*Hello there, it’s just your friendly neighbourhood movie reviewer, bringing you part of the next chapter. In the P.S.A I had mentioned that more reviews were coming, and since I’m a giant comic book fan for a lot more than one reason, I decided to write up some reviews so that more of my thoughts can be on the inter-web. Most of the comics I’ll review are going to be Marvel brand comics, because frankly the “New 52” DC has done, didn’t tickle my fancy in the slightest. With that said I’ll review comics from issues, to story arcs and even Graphic novels (mostly one shots, out of continuity stories) from today, to stories of old. There will be no order or pattern, a lot like my movie reviews. It will all depend on what I have time to read, and so on and so forth. Suggestions on how or where to improve is always helpful. Now that the introduction is out of the way, let’s get to some comics.
I chose Spider-Man Blue, simply because I heard it was fantastic and couldn’t find much on it in terms of reviews (not that it wasn’t out there, I just couldn’t find it). I heard about it roughly when I had started to get back into comics, but at the time I was so “scared” about where to start. I wanted a good start, somewhere I could get a handle of things, and this seemed like it wasn’t gonna be it at the time. But I did always want to read it, and so now that I’m “caught” up I said I’d give it a read and see what happens. I’ve read work from this creative team of Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale before (mostly DC stuff), and I was always left pretty impressed; not so much by the art, but by the symbolic story telling. I mean Jeph Loeb has proven himself time and time again, he worked on “Heroes“… Ok maybe not a good example, but hey it had a good first season, also seasons 2 and 3 of Smallville. The first chapter (consisting of 24 pages) starts off very well, if you remember the opening lines of the first Spider-man movie like I do–which came out the same year.
“This like any story worth telling, is all about a girl” – Spider-man, Peter Parker – Tobey Maguire
This story is about Peters love for Gwen Stacy. Gwen was and always will be (to most Spider-Man fans anyway) the true girlfriend for the Peter. Her tragic demise is a milestone in comics, both for the genre and character. I believe until then, the Superhero would always save the girl they are in love with. He tried, and still to this day he battles with himself being the cause, or if in fact the Green Goblin is the reason she died. The story takes place with Spidey swinging through NYC to where he last saw Gwen “alive” as we read we understand this is a just us being taken down memory lane, but he’s actually at home talking into a tape recorder. It’s here we discover why the story is called “Spider-Man Blue” he feels “blue” for missing her, kind of like how a jazz player feels when playing the blues. The story then flashes forwards a bit to a retelling of Amazing Spider-man (ASM) #40. After 8 pages of stunning work we get some action as the story progresses, we learn come the first chapters end, just how Peter and Gwen met. The Hidden but obvious message was “Things have to get really bad, before they can get good.”
Most recently in comics they dissolved the marriage of Peter and Mary Jane (which I won’t get into just know that they did it and only No fan agreed with it). They explained it in a similar manner that this book does with a “moment in time” (the comic book arc to see what I’m talking about is One Moment In Time) style of story telling. I don’t think I’ve read the stories/issues this book retells, but i know of them from reading the bio of Spidey and the infamous cartoon shows and what not. So I don’t know how accurate they are in terms of replicating the frames and words and so on and so forth. However, that doesn’t mean it takes away from how pleasant this story is. Skipping along, book two we are shown a mystery man whose identity I will reveal later. Come chapters end, we are introduced to Mary Jane Watson, this is where the book gets interesting (and all nerds who read comics and can maybe relate to Spidey, become happy that MAYBE a beautiful blonde NERD, a beautiful SUPER-MODEL, would fall in like/love with them). From here on out it’s a bit of a tug of war between MJW and Gwen (face it if you had the above mentioned options you’d just let them duke it out and hope for the best, it’s a win win really). The action here is him fighting the Rhino with the help of Dr. Curt Conners (which you will see in the new Spidey movie). Book three: MJW is now fully into play. The gang of Flash Thompson, Gwen, MJW, Harry and Peter all meet up at some local bar/pub where “The Lizard” strikes, which means duty calls for Peter to get pics for the Daily Bugle. MJW happens to go along with him (There is more to that story, but that is for another time, though it is obvious). Peter agrees to move in with Harry Osborn which was drawn to have this erie feeling like he’s up to something, which of course he is, because before Peter can really even muster a no much less yes, he asks Pete if he was gonna take a chance at MJW (which in my opinion is a huge reason why Peter and Gwen even had a bit of a chance to be together).
Book four starts with Pete and Aunt May, this may be the best scene with Aunt May ever. Well, since she figured out Pete was in fact Spider-Man all this time (way later in issues). In a way, she recaps where we left off, and gives him that friendly motherly advice that parents can’t always give because of the role they have to play, and that faint touch of being out of time helps a lot too. Elsewhere, The Vulture is poisoned only to have another, by the name of Blackie Drago, take his place as the green winged menace. There’s a fight that leaves Spider-Man seemingly dead (or unconscious), and even how that looks is amazing. It’s like your eyes watch him “drop” from the sky, only to be abruptly stopped by Spidey a pile of snow.
Book Five has the most comedy, and some how Pete finds himself to his new apartment and word has got out that he’s sick and BOTH MJW and Gwen come to play nurse to him (remember: from really bad to good). Sad part is, this isn’t even the best part but it’s on the rise. Just outside, the original Vulture and the new one are duking it outside and of course, Pete knows that “With great power comes great responsibility” so he suits up to take em both on, all while just WISHING to be with Gwen.
FINALLY, Book Six, as I said, the mysterious man is revealed to be Kraven, the hunter who was watching and studying the concrete jungles animals (makes sense when you think about it all). When that fight is all said and done, it is Valentine’s Day, and Peter finally gets a moment of what you could easily call a break (for him). In walks Gwen. (I’ll leave that to you, the reader of this entry, to find out how that all goes down). Fast forward in time to Pete shockingly finding MJW to be there only to have her say: “Tell Gwen I miss you too.”
NOW THAT THE STORY IS OUT THE WAY…
This story as I may have said before is just beautiful. If you ever lost a romantic loved one (which I pray I never have to deal with), then you can read this story and I’m sure choke up a bit, cause you didn’t get to spend the rest of your life with them like you hoped, though they did with you. As long time fan of spider-man, I believe Gwen will forever be the woman for Peter, while MJW will be the woman for Peter AND Spider-Man.
Tim Sales’ art is an acquired taste. This isn’t cause I have a personal bone with him or anything (he was quite rude when I met him at Fan Expo), but because it actually is. He draws with A LOT of lines, for the most part they aren’t straight, and sometimes it does get a little weird, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s different, and for that simple reason, I like it. I don’t know what to call it or classify it as, but his art honestly just works so well with what Loeb is writing about.
Now, for the rating system–many ask how it works. The general/overall rating is just how you would possibly think of it WITHOUT getting all detailed. Not to say you don’t understand but to just give you an idea of how I rate things, I don’t have just a general rating of things. With that said, all comic book ratings will be out of ten. (well maybe just graphic novel stories) so here goes:
- Overall rating of the comic: 8 out of 10,
- Art: 7.5 out of 10,
- layout*: 6.8 out of 10,
- True to character dialogue: 9 out of 10,
- Story: 9.5 out of 10,
- Continuity? I think since this was published it has been mentioned once in the main Spidey comics, so if you just want a good story, this is a good grab, if you want to know more about Gwen, also a good story just on its own to make those issues have more of a connection.
*layout for anyone wondering is just how each frame is set up, from singles to full/double page spreads to word placement bubbles to the art.
Thank you for reading feedback is always helpful.
THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!
– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW