Comics I Read: September, Part 3

Amazing Spider-Man 604-607: A little over a year in, they’re starting to do the kinds of stories about Peter’s love life that they haven’t been able to do in decades. It’s well done, as usual, but if you’re still bummed about the marriage thing these stories will annoy you. The Mary Jane solo story in #605 teases a few details about her breakup with Peter and shows how he influenced her for the better. The Black Cat's appearance in #606-607 goes back to basics (in a good way) because the re-hiding of Spidey’s identity allows them to use the original concept that she’s a thrill seeker that finds Spider-Man exciting and his “normal” self boring. The shot of Spidey and Felicia kissing on the Jumbotron at the end of #606 is cute, but someone in editorial should have noticed that they used the same gag recently for the JJJ-as-mayor reveal. (Without the kissing, of course.)

Agents of Atlas 10-11: Wraps up the series for now, but they’re trying to get more attention (presumably for a relaunch) with an X-Men crossover miniseries and a series of backups in “Incredible Hercules.” I really like this series – as I do most of writer Jeff Parker’s work – so I hope they are able to drum up enough interest to continue it. (I think maybe people think you have to be an expert on 50’s Marvel to enjoy these characters, and that really isn’t true.)

Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Anti-Venom – New Ways to Live 1: I’m sorry, I’m too tired from typing that title to continue. Seriously, though, this reminds me a lot of the old Venom series (“Lethal Protector”) where they tried to make him a hero by giving him a warped sense of honor. The Punisher appearance at the end -- “Venom Eddie Brock? Murderer Eddie Brock?” – saves this enough that I’m willing to see where it goes for another issue.

Secret Warriors 7: Great stuff as usual, as we get a glimpse of how Fury finances his underground operations and the Thunderbolts become interested after a great scene between Norman Osborn and Baron Strucker (Norman: “Bad news, actually. I recently killed your children.”) and because of the discovery of Fury’s mole over in “Thunderbolts”. If that wasn’t enough, the confrontation between Fury and Ares over Ares’ son is imminent. After this, the chronology starts to get a little confusing so let me try to put the pieces in order…

Thunderbolts 135: …starting with this issue, which begins a little before the events in the book above, and continues past that issue’s last page. Without giving it away, I don’t quite buy that Nick’s mole fell for Osborn’s deception so I think maybe there’s another level of misdirection going on. The great cliffhanger ending leads to…

Secret Warriors 8: …Nick’s escape (which I don’t think is a spoiler because he always escapes one way or another) which leads to a brief confrontation between Ares and his son and an even greater vendetta from Osborn (“I don’t care if he’s your kid or not…They’re all dead! Every one of them!”) that leads into “The List” mini-event. Here’s where it doesn’t quite fit, as far as I can tell, because Ares seems to find out for the first time that his kid works for Fury here, but…

Dark Avengers 9: …surprisingly, the actual confrontation between Nick and Ares happens here and Ares clearly doesn’t know what’s going on because he follows the kid to Fury when he’s supposed to be going to school. Bendis does such a good job with these three characters that I don’t really care much (Alex: “This Norman Osborn. He – some people think he’s some kind of monster.” Ares: “Ha! You should meet your grandfather.”), but it could have been made to fit with “Secret Warriors” better. Also, Norman’s behind closed doors here – a continuation of the subplot from before the X-Men crossover – but in “Secret Warriors” he’s seen headed to attack Fury’s team immediately. And that doesn’t even take into account…

Thunderbolts 136: …this issue, which starts right after the cliffhanger from the previous Thunderbolts issue and seems to take place concurrently with Secret Warriors #8. Then it pretty much gets back to this team’s storyline, with a definite split among the membership and the reuniting of some of the original Busiek/Bagley Thunderbolts. When Norman has time to reveal Scourge’s identity to the reader, I have no idea, and the Black Widow reveal on the last page makes my head hurt. (There was a Black Widow appearance in another September book – I can’t remember which one right this minute – that I’m now not sure which one it’s supposed to be.) I really did like all these issues; I’m not so much complaining about the timeline as I am having fun trying to make sense of it.

Hulk 15: Ian Churchill’s new art style (more like Ed McGuinness than like his Image style) is a nice surprise, and well suited for this book. There’s a lot of supporting evidence for my Red Hulk identity theory this issue, but there’s also a Silver Surfer reference (“The abuse of power is so seductive. I’ve even succumbed to it. Careening across the galaxy on a surfboard, acting like a child.”) that I haven’t been able reconcile with my idea yet.

I still have a lot of books to catch up on writing about, so I’m going to cop out a little and just say that I agree with Mike's favorable assessments of Batgirl #2, Detective Comics #257, Red Robin #4, and Batman: Streets of Gotham #4.


  1. I'm back from Montana, so I can actually write for this blog again! And I have plenty of stuff to write about.

    Agents of Atlas really is the best.


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