It’s a new year for comic books and what better way to kick things off than with a couple of first issues that are great jumping on points for new readers. As always, there be major spoilers ahead.
The Superior Spider-Man #1. Quite possibly the most-anticipated and controversial first issue so far for the year, Superior Spider-Man introduces a Spider-Man who’s really super-villain Doctor Octopus inside Peter Parker’s body. Long story short, they switched minds in the final few issues of now defunct Amazing Spider-Man and with Peter trapped in Doc’s dying body, the inevitable happened and our hero passed away while still in his arch-nemesis’ old body.
Now our story continues with Doc living Peter’s life and I must admit, I’m enjoying what writer Dan Slott has done in this first issue. It’s really fun watching the criminal Doc taking over Peter’s life (I wish I could come up with a 2-in1 name like Brangelina or something). Peter’s now a sharper dresser both at work and play. He’s got a sleek, old style lab coat on when he’s working at Horizon Labs, kinda like what Doctor Victor Frankenstein wore in the old 1931 movie classic. And when he’s having dinner with Mary Jane, he’s all smooth and suave in his dinner jacket. It’s little things like these that really make this issue such a visual delight. Of course, credit goes to artist Ryan Stegman with his attention to detail and making Peter look his best even though he ain’t really Peter.
I bet I won’t be the only guy rooting for Doc after reading Superior Spider-Man #1. It’s rather refreshing to see Peter focused, strict, meticulous, even ruthless yet not bloodthirsty but there’s a reason for that. And that reason was what kinda ruined an otherwise perfect first issue. The last page revelation is that Peter Parker’s spirit or soul or whatever is still …er… hovering around his body and has some limited control over Doc’s actions. Yah, we all know the real Peter Parker will be back before his next movie hits the big screen but I was hoping for at least a year of pure Doc badass-ness. Oh well, I trusted Slott thus far and I suppose I’ll see how it goes.
One of the better first issues from the Marvel NOW! relaunch and a great jumping on point for new readers. Oh wait, now I remember who Doc reminded me of, he sounds like Brain from Pinky and The Brain!
Star Wars #1. Firstly how can anyone resist that gorgeous cover by Alex Ross and yes, there really is a new Star Wars first issue (again) starring the original cast and it’s set at the end of A New Hope just after the Death Star blew up. So the rebel fleet is now on the run and looking for a new base while trying to sniff out a traitor among the Rebel Alliance. Now I’ll admit that I’m not terribly familiar with the Star Wars expanded universe storylines, but I’m sure Archie Goodwin and Marvel Comics already did a several stories set between Episode 4 and 5.
Writer Brian Wood seems to be really into expanded universes these days. He’s got the Conan universe in his other pocket and that’s a pretty good Dark Horse title too. With Star Wars here, this first issue does appear to be a believable and exciting continuation of Episode 4. The script and dialogue were spot-on as I could almost hear a young Harrison Ford or Anthony Daniels voicing their respective characters. Although I thought there were a little too much talking heads in this issue. The first 3 pages were just Luke and Leia talking while flying their X-Wings. Which brings me to my other question, since when did Leia learn how to pilot an X-Wing?
Artist Carlos D’Anda was close enough with the likenesses of most of the characters. His Star Destroyers and TIE Fighters looked rather majestic, but Vader’s mask reminded me of Ralph McQuarrie’s early design with the slightly protruding breathing apparatus. Intentional or not, I think longtime fans would find these touches amusing. Definitely a good enough first issue for most Star Wars fans.