In part one we looked at the books from DC comics. Here in part two, we examine the offerings of Marvel, Dark Horse, and Boom! Includes SCARLET SPIDER #13, THE STRAIN #10, and ADVENTURE TIME #11.
With a new year in front of us, SCARLET SPIDER #13 begins to develop that plot thread established more than a year ago: Aracely, the psychic amnesiac illegal alien in our anti-hero’s care. Kaine saved the girl from her kidnapping and the villain sent to retrieve her, but now the ones responsible for her kidnapping have appeared. And worse, they are Mexican werewolves connected to Latin magics.
Sometimes I stop and realize how insane the things I talk about are. Then I smile, and remember this is the same reason I love comic books.
One of the new preoccupations Scarlet Spider has been busied with is thwarting/dismantling the Houston human trafficking industry. And his frustration at how little progress he makes accurately reflects the real-life frustration felt by law enforcement. Take down one cadre of gun-toting sex-slavers, another pops up the next night to fill the market void. There really is no easy, brute force solution to the problem because the issues are economic and cultural. As much as we love seeing Superheroes making their world a better place, it’s nice to see real issues presented with the gravity they deserve.
So we have the seriousness of human trafficking contrasted by Latin lycanthropes. It’s been a good week.
THE STRAIN #10 marks the next to last issue in the book adaptation, and it’s where most of the plot threads converge (or in some cases act to set up elements in the THE FALL, coming later this year). Our main group – consisting of Ephraim Goodweather, Nora Martinez, and Abraham Setrakian – have joined forces with exterminator Vasiliy Fet. Fet showed them the site under which is likely a massive nest of vampires and the lair of The Master. But said Master has decided he needs to stop the meddlesome Goodweather, and opts to threaten his family, leading to a confrontation.
Then there’s Augustin Elizalde, a Mexican gang member who I’ve neglected to talk about mostly because his subplot, while deeply personal and interesting in its own right, remained largely peripheral to the main narrative. I bring him up mostly because while attempting to survive in the rapidly deteriorating slum areas, he encounters more than humans fighting against the newly turned vampires.
Lastly we have ADVENTURE TIME #11, where Finn, Jake, and Marceline the Vampire Queen enjoy a night of video games. Specifically by using their sentient game console BMO’s inexplicable ability to beam players into the game itself, TRON style. The game: Super Guts Punch 3, supposedly a super hard three player game reminiscent of Battletoads, as well as several other games. But is it the hardest game ever? And what’s going on with BMO’s sudden attitude change?
Personally if I were transported into a game where losing meant death, I’d opt for such a controller-snappingly difficult title as an obvious analogue to both Mario Bros and Battletoads.
The backup story involves Susan Strong, incredibly muscular, underground-dwelling humanoid (who may or may not be actually human). She’s ventured into the real underworld, seeking what it takes to be brave. But there are monsters within that realm waiting to use her strength and naivety for their own personal gains. It’s one of those simple but inspiring life lessons that make children’s media both hokey but heartwarming. It helps that Susan Strong can kick ass like no one’s business.
Do you find enjoyment from such simple children’s stories, even to this day? Did you expect werewolves from Mexico? Is it weird this post had both vampires and werewolves in its subject matter? Leave a comment below. Feedback is always appreciated.