Recent Comic Reviews 3/12/07

All New Atom #9 Some of the chronology doesn't quite make sense to me, and I'm not super thrilled with the Atom v. former High School Bully plot, but otherwise this was a nice look at Ryan (Atom) Choi's past and his relationship with the former Atom. The art by Barrows was reasonably good, but I'm glad to hear that Norton is signing on as the regular artist. Dr. Strange: The Oath #5 Vaughn (w) provides a nice, albeit somewhat predictable, ending to this mini series. Despite a few annoyances here and there, this is the way Strange should be written: sorcerer, doctor, a bit stffy, but full of charm. I don't know that he's ready for his own series again, but more minis in this style, please!

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #18 I guess David (w) just needs to get this ten-year old plot out of his system, because the whole future/parallel earth Spider-Man and Ben Parker is not only tedious, but it seems particularly ill-timed given the plot of the upcoming Spider-Man movie. The supporting cast continues to shine, although now that they are being pursued by the Arrow/The Other, I'm worry that even the book's saving grace may be corrupted.

52 #43/44 Damn! They killed off three great characters, which makes sense for the story, but man it's hard to get good characters anymore. At least Buddy and the yellow aliens are back.

Deadman #7 I have a hard enough time telling the two main characters, Scott and Brandon, apart (which may be intentional) and now a demon is impersonating one of them (I forget which). I enjoy some of the ideas flung around in this title, but man, the story just makes no sense to me. I think this is fast becoming a "wait for the trade" book.

Essential Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man vol 3 Yeah, that's a mouthful. The issues this book reprints (#54-74) represent the time when I first started having disposable income (via mowing lawns) and access to regular comics (via comic specialty stores or, more commonly, suscription services). And these are some fun ones, back when writers could tell a story in one or two issues, but have enough subplots to keep things moving forward and interesting. Roger Stern and Bill Mantlo knew how to write Spidey, his cast, and good fun action. Ably aided by artists such as Jim Mooney, Al Milgrom, and Ed Hannigan these captured the darkening wave (some might say Frank Miller-inspired, others might argue a return to Ditko's version of Spidey) without corrupting Spidey himself. Although they have faded a bit after twenty-five years, these early Eighties issues will always be some of my favorite.