Sorry for the delay, folks, yesterday got on top of me rather.
There was a time, once, when the hegemony of the superhero book looked like it was about to be broken. When three of the more popular superhero creators decided that not only were they not going to create work for hire anymore, that they weren’t even going to do superheroes. And so we had Danger Girl from J Scott Campbell, Battlechasers by Joe Madueira and Crimson by Humbero Ramos. And they shot to the top of that charts.The likes of Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo’s Steampunk also joined them.
And then things slowed down for Battlechasers and Danger Girl, while the more regular Crimson slid down the charts. Madueira left for games and came back to Ultimates 3, the book that did more to kill the Ultimate Universe that any other. Including Ultimate Adventures. Campbell did most covers and it still working on a Spider-Man book with the Ultimates 3 writer. And Humberto Ramos is currently drawing Amazing Spider-Man too. Which Chris Bachalo has also recently been drawing.
It was a glorious time, it was a wasted opportunity and we may not see their like again. But we can see more Danger Girl comics.
And despite the Army Of Darkness tag, that’s pretty much what you get, the supernatural franchise sneaking in at the end but until then, thappy to take a back seat and let Danger Girl do what she does best. Kick stuff up a notch in war zones, basically, as she pursues her variable Macguffins, with a little help from her friends. Basically Lara Croft with a social network. And yes, I used the world Macguffin incorrectly here, as it implies a neutral object, where the object’s nature isn’t imporant, just the desire. And in this case that’s not true because the artifacts will be familiar to Army Of Darkness fans and will always spell trouble. But also a perfect way to jointhe two franchises together, even if in this first issue you only get a hint of that to come.
The art does not have the slickness, the delight, the ease-on-the-eye of J Scott Campbell who only produces covers for the series while he’s busy not drawing Jeph Loeb’s Spider-Man. In places, especially faces, it tries to come closer to the uber-babe imagery, but for most of the time, shows a grittiness of action and adventure, with bullets and explosions making a mess of their surroundings. Some of the exposition is painful and there’s one scene showing an air strike that stretched over a number of pages that would have been so much more effective as half a page. But the final scene as an antagonist is infected by the ultimate evil is particularly effective, even if it leads into the tiresome fetishisation of Bruce Campbell.
And while J Scott Campbell is not drawing Spider-Man, I guess someone else will have to. Or at least the book is called Spider-Man. Instead it’s an issue of the FF starring Spider-Man, and as a result the whole nature of the book has changed.And it’s one that feels very familiar.
Over Easter I visited my folks and met up with my brother’s family too. And I don’t know what it is, I’m almost forty now, but within half an hour it felt like we were both teenagers again and acting towards each other and to parents in the same way as I did twenty-five years ago. We just fitted into those roles so easily, it must be a new theory of relativity or something.
But that’s the way Peter Parker is here. He never knew his parents, he was an only child looked after by his aunt and uncle, but he fits into this family so easily. And Reed, Sue and Ben clearly need a Johnny figure to replace the deceased Human Torch. And he lets that happen, his jokiness and trivialness increases, as he relied on bthe rest of the team to cover his ass. Basically Spider-Man drops about ten years, letting “mummy” and “daddy” pick up the slack, and it’s a change for a man who usually carries the world on his shoulders, cracking jokes to keep going.
Oh and bringing back The Thing in his Blackbeard the Pirate role from issue 5 of Fantastic Four, all those decades ago. Dan Slott is having a ball here, getting his chance to write the Fantastic Four and trying to squeeze all he’s wanted to to with the characters into this issue, even as Fred Van Lente remakes Spider-Man into a proto-Torch. In the end, however, it’s a Spider-Man problem that will need a Spider-Man solution and a final epilogue lets us see exactly who is behind the upcoming Spider-Infestation storyline and I can hear the calls of “Clone Saga” right now.
It’s a fun comic. but it’s not a Spider-Man comic, even as the book tries to grab aspects to justify its title. Still with FF #2 also out this week, it’s a double dose of the First Family for those who want it. One has Doom, one has xzombie pirates, you get to choose…