Amazing Spider-Man #637: The Grim Hunt comes to an end! And when Spider-Man dons the black costume in this issue, it's much more believable than when he did it to coincide with the abortion that was Spider-Man 3. If fans have been following the series, this is a cathartic release. Peter gets pretty dark at one point, and you're not sure where he's going to go. Because while the "good guys" don't kill people, you're aware that the writers are trying to do something new with the character, and having him snap and murder his enemies would be one way to do that. Plus, there are status quo changes, so the series isn't just a toss off. What's next? One Moment In Time where fans find out what actually happened to Peter and Mary Jane. So if I were you, I'd pick up this issue of Spider-Man as it may be the last breath of the new direction. Because I wouldn't put it past Quesada to get MJ and Peter back together -- and that was the catalyst for the change in the first place.
Ultimate Spider-Man #12: Bendis wants to fuck up Peter Parker's life, and he's doing a good job of it! This is a frustrating issue to read as we know that the Chameleon is behind this, but we're as helpless as Peter. The thing that makes this issue work is the way in which the Chameleon acts. He does what a lot of people would do if they were given the chance to be in another person's shoes -- anything he wants. He doesn't allow Peter to be bullied, completely destroys his personal life, and it looks like he's going to work on destroying his superhero life. This is easily the best written story of Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 2. I am very much looking forward to being frustrated for a few more issues until this arc wraps up.
Superman #701: I said I wouldn't buy a Superman comic again, but as in comics, nothing stays dead, including my love of Superman. The issue isn't good. But it's definitely doing something new, and that's what makes it worth reading.
30 Days of Night & The X-Files #1 (IDW -- Niles & Jones & Mandrake): Steve Niles and Adam Jones so badly want this to feel like an X-Files episode. They throw in little eggs to sway readers, give Mulder his droll delivery and Scully her customary skepticism. But it feels forced. And I know they want it be genuine, but something about this just doesn't click. Mulder and Scully have dealt with vampires before, so that's nothing new, but this issue doesn't feel like 30 Days of Night with The X-Files. It feels like the X-Files. And maybe that's what's wrong with it -- there's no attempt to mix Niles' original idea with Chris Carter's dynamic duo. But this is, after all, a first issue. I will be picking up issue #2, but only out of loyalty.
Sweets: A New Orleans Crime Story (Image -- Chamberlain): Sweets is a pretty sweet crime story. There's enough character development to make the players three dimensional, and the mystery is strong enough to carry the issue. Plus, Kody Chamberlain understands that good crime stories need more than a murder. There has to be multiple parties involved, a ripple that causes a flood, and a seemingly random issue that pays off in the end. Sweets has this and more. I think this is going to be a fun read, a great mystery, and it will give Kody Chamberlain a world of attention. These are all good things.
Bannen's Book of the Week:
Superman #701: I'm not saying this is a good comic. It's not, really. But the reason it's my pick of the week is because Stracyznski has managed to do something original with a character that has grown stale because of the notion that he could have nothing original happen to him. JMS' originality isn't in Superman walking across the country to reconnect with the people. That's actually the dumbest part of the story. What works is Supe's dialog and actions. He does things he never should do because he's Superman. Two examples: 1. he tells a jumper that if she wants to jump, he won't stop her, but he wants her to think about happiness, and blahdy-blah. After she comes down, a police officer asks him, "You wouldn't have let her fall, would you?" and in reply, Superman walks away. 2. He confronts a bunch of steretypical drug pushers and sets their stashes on fire. And then walks away. These are not things Superman does. These are things JMS would do if he were Superman, and that is how he's writing this. Superman isn't speaking his own words; he's speaking JMS'. But that's a good thing because Superman NEEDS to do something different, and maybe the thing that's held Big Blue back for all these years is that he's the world's biggest boy scout, and you can't really make a boy scout dark. He stands for truth and justice, not suicidal aid and drug destruction. I will continue to read this because while JMS' Amazing Spider-Man run was disastrous, he tried something new. Superman needs that kind of gamble. Now we have to wait and see if the results pay off.