Every year, Free Comic Book Day grows by leaps and bounds. What started as just a few comic companies giving out a handful of comics has transformed into over 15 companies and 50+ comics! With many stores implementing strict limits on just how many books you can pick up, you need to make every choice count.
Luckily, your friends at TFAW have come through with a list of the 10 comics you need to grab this Free Comic Book Day. Why 10? Because that just happens to be the number of comics we generously give at each of our retail locations.
If you’re a Portland, Oregon or Los Angeles, Calfornia resident and want to join in on our Free Comic Book Day festivities, check us out on Facebook (Milwaukie , Portland, Beaverton, Universal Citywalk) for all the info you could want about our Free Comic Book Day event, including signing schedules. If you aren’t local, keep an eye on our website as we’re going to offer a sale you won’t want to miss starting on May 6th. Plus every order placed on May 6th will recive a Free Comic Book Day comic at random! (While supplies last)
Want to visit your Local Comic Shop? Visit ComicShopLocator.com to find your nearest Comic Book Store!
Our New Comic Book Day got cloned! With a new series from Vertigo, and a super spy. As always these are only a few comics to come out this week Check out our other blog articles so see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!
SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.
Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 By: Peter David, Christos N. Gage, Dan Slott, Mark Bagley, Stuart Immonen, Cory Smith
As the Clone Conspiracy event winds down, it’s clear that Spider-Man’s life will never be the same again. With the Jackal’s clones breaking down across the world, friend and foe alike are suffering from grief and despair. Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 does an excellent job at showing the pain that Peter feels. Especially with the promises he made that he couldn’t keep.
Writer Dan Slott provides an emotional ending to this saga. All while threading in some teasers for future stories involving Rhino, Kaine, and The Lizard. The issue features two small back-up stories. One story leads into Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider #1, and the other is a teaser for Amazing Spider-Man #25. Clone Conspiracy Omega #1 is a must-read comic for fans of this arc and provides a satisfying conclusion to this tale. [Josh P. at TFAW.com]
Savage Things #1 By: Justin Jordan, Ibrahim Moustafa, Jordan Boyd, John Paul Leon
This brand new mini-series from writer Justin Jordan, inker Ibrahim Moustafa, and colorist Jordan Boyd; Savage Things is about a covert team trained to do nothing else but kill, and never be caught. So what could go wrong? Well, it looks like someone is trying to expose the truth.
It’s an interesting breakdown from past to present in this issue. The first page introduces you to who I can only assume is our “hero”. Then jumping to the present we’re given the gruesome scenario I’ve been a fan of Ibrahim for a while now, and Justin Jordan’s stories have always been a great read. This covert-team-gone-rouge scenario should be a wild ride. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]
James Bond #1 from Dynamite Entertainment is an exciting new entry in the James Bond series. Writer Benjamin Percy, known for his work on Green Arrow and Teen Titans, is joined by artist Rapha Lobosco to create a story that thrusts Bond into the 21st century. In “Black Box Part 1”, Bond is attempting to stop a data breach that could put a cavalcade of secrets online. However, while Bond is hunting down the source of the breach, a mysterious assassin is also hunting him.
The action is as gripping as the story, as Lobosco’s action scenes are both exciting and easy to follow. Percy does an excellent job capturing Bond’s voice, and you’ll likely read his lines in the voice of your favorite Bond actor. The only downside about this new James Bond comic from Dynamite Entertainment is having to wait another month to get the next chapter. [Josh P. at TFAW.com]
The history of black characters in comic books has often been controversial and exploitative, However, the legacy of some has helped to define the public consciousness of race and culture. Black representation is still an uphill fight. But comic books are at the forefront of this fight, bringing characters of color to the forefront of the media.
There is still a great deal of work to be done. But creators and fans alike can unite through the fantastic characters that have come onto the scene in recent decades. These characters of color celebrate black lives in all forms. In honor of Black History month, here’s a countdown of some of our favorite black heroes.
War MachineAlias: James Rupert Rhodes
Rhodes is best known for his inclusion in Iron Man’sarsenal of suited support, However, War Machine is a hero in his own right. He’s taken on such evil-doers as Obediah Stane and Hydra. He’s not just a part of Iron Man’sshadow, but a leader and a hero. Not only does he kick badie-butt, but he’s also a brilliant aviation engineer and a Marine in the US military. Rhodes also served as Iron Man for a stint filling in for Tony Stark when he was too inebriated to fly. War Machine single-handedly saving Stark Tower from the villain Magma. That’s just the beginning of Jimmy Rhodes road to super herodom. He later became the director of Worldwatch and the CEO of Stark Industries. Check War Machine out in Marvel’s War Machine Classic trade paperback by Scott Benson for a taste of what he has to offer.
Blade Alias: Eric Brooks
Maybe you know him best as played by Wesley Snipes in his millennium-spanning movie series about vampire hunting. But this unlikely superhero got his start in Marvel comics as a side character in the lesser-known title Tomb of Dracula. While his story got its start there, he’s had a much longer and more popular run as a leading man. His origin story alone sets him apart from your average comic character.
Born in a brothel, Blade’s mother was killed by a vampire (Deacon Frost) who had disguised himself as a doctor brought in to help assist with his birth. Frost feasted on Blade’s mother, in so doing passing on vampiric enzymes to the newborn Brooks and effectively infecting him with a modified version of the vampirism. He gained super strength, a lengthened lifespan, the ability to sense other supernatural beings and an immunity to other vampiric effects. After training for several years with vampire hunter Jamal Afari, Blade put these powers into action by traveling around the world to kill evil beings wherever he can find them. You can find Blade in the eponymous series, as a member or the Avengers, and in Blade: Black and White.
IronheartAlias: Riri Williams
If you are unfamiliar with Ironheart, you need to get yourself acquainted with her comics as quickly possible. Williams is currently the protege to Tony Stark. She started out as a fifteen year-old super genius attending M.I.T. Haunted by the memory of a violent incident that left both her stepfather and best friend dead, Riri built her own version of the Iron Man Armor suit using materials she stole from her campus. After catching wind of Riri, Stark officially took her under his wing and helped her to become a full blown superhero–Ironheart. After the second superhero civil war, Riri even built an A.I. version of Stark to help guide her heroing when the real billionaire was put into a coma. Ironheart’s story is still unfolding in the Invincible Iron Man comic series.
Spider-ManAlias: Miles Morales
Miles Morales is probably the best known of a new generation of superheroes, having taken up the mantle of Spider-Man. Like Peter Parker, Morales was bitten by a mutated Oz Corporation spider. As a result, he has superpowers similar to the original Spider-Man’s, but with a few twists. Morales, like Parker, is also driven by a similar motivation to do good for his city. He is Black Hispanic and grew up in New York,. His experience is a perfect starting point for conversations about race in the realm of comic books. And writers of the series are not afraid to approach that subject. While his story isn’t as expansive as his mentor Peter Parker’s is yet, there are enough comics out there to be a little intimidating. So, a good place to start is the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man.
Luke Cage (Power Man) Alias: Carl Lucas
Luke Cage was the very first black hero to have his own title. Debuting in 1972, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire came out at the height of Blaxploitation. Despite this, he’s become a particularly powerful representative for the black experience in the superhero genre. He’s imbued with super-strength, and unbreakable after being forced into involuntary medical experimentation. Cage has had a storied history. He’s gone from working as a mercenary “hero for hire” to partnering up with The Fantastic Four to fight off Doctor Doom. He’s used his powers to defend the people of his Harlem home. Find Luke Cage in his own title trade Luke Cage: Avenger or the ongoing Power Man and Iron Fist series.
Storm Alias: Ororo Monroe
Storm is best known for affiliation with the Marvel comics team X-Men. Before being part of the X-Men, she was tragically orphaned when her parents were killed by an airplane crashing into their Cairo home. Left alone, Orora sought out her mother’s ancestral home in the Serengeti desert. There she was trained to respect and hone her powers, which had been passed through several generations of her family. After meeting with the X-Men, she learned the true nature of her magic (a mutant gene just like the rest of the team) and set about using them to better the world around her. Orora has seen a great deal of action in other titles like Marvel Team-Up and Black Panther. The best Storm story has to go to X-Men: Worlds Apart. Otherwise, you can find her story continuing to unfold in the Uncanny X-Men series.
Green Lantern Alias: John Stewart
John Stewart became DC’s first African American superhero when he took up the mantle of the Green Lantern in 1971. Since then, his story has helped to define a generation of DC comics. Originally selected by the Green Lantern Corps as a backup for Hal Jordan, Stewart has served as a Lantern several times. He eventually became the first Guardian of the Universe- the Master Builder- during the Green Lantern Mosaic arc. Stewart’s incredibly keen intellect and preternatural will power makes him not only one of the most dynamic Green Lanterns, but one of the most remarkable characters in the DC universe. While you can find Stewart throughout most of the Green Lantern arcs after the early seventies, we recommend checking out Blackest Night or Green Lantern Corps: The Lost Army.
Spawn Alias: Al Simmons
Al Simmons was a highly skilled Marine who learned too much about the nature of the CIA. In death, Simmons is Spawn, a demonic assassin with supernatural abilities and a huge agenda. Charged with battling both the forces of heaven and hell in order to hold a balance in the universe, Spawn is the anti-hero to end them all. Spawn’s long crusade has pitted him against street criminals, gods and everything in between. While originally conceived of by Todd MacFarlan, Spawn stories have been written by a number of other comics luminaries such as Alan Moore and Brian Michael Bendis. The best place to pick up the Spawn series is in its very beginning with Spawn Origins.
FalconAlias: Sam Wilson
Sam Wilson was originally a social worker and former soldier. He was kidnapped by Red Skull after his plane crashed. Villain Red Skull used a Cosmic Cube to give Wilson the power to communicate telepathically with birds. While Red Skull was attempting to craft Wilson into a minion of Hydra, he was rescued by Captain America. The two quickly became friends and Steve Rogers helped to hone Wilson into the superhero Falcon.
After rescuing Black Panther, the Wakandan king gifted Wilson with a suit that would enable him to fly. He uses his ability to communicate with birds, his suit, and his will to do right by the world. Sam Wilson is a shaping force behind the Avengers team and the entire Marvel Universe. While best known for his service as Falcon, Sam Wilson was also selected by Steve Rogers as his official replacement as Captain America when he had aged out of the role. Find Sam’s origins in Captain America Epic Collection: Coming of Falcon or follow his current series Captain America Sam Wilson.
Black Panther Alias: T’Challa
King T’Challa Wakanda is without doubt one of the most powerful superheroes both on the page and outside of it. Widely considered the first true black superhero, Black Panther is fan favorite. His power and influence makes him fight against injustice and racism throughout the world. Black Panther is powerful in all senses of the word. He’s got physical strength and political pull as the king of technologically advanced African country Wakanda. He uses his power to unite people across the world. Black Panther’s story has spanned decades. He’s teamed up with just about everyone imaginable in the Marvel Universe from the Avengers to the X-Men. If you’re new to Black Panther, check out the incredible new series by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze.
Who else would you include on the list? And, which black heroes do you wish would get more attention in the future? Leave your answers in the comments below.
Wilson Fisk made his debut in The Amazing Spider-Man #50 (July 1967). The Kingpin later made enemies of The Punisher and Hell’s Kitchen’s own Daredevil.Kingpin is classically depicted as a cold-blooded crime lord who uses his wealth and law enforcement connections to remain untouchable.
Kingpin #1presents Wilson Fisk as a repentant gentle giant who is seeking to have his story told in an attempt to reinvent his image. Fisk seeks out disgraced journalist Sarah Dewey to write his book and spends the entire chapter trying to cajole her into taking the job. There are a couple red flags that pop up here and there. But if Fisk is working an angle, he never breaks kayfabe.
Dewey’s resistance to Fisk is palpable, but she really doesn’t have any options. The former Pulitzer Prize winner has been reduced to covering local boxing matches in seedy gyms. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and Fisk’s charm is disarming. It would appear that Kingpin has chosen wisely as Dewey’s resolve begins to shake.
A Spiraling Saga of Crime and Betrayal Begins Anew
Matthew Rosenberg, who also wrote the Civil War IIKingpin tie-in, takes a fresh look at the classic villain. Narrative exposition isn’t really necessary in a book that centers on such an established heel. This script falls right in line with what the reader already knows and then takes a new direction.
Ben Torres’ art uses heavy lines and deep shadows to give a noir impression to the work. Torres’ use of facial expressions is especially effective on the big man. Kingpin’s nonverbal cues can easily be read as either affable and aloof or menacing and dangerous.
Readers who are already familiar with Wilson Fisk from the Spider-Man series, Daredeviland Punisher will enjoy Kingpin. This title also works as a brilliant jumping on point for fans of noir and crime procedurals. While the character is familiar, Kingpin is a brand new series. No foreknowledge is necessary to pick up this book and dive in.
HAS WILSON FISK REALLY CHANGED? PRE-ORDER KINGPIN #2 AND FIND OUT
Our Guardians of the Galaxy get grounded, Spider-Man tries to get back normal in the wake of Civil War II, and Briggs Land heats up. All in this week’s New Comic Book Day. Remember, these are only a small batch of this week’s amazing New Releases! Check out our other blog articles to see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!
SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.
Spider-Man #10 By: Brian Michael Bendis, Nico Leon, Sara Pichelli
Set after the events of Civil War II, Miles meets up with his friends to tell them about what happened in Washington D.C. While this issue is rehashing things we’ll see in the last 2 issues of Civil War II, it does so from Miles’ perspective, giving us insight ultimately into why Miles decided to confront the vision the Inhumans had for him.
This issue is equal parts revealing and heart-breaking. Brian Michael Bendis continues to do a great job of setting this Spider-Man apart from his predecessor, making him a unique gem in the modern Marvel Universe. Nico Leon paces this issue wonderfully by providing clear distinction between the flashbacks and present story, not sacrificing a moment of drama in exchange for the exposition.
Spinning out of the events of Civil War II, the Guardians of the Galaxy have a blown up their ship, and are now stranded on Earth. This new story arc, Grounded, will be following each member of the team while they redefine themselves given their current situation. This issue is focused on ex-Fantastic Four member, Ben Grimm (aka The Thing).
Ben is approached early on by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, Maria Hill. She makes him an offer that’s pretty tough to refuse. Before Ben signs up though, he needs to see the current state of the world. This issue lets the reader see how things have changed, but mostly how this really isn’t the world he remembers.
Brian Michael Bendis provides a very definitive voice for The Thing, hitting all the comedic beats, but providing the subtle shame Ben feels for his physical condition. Long time Guardians artist, Valerio Schiti gives us some very dynamic pages, which is amazing considering how it’s a much more personal story. Overall, a great jump-on point for people interested in joining the Guardians of the Galaxy. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]
Briggs Land #4 By: Brian Wood, Mack Chater, Lee Loughridge, Tula Lotay
After reading Briggs Land #4, I can tell why AMC wants this as a show. It’s compelling and controversial. Caleb Briggs wants to take over a local store but buying it seems to be more trouble than he originally planned. The owner, Mr. Hillson, wants to keep the business in the family and Caleb won’t stand for it. We see how far he’ll go to intimidate Mr. Hillson into falling in line.
Brian Wood is masterful at dialogue. In some panels, you really get a sense of time when people are talking. Those long pauses and stare downs that happen when two people don’t agree are particularly wonderful. Mack Chater and Lee Loughridge show that even without Brian Wood’s dialogue they can pull off the same emotion. Briggs Land is yet again proving to be top-tier comics. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]
As far as anti-heroes go, it’s to find a list that doesn’t contain Venom. But over the years, the character has experienced drastic changes. He’s gone from a main-stay Spider-Man villain to an anti-hero to a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Still, a constant in all of these stories is a focus on the relationship between the Venom symbiote and its host. And Marvel’s newest series to focus on the character gets him back to his more villainous roots.
Written by Mike Costa and drawn by Gerardo Sandoval, Venom #1 drops us into a Marvel Universe bereft of a proper Venom, with a hostless symbiote stalking the streets of New York.
The Villain Emerges
Enter Lee Price, a former Army Ranger with a distant attitude looking to make ends meet. Lee is standoffish at best and a mildl sociopath at worst. But mostly he’s got a lot of self-determination. So, when a simple security job (set up by Mac Gargan, himself a former Venom host) is interrupted by a rampaging symbiote, Lee quickly dominates the alien life form. The result–he’s quickly becoming the new, complete Venom.
From the outset, Venom #1 focuses on the strange dynamic between Lee and the symbiote. You’d expect that the strange alien biomass that adheres to human skin would be the bad-guy here. However, by the end of the issue it appears Lee is the one bringing out the evil in Venom.
It is a fascinating reversal. And it makes for a good twist after the more recent runs of Venom where he was a full-blown galactic hero.
Whether or not there will be a resurgence of Venom as a straight up villain remains to be seen. But with new characters and new twists on the familiar, Venom #1 is a good addition to the current Marvel Now lineup.
It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s New Comic Book Day! Ready for some reviews of a few of this week’s new releases? Check out past articles so see our thoughts on other books that have recently released. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!
SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.
Set immediately after the events of the cult horror classic film, The Lost Boys #1 finds the Emerson Brothers attempting to find some semblance of normalcy while the Frog Brothers continue to hone their vampire hunting skills. Meanwhile, Grandpa Emerson maintains order in the Santa Carla Hunter’s Union. That is until a new gang of vampires hits the scene to cause some havoc. This time our cast of characters aren’t just involved by fate, they’re the target.
Tim Seeley captures the tongue in cheek feel of the original film perfectly. The ridiculousness, yet somehow still serious tone comes through with each scene. Scott Godlewski recreates 1987 in all it’s glory and strangeness. Together, they make it feel like the direct follow up people have craved. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]
Clones and Spider-Man. In the mid-’90s, these two were intertwined pretty heavily for better or worse. Now, history is repeating itself with Spider-Man: Clone Conspiracy #1 by Dan Slott and Jim Cheung. This is the big Spidey event of the year and Slott has been building toward it since this year’s Free Comic Book Day title from Marvel.
Looking at the timeline, this story arc is going to run all the way through February of next year and it is starting out on the right foot. There’s a lot of set up in this issue but it works, although it does help if you’ve been reading Amazing Spider-Man lately but it’s not so dense that you can’t dig this book up fresh and figure out what’s going on. Slott definitely gets who Peter Parker is, and I think that’s the strongest element of his take on Spider-Man.
Jim Cheung’s art is as beautiful and dynamic as ever. I really like his rendition of Rhino. There’s also a nice back up story by Slott with art by Ron Frenz that takes us back to the death of Gwen Stacy that’s an excellent character piece. This is absolutely recommended. [Dustin M. at Universal City Walk TFAW]
If you ever had a Nintendo Power magazine as a kid, you may remember a small part of this graphic novel. The Super Mario Adventures GN reprints the classic comics that appeared in Nintendo Power back in the day. It’s a funny tale of Mario and “Weege” trying to save the Mushroom Kingdom, again. It’s classic ’80s comical Manga with over exaggerated emotions and the inclusion of terrible rapping.
This was a fun trip down nostalgia lane. I can only hope that Viz can keep putting these books out! There were many comics that appeared in the Nintendo Power magazines. A Link to the Past came out last year and was the first and I only hope that Super Mario Adventures is not the last! [Martin M. at TFAW.com]
Deadpool and his friends appearing in a Saturday morning kids’ show? What could go wrong?
Plenty as seen in the main story in this year’s annual, which has Deadpool coming across an old VHS tape containing the rejected pilot for his show, “Deadpool and His Insufferable Pals.” If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it a rip-off of the actual kids’ show, “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.”
That actual show from the 1980s featured roommates Spidey, Iceman and Firestar hanging out together and fighting baddies like Videoman, Scorpio and Magneto. This version replaces Peter Parker with Deadpool – ushering in the chaos as well as the laughs.
Deadpool convinces Iceman and Firestar that the Sinister Six have killed Spider-Man. Incensed by the loss of their friend – and inspired by Deadpool’s utter disregard for human life – the trio wipes out the baddies in various non-heroic ways.
Scott Koblish’s simple, clean drawings invoke the show’s uninspired 80s animation, while writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn nail the stilted dialog from the kids’ show (“That was a fun night of dancing, Angelica!”). Adding Deadpool into the mix provides the needed spice for the saccharine language. Though like his big screen adventure, this version of the show is decidedly not kid-friendly. After Kraven the Hunter grabs a snake from his waste and throws it at Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth responds, “Nice try, Kraven, but I think you’ll find that Deadpool has experience handling trouser snakes.”
A secondary story written and drawn by Adam Warren showcases some elaborate artwork, though the story is far less entertaining than the Spidey knockoff.
With a sequel to the Deadpool movie in the works, maybe a version of this cartoon could show ahead of the main feature.
Nova recently discovered that the man he thought was his father was actually an alien shape-shifter and that his real father was still lost in space. Jarvis took the New Wasp (Nadia, daughter of Hank Pym and his first wife) to meet the Original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, while the rest of the Avengers left Earth in a busted down, second hand spaceship to assist in Nova’s search for his father. The team was shot down over a desolate planet by a lighthouse powered by a Nega-band.
On the planet, they discovered other shipwrecked survivors who were being dragged into the Negative Zone by Annihilus, using the Nega-band’s twin to keep a portal open between Planet Shipwreck and the Negative Zone. The Avengers stole Annihilus’ band and were able to escape, but in the chaos didn’t realize they had left Spider-man behind in the Negative Zone.
In All New All Different Avengers #12, the Avengers face two major problems. Spider-Man is still stranded fighting Annihilus in the Negative Zone, and Annihilus’ Blackstar weapon is near completion and almost ready to rip a hole between the Negative Zone and the Marvel Universe.
Using the stolen Nega-bands to swap fresh heroes into the fray, the team is able to keep Annihilus at bay while they attempt to destroy the Blackstar. When Thor tries to use Mjolnir to nullify the Blackstar, it bounces harmlessly off the side of the giant positron ray. Brute force isn’t going to destroy the threat. The Avengers will have to come up with a fresh idea, and soon. Tagging in and out isn’t going to work much longer. Fatigue will set in eventually.
Family Business wraps up with another strong entry. I still feel like the introduction of the New Wasp could have waited for another arc, or she could have been included more in this story. The sidebar sequences of Nadia and Jarvis driving, arriving at Janet Van Dyne’s home, getting on a helicopter… were distracting and didn’t add much to the rest of the story.
In Spider-Man Deadpool #5, we saw Peter Parker die (twice) at the hands of Deadpool. Instead of going to hell, where ‘Pool expected, Parker ended up somewhere else, fighting for his life (soul?) against Mysterio and his manifestations of Gwen Stacy, Uncle Ben, and Doc Ock. When Deadpool arrived to help Pete fight his way out of wherever this was, DP called in a favor with his old flame, Death, and got Peter sent home. And then…we have a one-shot guest issue.
Comedy Bang! Bang! host Scott Aukerman fills in for Joe Kelly on Spider-Man Deadpool #6 with a story that is definitely not in sequence with the time line that’s been established in the rest of the series. We’ll have to wait until next month to find out what happens in the aftermath of Pete’s brushes with death, why Patient Zero was dressed as Peter Parker and masqueraded as Pete at Parker Industries, and how Peter Parker/Spider-Man feel about being assassinated (twice) by the Merc’ with a Mouth.
So…A few months ago, definitely before Spider-Man/Deadpool #1, but some time after Amazing Spider-Man #1, Deadpool learns that a movie is (finally) being made about his exploits and gets offered a job doing stunts for the lead actor, Donald Dryons (a spitting image of Ryan Reynolds, but with a mustache, so clearly NOT Ryan Reynolds). ‘Pool convinces Spider-Man to tag along to Hollywood, promising him an executive producer credit on the film.
The story is very funny. There are several tongue in cheek self-deprecating jokes, and some shots fired at DC as well. My favorite gag in the issue (and I’m only giving one, so that you, dear reader, will get to experience the rest for yourself) is a movie poster advertising the new blockbuster film “Nighthawk V Hyperion: Yawn of Boredom.”
Aukerman does a great job writing quips, one liners, and gags for both titular characters. Reilly Brown has drawn several stories for Spider-Man and Deadpool franchises, so he’s no stranger to the appearance or ambulation of either character. SMDP6 works well as a one-shot. If it were released on its own, prior to the current series, it would be a stand out. Unfortunately, being thrown into the middle of this awesome series will draw natural comparison to the regular creative team.
Peter Parker is dead. I know what you’re thinking. He can’t really be dead, can he? He can. He is. Dead. Perished. Liquidated. Breathless. Pushing up daisies. Expired. Extinct. Cadaverous. This isn’t some trick with a body double, or a clone, or an android. Peter Parker is dead.
Deadpool cashed in his contract on Peter Parker to end chapter four. One bullet in Parker’s face, two in his chest. This happened only hours after Spider-Man and Deadpool had the time of their lives tearing up the dance floor in ‘Pool’s night club. The Merc’ with a Mouth was finally getting some traction in his efforts to befriend Spidey, and then unknowingly killed him the very next morning.
The first scenes of Spider-Man Deadpool #5 show Peter Parker headed toward the proverbial light, and Deadpool giddily getting dressed up to bear witness to Parker’s torture in Hell. Deadpool is so certain that Parker will end up in Hell, based on the information that was provided for him by his mysterious client, that he has reserved a spot for Pete with one of Hell’s master torturers.
When Peter doesn’t show, DP assumes the wires must have gotten crossed somehow. He enlists the help of his wife Shiklah to bring Parker back to life, so he can send him off again, hopefully to the destination ‘Pool was initially anticipating.
When killing Peter Parker twice doesn’t land Parker’s soul in hell, Deadpool is finally starting to come around that he may have been duped. Peter Parker must be a good man. But where is Pete’s soul now?
Joe Kelly continues to show us a side of Deadpool that isn’t seen very often. ‘Pool apparently has a deep sense of honor and morality, he just doesn’t know how to express these traits without sending some lead down range and making penis jokes. He honestly thought he was ridding the world of a “mad scientist hell-bent on abusing wealth and power to generally screw over mankind.”
Now Deadpool is on a relentless mission to save Peter Parker’s soul. You see what they did there? This whole time, we thought Parker would be the one saving Deadpool’s soul.
Isn’t It Bromantic? has thus far been alternately ridiculous and intensely serious. In the case of Spider-Man Deadpool #4, Joe Kelly suckers us into thinking this issue is a comedic break from the seriousness of a world-class assassin trying to kill Peter Parker. The chapter appears to focus entirely on the silliness of a world-class assassin marking out hard to Spider-Man and desperately trying to gain his approval. Just when the action in this issue can’t get any goofier, Kelly turns your expectations around and uses them to bludgeon you over the head.
Spider-Man is starting to think Deadpool is a pretty okay guy, so much that he calls Deadpool and invites ‘Pool to hang out. Deadpool sets the whole evening up, and Spidey ends up on a blind double date wearing an image inducer that gives the appearance that he is not wearing his costume. It also gives the appearance that he is a young black man.
Spider-Man’s date seems too perfect. She’s gorgeous, and is interested in every subject Spidey brings to the table. She even edits scientific journals. How appropriate is that? Spider-Man is falling in love. Deadpool’s date hasn’t yet arrived, and he hasn’t mentioned who his date will be. Since ‘Pool has orchestrated the event, you’re kept wondering when the other shoe will drop.
When the second shoe does finally fall, it’s a sucker punch. One page after a brilliant Dirty Dancing sight gag, the series is dead serious again. Kelly spent an entire chapter setting up the punch line of the last two page spread, and then leaves you hanging until next time.
This series keeps surprising me by being way better than I expected. The pacing seems a little disjointed, until you realize it’s being done intentionally to keep you off balance and finally give in to it. Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness are in rare form. I’ve started counting the remaining issues in this series, wanting to know how it will end, while simultaneously wishing it wouldn’t.