Serials: Amazing Spider-Man #'s 790-791, Batman #35, Doomsday Clock #1 and more!

Greeting readers! We continue my weekly comics pull.

Amazing Spider-Man #790 & 791
"Fall of Parker" pts. 2 and 3
by Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen

Both issues are self-contained stories that happen to take place within the "Fall of Parker" arc, the arc where Peter had to dissolve his company in order to keep it from the hands of Dr. Octavius (WHA he's back??).

In 790, Peter makes his rounds around the globe, apologizing personally to the regional managers at each of his headquarters. The process is so difficult for him, that he uses his disguise as Spider-Man to escape, looking for even a cat to save from a tree, to distract from his financial woes. So, lots of Spidey to look at, which is great, because Immonen draws a kinetic Spider-Man that's just fun to read.

791 is a direct follow-up, with Peter starting his new job at the Bugle, now as Science Editor. It takes him to the robot-making factory for a local startup in robotics and artificial intelligence. . . only it isn't exactly what it seems like! It's good super-comics and good serial super-comics.

Batman #35
by Tom King and Joelle Jones

In case you haven't heard, Batman proposed to Catwoman (she said yes!), and so the two are engaged. Hence the title, "The Rules of Engagement." This is apparently part 3, and Batman and the gang are stranded somewhere in the desert, while Catwoman dukes it out with Talia al Ghul, daughter of the supervillain Ra's al Ghul. What I love about comics is the dilation of time in fight scenes. You're looking at a static page, so there's an infinite amount of dialogue that can occur when you're clashing swords!

I forgot that DC is "holding the line at 2.99." I think that's awesome, but that doesn't mean they can skimp out on the content. A recap page would have been really helpful for me to understand the larger story, and without that I'd much rather just keep track of the story via trade. I really like Jones' figure work but I didn't get much out of the layouts and overall backgrounds (maybe because they're in a desert!). I don't think this comic book issue was bad, but I don't think it's enough for me to follow month-to-month.

Doomsday Clock #1 
"That Annihilated Place", by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

My comic shop had the lenticular cover for this issue, at the same price! Thanks First Aid Comics!

Like the original Watchmen, Gary Frank follows the visual vocabulary of a 3-by-3 grid: it makes for a dense, decompressed story that walks the reader through seemingly-unrelated steps by steps. No complaints here, it just means I get to read more Gary Frank art. He is the

The world seems again, to be on the brink of World War III, with North Korea conducting missile tests and the collapse of the EU, leading Russia to invade Poland. The state of America isn't much better, with some kind of hostage situation forcing the Vice President to shoot and murder members of the cabinet. As a direct sequel to Watchmen, we find out that reporters got ahold of Rorschach's journal, revealing the ugly truths of the original maxiseries and putting the entire country of the U.S. to blame for the murders of hundreds of New Yorkers.

Independent broadcasting companies close to make way for the "National News Network," a somewhat un-trustworthy news source fed from the federal government. According to them, there are certain red zones in America that citizens need to evacuate, including the city of New York. Which explains the "Doomsday clock," the time that citizens have until their particular red zone is bombed.

It's within this frame that we see a new Rorschach break a couple of super-criminals out of jail. One of them is Erika Manson, the Marionette and her husband Marcos Maez, the Mime. We don't yet get to see what Erika can do, but the Mime has the ability to "will" invisible weapons into existence, simply by miming them. As the reader, it just shows up as invisible things, which makes it pretty funny when the Mime finds his weapons in an "empty" locker.

You'll have to re-read a summary of the original Watchmen, but Doomsday Clock #1 will reward close readers with an intricate, tight plot that once again imagines superheroes within the perhaps-all-too-real world of current and potential future events.

The Punisher #218
by Matthew Rosenberg and Guiu Vilanova

The Punisher is different things at different times. There's part satire in the way he goes about murdering people, and at other times he's an angel of vengeance, grimly executing those people who deserve it. In this issue, he's both. In this issue, we see something that we so rarely see in Punisher comics: the Punisher, smiling. He smiles when he finds a new weapon, and he even makes dour jokes in the same manner as in the Netflix series.

Similarly, Frank has "de-aged" to match the face of Jon Bernthal. And to be honest with you, I find this all refreshing. The entire execution of this "rebirth" for Frank was excellent: from the way it introduces Frank, to the way it moves the character forward. Great comic, highly recommended.

There's a letter at the end of the issue from the writer, that I appreciated. Rosenberg talks about how he enjoyed the Punisher as a kid, then stopped, then started again, and learned an important thing about writing: the character pretty much stays the same, but his world changes. So that's what we can expect from Rosenberg's run.

Silver Sable and the Wild Pack #36
"Silver and Bold," by Christa Faust and Paulo Siquiera

Previews billed this as "Die-Hard but with a lady," and I totally get where that's coming from. Silver Sable first came on my radar with the excellent "Spider-Island" event in Amazing Spider-Man, where she (faked) her death!

Sharks! Nazi women! Underwater knife fighting! You name it, Silver Sable and the Wild Pack's got it. If only life were so simple, that a single woman and her team could solve the world's problems, by punching. If only we could all have the courage to say, "Heil NO!"

A fun popcorn comic for those looking to escape to a world that's different, but still similar to ours.

Did you pick up any of these? What did you think?

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