Pull List Review: Amazing Spider-Man #677 & Shade #4

Here are some reviews of comics that I read from the second week of January.

The Amazing Spider-Man #677, “The Devil and the Details”, part 1

By Mark Waid (writer), Emma Rios (artist), Javier Rodriguez (colorist), & Joe Caramagna (letterer)

Unlike some of my compatriots, I like crossovers, and we start one here between Spider-Man and Daredevil (which means I’ll be reviewing part 2 of this tale soon). Ok, keep in mind that this is the first new Amazing Spider-Man issue I’ve picked up since #295 back in 1988 (all right, I did buy #657, but I don’t count that one because I was buying it for the death of Johnny Storm angle as a way to get into FF), and I mention it only to contrast which character I started collecting comics with. Sure, I’ve kept up with the debacles that were the Clone Saga, One More Day, & O.M.I.T, but I have never felt the need to pick up Amazing Spider-Man monthly, though I do feel a little guilty, like I’m letting down an old friend. Anyway, to this issue, I’ll start off with that I do not care for Emma Rios’ art. I’ve seen worse, but it’s not for me and not a good fit for Spider-Man.

That aside, I love what Mark Waid brings to the table. I cringed when Peter was so obvious about wanting to hook up with Black Cat when he encounters her (what a cad). Fortunately, Felicia sees right through this and turns him down flat. Later, the scene where Peter seeks out Matt Murdock and totally blows away the thin facade that Matt is trying to maintain with Assistant D.A. McDuffie (read the new Daredevil comic–it’s really good) is so funny, especially when Matt pokes at Spider-Man with his cane and says loudly, “Foggy, is that you–?” :) Nicely done are the next two scenes: 1) Peter and Matt discuss swinging routes, and how Peter shouldn’t have taken Broadway to 34th, and 2) In a superhero game of chicken, Peter and Matt plummet from a skyscraper to see who will swing away first (naturally, it was Peter). If Mark Waid was writing Amazing Spider-Man, I would be buying it.

Shade #4, “Times Past: 1944”

By James Robinson (writer), Darwyn Cooke (penciller), J. Bone (inker), Dave Stewart (colorist), & Todd Klein (letterer)

Warning: Contains potential spoilery bits.

First, what a great Tony Harris cover! I really miss seeing his stuff monthly (Go read Ex Machina! You can thank me later.). Speaking of the art, how about that Darwyn Cooke? He has such a distinctive style, but I never tire of seeing it, and his work so lends itself to stories set in the past (or maybe I’ve just been happily trained to think so?). Also, Cooke (or maybe it’s Mr. Bone’s doing) incorporates a lot of shadows in the panels, and not just when Shade is onscreen. The ink that Shade is using to pen his reminiscence is shown to be either a part of the inky blackness that Shade controls (inhabits?), or under his control because of its dark quality, which is neat; but if it’s the former, then that means what? Shade could conceivably control the book he writes in? Shadow is also used to display some more unsavory images, such as the hanged man in the middle of the issue (twice!). It’s just an effective usage of ink in the story.

The story itself is a fun read, too, if for nothing else than the Golden Age guest stars: Vigilante and Madam Fatal. Of course, I know who Vigilante is, and despite being such a lame concept–motorcycle riding cowboy?–I like the guy, especially as portrayed here, though his hanging a man did give me some pause, even if he was a Nazi. But the really interesting character was Madam Fatal. I had to look her up (which you should too–I’m curious what you think about the whole “he must be gay because of…” angle), and I’d really like to see this guy return in other comics in some way. Oh! Maybe he’ll show up in James Robinson’s Earth-2 comic!

The ending to the story once again demonstrates the great character that Robinson has created in Shade beginning in Starman lo those years ago. At the beginning, you’re not sure what angle Shade’s playing at in regards to the kidnapped industrialist Caldecott, but in the end, it turns out that Shade was just trying to protect a family member. Shade’s walking along the beach with his great-grandson answering his many questions tugged at this old man’s heart strings a little. I would love to read a Shade story set in modern times and involving other superpowered people, but it has to feature this version of the Shade, not the “villain” that he has been portrayed as pre-Starman.

The other comics I read from that week were:

  • Batgirl #5
  • Batman & Robin #5
  • Batwoman #5
  • Buffy, S9 #5
  • Demon Knights #5
  • Green Lantern #5
  • The New Avengers #20
  • Resurrection Man #5
  • Suicide Squad #5
  • Unwritten #33

Let me know what you think about the issues I reviewed here. Now go read some comics!

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