Monday, September 29, 2014


Scripter: Roger Stern | Artists: John Romita, Jr. & Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Joe Rosen | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Editor: Tom DeFalco
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: Spider-Man comes around, still inside the New York Coliseum, then snags a walkie talkie from Lt. Kris Keating and goes in search of a spider-tracer with which he tagged the Vulture during their fight. The police are also in pursuit of the winged villain and his captive, Gregory Bestman, and Spider-Man hitches a ride on a police chopper which chases the Vulture to a wooded area on Staten Island. The Vulture enters the forest and Spider-Man follows, while the police circle overhead.

The Vulture takes Bestman to his "Vulture's Nest", a farmhouse and silo filled with technological gear and, as Spider-Man listens in, recaps his origin as an ex-business partner of Bestman's driven to crime by the other man's underhanded business practices. As the Vulture prepares to finish Bestman, Spider-Man drops in and challenges his old foe. Their fight takes them out into the woods, where Spider-Man uses the close quarters to his advantage and defeats the Vulture.

The web-slinger turns his enemy over to Lt. Keating, who reveals to Bestman that the police overheard the Vulture's entire story and believes the District Attorney may want to hear it as well. Later that day, photos of the Vulture's capture, taken by Spider-Man's automatic camera, grace the front page of the Daily Bugle.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


A (hopefully) fair and honest defense of one of the more polarizing editors in Marvel's long history.

Four years ago yesterday, Bob Harras was appointed DC Comics' editor-in-chief, so this feels like an appropriate weekend for a post I've been thinking about for some time. But I don't read modern DC comics, so this isn't about Harras in his role there. I don't know what DC is up to these days, and it's possible the guy I'm about to ruminate on no longer exists. See, this an article on "vintage" Harras. And not Harras the writer, either, whose work I've seen very little of -- but specifically Harras the Marvel editor on the X-Men franchise and later the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics from 1996 to 2000 (incidentally, he's the only person to date ever to hold the EiC position at both of the "big two" publishers).

Occasionally around the internet, I've posted comments on Bob Harras ranging from mildly complimentary to frothingly defensive. Harras is no Jim Shooter, but he's certainly viewed with a great amount of disdain from many corners of comic book fandom. He catches flack for everything from pushing Chris Claremont to quitting the X-Men (an accurate criticism) to causing Marvel's mid-nineties bankruptcy and masterminding Spider-Man's "Clone Saga" and the "Heroes Reborn" event (all complete falsehoods; Harras was handed the keys to the company after every one of those things was well underway -- he did, however, spearhead the resurrection of Norman Osborn which ended the Clone Saga).

But all I can say is, I like the guy. I met him once, at Comic-Con in 1999, and he was very friendly. I told him how much I had enjoyed the Black Knight's lightsaber and he thanked me for the compliment. He also participated in the creation of my all-time favorite Con souvenir, which I described a while back.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Writer: Simon Furman | Penciler: Andrew Wildman | Inker: Stephen Baskerville
Colorist: John-Paul Bove | Coloring Assist: James Stayte | Letterer: Chris Mowry
Editor: John Barber | Editor-in-Chief: Chris Ryall

The Plot: Bludgeon demonstrates his Blitz Engines, planetary invasion devices powered by the Matrix energy from Thunderwing's Pretender shell, to Soundwave. Following a successful takeover of the planet Cresta Superior, Bludgeon sets course of Cybertron.

Meanwhile, on Cybertron, Hot Rod learns that the fallout from Scorponok's coup has left several Autobots mentally unstable. Amid civil unrest, Hot Rod publicly declares his plan to go beneath the planet's surface and reunite the proto-Transformers with their descendants, an announcement which nearly gets him assassinated.

Nonetheless, Hot Rod proceeds with his plan, aided by the Dinobots. But first he orders Ultra Magnus to restore order on Cybertron and prepare the planet for reunification. Magnus also speaks with Optimus Prime on Earth, who reports that the Ark has fallen into Galvatron's hands.

Someplace else, a Cybertronian warlord receives word of Bludgeon's destruction of Cresta Superior and realizes his path is about to cross with that of the chaotic Decepticons.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Stern Writes Again | Roughhouse Romita Jr. to Meet Babyface Bob Layton: Artists Fight!
Rosen Named Letterer of the Year! | Starts Today! Color Section by Bob Sharen
Editorial by Tom DeFalco
Shooter Indicted; Editor-in-Chief Charged in Kickback Scandal!!

The Plot: The Vulture, who has been living in semi-retirement in the Southwest, sees an article in the Daily Bugle announcing that Bestman Electronics will be at the High-Tech Expo in New York City. Infuriated, the Vulture books a flight for New York the next day.

When the Vulture arrives at the Expo and begins wreaking havoc, his escapades make the news on a local public access channel. Spider-Man soon arrives to challenge the Vulture, who is scouring the expo for Gregory Bestman. Vulture eventually grabs Bestman after Spider-Man is stunned by an electrical gizmo. The web-slinger tries to give chase as the Vulture escapes, but instead falls to the ground below.

The Sub-Plots: The Vulture has set up a new life for himself in a retirement community located, presumably, in Arizona. He has stolen enough to set himself up comfortably, but otherwise seems content to live a normal life until he sees Bestman's name in the newspaper.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Scripter: Roger Stern | Artists: John Romita, Jr. & Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Diana Albers | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Editor: Tom DeFalco
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: Over a span of weeks, the Hobgoblin raids several Osborn Manufacturing facilities, grabbing all the Green Goblin gear he can find, and culminating with the theft of an armored battle van the Goblin had built but never used before his death. When Spider-Man hears about the string of robberies, he heads out to check the only two former Goblin lairs of which he's aware. He finds the first already empty, but at the second he hits pay dirt, coming face to face with the Hobgoblin.

Spider-Man and Hobgoblin fight it out in Greenwich Village, and the web-slinger easily gains the upper hand despite the Hobgoblin's improvements to his predecessor's bombs and gas grenades. When it appears he is about to be unmasked, the Hobgoblin blasts a gas main and Spider-Man is forced to let him go while he locates the feeder line and cuts it off.

As the Hobgoblin glides away, he realizes that the Green Goblin must have had some edge in order to fight Spider-Man one-on-one. He vows to find that secret and use it to defeat his newly inherited foe.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Wow! Talk about a light month -- I received one single item this time, the CAPTAIN AMERICA EPIC COLLECTION: SOCIETY OF SERPENTS. This volume includes CAPTAIN AMERICA issues 302 - 317, marking the beginning of the late Mark Gruenwald's long run on the title.

I have a huge affinity for Gruenwald's Cap, as I think I've mentioned before. As far as I'm concerned, this is the definitive Captain America: no secret identity to get in the way, no civilian supporting cast members to bog him down. Steve Rogers is Captain America 24/7, and he only associates with SHIELD agents and other superheroes. Some characters need large supporting casts and melodramatic soap operatics. Captain America is not one of these.

Anyway -- a decent chunk of Gruenwald's Cap is collected, but there's still a large amount waiting for a nice home. This run isn't the stuff of which Omnibuses are made, so hopefully, given time, the Epic Collection format will see Gruenwald's entire tenure on the character (issues 307 - 443) on my bookcase. And then, someday, I'll review the whole run issue by issue here.

Friday, September 19, 2014


A year ago tomorrow, I posted my review of TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE issue 80.5. So it seems fitting that today, I announce the second half of my RG1 series. For those who don't recall, TRANSFORMERS: REGENERATION ONE, published by IDW, picks up from issue #80 of the original American TRANSFORMERS series, and is scripted by classic Transformers writer Simon Furman with the goal of tying up all loose ends and concluding with issue #100. I reviewed the first two trades, comprising ten regular issues and a "point five" special, last year. Now we'll cover the next two volumes, also containing ten regular issues plus a "#0" special.

Previously, twenty years after the events which ended the Marvel series, the Autobots returned to Earth to find it a barren wasteland, conquered by Decepticon leader Megatron. Optimus Prime dueled Megatron one last time and the villain was killed thanks to the intervention of Autobot security officer Kup. But at that same instant, the diabolical Galvatron, Megatron's alternate future self, returned to life.

The Autobots left Earth with the exception of Optimus Prime, who stayed behind against the wishes of the planet's dwindling population, in order to destroy all remaining sources of Cybertronian technology and help rebuild. But Prime's mission was for naught as Galvatron joined forces with Starscream and Shockwave, repaired the long-crashed Autobot spacecraft Ark, and departed the planet as Prime watched.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Scripter: Roger Stern | Artists: John Romita, Jr. & John Romita, Sr.
Traffic Manager: Virginia Romita | Letterer: Joe Rosen | Colorist: Andy Yanchus
Editor: Tom DeFalco | Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot: As they leave a City office, Peter, Aunt May, and Nathan are nearly run down by a sedan full of bank robbers. Peter changes to Spider-Man and pursues, taking out all but one of the robbers, Georgie. When Georgie flees into the sewers, Spider-Man opts not to pursue, and heads home, little realizing that Georgie has stumbled onto a secret tunnel which leads him to one of the Green Goblin's old lairs. Later, Peter delivers photos of the morning's events to Joe Robertson at the Daily Bugle. Meanwhile, Georgie sells the Green Goblin's secrets to a mysterious figure.

As Robbie gives Peter a ride to Aunt May's house for dinner, word comes in that the Osborn Manufacturing warehouse where the car chase ended is on fire. Robbie and Peter head that way, and Peter discovers the recently looted Green Goblin lair beneath the building, which firefighters observe does not appear on the building's original blueprints.

That evening, the mysterious figure kills Georgie after all of the Green Goblin's gear has been unloaded from his van. He spends the night reading the Green Goblin's journals, and the next morning he tries out some of the deceased villain's gear and then dons a modified version of the Goblin's costume to become -- the Hobgoblin.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Plotted & Scripted by: Roger Stern | Drawn by: John Romita, Jr. & John Romita, Sr.
Lettered by: Jim Novak | Colored by: Stan Goldberg | Edited by: Tom DeFalco
Travel Reservations by: Jim Shooter | Proud Wife & Mom: Virginia Romita

The Plot: At the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Peter is waiting to pick up Harry and Liz Osborn when his spider-sense alerts him to potential danger from an attractive woman. He follows her outside and changes into Spider-Man. The woman is nearly mugged but takes out her assailants with a quick martial arts display. But when Spider-Man innocently approaches her, she shocks him with a burst of energy, then changes into a costume and flies away.

Atop the Empire State Building, she flashes back to her origin: her name is Monica Rambeau and she was a Harbor Patrol officer in New Orleans, known as a loose cannon. When an old friend of her grandfather came to her for help shutting down a renegade weapons development program off the coast, she agreed. But in the process she was electrocuted by the experimental weapon and endowed with radiation-based powers. Calling herself Captain Marvel, she quit the Harbor Patrol and traveled to New York to seek help controlling her powers before they could cause her to explode.

Spider-Man tails Captain Marvel from the a Empire State Building to the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building to Avengers Mansion, where the Avengers' butler, Jarvis, asks him to fight her after believing she has knocked out Iron Man maliciously. But it was only an accident and when Iron Man comes around, he breaks up the fight and works together with Spider-Man to contain Captain Marvel's powers.

As the Thing arrives to check on Cap, Spider-Man departs the mansion and returns to Port Authority to meet the Osborns.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Recently, ghost listings have popped up on a few sites, including Amazon, for an AVENGERS BY KURT BUSIEK AND GEORGE PÉREZ OMNIBUS:

I've been waiting a while for something like this. I already own the first three AVENGERS ASSEMBLE hardcovers, which collect the full Busiek/Pérez run, but they are a product of their time -- the early 2000s -- and feature some pretty horrid reproduction in a few places, as well as covers without any trade dress, logos, blurbs, etc. They're nice books, but not as nice as they could be. So, when this book appeared in the Hachette Book Group's catalog last week, I was thrilled. I would sell my AVENGERS ASSEMBLE books and grab this. Surely it would collect all the same material as those three volumes, right? AVENGERS (vol. 3) issues 1 - 34, plus the associated annuals and such, would be the perfect size for an Omnibus!

Not so, apparently. Behold the (currently unconfirmed) solicit:

Friday, September 12, 2014


Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray | Artist: Joseph Michael Linsner
Colorists: Dan Brown & Nick Filardi with Ian Hannin | Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
Production: Maya Gutierrez | Assistant Editor: Jake Thomas | Editor: Mark Paniccia
Editor-in-Chief: Axel Alonso | Chief Creative Officer: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley | Executive Producer: Alan Fine

The first issue of CLAWS was marked "1 of 6". But inexplicably, the following two issues were labeled "of 3". Then, four years later, CLAWS 2 came about -- a second three issue series, picking up exactly where the first left off. Was this originally intended as a six-issue series that got split into two three-parters? I don't know. But at any rate, I decided that even though I had barely tolerated the first CLAWS, I might as well check out its sequel.

As noted above, this story begins precisely where the last concluded. Wolverine and the Black Cat are celebrating their victory over Arcade and the White Rabbit, but the villains are not idle in the Savage Land, where our heroes had dumped them as punishment after their first adventure. Arcade and his hare-brained paramour encounter an alien with time travel technology, knock her out, steal her gizmos, and teleport Wolverine and Black Cat to the far-flung future.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Plot: Roger Stern | Script: Bill Mantlo | Breakdowns: Bob Hall
Finished Art: Frank Giacoia | Letters: Rick Parker | Colors: Bob Sharen
Editor: Tom DeFalco | Tall Person: Jim Shooter

The Plot: Wilbur Day, the villain called Stilt-Man, decides to increase his reputation by defeating Spider-Man, the only hero he's ever beaten before. In order to prepare himself for the confrontation, Day breaks into a CordCo facility on Long Island to upgrade his armored suit. As Stark International security forces respond to Day's entry, Spider-Man spots them en route and follows. He infiltrates the factory and battles Stilt-Man, but when the wall-crawler is knocked out by a sonic weapon while saving Stilt-Man's life, Stilt-Man spares his foe and drops him off outside with the Stark security forces before vanishing into the night.

The Sub-Plots: Peter chats with Aunt May about her newly opened boarding house for senior citizens, then drops by the next day to meet her tenants. He also worries about her ability to pay the mortgage and taxes on the house, then sets out to make some cash after a pep talk from Nathan.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Writer: Roger Stern | Artists: John Romita, Jr. & Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Joe Rosen | Colorist: Bob Sharen | Editor: Tom DeFalco
Araneophile: Jim Shooter

The Plot: Will-O'-The-Wisp reveals that Tarantula is under his mental direction, but soon after he explains, the mutated mercenary reasserts his primitive brain and attempts to devour James Melvin. Spider-Man rescues Melvin and spirits him to safety on a rooftop while Wisp and Tarantula fight.

Wisp disengages from Tarantula to pursue Spider-Man, but the web-slinger has already hidden Melvin by the time Wisp finds his quarry. Spider-Man leads Wisp on a chase around the city, eventually subduing him by tricking him into flying through three dynamos. Spider-Man takes the weakened Wisp back to Melvin, explaining along the way that Melvin doesn't need to die because the Department of Justice will soon bring the Brand Corporation down.

But the Tarantula has found Melvin and is once again about to kill him when Spider-Man intervenes. Will-O'-The-Wisp realizes that violence may not be the answer and flies Melvin to safety among the police gathering below. Tarantula, frustrated over losing his prey, jumps off the roof, begging the authorities to finish him. As he falls, he is gunned down by a hail of police bullets.

Will-O'-The-Wisp mentally coerces Melvin to confess about Brand's illegal activities, then departs. Later, Roxxon president John T. Gamelin makes a televised statement condemning Brand and promises to shut the subsidiary down immediately.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Art by Dan Jurgens
Last month, G. Kendall over at Not Blog X, one one my favorite daily reads, began to review the "Death of Superman" storyline from the early nineties. I have to admit that I've never read "Death of Superman", as I was an avowed Marvel Zombie when it originally came out. But I like several of the creators involved in the event and I've heard that, in general, the crossover was better conceived and executed than certain other nineties events from DC -- so early last year, when DC published THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN OMNIBUS, I picked it up.

I still haven't read the thing, but it's been on my radar for some time. However, the new posts over at Not Blog X have inspired me to at least pull the Omnibus from my shelf and give the actual physical package a once-over for my own blog. Now remember, I don't know what issues should be in here, so I can't really speak to anything that might have been omitted, as DC is wont to do. But I can certainly talk about the reproduction and quality of the volume.

Friday, September 5, 2014


I really hadn't intended on going through the entire Palmiotti/Gray back catalog, but I keep finding random one-shots and mini-series by them, and I mostly like their stuff -- so here's another one from their vault:

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray | Illustrated by Joe Linsner
Colorist: Jason Keith | Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
Assistant Editor: Daniel Ketchum | Associate Editor: Warren Simons
Editor: Axel Alonso | Editor-in-Chief: Joe Quesada | Publisher: Dan Buckley

I like a story that doesn't take itself seriously once in a while. But I don't like a story that doesn't take its characters seriously, and unfortunately, that's exactly what CLAWS is.

I was still reading new Marvels when CLAWS was published in 2006, and I even considered picking it up. At the time I had read very little, if anything, by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, and I had never even heard of Joe Linsner -- but the idea of Wolverine and the Black Cat teaming up seemed to have some "odd couple" type potential. The only thing that kept me from giving the series a try was the hideous costume Linsner had put the Black Cat in. That ugly mask, those stupid ears -- what an awful design!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Writer: Roger Stern | Artists: John Romita, Jr. & Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Diana Albers | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Editor: Tom DeFalco
Bossman: Jim Shooter

The Plot: Spider-Man fights the mutated Tarantula within the Brand Corporation labs. Will-O'-The-Wisp soon comes around and joins the fray, and he and Tarantula plummet into Jamaica Bay locked in combat. Spider-Man changes back to Peter Parker and departs. At home, he develops the photos he took while at Brand, but learns that they are worthless thanks to low-level radiation from the nearby machinery.

At the Daily Bugle, Raymond Royton of the U.S. Department of Justice meets with Jonah Jameson, Joe Robertson, Marla Madison, and Ned Leeds. After recapping DoJ's extensive list of the Brand Corporation's many illicit operations, he asks the Bugle to kill its exposé on Brand, lest that it interfere with the case being built against the corporation. Jonah reluctantly agrees. But Spider-Man, listening from outside the window, decides to continue his own investigation.

That night, the wall-crawler sneaks into the townhouse of Brand executive James Melvin, but Will-O'-The-Wisp arrives as well. After revealing to Melvin that he once worked for him as a scientist named Jackson Arvad until Melvin's underhanded practices transformed him, Wisp attempts to kill his former employer. Spider-Man intervenes and he and the Wisp have a brief skirmish, which is interrupted when the Tarantula appears and grabs Melvin.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Plotter & Scripter: Roger Stern | Artists: John Romita, Jr. & Dan Green
Letterer: Joe Rosen | Colorist: Bob Sharen | Editor: Tom DeFalco
The Light of Truth: Jim Shooter

The Plot: Late at night, Will-O'-The-Wisp destroys a Brand Corporation facility in Boston. Meanwhile, Peter and Ben Urich develop photos of their encounter with Nose Norton and the Tarantula, but find no proof that the Brand Corporation detectives fired on Norton before Norton shot at them. Elsewhere, Brand employees approach the injured Tarantula about joining them as their newest super-agent and he agrees.

The next day, Spider-Man finds that his photos of the Tarantula were bumped from page one of the Daily Bugle by an article about the Boston explosion. Suspecting that Will-O'-The-Wisp is involved due to the nature of the blast, the wall-crawler ponders a way to investigate Brand. At Empire State University, Peter learns about the company's internship program, and later that day arrives at the Brand offices in Queens for an interview, but quickly changes back into Spider-Man to search the campus.

The web-slinger tails James Melvin, the same Brand bigwig involved in his last altercation with the company, to a secret lab where Tarantula is about to be endowed with spider-powers. Spider-Man intervenes, but so does Will-O'-The-Wisp, leading to a conflict between the two vigilantes. Melvin wounds Wisp with an experimental weapon, then the tank holding the Tarantula explodes and he emerges, mutated into a spider-monster.