When your multi-verse needs a little sprucing up, its time for a refresh! This foray into first issues territory is brought to you by Marvel and DC Comics. The two big figureheads of the comic book industry are always good as an eternal source for retconning their past work in favor of reviving it anew. This week’s offerings feature a wonderfully witty webhead, a not-so-super-man and a medieval champion who ain’t got no chill.
Spider-Man #1 (written by Brian Michael Bendis and art by Sara Pichelli) tells the all-new, all-different adventures of the fledgling web-hero, Miles Morales. Continuing on from the themes of the Ultimate Spider-Man series, this comic paves the way for casual comic fans to become familiar with Miles as a counterpoint to his predecessor, Peter Parker. This solo outing for Morales is my first encounter with the youngster outside of a group dynamic.
Story-wise, this initial introduction shows you more of who Miles is as a person rather than as a man who can “do whatever a spider can”. The pages linger at his high school as he discusses the typical problems that you would have at that age. It is a nice breather before the chaos that is to follow, where we get a sense of purpose, responsibility and (contrary to Peter Parker) a willingness to be confident in himself.
Miles Morales is a perfected Peter Parker to a degree. My implication being that he has the humour, the talent and seemingly the coping skills to be an independent person, both as a hero and a regular high school student. This is something of which took Peter Parker years to develop. It is a nice change of pace to not be bogged down by a characters social inadequacies. Miles isn’t faultless though. With the career path of being a full-time superhero on his plate, he finds it difficult to maintain his studies and find moments in between to have spare time to socialize. Saving the world will often do that to you. An impending threat upon the city arises known as Blackheart, the son of Mephisto. Draped around the imposing menace is the fallen members of The Avengers, which leads Morales to take a stand before the monster gets out of control.
This first issue flows very well and gives you enough insight to gather everything that this Spider-Man will be and how the approach will be much different to past iterations. Bendis delivers nicely with this neat kettle taster of what is to come, while Sara Pichelli‘s illustrations demonstrates a keen understanding of what makes a panel memorable. Overall, I enjoyed it. I am definitely not blown away, but I am certainly not looking away either.
Will I Continue Reading? Definitely, Maybe.
MARVEL’S BLACK KNIGHT
Black Knight #1 (written by Frank Tieri and art by Luca Pizzari) brings the spotlight on to a less celebrated member of The Avengers. Dane Whitman is the current man behind the Black Knight mantle. He has been carrying a sword known as the Ebony Blade for a number of years in service to the cause of fighting evil. From his stint as an Avenger, he has gained the experience of being with a team that has enabled him to transition into a role as a leader.
Living with a gang of disciples in a newly christened part of the world known as New Avalon has given him a renewed determination in his purpose as a smiter of dark beings. The Black Knights of the past dictate his actions prompting his virtuous mind to stay on the right track and don’t stray from the beaten path. Through their examples, he recalls the battles that the sword has fought with and siphons the strength and will of his predecessors.
Rather amusingly, Dane himself has a personality that does not match his actions. He is by no means a nasty individual, but he is largely confused and frustrated by a lot of what surrounds him. There is a likability factor to that as a trait, for it lends a relatable persona to a character with a silver age vibe.
The constantly shifting nature of the Marvel universe is a note of irritation for Dane Whitman given that he never does know what he will wake up to and have to fight next. Thankfully, his brothers and sisters in arms are there to help him maintain a level head while additionally making sure that he knows who the enemy is.
Battling scourges of creatures known collectively as Fangs of The Serpent is all in a day’s work for the Black Knight of Avalon. The promise of a future puppet master at the end of it all gives credence to a wider narrative that is yet to unfold.
A firm contender for most interesting prospect of 2016 thus far. The character was enjoyable and written to be likeable, so we will see in the coming issues if his popularity begins to surge in the minds-eye of keen Marvel enthusiasts. While the art is suitably grim to match the tone, I felt that certain side-characters looked visibly less well-defined than others.
Will I Continue Reading? Not for now, but there is a great potential for this character.
Superman: Lois and Clark #1 (written by Dan Jurgens and art by Lee Weeks) takes us to a reality where Clark Kent and Lois Lane are refugees in a world that already has a Superman. Following on from the events of Connvergence, the world that they knew was torn asunder leaving behind only their memories of friends and family. In the earth that they now inhabit, a younger version of Superman is present complete with a different Justice League lineup than they are accustomed to. At the risk of exposing themselves to unforeseen consequences, they decide that the best course of action is live out their lives as civilians, while raising they newborn baby boy.
This comic is shockingly intelligent in its content despite what may sound like a rather dull concept initially. It’s the dialogue and the flourishes in between that show an interesting aspect of Clark that isn’t often shown. A display of discontent and a need to don his cape once again is played up to great effect. There is an exploration of what makes a hero and the principle of letting go of a part of you for the greater good. Peppered in between the bouts of heroics that Clark does undercover is interesting questions regarding being a stranger in a different universe. There is a struggle for Clark to come to terms with known heroes of his world being villains and known villains of his world being heroes in this universe. It is certainly a fresh perspective on the man of steel to see him enjoying the embraces of fatherhood, but displaying signs of bitterness towards losing his past life as a hero. Regarding Lois Lane, its business as usual, albeit now in the cover of a new pseudonym. Ever the vigilant reporter, she now operates by arranging meet-ups by night providing news coverage to the highest bidding media company. There is a few glances at Clark in his new Superman get-up, but that isn’t the focus for this comic. Its more of a drama than an action piece.
This was not a comic that I would typically have been interested in picking up. It was bought based on a recommendation from the comic store that I frequent and I was pleasantly surprised with what I uncovered after reading. A hidden gem among the current crop of DC comics that has a distinct flair to its art-style.