By Jarrod Jones. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. This week: ‘The Terrifics’ #2 and ‘Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man’ #302.
Written by Chip Zdarsky.
Pencils by Joe Quinones.
Inks by Joe Rivera.
Colors by Jordan Gibson.
Letters by Travis Lanham.
If nothing else, consider “Amazing Fantasy” a love letter to the history of Spider-Man. The amount of love poured into the already-stellar Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, this time from the creative team of Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera, Jordan Gibson, and Travis Lanham, is one for the books. It’s another exciting tale that sends Peter Parker into an ill-advised venture into intrigue and suspense, and one that hurtles him through time into his very early past to boot. But what separates “Amazing Fantasy” from other such stories is the amount of catharsis at work here.
From the squirmy Ditko presentation of past Spider-Man to contemporary Parker’s dorky designer polo from the 90s animated series, Spectacular Spider-Man #302 is guided by an alert fankid’s eye and colored by rose-tinted lenses. What’s more, the story is delivered with a professional zeal that toes the line between morality play and pop art. What if Spider-Man went back to the swingin’ Sixties (or wherever “Spidey’s beginning” is supposed to take place; people use cel phones and computers here) and attempted to changed the trajectory of his own history for the better? It’s a Spider-Man story, so of course it’d go wrong. It’d go wrong but quick.
The wrinkle here is that Peter (and J. Jonah Jameson, and Teresa Durand, who may or may not be Peter’s long-lost sister) went back in time in an alternate reality, so he feels free to play fast and loose with time-travel’s murky laws, long established by sci-fi flicks and pulpy novels that warned against doing precisely that thing. Things you just know dorky Petey Parker is aware of. Which means stuff doesn’t work out necessarily in Peter’s favor — past or present. In fact, things go horribly wrong.
To zero in on it, the second part to “Amazing Fantasy” has a reveal that just might change Spidey’s life forever. (Or not! You can never tell with these things.) Take everything you’ve ever known about the enmity between Spidey and the Green Goblin, apply it to his issue, and try not to let your blood run cold by the end. Thanks to future Pete, young Pete’s early career has taken a frightening turn.
And that’s why “Amazing Fantasy” is such an engrossing arc. It’s funny in places, exhilarating in others, and it provides twists that are actually pretty damned scary. For those reasons and so many others (my god, the art) don’t miss this book.
9 out of 10
Story by Ivan Reis and Jeff Lemire.
Pencils by Ivan Reis and José Luís.
Inks by Vicente Cifuentes and Jordi Tarragona.
Colors by Marcelo Maiolo.
Letters by Tom Napolitano.
The origin story of DC’s dynamite new team challenges both the unknown and the fantastic. Metal‘s Dark Multiverse is a swamp of old, titanic, probably evil things — a lot of it we saw in this past year’s big-time Snyder/Capullo event — but the consequences of that saga are beginning to take shape in the DCU proper, and that calls for a team that knows what they’re doing.
Of course, I’m talking about Ivan Reis, Jeff Lemire, Joe Prado, and Marcelo Maiolo, a DC Dream Team for any book, to be sure. I’m not sure where Mr. Prado went to this week — in fact, three new artists found their way into this second issue: José Luís, Vicente Cifuentes and Jordi Tarragona. But Messrs. Luís, Cifuentes and Tarragona acquit themselves magnificently, and upon the first read-through of this issue, I didn’t even realize Mr. Prado had taken a powder (nor did I initially realize that Mr. Luís had pinch-hit six entire pages of this issue). That’s a testament to how seamlessly this group of artists work together, united in common purpose — that being knocking our collective socks off.
Widescreen insanity turned on its head, kind of like those vertical triple-gatefold covers DC is giving all of its “New Age of Heroes” books, is what you can expect from The Terrifics. Parallels to Marvel’s First Family aside, watching this motley crew of heroes unite — Mister Terrific, Metamorpho, the Element Man, Phantom Girl, and Plastic Man — feels wondrously like a well-earned DCU event unto itself.
They traverse the Dark Multiverse, crawl into the abdominal cavity of a long-dead celestial type and poke around, and come across a mystery that brings Alan Moore’s Wildstorm imprint (America’s Best Comics) ever closer to… well, there always has to be a wall we run into with these sort of things, doesn’t it? Is the inclusion of Tom Strong in The Terrifics a Moore-mandated turn of events? Likely not. What’s even more irksome is that Strong’s co-creator, artist Chris Sprouse, wasn’t initially in on Strong’s extended stay in the DCU either. It’s a troubling way to debut a line of books that puts the artists first before all other creators.
Taking those things into consideration, reading The Terrifics, as fun as it is, feels icky in the same way that reading Doomsday Clock feels downright wrong. The Moore connection may affect the way you read this series, depending on how much you take stock into such things. In time The Terrifics may move beyond Moore. Maybe not. But the ride is yours, should you choose to take it. And, if nothing else, it promises to be a great one.
8 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Make it short and sweet — the best response wins a free set of DoomRocket stickers!