Todd McFarlane Writer/CoWriter 250, 254, 255
Paul Jenkins Writer/CoWriter Spawn Resurrection, #251-254
Szymon Kudranski Artist #250
Jonboy Meyers Artist #250-255, Spawn Resurrection
I've been a Spawn fan for a VERY long time now. I kind of fell off the wagon here and there after Greg Capullo left the title, but started to buy it more consistently when Whilce Portacio started doing some of the artwork for a handful of issues.
With that in context, I missed most of the Jim Downing era of Spawn, who took over as the titular character after Al Simmons apparently killed himself in issue 190. Well, with the announced return of Simmons in issue 250, I couldn't pass up rejoining Spawn more consistently, especially since Paul Jenkins was slated to take over writing duties from issue 251 onward.
So, after a bit of a messy story about Downing's symbiot trying to take over New York, Downing basically sacrifices himself to stop the symbiot, which in turn opens a door for Al Simmons to return to this world who was trapped in a limbo, where he pretty much exiled himself to.
Back in our world with God's sword and being a pawn yet again in the battle between God and Satan, it's discovered that Simmons wife, Wanda, got killed by the forces of Satan as a message to Spawn and now her soul, and the soul of her and Al's unborn child, are trapped in Hell, where demons are trying to capture her. As you would imagine, Simmons does not take kindly to this and is now on a mission to save Wanda and kill Satan.
It's been an intriguing story so far, with Al Simmons actually being more proactive than he ever was originally. There were many cool moments in the story so far, like Simmons discovering that his symbiot is made up of the innocent people he killed as an assassin for the government.
Kudranski's art was solid as it ever was in issue 250, being the second longest lasting artist on Spawn behind Greg Capullo. And Jonboy Meyer's art is just stunning, reminding me of an early Joe Madureira/Ale Garza (with a hint of Jeff Matsuda) mash up, and that's a great thing.
The story started off on a bit of a confusing note, but has been better as the issues progressed, though I hate that Jenkins is no longer the writer as of issue 255 with McFarlane resuming writing duties. Don't get me wrong, I like McFarlane's writing, but I LOVE Jenkin's writing. Sill, looking forward to this war that is building up for the next few issues between Al Simmons and hell.
On a dangerscale of 1-5, I give the run so far of Spawn numbers 250-255 and Spawn Resurrection 3 1/2 God Swords: confusing beginning, but getting way better as it goes.
Scott Snyder Writer/CoWriter 41-44
Brian Azzarello CoWriter 44
Greg Capullo Artist 41-43
Jock Artist 44
I am an unabashed fan of Snyder/Capullo's Batman run, it's probably my favorite Batman run of all time, even with some of it's flaws.
After the events of Batman: Endgame, Batman is believed dead and in the mess of it all Powers industries takes over Wayne Enterprises. Powers commissions a Batman project to keep the city safe using Wayne technology. Gordon is approached to become Batman in a mech suit which at first he declines, but later accepts with the help of Alfred's daughter Julia as his assistant as part of the Powers team of mechanics.
Bruce Wayne after getting dipped in the idonysium from the Endgame arc was revived and fully healed, including parts of his brain where there was the imbalances that scarred him the night his parents died. So, he came back t life with no memory nor the desire to save the city, and still doesn't know he was even Batman, and is living a pretty regular life so far.
But there's a new villain out there by the name of Bloom that has been slowly being built up as a mayor villain, taking out Penguin's gang and actually impaling Penguin in the process!
Issue 44 deals with an early case that seems to involve Bloom with Bruce still being Batman.
So far the story is developing at a nice pace, slower than Endgame since it feels like it'll be a longer story, but not as slow as Zero Year. Of course like with the previous arcs, the buildup is a slow burn but an addicting one. The only complaint if I had to nitpick is the issue 44 kind of felt out of place, like it belonged as a prologue to Super Heavy rather than right in the middle of the story, since it gives it a feel of being a filler issue.
Greg Capullo is his usual spectacular self with the artwork and Jock doing Batman again even if it's for one issue id always a great sight to see. Looking forward to what the future holds in this story and what ramifications it'll have with the Batfamily. Snyder and Capullo introduced us to the Court of Owls and Talon, so looking forward to what Bloom will come to be.
In a dangerscale of 1-5, I give Batman issues 41-44 a 4 1/2 sunflowers in bloom: good start, but issue 44 brings it down a small notch for feeling out of sequence.
Gene Luen Yang Writer
John Romita Jr Artist
Speaking of out of sequence, here comes Before Truth parts 1-3, going into detail on how and why Lois Lane reveals to the world that Clark Kent is Superman.
Ever since the ordeal with Ulysis from the previous arc and Superman using the super-flare for the first time, Lois Lane has been suspecting Clark Kent of being Supes for a while now.
All this comes to a head when a mysterious young woman asks for Lois and Clark's help at the Daily Planet. Clark and Jimmy Olsen help her escape from her pursuers and Lois tags along.
Throughout all this Clark has been receiving mysterious text messages from a person that knows Clark's secret identity. In the middle of the young woman being followed, they are attacked by humaniod ninjas where Lois finally confronts Clark and finally knows he's Superman.
The young woman (named Condesa, btw) infiltrate a super high tech campus hidden in the sky (just go with it) to confront a man by the name of Hordr_Root (just go with it), who is revealed to be the mysterious person that was texting Clark all this time.
He collects data at a worldwide level and he wants Superman to join forces with him, or he'll reveal his secret, as we find out Condesa was just bait to lure him there. Superman flares up so they can all escape, which they do, but not before a big robot touched him mid-flare.
Back at Lois' apartment Clark recovers and we see Jimmy had been planted with a bug. Hordr_Root sends Supes one last ultimatum, join him or he'll reveal his secret, which Clark thought he had destroyed all of the data when he flared up, but sneaky Hordr_Root (what a pain in the ass to spell his name!) had back up of all of Clark's data. Clark and Lois go to him to see what deal might be struck. Turns out HR (I refuse to keep typing out his whole name) wants Superman to flare up so his special robots like the one that touched him mid-flare last time, can store that energy. As he flares up, Lois in an attempt to stop Superman and fearing for his life, goes ahead and reveals to the world that Clark Kent is Superman so HR can no longer have leverage over him and let him go.
He let's go after Superman destroys the robots, but Superman is Superpissed that Lois leaked his identity, even if it was to save him. The issue ends with Lois' father popping up to bring down Supes.
I honestly don't know how to feel about this story. t's almost like when Spider-Man revealed his identity during Civil War. Yes, it was under different circumstances, but again, once DC wants to give Superman his Clark Kent persona again....how will they do it? I just hope this doesn't open any doors to a Marvel crossover with Mephisto popping in.....The buildup has been good, and Yang has written some pretty good dialogue. Good old JRJR continues to look like he's getting more and more comfortable drawing Superman with each issue looking better and better.
Overall in a dangerscale of 1-5, I give Superman issues 41-43 3 1/2 bugged lattes: good story, solid art, but where do we go from here?
Brian K Vaughn Writer
Steve Skroce Artist
In a dystopian future, the USA is in war with Canada as the US tries to invade the north for resources. There's a rebel alliance that band together to stop the American threat. And that's pretty much the gist of it. And it's AWESOME.
Vaughn needs no introduction (but if you need one, he's written brilliant comics like Y The Last Man for DC's Vertigo and Saga for Image). He writes this band of rebels with great and unique personalities and so far he's gone very Game of Thrones in this early on, giving a sense that no character is safe.
Steve Skroce is an artist I was a HUGE fan of back in the late 90's when he had a hot streak of pencilling X-Man, Spider-Man, Gambit, Youngblood, and Wolverine before landing it big as a storyboard artist for big movies like The Matrix trilogy. Well, he's back to making comics more consistently and to be honest, I didn't like the art much in the first issue. But now into issue 3, it's like he somehow got his groove back and is firing on all cylinders. One nitpick I have is with the coloring. Matt Hollingsworth is a good colorist, but as with the case with Sean Murphy on The Wake, I just somehow feel the pencil art style and the coloring art style kind of doesn't mesh, as well as with the tone of the story. It's not too distracting, but I just feel visually ot kind f doesn't connect.
On a dangerscale of 1-5, We Stand On Guard gets 4 maple leafs: strong story, increasingly better art, coloring is a bit off for my tastes.
Jeremy Haun CoWriter/Artist
JAson A Hurley CoWriter
I'm a fan of Haun and follow him on Facebook, so I've been aware of this title for quite some time now. As of this writing issue 2 was released today, but haven't had a chance to buy it, so this is more about issue 1.
There's a sexually transmitted disease going around that makes people beautiful for a period of time before they die. So there's an epidemic going on of people having unprotected sex to be able to contract this disease purposely to be able to be beautiful, even if it comes at the cost of dying within a short period of time or go through the rest of their life under medication.
Two detectives are on a case, one of them has the disease and is under medication. The other detective at the end of the issue sees that he somehow contracted the disease as well and it ends in a cliffhanger.
This was a very good first issue with a good cliffhanger, again, not too much to say since it's only one issue, but I'm hooked so far. Unique story, great art.
On a dangerscale of 1-5, I give The Beauty #1 4 glamour shots: great first issue.
Dan Slott Writer
Adam Kubert Artist
Last but not least it's the alternate world Secret Wars tie-in ASM: Renew Your Vows.
In this story most of Earth's heroes are dead, killed by a being named Regent, who has been capturing and assimilating other heroes special abilities. Peter Parker and MJ have their daughter Annie in this reality, who inherited her father's abilities and Peter has been keeping her powers under control with an inhibitor chip.. Peter is now retired to keep his family safe from Regent and other villains, as he had to deal with a deranged Venom that attacked his family. Peter does what he never thought he would do, and kills Venom in order to keep his family safe from being hunted down by him ever again.
For years they live a relatively normal life until Regent gets closer to finding out Annie has powers. In an incident at Annie's school where kids with powers were discovered, Peter has to save his daughter from being caught and has to ride again as Spider-Man.
Now that Regent knows that Spider-Man has resurfaced, he wants to capture him because he wants his powers to be more complete. He has his own version of the Sinister Six and hunts Spidey down. It all comes to a head when Spidey confronts the Sinister Six while attempting to capture Annie. In the middle of the battle MJ and Annie are taken by SHIELD, who are now a small rebel group fighting Regent. Sandman, part of this rebel group, tries to save Peter as well, but Pete thinks Sandman is tricking him and is part of the Sinister Six, and they both end up being captured by Regent.
MJ and Annie are with SHIELD as Peter is slowly dying being assimilated by Regent. A big final battle erupts as Regent finds the rebel base and at the same time SHIED infiltrates Regent's base with a plan to stick Annie's inhibitor chip on Regent. As it turns out, Regent had been assimilating all those powers to fight Dr Doom, who in Secret Wars has become a God, and Regent wanted to fight him and liberate everyone. No one believes him of course, so when the chip is finally implanted on him, Spider-Man, MY wearing a prototype Regent suit that happened to fit her (just go with it) and Annie team up and defeat Regent as a family.
THIS is the Spider-Man story and many of the older fans WANTED to read years ago! The natural evolution of Peter Parker having a family with MJ. And many other people wanted this story too, since the mini-series turned out to be a big surprise hit for Marvel, with many clamoring for an ongoing series based on this reality. The story was fast paced, fun, in essence, it was the quintessential Spider-Man story and one of the best, if not the best I've read in years. Much like with Skroce, at first I kind of didn't like Kubert's art in the first issue, but man did this comic get beautiful with issue 2 onward! It was an absolute joy to read. The ending was kind of corny with MJ finding a suit that so happens to fit her, but in the previous issue we got Annie kicking Craven in the nuts, so it's all good!
In the dangerscale of 1-5, I give ASM: Renew Your Vows 1-5 5 PP hearts MJs: the only bad thing about this is that it ended.
Here you go, other quick hits won't be as long, just had A LOT to catch up with. Thank you for reading and look out for more stuff heading your way!