Cover to Cover pt1: Spidey gets a B minus (now with 54% more tentacles!)

Holy crap, this week was huge for me. Either I'm literally twitching from the comics we're going to talk about this week, or I shouldn't have drank that sewer water the other day.

Apparently, this week is "try a new comic" week, so we're not going to have one "panel by panel" feature with one"cover to cover." No, we're gonna have approximately none of the former, and not one, not two, but three of the latter.

Three! That's how many fingers you'd have if you had seven less!

Three! It's one more than the number of crayons in my stomach right now!

Three! That's the number of small children whose milk money I had to steal for this week's comics!

Ahem, sorry there. Let's just stop the insanity now and review homicidal mutants with tendrils sticking out of their arms. Yes, that's right, I'm talking about --


Ultimate Spider-Man #121
by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen

This was a stand-alone issue, and ever since Stuart Immonen got in on art duties, I've been itching to stop reading Ultimate Spidey in trades from the library.

And I made a great decision. This issue was smart, in that it captured an idyllic Spidey story: one in which Spidey's life and Peter Parker's life are constantly intertwined. Whether it's saving Aunt May or stopping a crime, or trying to talk with MJ until Dr. Doom attacks, Spidey's the kind of guy who's living everywhere.

Here, Omega Red attacks the Daily Bugle -Jonah in particular- for slandering him and ruining his career as a supervillain. This is in follow-up to an issue with Bendis and Bagley (I think it was when the Silver Sable arc was starting up).

Spidey of course, intervenes, but the better part is how Peter uses it as an excuse for a school project!

Sigh. Bendis really gets Spidey's voice and Peter's wit, and the teenage histrionics that happen here, and MJ's and Peter's relationship (they share ice cream!!!!) and the intermingling of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and the superhero action, and the teenage dialogue.

Whew. Immonen rocks the pages too. I love his sense of anatomy, and although I think he draws Jameson as too youthful, he just nails the expressions everywhere.

I'm really glad I jumped onto Ultimate Spidey this week, and you'd do yourself a favor to as well.


Scooby-Doo #131
by Scott Cunningham and Scott Gross


So what if it's a kids' comic? Kids' comics offer all sorts of things, some of which include:
  • accessible stand-alone issues
  • nostalgia
  • second-string characters that don't get used too often in the mainstream comics (ie: Harley Quinn)
  • nostalgia
  • kids' comics don't get caught up in (often, but not always) exploitative marketing strategies, such as over-hyped events.
This week, I got this one for Earth Day. It just makes me happy that comics can be explicitly about higher ideals. Comics aren't just for entertainment; they're for awareness as well. Another example would be Neil Gaiman's Death talking to us about AIDS protection, and a legendary example would be the team-ups between Green Lantern (the conservative) and Green Arrow (the liberal), as handled by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams. I love stuff like that, and hope I can get the trades someday.

But since this issue is geared towards kids, it's more simple. If you're not caught up in the Scooby formula, here it is:
  • Rich/greedy/EVIL person, in an effort to get MORE money/fame/whatever, dresses up in ridiculous costume/operates ridiculous machine to scare everyone/everyone
  • Everyone is STUPID and the person succeeds for a while, until
  • Scooby and the gang use science and logic and empiricism and a MONSTER CHASE MONTAGE to discover that it was all a ruse.
  • It's basically about the triumph of human logic over human superstition.
The "villain" here is the head of a chemical company, who chases people away from his factory, so he can continue pumping chemicals into the water. His name is "Mort Chemicals," and you may recognize his first name as a transformation of morte: death. Y'hear that, kids? Pollution is death! Death!

Ahem. Sorry about that. There're also two other stories: one involving a fashion show and a neat-o documentary-style expose on the color red and its meaning to some Native American tribes.

The Earth Day story ends as every story should: with a pun!
Oh, the puns

Or, as Scooby would say, "rith a run! Rooby-rooby-rooooo!"

Ah, nostalgia.

We're gonna cover all sorts of things (okay, fine, two sorts of things) next time, from the Justice League of America to Hack/Slash.

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