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review 2017-07-03 14:03
I continue to love this series for how dark it gets
Spider-Gwen (2015-) #21 - Jason Latour,Robbi Rodriguez

Spider-Gwen is never afraid of shying away from darkness, from the creepy versions of Matt Murdock, Wolverine, and Kitty Pryde, to how S.H.I.E.L.D is run, to the situations it puts Gwen in: she has to compromise herself for the safety of others often enough that I wonder how she keeps it together, sometimes.   She makes deals with Murdock, who is the de-facto Kingpin for now, to save her father.   She almost sells her soul again for Harry Osborne, but instead runs away with him, only to be cornered by Logan and Kitty once again.   (And I thought Murdock was the creepiest, but nope, these two have him beat.)

 

Maybe it's just fun because I know there are alternate versions of them running around, versions that I like, who would be appalled by this.   And while it's never fully divulged how these characters became this way - the focus is Gwen after all - it's easy to piece together some of it from the universe they live in.   Without Xavier, under the not-so-gentle hand of this S.H.I.E.L.D, yeah, Logan could become totally soulless.   Even just without Xavier, he could be trained to be the monster he's become here.   

 

Murdock could have been persuaded by Fisk that this was best for him without any other guidance.   Lack of support, lack of role models after his father's death, could have twisted him around, too.    And even in 616, it's made clear that he idolized his father, who used his fists to make a living as a boxer, and would resort to fighting at school when he'd hit his limit.   (His father told him not to, and Matt got punished for it, but had the tendency, possibly just through watching his father in the ring.)   If someone decided to tease that into a purely sadistic tendency...

 

Frank Castle is dark even with his family alive, and to be honest, he's the one who I'd most like to see again, just to see why he still turned out to be a psychopathic vigilante.   But he's not in this.   

 

Regardless, that's part of the charm for this series for me, and it's used to full advantage with Murdock, Wolvie, and Kitty, and even with Harry who's becoming The Lizard once again.   Perhaps Gwen's guidance - telling him he can't steal when his literal reptilian is only focused on survival.   It's wrong, and more than that, it could show their hand to those tracking them, she points out.   His answer?   More for me. 

 

Still, it would be fascinating if I was proven right: if Gwen can reform someone with such a guiding hand, it might mean that all the people who are broken and creepy and dark are so because they didn't have that in this universe.   (Or maybe they're just utter bastards here.  Who knows at this point?   Either way, it's fun speculating and I'm enjoying reading this series.)

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review 2017-06-14 14:59
Intense!
Web of Spider-Man (1985-1995) #31 - J.M. DeMatteis,Mike Zeck

Kraven, humiliated after a defeat by Spider-Man, comes to take his vengeance, just as Spider-Man himself is tormented by doubts about mortality, both his own and that of those around him.    (As in interesting contrast, Kraven thinks about his life and how long he'll live and how he'll die, but while Spider-Man is morbidly gloomy, Kraven is grimly realistic.  Spider-Man wallows; Kraven accepts and prepares.)

 

But Kraven also feels, as I said before, humiliated.   He wants vengeance.  He wants to take down the person who took him down.  

 

I can't really get into this without spoiling the issue.   What I can say is that it was a freebie with the weekly Marvel comics, and boy, was this amazing!   The contrast between Spider-Man and Kraven, and Karven's obsessions.   Just mindblowingly good, and the art was amazing, too. 

 

 

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text 2017-06-09 01:01
I wasn't gonna download this
FCBD 2017: Secret Empire #1 (Secret Empire (2017)) - Nick Spencer,Chip Zdarsky,Andrea Sorrentino,Paulo Siqueira,Mark Brooks

Despite it being free, meh.   But I powered through the Secret Empire story.   It still turns my stomach.  I hate it.  

 

I hate it so fucking much. 

 

I heard that the Chip Zdarsky Spider-Man story was amazing, though, and I wanted to read that, figuring it would cheer me up after the shit show up front.   And it did!   It's the most amazing Spider-Man short.  I love it so much that I wanted to give this more than one half star, but guess what, Marvel?   Everything SE is getting one-half starred.   Every.   Single.   Time. 

 

If you download this, the SE story is just as fucked up and awful as I expected; it's not worth reading.   Skip straight to the Zdarsky amazeballs, though, and you'll be just fine. 

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review 2017-06-02 02:15
Wolverine shows up
Spider-Gwen (2015-) #20 - Jason Latour,Robbi Rodriguez

And man, this is just as twisted as the Daredevil reveal.   Well, not quite so much, but only because Daredevil has been fleshed out in this series, and has been shown to be cunning, and manipulative, and willing to use all his power to turn Gwen to his side, or at least use her to his benefit.   Wolverine is more of a blunt tool, but it's not so much how he treats Gwen - or the Osborne's, or any of his bounties - so much as how he deals with his protege, Shadowcat.   Nasty stuff, and I see a lot of the same power dynamics that goes into the Daredevil  and Gwen relationship, except that Shadowcat has drunk the kool aid.   (Her backstory is not delved into, and his is told as a myth, a story told round the fire at camp to scare children more than the truth.  I think there are kernels of truth, in that Weapon X comes into play and acts much as it did in 616, but I'm not so sure about the curses.   I'm not discounting anything given the differences in this universe, but I'm extremely skeptical given the context: frightened prey who insists on calling Wolverine 'Mr. Murderhands' at first is retelling a rumor he heard and believes because he's frightened.)

 

Shadowcat.   Did she follow Wolverine willingly from the beginning?  Or was she co-erced, or tortured, into obedience?   Given how Wolverine tries to deal with her to get to the bounty first, I wouldn't discount the second or third option.   Given what I know about S.H.I.E.L.D in this part of the multiverse, I think those are likely options in fact.   (Or that they would, at least, ignore what Wolverine did to get her to toe the line.)

 

It's a lovely interplay between them.  No, actually, it's horrifying, but it's lovely to see how Latour balances that and Gwen and Daredevil and also how she's trying to hard to save her friend, from both himself and from Mr. Murderhands and his just as scary - and just as murder-y - friend. 

 

The art, as always, is atmospheric, the colors vibrant and lush to match the action and emotive content, as well.   Just perfectly matched to this comic; I can't imagine another artist illustrating this series, in fact.  Oh, I'm sure they could, but this art has become iconic for the series, at least to me, and I try to imagine what it would be like illustrated by anyone else and come up blank.

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review 2017-05-20 12:49
Freebie this week
Spider-Man (2016-) #12 - Brian Bendis,Sara Pichelli

Each week, Marvel gives away a free digital copy with your purchase, if you redeem the digital comics.   (It's the same across the board, so if you buy everything, you only get one additional comic.   Still, bonus in addition to the free digital copies, so I can't really find a reason to complain!)

 

I'd read the Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen crossover, and still found myself confused when this exactly happened: so much of the time switches from before to after made me feel like it was placed before, then I realized they were talking about it, so it had to happen after.  I'm not sure why this didn't work for me, but I suspect that it's because I felt like the time switches didn't really serve a purpose: there were some funny lines, but I knew Miles was close enough to Ganke to tell him about this, and the other kid in there I guess?   They didn't add anything the comic though, so what was the big deal?

 

That being said, I think I'm over Bendis.  I still find him hilarious and he tells a good story, a story that makes me feel, but they all feel the same.   I'm bored.   He's writing more and more Marvel, and that's making it feel like the same.   Action, some quips, bada bing, bada boom.  Others - Soule comes to mind, and quite frankly less so Ahmed if only because he's only writing one Marvel comic and only ever has - seem to be doing something different.   (Black Bolt is amazing, but it's hard to tell how Ahmed would write other characters and if his tack would be different without him having written them.  Soule?  I've read a lot of his work and it seems to feel different depending on which character he's writing.)  

 

And I obviously still enjoy Bendis.   I got this for free, read it, and enjoyed it, but I don't subscribe to Bendis' series, and I've stopped looking forward to him writing new series.   Anyway, this is basically a recap of Miles and Gwen finding Miles' father, but not really the whole story.   Just up to a certain point.   It was fun, but I knocked off one star for the ennui I've got going with Bendis.

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