Fin Fang Doom says: Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1!
Back in May, Marvel published a pretty decent annual to their worst Spider-Man series. Written by Matt Fraction with art by Salvador LaRocca, the stand-alone story was a love story to Peter and Mary Jane. Not a love story about Peter and MJ, mind you. It was a celebration of the love the two have shared throughout the years. Coming on the heels of the recent Spider-retcon, the mere fact that anyone would have been allowed to say anything so positive about Peter and MJ’s relationship is baffling. What’s even more baffling is how anyone, aftger having read this issue, could think the marriage has been an negative thing for Spider-Man.
The story was set post Civil War, where Spidey is a wanted fugitive and everyone knows Mary Jane Watson is his wife. MJ is visited in a cafe by an old boyfriend, who asks her what it’s like to be married to a superhero. Simultaneously, Peter is meeting with a police detective that he’s recently come to have a semi-trusting relationship. Peter and MJ each start to tell their guests about the history of their lives, specfically the history of their lives together. At the end, it’s revealed that MJ’s ex is now a SHIELD agent, and he’s there to force MJ into telling him where Peter is. Peter, thanks to a tip from the cop he’s meeting with, is able to rescue MJ right in the nick of time.
There usually aren’t a whole lot of feel good moments in comics these days. Stories rarely end on a postive note. I guess there’s not a whole lot of excitement in everyone being happy. Which is why, when one of those rare feel good moments does come along, it’s even more special. Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1 was one of those.
Doom DeLuise says: Criminal #5!
The conclusion to the first arc in Criminal was absolutely pitch perfect. Ed Brubaker wrote a lot of really great stuff in 2007, but this issue is his best.
Jim Doom says: Civil War: the Confession!
Really the only writer who seemed interested in giving depth to Tony Stark in the Civil War was Bendis. Bendis apparently understood that Civil War’s intrigue came from each side having a bit of legitimacy to their points, and so he attempted to make the fascist villain a little more likable and human whenever he could.
In Civil War: The Confession, Stark made his confession to Captain America’s corpse. As I wrote when it came out, “It’s pretty obvious early on that the off-screen person he’s talking to; the nice ‘surprise’ is that it’s Captain America’s corpse and not Cap in a cell. As a nice storytelling touch, the issue is told out of sequence, and we get what is presumably Tony and Steve’s last conversation before Cap bit numerous bullets. Some might claim this issue lacks any surprises or any meaningful events, but that’s just not what this is. A comic book full of guilt-plagued dialogue is what Bendis excels at, and it’s fantastic to see him teamed up with Alex Maleev again.”
In Superman #666, we saw a darkly hilarious Superman on the type of pissed-off rampage an all-powerful alien might be inclined to go on once he finally reached his earthling boiling point.
As I said then, “I love that in this age of heightened religious sensitivity and condemnation, when religious groups battle for airtime to declare that Harry Potter is converting millions of children to Satan worship and witchcraft, that DC looks at the potential to upset fanatics, weighs it against the fact that it takes a whole lot of years to get to issue #666, and says ‘Hot dog, let’s celebrate Satan!'”
Ghost Rider #94 was the long-delayed conclusion to the ’90s Ghost Rider series, and managed to give that run a quality send-off.
And Action Comics #847, a fill-in while the Geoff Johns / Richard Donner / Adam Kubert storyline got back on schedule, was excellent from both an emotional and utilitarian standpoint. Superman was trapped in the Phantom Zone (from the Johns / Donner story), and John and Martha Kent couldn’t help but notice his absense. John tells his wife about an incident long ago in which Clark overcame the odds in an effort to calm her nerves.