In part one, we examined last week’s offerings from DC. Here in part two, we look at what Marvel had to offer.
First on the block is THE DEFENDERS #4. It’s been roughly four months now since the Sequential Smart blog went up, and this book will no doubt continue to be the milestone by which I judge everything here. And with good reason, because the Defenders is still a good book.
The Nul story arch is over, but there’s still much to do with the Miracle Machine the team recovered from Wundagore. This is mostly a Doctor Strange issue, dealing with his fruitless search for lore about the machine. Also, an old supporting character returns for a time. And I mean a person no one expected to see back, mostly because she was dead. It’s good to see Strange on a more personal level. It helps to connect with him as a character.
Nothing much to say other than the book is in the stage where it’s recovering from the initial big story arch. And also that Namor apparently found evidence of the machine at the bottom of the ocean, so that’s where the next issue is heading. I also think The Defenders is gearing up for the coming AVX event, which multiple characters in this book will be involved with. So if nothing else, you should be reading this series for its connection to that event. It’s only four issues so far, so there’s still time to catch up.
Next on the list is THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #681, concluding the Spiderman in Space storyline. Like I said in my quasi-First Impressions, I love the current run of Amazing Spiderman, and this issue doesn’t disappoint. The problem, in fact, is that this comic doesn’t do anything wrong, so what exactly can I talk about that wouldn’t spoil the plot?
Well, Spiderman and Doctor Octopus have a bit of a moment. For those not familiar with current events in the Spiderman books, Doctor Octopus is dying. He’s been dead before, but that was during the nineties Clone Saga, and then he got better. This time he’s dying of some illness or something, and he’s ready for one last score. One last plot before he goes down. As a matter of fact, this issue leads directly into the next big Spiderman event, “Ends of the Earth”, which will span the next six issues.
Needless to say that’s another storyline I’m really looking forward to. It’s got Doc Ock and the Sinister Six, trying to enact Octavius’ final master plan. I’m not going to miss it. Will you?
Last of all is WINTER SOLDIER #3, featuring a fight between the titular Bucky Barnes and Doctor Doom (Come to think of it, every Marvel issues this week involved a “Doctor” of some kind; Doctor Strange, Doctor Octopus, Doctor Doom). The fight ultimately only lasts a couple pages, but these days I’ve come to expect such things in comics. And there’s at least plenty of stuff that comes before it that keeps my attention.
I especially like the fact that the villains here use a Doom Bot, infamous in Marvel comics for being the hilarious all-purpose “out” for writers in case they write Doctor Doom badly. If he’s acting strangely or his plans make no sense, just say it was a Doom Bot. They all think they’re Doctor Doom, so it’s not like we’d notice. And this comic basically plays it for comedic effect, kind of like Brian Clevenger’s four part Infinity Guantlet miniseries. Only with fewer space truckers.
Oh Clevenger, you brilliant man.
Anyway, once again I find myself loving pretty much every ongoing Marvel has out without much complaint. And therefore I don’t wonder why DC has had such problems lately. They’re trying to copy Marvel’s formula, and fail to copy the one thing it really needs to: good stories.
There’s one last thing I need to mention. I picked up an eighth book this week, from a publisher I’ve ignored for the most part. It’s a first issue too, so I’m going to be posting my First Impressions of it in the next few days. It’s also weird.
Next time, I’ll give my impressions on Antarctic Press’ HONEY BADGER #1. I’m not joking, there’s a Honey Badger comic, and it came out last week.