Posted - July 18, 2014 | Updated : August 24, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man 12
Last Stand Part Four


This is the last Marvel Knights Spider-Man issue of Mark Millar and Terry Dodson, so lets savor it. From the multi-villain slugfest of issue 11 this issue narrows it down to the just the Green Goblin. It's down deep and personal with Spider-Man and his arch-enemy.



The comic starts off by baffling me with something Peter Parker says to the Green Goblin.


spider-man pointing

Fifty-five? What has that got to do with anything?

Now, this comment by the Green Goblin to Peter Parker I understand very well.


close-up of the green goblin

That web fluid is genius-level, no question about it. How did Peter fit so much fluid in such slim cartridges? The web has a tensile strength that managed to catch falling building chunks last issue. The mind that made the web fluid is first class.

Oh, its location panel time. Just look at how Terry Dodson rendered this bridge. Wow.


bridge location panel

Here's the score: The Goblin has got Aunt May, she is apparently on some kind of deadline situation. Spidey has no idea where she is in the city. MJ is in the Goblin's clutches about to be dropped just like Gwen. It's a very bad moment for the Spider. It's also the perfect moment for something to happen, and that something's name is . . .


doctor octopus climbing
				up a bridge

. . . Otto Octavius! Note the neat sucker detail on the arms.

For a while there I thought Green Goblin vs. Doctor Octopus was an even match but Peter Parker calls it.


doctor octopus faces off with
				the green goblin

Nuts. The grudge match gives Spider-Man a much needed opening. And he takes it!


spider-man slams the 
				green goblin

As expected, the Goblin doesn't go down that easily, in spite of that seemingly Hulk-level slam. Norman Osborn has the advantage for a while until.


mj shoots the green
				goblin

This whole confrontation was intentionally setup in exactly this manner by the Goblin to remind Peter of the death of Gwen Stacy. From the moment Peter saw MJ in Osborn's hands on that bridge with hundreds of feet of deadfall to the waters below, Peter was livid with fear over the memory of Gwen's death. And so it happens: MJ is thrown, just like Gwen, by the Goblin, and Peter is in a position to catch MJ with his web, just like Gwen. When Gwen fell, Peter snagged her booted foot to catch her but the whiplash broke Gwen's neck. It is Peter's worst nightmare and it is happening to him again. He goes for it, but this time he takes a different approach.


mj caught by spider-man's 
				web

It works!

It's not over, the Goblin is nothing but tenacious - and so is Doc Ock.


doctor octopus faces off
				with the green goblin again

You know who or what finally decides the Doctor Octopus/Green Goblin battle? The Universe, God, take your pick. While Doc Ock is grasping the Goblin with his metal arms lightning strikes from above and they are both electrocuted and fall into the river. Did I say God or the Universe? I meant writer Mark Millar giving the whole thing a Biblical twist.

While all this is going on, MJ and Spider-Man managed to embrace. Twice. Both times are worth showing.

Here's the first instance.


spider-man embraces mj

And here's the second.


spider-man embraces mj

More great Terry Dodson art. This one is a Spider-Man panel.


spider-man swinging

Love the lightning in the background.

So how does Aunt May get saved? Through a flash of both insight and remembrance Peter finds her in Uncle Ben's gravesite. Right in front of Ben Parker's tombstone. One is left wondering, if Aunt May is in Uncle Ben's grave, where the heck is Uncle Ben? The story never answers this one. Here's Aunt May and how she was kept alive.


spider-man finds aunt may
				in a coffin

Now this is a pretty icky picture because a while back the Goblin was talking about how Aunt May was "lying in her own mess" and something about "choking on her own vomit". Look at the panel above again. The little brown smuches all over. Is that poop? Gross.

Bottom line: Aunt May is saved.

It is the day after and the Black Cat, who had a huge chunk of the fighting back in Marvel Knights Spider Man 10 is recovering in the hospital. There's more to it though, as this panel attests.


felicia hardy in a hospital
				bed

Peter Parker has MJ at home and the Black Cat has a crush on him. The infamous Parker luck IS DEAD. When did the wallflower slash reject of the Lee and Ditko days turn into this chick magnet?

Millar's run is ending so he's wrapping everything up including the money angle.


aunt may and peter
				having a talk

This is bullshit! Everybody else gets crushed alive under money problems lasting for years. These kind of money quick fix seldom happens in life and sounds too good to be true. It sounds exactly like what it is - professional courtesy between comics writers: Mark Millar is going for a clean handoff to Reginald Hudlin, next issue's writer.

The issue ends with a flowery letter from Norman Osborn to Peter Parker. Here's a portion of it.


street scene

Let's see . .. the fights are not a sign of any real enmity. . . enormous regard . . . grateful for your attention. The letter runs on for a page and maintains the same friendly tone throughout. Totally insane. Totally Green Goblin. A nice way to end it Mr. Millar.

Since the first issue of Marvel Knights Spider-Man we've had four issues called "Down Among the Dead Men". Another four called "Venomous". And these last four called "Last Stand". But its all just one really long arc - a beautiful twelve issue tour de force from writer Mark Millar and artist Terry Dodson with Frank Cho taking over the art chores for a issue. In true Marvel Knights fashion, the storytelling doesn't shy away from showing death and blood - pretty hardcore fare relative to the standard superhero comic. Marvel Knights Spider-Man had a twenty-two issue run, so there's still a bunch of these wonderful issues for us to go through.

Posted - July 19, 2014 | Updated : August 22, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man #13
Wild Blue Yonder Part One


Two major changes this issue. First, we say goodbye to the creative team of Mark Millar and Terry Dodson who've been with us since issue 1. Taking over is the creative team of Reginald Hudlin and Billy Tan. Next change is within the story. Spider-Man is now an Avenger and living with both Aunt May and MJ in Avengers Tower. Obviously a lot of things have happened between issues 12 and 13 of Marvel Knights Spider-Man..

Hudlin starts this issue well enough with a classic and well-loved comics trope: A super-villain escape.


absorbing man escapes from Riker's

Another plus is the Absorbing Man. I've always loved this guy as an antagonist - that powerset of his is just the best.

Billy Tan follows up with a beautiful panel showing Peter Parker, High School teacher.


peter parker high school teacher

Consider this panel a "snapshot" of the way things were. Reginald Hudlin doesn't like the teacher gig and gets Peter laid-off this issue and back to being a Daily Bugle photographer, it all happens in this issue.

Good start, but now our flight in Air Hudlin begins to experience some turbulence.

Peter goes back to Stark Tower, sees Aunt May and Jarvis, and acts like this.


peter parker talking to jarvis
				and aunt may

Then Peter sees Wolverine with MJ and acts like this.


confrontation between peter parker
				and logan about mj

I'm reading this and I do a face palm. Now I'm officially missing Mark Millar. What the heck is this!? Did Peter become fifteen years old again? This jealousy bullshit even made the cover. The Wolverine situation is almost tolerable but nobody, nobody, rags on Jarvis. My God, Jarvis!? Peter was rude to Jarvis? No. unacceptable, I'm doing a personal retcon on that - that never happened.

Moving on, the creative team treats us to what's it like to be Spider-Man in a subway train and it goes to a full stop from speed.


abrupt subway stop leaves
				peter parker the only man standing

Awesome.

Spider-Man vs. Absorbing Man by Billy Tan.


spider-man vs. absorbing man

Here's something unique. Towards the end of their fight, Absorbing Man throws up on Spider-Man.


absorbing man throws up on 
				spider-man

And yes, I did say "towards the end of their fight". Where's the fight you ask? Er, the fight didn't come off very well. No panels really worth showing. Considering we have the Absorbing Man here, that's saying something - someone who can change to anything he touches usually gives good visuals. Nope. Nada. Absorbing Man does make multiple changes but Hudlin never explains what he changes into and its hard to tell just going by Tan's visuals. I'm like " okay, he's blue and something soft or is it, what?" whoosh, next change. "Okay now he's brown and I'm looking at what's around him, did he touch anything, what is he". Whoosh, next change. "Ok now he's . .." You get the picture. Part of the fun of Absorbing man is: "Ok, now he's iron uber-tough and then now he's a magnet and attracting every metal and now he's methane and can't be touched". You know. But in this fight, what the Absorbing Man is, is never identified. And the fight never gave a stunning panel that leverages Creel's Hulk-like bulk contrasted with Spider-Man's lithe agility. Half a page would have done it but again nada. None. That throwing up thing was the best that could be had. It's the second fail for this creative team in this issue but it won't be the last.

Here's the last: Peter Parker meets Clark Kent.


peter parker meets clark kent

Ohmigod. No, no, no. It's just wrong. And its not over, this is not a one time cameo. Clark - let's just call him Clark - now works at the Bugle and is partnered with Peter Parker. I keep thinking why am I so negative about this? You know why. Because its so obvious. This Peter Parker + Clark Kent, Spider-Man + Superman thing is a schoolyard discussion item. It's fanboy fodder that should NOT be taken up by professional Spider-Man writers. Wait-a-minute, is Reginald Hudlin a fanboy? Get him out of there. If I wanted fanboy drivel I would have writtern Spider-Man myself.

Okay, at the start of the issue a guard mentioned that with Creed's powers he, the Absorbing Man, would have amounted to more than he has. Agreed. So why didn't he? This is why.


crusher creel doing drugs

The guy's a junkie.

Back at Avengers Tower, Spider-Man is in training with the Avengers. He had a "thing" with Wolverine a while back and now he's paired against the Canuck. Spidey slams Logan, Billy Tan gives us good panel art of that.


spider-man training with
				wolverine

Then, Wolverine stabs Spider-Man!


wolverine stabs spider-man

Hudlin, who began the issue with the wonderful Absorbing Man breakout ends the issue with this strong cliffhanger.

Still. Still, this creative team is definitely choking. Wait a minute, that's not fair to Billy Tan. I meant Hudlin, Hudlin, to be fair, maybe he needs to warm up a bit, first issue of Spidey and all. Anyway I'm definitely NOT expecting a Mark Millar-like writing job next issue. I'm really not even expecting a well written issue. The choice would probably be small train wreck vs big train wreck. I'm hoping for big train wreck. If I can't have a great issue I'd like a really bad one to enjoy in that morbid way you can enjoy a bad issue. In the morbid way that I enjoyed this issue. Thanks for going along for the ride and see you later.

Posted - July 19, 2014 | Updated August 21, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man 14
Wild Blue Yonder Part Two


I'm eating my words right now because last issue I predicted that this issue would either be a small train wreck or a big train wreck. Well, it's neither. In fact, its rather good. The new creative team of Reginald Hudlin and Billy Tan are apparently hitting their stride. Let's start with the one thing I didn' t like about this issue then we'll go on to the other parts which are all good.

Last issue we had a cliffhanger were Wolverine stabbed Spider-Man during an Avengers' training session. That was a good cliffhanger but what follows in this issue is not so good. First of all, it turns out that the stab isn't fatal at all. Here's pretty much how it plays out from there.


spider-man raggin on wolverine

Spider-Man and Wolverine. Could you believe this? This crap plays out in school yards with toddlers NOT in an Avengers training session. This cringe-inducing schoolyard scenario goes on for a few pages then right at the end, the last few panels jump at me.


wolverine

These two panels are done very differently from the previous ones. These two panels are done right. The right mood, the proper treatment for an Avengers sequence. The good news is this training session baloney is the only bad thing in this issue and even this has some good points, namely, Billy Tan's art. This panel for examnple


the avengers looking at wolverine

Great layout. Spider-Woman has those impossible Image comics proportions though. Not good. After Finch did Spider-Woman in New Avengers I have very high standards for Jessica. Anyway, still a good panel.

The layout in this panel is also very good.


avengers around an unconscious
				spider-man

That's Spider-Man passing out from the blood loss. What blood loss? There was no blood on the training room floor at all. And yes, these kind of details do matter.

I keep eating crow with this creative team. Right after I ragged on Billy Tan's Spider-Woman he comes up with this panel


spider-woman

Now that's Spider-Woman .

Ok, enough Avengers (one can't really get enough of the Avengers, but that's all we have of them this issue). Let's head over to the Absorbing Man. Last issue failed to leverage such an excellent villain but not anymore. This issue takes full advantage of Crusher Creel's amazing powers. Just to recap, Absorbing Man has been hired by the Owl as an assassin and we come upon Absorbing Man doing his "bloody rounds". This is a wonderful sequence that greets us at the start of this issue.


absorbing man assassin

As Absorbing Man goes around taking out Mafia-types, oh, sorry, Maggia-types - the "bosses" mount some heavy defenses like this one.


mob boss surrounded by
				thugs firing

Here's the Absorbing Man making like the floor and dropping the Maggia thugs to the next level.


absorbing man becomes the floor
				and drops maggia thugs

Billy Tan gives us two incredible Spider-Man vs. Absorbing Man panels. Here's the first.


absorbing man vs. spider-man

The deep reds and blues colorist Ian Hannin gave the Spider really jumps out here and I love how big Tan made the Absorbing Man. This is what I'm talking about. This is the Marvel villain that goes head-to-head with Thor or the Hulk in a regular basis. Then we have this panel too.


absorbing man turns to 
				aluminum and takes on spider-man

Thank you Mr. Hudlin for at least insinuating that Creed turned to aluminum. I reiterate, a fight with the Absorbing Man is most enjoyable when the reader knows what he just turned into.

Oh, wait. Here's another panel.


spider-man taking on absorbing
				man while still wearing civilian pants.

Beautiful linework, great layout. Note that Peter is still wearing his civilian pants? That's very important when we get to this issue's cliffhanger ending.

Creed is doing his hits with an "associate" from the Owl in tow. A girl. Here's a nice panel of her dodging something from Spider-Man.


mystery girl dodges web

That "something from Spider-Man" is a spider web, incidentally.

All in all, great Absorbing Man segment.

Now let's go to the Superman segment. Yes the Superman segment.

I was totally against the inclusion of Superman/Clark Kent in Marvel Knights Spider-Man because it was too much cheese on top of the spaghetti but now I have some second thoughts about that objection. It wasn't so bad. Truth is I enjoyed it a bit. Clark Kent and Peter Parker are paired by J. Jonah Jameson as a team. The whole Absorbing Man thing breaks out and both Peter and Clark get into costume (separately) and they both have a piece of the action. No show-worthy Superman panels except this one.


superman lifting absorbing man

Yeah, Superman is ok. I wonder how Hudlin is going to resolve this one though? It's always good when a writer dares something this big and I don't know how he'll end it.

The end of this issue, on the other hand, is this cliffhanger.


mystery girl with peter
				parker's wallet

Remember that panel shown above with Spider-Man still wearing Peter's pants? We'll Mr. Parker's wallet was still in those pants and Ms. Whats-Her-Name, the Absorbing Man's erswhile companion, found the wallet. Ergo she knows who Spider-Man is, the Absorbing Man knows who Spider-Man is, and the Owl knows who Spider-Man is. Now, that's trouble.

Posted - July 19, 2014 | Updated : August 27, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man 15
Wild Blue Yonder Part Three


I'm not sure whether to consider writer Reginald Hudlin a shirker or wonderfully creative. I'm of two minds about his Marvel Knights Spider-Man #15. For one thing Reginald went to Action Comics #1, that's right DC's Action Comics #1 and just "borrowed" several pages from that iconic work to include in Marvel Knights Spider-Man #15 . No kidding. They even have the Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster artwork. See here . . .


siegel & shuster inspired art

Maybe the right statement is he was inspired by the classic Superman story. Yeah, that's it.

Maybe shirker is not the right word at all. I don't think it's about of laziness, it's very tongue-in-cheek and quite entertaining. The slight changes that Hudlin makes to the Superman story are worth noting. First is the spacecraft that young Superman lands in.


kirby spacecraft

Yup, that's a Jack Kirby spacecraft complete with Kirby dots.. I almost said Marvel spacecraft but the King also did a lot of DC work in the seventies.

Next from Mr. Hudlin is this panel.


healthy urges from mom and dad

Yup, Mom has healthy urges and Dad "shocks the monkey", "slaps the salami", you know when he's not "taking one-eye to the optometrist".

The cherry on top of Marvel's Superman sundae is this.


superman asks to be spider-man's
				apprentice

That's right, Superman is now Spider-Man's apprentice. Oh yeah.

On the art front, Billy Tan is joined by Mark Buckingham. Tan's visuals were good to begin with but Buckingham's involvement gives everything a noticeable polish. Here's a very close up view of Spider-Man with the police in the background.


spider-man with police in
				the background

The panel below would have been a really great panel if they had gotten the two small upper left panels out of the way.


spider-man swings

Wow. That building in the background. Really good.

Clark is going around with a hodgepodge costume with a half mask just like The Shadow minus the hat. So, of course, Peter will recognize him. Superman has x-ray vision so he can see through the Spider-Man mask so he knows Spidey is Peter. This is a good move on Hudlin, the whole secret identity thing was frayed from the time Peter and Clark went into action against Absorbing Man last issue.

Let's to take a peek at Absorbing Man and his mystery partner. They are just now reporting to their boss.


owl close-up

This is Wolverine's big brother, the Owl. In a Kingpin-less world (temporary I'm sure) he's the top mob boss.

And now a new player joins us.


the punisher

Thank God for the costume because that face is not recognizable to me as Frank Castle - its both leaner and younger than what I'm used to - I was raised on the John Romita Jr. version of the Punisher.

The Punisher manages to shoot the Absorbing Man while Creel is in human form. He panics but Ms. Whats-Her-Name gives him great advice.


mystery girl gives
				absorbing man some advice

Lastly, let's tackle Peter's lost wallet. If it was you what would you do? Would you ask for help? From whom? My first thought is Dr. Strange. But for a lost wallet? That's a bit insulting to the Doctor isn't it? Maybe Professor X? Same situation. The thing is, a lost wallet is extremely embarrassing for Spider-Man. Aunt May getting kidnapped he can ask help from the big guns, but a lost wallet? Peter, ever the genius, has recourse to Hank Pym, specifically to Pym's Ant-Man powerset.

Well, look at lucky Hank Pym.


hank pym and spider-man
				in hank's country house

Nice house in the country, able to do what he loves at leisure. It must be heaven to be part of the 1%. And as a bonus, he gets to bone Janet Van Dyne.

So Peter has to do the very difficult thing of telling Dr. Pym that he lost his wallet. The reaction is understandable.


hank pym spews coffee
				at spider-man

Look at the two panels above. First panel, Pym lets fly with the coffee. And the second panel shows that Spider-Man moved aside to dodge and is now facing the other way. It' s a very small detail but these attention to detail really adds up and is very much appreciated.

Back in Marvel Knights Amazing Spider-Man #12, the Green Goblin made a comment about the Parker genius that invented web fluid. Here Pym makes the same comment but this time its about the Parker genius that created the Spider Tracer.


hank pym and spider-man

Both comments are along the lines of "why are you engaging in slugfests when you should be in the lab?". Man, if Peter went in the lab exclusively the whole Marvel empire would collapse.

So this issue? The Superman thing is getting old. The Absorbing Man subplot is good, let's go with that. Plotting seems to be all over the place. Art is solid though. It's enough to make me curious about issue 16. No cliffhangers this time around which I find really refreshing.

Posted - July 19, 2014 | Updated : August 27, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man 16
Wild Blue Yonder Part Four


Ever since the creative team of Reginald Hudlin and Billy Tan debuted in Marvel Knights Spider-Man #13 I've been on their case and not in a nice way. Every issue since 13 is better than the last one and finally, here in issue 16, this creative team has turned out an amazing issue.

We start off simply with this panel.


absorbing man and mystery
				girl

On the left Absorbing Man in massive seven-feet tall steel form great to look at. And on the right Ms. Whats-Her-Name matches steel with cleavage and, in my opinion, comes out the winner. This panel just makes me feel good and settles me for the rest of the comic. By the way, the car is a Hummer but Creel makes it look like a subcompact.

Ms. Whats-Her-Name still doesn't have a name yet but the Owl reveals that she is an assassin from the Hand. Not familiar with the Hand? They're a ninja organization. Their most famous agent is Elektra. This means Ms. Whats-Her-Hame is a badass.


The big thing this issue is what happens to the Absorbing Man. Crusher Creel is a junkie and junkies are famous for botching things up. Creel and Ms. Whats-Her-Name had two days to get rid of a list of the Owl's rivals. The deadline has passed and they haven't completed the list - this gives the Owl's rivals a chance to counterattack. Because Creel isn't heavy on the communication department, Ms Whats-Her-Name unjustly manages to convince the Owl that its all Absorbing Man's fault. In true Maggia fashion the Owl decides to get rid of the Absorbing Man. This is how they do it.

spider-man omnibus

Absorbing Man was shot by the Punisher. He absorbed the steel quality of the bullet to save himself but the slug is still inside him. So Ms. Whats-Her-Name gives him cocaine and convinces him to absorb it so the bullet can go out of him (the logic of this line of reasoning is lost on me). So Creel does as he's told . . .


absorbing man snorting cocaine

He feels sleepy.


cocaine absorbing man getting sleepy

Guys with fans come in and literally blow him away.


absorbing man in powder form scattered
				by fans

The mob scrape "Cocaine Creel" off the walls. Bag him. And they plan to make a profit by selling him.


the owl, mystery woman, two
				henchmen and a cart of cocaine kilos that used to be absorbing man

Question: Is Crusher Creel dead? Hell no, I've seen these "particle superhumans", Sandman, Hydro-Man, they get scattered, it takes sometime, but they are able to recreate themselves. I'm pretty sure Absorbing Man can do this too - although how he does it after he's snorted by a bunch of people would be "interesting" to see.

Ok here they are: Superman and Spider-Man.


supeman and spider-man

Superman, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.


supeman, spider-man, and the fantastic four

Reed Richards does a lot of tests on this mysterious new hero and its confirmed: He's one costume change and hair dye away from becoming a DC copyright infringement. By the way, Billy Tan renders the Thing just right. Other artists screw up the proportions or make Ben Grimm too undersized.

Remember last issue when Spidey asked Ant-Man for some help with his wallet? Check out the really cool way Ant-Man tells Spider-Man that the wallet has been found.


ant man's ants forming a 
				message for spider-man

Here's a unique panel from Billy Tan. The view from ant-size.


the view from ant-size

Talk about legs that go on forever.

Oh look at this!


virtue using energy blasts

That is NOT a Superman power. Henceforth we will stop referring to Virtue as Superman. Yes, he's name's Virtue. Miss the Superman moniker yet?

Once again, Billy Tan with a great Spider-Man/Virtue panel.


spider-man and virtue fighting
				the good fight

Peter gets his wallet back but Ms. Whats-Her-Hame knows that he's Peter Parker. So Peter decides to threaten her.


peter talking to mystery girl

Peter doesn't know she's a Hand agent, if he did he would know that the threat of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't do squat to scare the Hand. Anyway Ms. Whats-Her-Name gets to escape this issue - she doesn't even have a name yet for heaven's sake.

Ok, now the truth about Virtue. Virtue is a Skrull that escaped the destruction of the Skrull homeworld by Galactus. Virtue is the son of the creator of the Super-Skrull and his Dad gave him massive powers prior to sending him to Earth. Awesome! - and familiar


galactus and a spaceship

Posted - July 19, 2014 | Updated : August 27, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man 17
Wild Blue Yonder Part Five


Ignore the cover, Peter doesn't get beaten up this issue - at least not that much.

Two subplots in this issue. One is about what happens to the "Absorbing Man cocaine". The other is about Virtue the Skrull.

Let's talk about Virtue first.

A little backgrounder. Reed Richards conducted experiments and found out that the mysterious Superman knockoff known as Virtue was a Skrull. A very special Skrull - someone along the lines of a the Super-Skrull. Virtue doesn't know this about himself.

He's very naive, Virtue is, hehehe, he thinks that a pair of glasses can hide his secret identity, hehehe. I just comfort myself that somwhere along the DC comics line, good old DC is also having fun at Marvel's expense. Anyway, Virtue's secret identity is blown. That being so, its really the most ass-backwards time to don a mask.


virtue talks to spider-man

Hehehe. Talk about locking he barn door when the horse has escaped. Country hick. Hicksville. Funny. If writer Hudlin keeps this up Virtue will end up in the pages of Archie Comics.

Anyway, Virtue, in a state of much confusion, goes back to his home in Iowa. The FF are already there. They meet Virtue's father who's good for a few laughs. Check out the nearly-lame Thing joke.


virtue's father, a spaceship,
				the fantastic four in a field in iowa

Do you know what 'Monsterism' is? Monsterism is like Racism only it applies to monsters. There are Racists, there are also Monsterists. Virtue is a Monsterist. He flies towards a gathering comprising his Dad and the FF and guess who he picks as the major threat? You guessed it, my favorite Marvel hero.


virtue tackles the thing

Mr. Grimm, could you please teach this Monsterist some manners?


the thing slams virtue

Thank you.

Next we have the spaceship that Virtue came from, it comes alive and it hits him with something. Some kind of ray and it changes him like this.


virtue lifting the thing

Part of me is happy that the dumb ox is gone and the other part is . . .no . . . I'm happy that the dumb ox is gone. Apparently what we have here is a Skrull Champion and an issue of Marvel Knights Spider-Man is transforming itself to an issue of the Fantastic Four right in front of my very eyes.

At least that's what I thought until Virtue had a crisis and went all "Sentry" on us.


virtue goes berserk

And he flies right out of this issue. I'm sure we'll see him in the next one.

Now let's talk about the second subplot: The Absorbing Man.

A little background: The Absorbing Man changed to cocaine last issue and was packed and sold on the streets by the mob. Yup, its hilarious.

So the junkies start snorting Absorbing Man and this happens.


a girl absorbs a couch

Notice the girl has "absorbed" the couch?

People who snort "Absorbing Man" cocaine gain the powers of the Absorbing Man (powers given to him by Loki) for an hour.

In the commentaries for Marvel Knights Spider-Man #16 I mentioned that "particle superhumans" like Sandman, Hydro-Man, and Klaw had a way of "regrouping" themselves after getting scattered. I surmised that Absorbing Man would do the same. Here's one of he's particles right now.


one of absorbing man's 
				particles

Here's the regrouping.


absorbing man regrouping

Each particle is body fluid (yuck!) from a cocaine user. Before long . . .


close-up of absorbing man

I wish I could say that Crusher is mad because he had to assemble himself from the collected snot and whatnot of junkies but this is his normal temperament.

Posted - July 19, 2014 | Updated : August 27, 2015

The first thing that caught my attention this issue was a panel were Spider-Man is spinning the Owl while making with the witty patter.


spider-man spinning the owl

While this is going on, a furious Absorbing Man starts attacking.


absorbing man attacks

An early casualty is Ms. Whats-Her-Hame.


mystery girl dies

I was expecting that at some point we would have a name or a code name on her. But she's dead and we don't even get to know her name.

That's so cool.

I've been calling him Superman. Then he called himself Virtue. Now he's back.


tiller

With a much better costume and a new moniker: "Tiller". As in the guy who separates the wheat from the chaff - a biblical reference. This is one very religious Skrull. Personally I prefer the name "International Harvester".

I've been looking for eye beams and now we have them.


tiller hits absorbing man with
				eye beams

Since last issue part of Marvel Knights Spider-Man has become a Fantastic Four comic (not a complaint). We catch up on the foursome in Lousiana backcountry or is it the Florida Everglades. Anyway its a wet marshy land with lots of alligators.


the ff in the marshes

The Thing is perfect for wrestling alligators. Impenetrable, rocky hide, super-strength. I've watched Swamp People , the Thing would make quota, no problem.

Meanwhile, the Tiller begins to become aware of his true nature.


tiller using the internet

And its through the Internet, of course, or that might be the Daily Bugle intranet he's accesssing.

Just look at this.


the owl inside his limo

Totally ridiculous slash amusing. The inside of the Owl's car is bigger than my apartment. Things can get really exaggerated in the comics (wait, don't tell me, there's a real limo with this dimensions, right?).

Here's a great Absorbing Man vs. Spider-Man panel by Billy Tan.


absorbing man vs. 
				spider-man

Billy Tan has been making Absorbing Man gigantic ever since Marvel Knights Spider-Man #14 I really like that rendition of the character. I don't recall Creel being oversized in past Thor and Avengers issues I've read though.

Once again, Spider powers + Peter Parker brains = deadly combination. In terms of smarts Creel is in the opposite side of the spectrum from Peter. The Absorbing Man is very reactive, I'm referring to his tendency to automatically "absorb" anything he comes into contact with. The Absorbing Man doesn't have to absorb everything he touches, he just does. Its tempting to imagine someone more cerebral wielding the Absorbing Man's powers. Someone who would observe the materials in the immediate area, come up with a reasonable, and flexible plan of attack or defense; on what materials are ideal to do the job. Implement and adjust as necessary. That would be one heck of a formidable foe. But we have Creel who absorbs the first chemical Peter throws at him. And here he gets into contact with the second chemical.


spider-man pouring 
				a chemical on absorbing man

Peter Parker, the science whiz has made Creel absorb a chemical that in combination with this second substace results in . . .


explosion

First of all, never let it be said that the Absorbing Man didn't leave this story arc with a bang. Second, he's fine. The Absorbing Man is one of Marvel's toughest characters. Looking forward to seeing him, somewhere, soon.

So how does a guy who always thought he was human, waitaminute, its worst than that. So how does a born-again Christian take the news that he's a Skrull? Not well. As you can see, the Avengers needed to be called in.


tiller vs. the avengers

There's lots of destruction of property but not because of malice. It's more from shock and grief really. These series of panels shows us the happey ending writer Reginald Hudlin gives to Superm - no, Virtue, nope, The Tiller, cool, but no. Ethan, he's name is Ethan.


the tiller is human

Not only do we have a happy ending we also have a fantastic "sleeper"character for Marvel to use in future storylines. Where was Ethan during Secret Invasion by the way?

This is not only the ending of the issue its also the ending of the "Wild Blue Yonder" story arc. Not only that we also bid goodbye to the creative team of Reginald Hudlin and Billy Tan. Six issues ago this team started out choking and unsure but ended up earning the right to handle Marvel's premiere character. It's been a joy to see the improvement from one issue to the next of the last six issues. Thanks guys!

Posted - July 20, 2014 | Updated : August 27, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man 19
The Other Part Two


This issue is part of a multi-story arc involving all the Spider-Man titles, that's why we are beginning with part two here in Marvel Knights Spider-Man. We also have a change in creative teams as veteran writer Peter David comes in with artist Pat Lee.

Let's talk about Pat Lee's art.

It's ugly.

Simplistic. Rough. And Curious.

That's right. Curious. There's a different handling of the foreground and background parts of a panel. Look at this.


art sample

And this.


art sample

It's a "digital" quality.

Beyond that, during the early part of the story Peter is talking to Steve Rogers and MJ and his face is like this.


peter parker

No expression whatsover. And during the conversation the face doesn't change and I form the opinion that Pat Lee can't draw expressive faces. Turns out I was wrong. Peter was supposed to look that way. I'll explain later.

The reason I know I was wrong on Pat Lee's ability to draw faces is because of these series of panels.


mj watching tv

That's MJ watching Peter on tv in a bar. Look at the subtle facial expression changes as the newsreel progresses. Pat Lee can do faces just fine.

Then it hit me. MANGA. Pat Lee seems to be a manga artist.

Oh shit.

Remember Marvel Knights Spider-Man 5 where the biggest thing was a piece of paper? A credit card final notice? Well the piece of paper is back.


medical diagnosis

This time its not a credit card bill. Its a medical diagnosis of some sort. Serious enough so that the mood it creates permeates the whole story. This explains Peter's "wooden" expression early on in the issue.

Peter David shows his skill with dialogue in this funny banter about the remote control.


mj

Pat Lee also shows his stuff with this Iron Man/Spider-Man panel.


iron man and spider-man

Some nutjob has been stalking MJ and has an "incident"with her at a bar. Excellent panel sequence by Pat Lee.


bar shooter

MJ being MJ, she deals with the problem directly.


guy gets hit in the nuts

Also in this issue is the mysterious Morlun who is kind enough to tell us about himself.


morlun

We also have a tedious page and a half of psychoanalysis of Peter Parker by Peter David through MJ. Something about Peter having a morbid fatalism based on the death of his Uncle Ben. David/MJ actually makes a good point about Peter, time an time again, running out of web fluid at the most inopportune moments but he never builds an indicator gauge on the shooters, as if he wants to run out of web, intentionally putting himself in deadly danger - good point. Interestingly, to this day, no indicator guage. I'm bracing myself for more of this page long psychoanalysis from Peter David going forward. Tedious but informative; I hope he doesn't go overboard.

Till next issue.

Posted - July 20, 2014 | Updated : August 27, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man 20
The Other Part Five


It seems Peter David's stint last issue was temporary. Reginald Hudlin is back and (sigh) so is Pat Lee.

Oh well. Marvel Knights Spider-Man jumps from Part Two to Part Five of The Other storyline where we find ourselves in one of my favorite places in the Marvel Universe - quaint little Latveria.


a latverian square

Hmmm, it seems Doctor Doom is on one of his "disappearances". As you can see below, even with the rumor of the dreaded Doctor's demise, people won't take any chances past the curfew.


curfew at latveria

I take it that violating a Latverian curfew isn't something you can simply get fined for.

Peter is in Latveria with Aunt May and MJ.


spider-man with aunt may
				and mj both in iron man armor

Where's Aunt May and MJ you ask? Aunt May is in the gun metal Mark I armor and MJ is in the gold Iron Man Mark II armor so generously lent to them by Tony Stark because. Well. Because in Latveria, if you're out past the curfew, you are well advised to either have super-powers or some near equivalent, like, in this case, Iron Man's armor. And to drive home the point of how dangerous this place is, just check out this mutated monster that jumps at Peter from out of a Latverian moat.


giant mutant fish 
				attacks spider-man

The point of this little trip is to get to the most famous time machine in all of Marvel: Doctor Doom's time transportation platform. And the purpose of getting to the time machine is to go on a nostalgic trip to the past. You heard that right: NOSTALGIC TRIP TO THE PAST. No crisis. No super-villains. Just a little trip down memory lane. Why? Because Peter Parker is dying and he wants to see his parents one more time.

And so off they go. Here is Mr. and Mrs. Parker and a very young Pete.


peter parker's parents

Peter, young and hot-blooded, is very emotional. This trip is a bit hard on him.


peter parker runs after
				his parents

Aunt May, old and wise, simply enjoys it for what it is.


peter,mj and aunt may in the
				past

And what is it? It's the ultimate three-dimensional, surround sound photo album. The things we could do with this right? I would head over to the past and talk some goddamn sense to myself - I'm not above beating myself up a bit if I prove to be too hard-headed.

Back from the trip and in Doc Doom's castle, as expected, the Doombots try to take out the Spider.


spider-man being attacked by
				doombots

Backup provided by Iron Man armors I and II.


iron man armor mark I and II
				in blast mode

Peter is worried about - understandably worried - about leaving MJ and Aunt May without money. So he comes upon a a plan to use his spider-sense to win at the gambling tables in Vegas. Brilliant.


peter parker in the casino

Peter pushes his streak so much so that casino security suspect him of counting cards. Dumb.


peter parker getting accosted by casino security

Knowing that he is terminal, Tony Stark is on hand to pretty much grant Peter his dying wishes - including a romantic earth orbit getaway with MJ. During this near space interlude MJ says something quite profound.


peter and mj talking

She thanks Peter for sharing himself during his final days instead of retreating and cutting everybody off. I never quite looked at it that way, but MJ is right.

The second to the last panel of this issue is the most powerful panel of the issue. Aunt May knows that Peter is dying. He will die before her. Her Peter. The little boy she raised as her own. The one person in the world that loves her most. The one family she has. I'll let the panel speak for itself.


aunt may crying

Posted - July 20, 2014 | Updated : August 27, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man #21
The Other Part Eight


I've been waiting for them to rotate Pat Lee out of drawing Marvel Knights Spider-Man but they've been switching writers instead. This time its J. Michael Straczynski.

What a total yuckfest of an issue (no, I'm not referring to the art).

Part of an early panel in the issue is self-explanatory.


mj hugs aunt may

Yes, we get to see what's it like AFTER the death of Peter Parker.

It's not so cut and dried for the super-hero set as Tony explains.


tony stark talks to mj

Tony goes through - wih MJ - some morbid options about crushing this, burning that. Necessary disfigurements to disguise a super-hero's - in this, case Peter's - true cause of death and therfore, to protect his identity to the very end. It takes a full page and, man, it is some ghastly dialogue.

One shock is followed by another. Here's Wolverine.


mj slaps wolverine

Naturally, MJ slaps the hell out of him. Here's why he did it.


wolverine

Talk about self-inflicted injury. You didn't have to "care" for MJ that much Logan. This is why society invented the phrase "please accept my condolences". How a person takes the death of his or her loved ones is that person's watch. And yes, I say this with full knowledge that someday it's going to be me that has to suffer a loss.

As you can tell by now, this is not your typical super-hero issue.

I'm beginning to appreciate the unique kind of hero Captain America is. Aunt May has been devastated but Steve Rogers is there for her.


steve rogers
				comforting aunt may

Now the issue starts to creep up the gross-o-meter. Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves, its Peter Parker's corpse


peter parker's 
				corpse

With a huge, unexplainable gash right in the middle of it.

The room Peter was in was initially believed as having been broken into but Cap has a different analysis.


steve rogers

We end the issue with a totally yucky, slimy, maybe even smelly(yuck!) cocoon under the bridge.


yucky cocoon

Pass me the barf bag and I'll see you next issue.

Posted - July 20, 2014 | Updated : August 27, 2015


Marvel Knights Spider-Man 22
The Other Part Eleven


It is the penultimate issue of The Other storyline and the last issue of Marvel Knights Spider-Man. The numbering will be preserved but the new series title will be Sensational Spider-Man. I suppose we should just be thankful that it isn't Sesame Street Spider-Man.. Sounds as if gritty and serious will become sweet and light.

Anyway, on to this issue.

In the fine, gross-out tradition of last issue, we have this.


spider-man pursuing something

It seems like some kind of humanoid sludge flying around the city. To make matters worst, "it" came from the corpse of Peter Parker. And to make that worst, Peter Parker came from the corpse of Peter Parker.

Yes, Peter Parker has been reborn. And he has new stuff like these.


spidey stingers

Peter calls them stingers. I kow they're stingers, but I'm still shaking my head and asking "Why?".

The creature talks with Peter.


creature talking

I did not understand her meaning? What did she say?

Let's end it with a good Pat Lee panel.

Here is Dr.Strange and Peter Parker.


dr. strange and spider-man

The Doctors hands seem a tad too small and they appear twisted. The colors of both heroes just go together.

Like the previous issue this one ends with something gross.


cocoon

actually the subject is gross but the panel looks painstakingly done.

Wow twenty-two issues, what a short series. I consider the first twelve issues by Millar and Dodson to be the "classic" Marvel Knights Spider-Man, true to the dark and gritty intention of the series, the next six issues by Hudlin and Tan are more mainstream in nature. The Hudlin/Tan team began badly but improved from issue to issue and ended well. The Other storyline, which comprise the last few issues of the series. Well, this is the point when Marvel Knights Spider-Man gets hijacked by the needs of hosting this rather gross crossover story arc.

As I understand this all this craziness was done to conform to the Spider-Man movie where Peter's webs are organic. .