Saturday, August 31, 2013

Web of Spider-Man Annual #9 Part 2

Picking up where we left off. Terry Kavanagh spent three sections of this annual attempting to jump start his own semi-demonic threesome of heroes. I'm guessing most people have never heard of the cadre so let's call that a fail on his part. Instead of using the remaining pages of this issue to add more depth to his story or ya know, provide an actual Spider-Man tale in a spidey comic. He gives us two more stories that are completely separate from the rest of the book as well as each other.

First up is a short tale of Cloak and Dagger. If you're unfamiliar with the twosome, don't feel ashamed. Marvel has done their damnedest to keep these two at somewhere around 3 appearances a year for the past decade or so. In short; Cloak is a like an 8 foot tale black guy with demons in his underpants (sorta) and Dagger is some fine ass white girl who shoots out light daggers, I guess. Ok, so there powers aren't the best but they're still notable for being one of the few bi-racial comics couples out there and for having a disenfranchised street youth backstory. Truthfully, I've only read 5 or so issues where they appear so I'm not exactly the best salesman for them and neither is this story.
In this particular installment C&D show up to fight some chick named Mayhem who is basically She-Hulk with some corrosive powers thrown in for fun. That's it. No big twist or message. Just some cheap fight with some incredibly lame dialogue like the following.

Why does Dagger speak in the third person? And why does she feel the need to state that she questions the villains methods vehemently? Doesn't that go without saying? I mean you're a superheroine. Isn't it a given that you disagree with the villain?
As you can see from the above scans, the quality of the book just keeps diving, with my favorite bit of this story being the part where Mayhem recaps her entire origin story to our heroes even though they already know it! This is a prime example of how sometimes a comic just plain needs the old narrator boxes.


On a side note; check out this ad for baseball cards.

I can't remember an ad for anything with this many details. Even the small print of a car ad doesn't pack this much info. This isn't the only one in the comic either. There's another two pager for basketball cards that rave on about how gold trim makes that years crop of cards unlike anything that came before. I guess there's only so many ways to innovate with trading cards. At least Fleer knew enough to use that awesome porn stache in their ad.

Back to the comic. The final tale is belongs to what I believe is another Terry Kavanagh original by the name of NightWatch. Basically he's got a super suit that looks like the horrid offspring of Batman and Spawn. The trick is that at some point in the future he gets this suit, travels into the past to save himself from (I kid you not) invisible assassins, dies, leaves the suit to his younger self who then tries to save his girlfriends airplane from being taken over by baddies, fails, then sends himself into decades of seclusion in the jungle cause he couldn't save his lady. Then some other ass hair show up and takes a piece of his costume, which leads to him finally returning to civilization, fighting another invisible assassin, and finding out his girlfriend has actually been alive this whole time. Probably something he should have checked up on before hiding in the jungle for two or three decades.

I am justice! I am the night! I am a failed attempt at being edgy!
So yeah, my first ever comic book was sort of a stinker. I can't stay mad at it though, because it'll always be special for me. Plus I like the way Spider-Man looks for the like 12 pages he's actually in his own book. Plus I get to share this neat tidbit. Appariently Terry kavanagh doesn't write comics anymore. About five years ago he started a comic the sends you coupons through your cellphone. How's that for a career shift?
One final note. Every time I look through this thing I get to remember Brach's Rocks. As a kid I only had them a handfull of times yet I remember them being pretty good. Is this memory true or am I where they gross and I'm just sugar coating my childhood? Somebody help me out with that one. Also pay attention to to the kid in the lower left panel as he exclaims that “they don't taste like rocks... they're great!” of course they don't taste like rocks you fucking twat!

Wow! this candy tastes like candy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Web of Spider-Man Annual #9 part 1.

It's a very rare thing in life to be able to point out your very first of anything. Think of it; you're first toy, movie, game, tv show. Many of these things pass by before you've developed the memory for such things. Even more rare is when you can not only name your first of something, but actually bring it out to show others. I actually have the majority of my old comic book collection but most important of all (at least for this article's sake) is my absolute first, which is Web of Spider-man Annual #9 written entirely by Terry Kavanagh with illustrations by multiple artists.
Adding somewhat to the nostalgia is that despite living in a small town the store I bought this from is still open to this day. Granted the owners changed buildings and have long since switched to more of a used book store, but they still carry all of our favorite spandexed heroes.
If I was asked what particular thought process made me pick this up in place of anything else on those shelves I honestly couldn't tell ya. I can't recall whether I'd seen the old 70's Spider-man show before or after this, nor if I'd witnessed a cartoon or video game that piked my interest in the character. I guess I just just understood that Spider-man was a awesome. Good knowledge to have at such a young age but unfortunately I wasn't bright enough to realize I was getting hosed in the actual spider action department. See this was of of those instances where the writer used his foothold in a popular title to try and launch his own thing. Which in this case means Mr. Kavanagh was introducing us to these chumps.
Ah yes, the cadre. Triplets who are the spawn of the “hellbent.” I.E. semi-demon folk, which seems to be another of Kavanagh's storylines which he apparently carried to further chapters during his run on Moon Knight. Demonic superheros where a cliched tidal wave during the nineties and these three have nothing to set them apart from the pack except their names. Vor, Ard, and their sister Tia where named by the monks who raised them in short hand for their respective powers (slowly shakes head back and forth.) Ya see Vor has vortex powers, Tia causes dementia, and Ard shoots shards out of his body......yeah he's probably not much of a hugger.
So the first story (of five) in the annual is these twerps being dropped off as babies, being raised by monks, then discovering their powers, and sneaking out conveniently on the same night their home is attacked by other hellbents lead by Lord Seth, which is just an outstandingly weak name for a villain. Imagine a line up featuring Dr. Doom, Galactus: Devourer of Worlds, Ronan the Accuser, and then Lord Seth. If nothing else the we get this panel for our troubles. Note: Tia isn't surprised, she always looks like that.

Story number two finally brings in Peter Parker whose out for a night on the town with MJ (Pre magical demon divorce). This served as my young minds introduction to this couple and while Kavanagh doesn't do so poorly with Peter, his version of MJ is a flat out stank bitch.
Thankfully I would later come in contact with issues from writers who actually understood how to write this marriage in a respectable fashion (see Matt Fractions Sensational Spider-man Annual #1 for evidence). This, sadly, existed in the dark days of let's get the wife out of the way so Peter can go punch things. And he goes out to do just that! However; the main conflict in this story is that Tia's powers are going wonko and causing the local populace to go crazy.
Gotta love the rude barbarian.
Praise Odin we have Chris Marrinan on hand to provide the art for this segment. I got this before I had fully mastered the art of reading so looking over Chris' illustrations provided me with my favorite bits of the whole comic. He really draws a good Spidey, and has enough flair to make even the lackluster characters stand out.

Spidey prefers his dementia less intense.
All that is except for Lt. Stone's Code Blue. I have never seen another comic with these guys in it but fuck they look stupid. This was another 90's cliche where cops, firefighters, etc had to be superheroes too, so the kids would want to grow up and take civil service jobs. Even the daffiest of kids knew better than to fall for that con.
Getting back on track. Spidey fights the kids a little, then some sexy knights templar ninja chick show up to take them away for the 3rd story where they mope around her apartment and set up plot threads ranging from finding their birth-mother to getting revenge for the slain monks back at the monastery. Nothing is resolved and from what I can tell these kids only appear in like 4 or 5 more not what one would call a rousing success.
Of course We've still got 2 more stories to go but I'll be saving them for later this week. In the meantime check out this bit from a shock-tarts ad that's had me transfixed for most of the week. Has anyone in life ever actually said “dealer types”?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review: Fantastic Four to free Atlantis by Nancy A. Collins

If you read my last entry you might recall me ending with the promise of frozen ducks and a Bob Newhart bowl. Well, that's not what you're getting. I highly suggest you go back and read that with some appropriately dramatic music to make it feel more like a true cliffhanger. Will you ever learn the reason for the frozen duckies? Eh, probably. But first, allow me to indulge in some low grade licensed superhero literature from the mid-nineties.

I nabbed this off ebay earlier this year for a project that may or may not ever happen. Still; I ain't one to let things go to waste so I barreled through it. At the very least I could mark it as my first ever licensed superhero novel. Frankly I'm surprised I never tried one earlier as I remember a good six-month period when I was a kid where I'd stare down this paperback copy of “The Venom Factor” (a spider-man novel) that sat in the magazine section of a now defunct grocery store. If I'd taken more time, I probably would've hunted that down in place of this but it was January and we all know how cabin fever makes you do strange things.
So how is it really? Honestly? Not bad, really. I mean it's nothing that's likely to stick with me but I've read significantly worse in my life. The main problem is that the story isn't anything different then what you could get in a small story arc from the actual comics. In short; Namor is poisoned, loses his kingdom, the Fantastic four (who oddly enough don't appear until like page 60) find, cure him, and go with him to reclaim Atlantis and stop Dr. Doom from destroying the world (natch). If you were the kind of person who knew nothing about the FF than I suppose this could make an ok introduction but even with some fluffy side plots involving The United Nations and The Human Torch having a crap time during a fashion shoot (really) there's just not a whole lot here.
Thankfully the author, a woman whom I'd never heard of before picking this up, is decent enough to keep things moving at a fast clip with some generally good descriptions. I say generally because she will sometimes lapse into some very strange stuff, like the following bit comparing Sue Storm to a Manatee. Not making that up, just look!
You can also tell from that page that the book can get just a tad melodramatic. If you need any further proof just look at this part with Dr. Doom.
It's a crime that Doom isn't in this very much as all his bits are downright adorable. The guy is in full-on Saturday morning cartoon mood every time he pops up. Even better is how he thinks! Check it out.
From now on I'm going to make a point of attaching negative adjectives to everyone around me. Oh it's that insufferable mailman again. These over the top thought patterns are made all the more off-putting by the big reveal that this is actually a doombot and not the real deal. So are we getting Dooms' actual thoughts channeled through the bot or do all of his robots think and act like they just graduated from evil doctor community college?
I suppose the publisher didn't feel it would be appropriate to release a marvel paperback without an illustration or two so we get these at the start of every chapter. They're not bad, but they don't really add anything to the experience. For any marvel nuts getting excited about the above image, just calm down. Fin-Fang Foom does not make a cameo. That is just a cheap lookalike. Actually it's some kind of dragon that could destroy the world, though I don't believe that since it can't even take down the thing, Namor and the aforementioned doombot. What's odd is that the FF leave control of that beast in Namor's hands even though he lost control of his entire kingdom just a few weeks earlier! I'd be asking permission to chuck the keys to that cell into the negative zone ASAP.
Overall I'd say this was a fun item but it's only real worth these days would be to complete some FF fans collection. Maybe now I can get back to those ducks.