Sunday, August 10, 2008

Spidey, Spidey, Spidey Everywhere!

So, this past week I picked up my comics (as usual), and I was surprised by the presence of not one, but two over-sized Spider-Man anthologies. King Size Spider-Man Summer Special and (Brand New Day) Amazing Spider-Man Family #1. Both of these comics give us several new Spidey stories (that take place both within and outside of continuity) as well as a reprint of an older Spidey comic.

First up is King Size Summer Special; which delivers a couple of cartoony Spidey episodes Un-Enchanted Evening and Take a Seat (both by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover). The first one deals with Mary Jane Watson-Parker (yes, they are married in this story) where MJ, & Millie the Model (along with Patsy (Hellcat) Walker, Marvel Girl, She Hulk, Clea, and the Scarlet Witch) are all drawn into a throw-down with the Enchantress and Thor. The second one is a two-pager that has Spidey going up against MODOK. The next story is a continuity implant that has Spidey hooking up for (apparently the first time) with The Falcon. Finally there is a Chris Giarrusso Mini Marvel story (reprinted from Giant Size Mini Marvels #1.

The Tobin/Coover stories are very entertaining (especially the first one) and I really don’t care if they are considered as part of continuity or not, as they are so clever. The Falcon team-up is also quite good and (I assume) occurs in-continuity (even though it seems to contradict Captain America #’s 137 & 138). Again, the story here seems saturated with old-time Marvel spirit, that I’m willing to overlook any possible discrepancies. Finally we are presented with Giarrusso’s Mini-Marvel tale, which is always a welcome event, especially when presented in long-form as it is done here. I personally think that Giarrusso is under-used, and would look forward to regular appearances of his work in stand-alone form as Marvel currently does with the on-going series of Franklin Richard one-shots).

Spider-Man Family, which started as a series of one-shot, was re-launched as an on-going title, has now been re-imagined in a post Brand New Day world. This title delivers an Untold Tale form our hero’s past, a prelude look into the upcoming Marvel Apes title, Mr. & Mrs. Spider-Man (Peter & MJ in the M2 Universe while May is an infant); a story about Aunt May working at the F.E.A.S.T. Soup Kitchen, and a reprint from Amazing Spider-Man # 300 (the first Venom story).

The untold tale relates the first 48 hours after the death of Ben Parker; The Marvel Ape story has Spidey re-enacting that classic sequence from ASM #32, Mr. & Mrs. Spider-Man has Pete and MJ helping out the Connors; while the Aunt May story gives a glimpse into a day-in-the-life of May while working the soup kitchen.

Here again, the untold tale reads quite well, and — given how throughly this area has recently been mined (in With Great Power) and elsewhere, it comes off exceptionally well. The Ape story is goofy but fun, so I’ll let it slide (for now). The Mr. & Mrs. tale is told by Tom Defalco & Ron Frenz, so it reads like a cross between their classic Spider-Man stories and their Spider-Girl stuff, so that it is most excellent is a given. Seeing Aunt May walk alone is always fun, and I hope to see more of these type stories as this series progresses. Then there’s the Venom reprint which serves as a great jumping on point for the new Venom Dark Origin series.

If you are a Spider-Fan looking for some fun episodes, an old-time who has fallen away, or someone who just wants to see what all the fun is about, check out these two very fine issues.


Reggie White Jr. said...

I enjoyed both of these super sized Spidey books. Even better, they were released on the same day.

I'd never heard of Modok until I'd read the story in the Summer Special but that was hilarious stuff.

Robert J. Sodaro said...

Modok has been around for, well, quite some time. Modok (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) is a construct from the brilliant minds over at AIM (not the Internet chat people, nor the folks over at the American Indian Movement, but Advanced Idea Mechanics, and, well, really more of a nasty villain than the punch line to a comedic joke, but still, the story works for me.

Tommy said...

There is also, Modam...


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