title is a little confusing. All-New? What part exactly is All-New? It’s the original five X-Men and they are far from All-New.
Cyclops: I have much–so much to atone for. I need to make things right with the world. I need to–I need to make this world a better place for Mutants. And I wonder if you might help me. I was wondering if we might help each other.
Cyclops: If you can hear my voice and you are a Mutant…you are not alone. Do not let the humans dictate the course of your life. If you are a Mutant you are part of an elite species that deserves every freedom. Don’t worry, my brother and sister of the atom. We are the X-Men and we stand together.
Iceman: First of all, let’s settle down before you crash a tornado on us and we end up in OZ. Storm: Sorry.
Iceman: The Scott we grew up with–he would hate this. He would slap the holy crap out of the Scott we have now and he wouldn’t stop slapping him.
Beast: Bobby, I don’t think I’ve ever said these words to you before in my entire life…but you’re right.
Bendis had a great debut in the X-Verse, one that some may complain was too much set-up but I would counter by saying it was a quality read with fabulous art from Immonen. The premise is fresh and I look forward to the eventual confrontation between the two Scott Summers. Bringing the original X-Men to the present should provide for countless memorable moments, I’m thrilled to have a younger Jean Grey that doesn’t have the Phoenix Force dragging her down, and I’m interested to see how Beast manages to convince them all to travel through time with him. A solid first issue that potentially tees this series up for an even brighter future.
The Hobgoblin arc has reached its conclusion before we look to take that first controversial step towards the Superior Spider-Man era. With not one but two Hobgoblins, will this arc’s conclusion glide gracefully to an epic end or will it leave us shrieking like a pumpkin bomb? Here we go:
Cover: It catches your attention as Spider-Man rides a Spider-Glider throwing out Spidey-Bombs (instead of Pumpkin Bombs) with two of them even carrying the reflection of the Hobgoblins on them. The cover’s background has a web motif to it and is coloured Hobgoblin orange as well. A little role-reversal for Spidey on display here.
– Max Modell shows he’s no fool. A razor bat is hurtling towards him, Peter misses it with his webbing, and then…it bounces right off of Max. He came prepared with a personal force field charged by a cell phone battery. Ingenuity on display. – Max and Peter enter Norman’s secret cache and Max mentions that this place makes Parker’s cache of Spidey equipment look like a street vendor’s table. Peter counters that Norman’s rich and then quieter “If you paid me more I could have something like this”. – The cache is going to blow up if don’t enter the proper authorization code and Peter makes a call to…Seattle, Washington…to Harry Osborn. Harry is incognito, his head shaved bald, and he picks up call and informs Peter that by answering this call he has to move again. Informed of the situation he tells Peter that the answer is “Stromm”, the first business partner his dad ever screwed. He says his dad is sentimental like that. – Phil Urich tries to get Parker to come out by threatening to blow up Urich’s own girlfriend. Kingsley says that he might have a future in this business. – In one panel we reference Amazing Spider-Man #12 where Peter claims he was “impersonating” Spider-Man when Doc Ock unmasked him in front of all his friends. Is this significant? – Kingsley is going to blow up Norah and Urich strangely enough thought it would bother him but it doesn’t. That’s just cold Phil! – Max makes it to Norah in time and his force field saves her life. She is shocked but Max simply says you’ve just helped beta-test my force field app. Nice cover there Max… – I love how the gold Octobot (from previous issues) was inconspicuously in the panels during the Spidey-Hobgoblins fight. I lost it in the chaos however it showed up later on still tracking Spider-Man. Something big is going down here if Madame Web’s predictions are to be taken seriously. – Noman Osborn is awake and has fled custody at the hospital. It’s poetic that as the Hobgoblin arc ends the Green Goblin rises yet again. – Kinglsey let Urich stay as Hobgoblin but for a cut of the profits. He’s setting up his own version of Batman Inc. for super villains. He builds up an identity and then lets others take over said identity. Next one up for him is a new Unicorn. We haven’t seen the last of him…
– Not as great as the previous two issues. – The Hobgoblins-Spider-Man fight was too short. – Why was Norman Osborn in a general hospital and not in secure lockdown?
Norman Osborn Hologram: Hello. Welcome to the Goblin’s workshop. I’m Norman Osborn. If you’re seeing this you’re not me. Which is unfortunate for you on so many levels.
Peter Parker: My Spider-Sense has saved my life a million times. But now it’s going to be the death of both of us.
Spider-Man: Now which one are you supposed to be? Leeds? Macendale? Or–hey! I know that cheekbone anywhere. Roddy! How’s tricks?
Roderick Kingsley: Tell them who I am and what I do. Tell them super-villains are my business…and business is good.
Well the last issue of an arc I was highly anticipating, being a huge Hobgoblin fan, sort of fell flat with its final issue. It started off strong but the storyline fizzled out at the end and devolved into a rather simplistic direction. Despite this, I still liked it but I was expecting more. Now we’re ready to enter into the rumored-to-be highly controversial new direction for this series. I wonder if Norman Osborn will have any impact or is he being saved for the Superior Spider-Man age? Regardless, I eagerly await the next issue and look forward to what is going to happen between Otto Octavius and Peter Parker.
Hickman has passed the torch to Fraction and this is the starting line. Can Fraction hope to continue the fantastic run of these characters that we have experienced or will it be one big fail? Find out:
Cover: A pretty generic cover featuring the Fantastic Four. A starry background is on display behind our heroes but it doesn’t really grip your attention like a #1 should.
– The first page gets you right away. One year from now, we see the Fantastic Four flying in a spaceship. Reed and Ben (who is human looking by the way) look extremely worried. Franklin and Val are being held by Sue and Johnny respectively, fear in their eyes before we snap back to the present day. Ominous much? – Reed analyses what is wrong with his arm. After undergoing a battery of tests we get a full-page reveal, his head hung low as “Uh-oh” is uttered from his lips. This is something major indeed and the severity of his situation permeates off the page. – Johnny is having dinner with his girlfriend Darla Deering in the Negative Zone to get away from all the media attention surrounding the two of them. He tells her he brought her all this way out here so he could tell her that he doesn’t just like her and he produces a ring box. He opens the box, a gold glow emanates and Darla is like “Ohhh. Oh.” Turns out Johnny “likes her likes her” as it is revealed that the contents was actually a piece of paper with Johnny’s actual direct phone number written down. Psych! – Ben gets humiliated by the Yancy Street Gang and it gets posted to NewToob (a YouTube stand-in). Later, as Sue walks by him at the computer he asks her how do you delete things “offa da internet?”. Don’t you know Ben, once it’s on the internet it’s on there for life.
– Not enough of a high-concept to start compared to Hickman’s run. A little too conservative. – Franklin seemed too whiny and all his previous character development seemingly went out the window. – Interior art was just okay.
Moloid: The glorious return of the Ben! All of my breakfast prayers have been answered.
Johnny Storm: I like you like you, Darls. You’re, like, so super-hot. And totally sweet, and I don’t care what your mom looks like, you’re not going to look like her when you get old.
Reed Richards: My powers are dying, and they’re taking me with them.
Reed Richards: Then we will ensure the Earth has a four to stand for it. A minute, a second, a lifetime–we do not leave the Earth unprotected.
This series can’t help but be compared to Hickman’s run. It’s inevitable and unfortunately it comes out of the box failing to live up to the greatness that came before. I absolutely hated how he depicted Franklin here and I hope that Val’s quirkiness isn’t lost in upcoming issues as well. Hopefully this initial misstep will be rectified with future issues and Fraction will proceed to blow our collective minds. If Hawkeye is any example of his writing prowess it shouldn’t be too hard for him. Next up is his debut on FF which I pray turns out better than this attempt.
And that is Part 2 complete. Agree/Disagree with my reviews? Comment below!