Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Comics!: The "Spider-Island" Edition #3 (September) (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Venom #7:  Wow.  I've had some issues with this series over the course of its run, namely the way Remender has handled the more or less constant threat of the symbiote taking over Flash.  I feel like all the bells and whistles surrounding this iteration of Venom -- the "only 20 missions," "only 48 hours in the suit" caveats -- have somehow made the central conceit of the title -- Flash's attempts to use the symbiote for good -- take a back burner.  But, Rememder goes back to basics here, using Flash's fight with Eddie Brock to focus on that conceit.  I loved how Remender uses Eddie as a religious figure here, giving a sense of the trauma of "phase two" of the disease, with people turning to religion to help them through the crisis.  It's been an undertone of Eddie's role as Anti-Venom since his transformation, and Remender brings it to its logical conclusion here.  To that end, Eddie lectures Flash on the dangers of the symbiote and Flash listens, for the first time coming to terms with the effect the symbiote has on him, something he's been denying since it first started to assert itself.  Flash's conversation with his father on his deathbed seems to be a testament to that awakening, an attempt to come to terms with his reality.  I can't wait to see where Remender goes with that idea, because I think it'll really re-energize the series.  Remender is no slouch on the "Spider-Island" aspect of the story either.  Of all the tie-in issues, the "Venom" ones are the most central to the larger plot.  We had the identity of Spider-King revealed last issue and here we see the military realize what we've known for a few issues, that Eddie Brock holds the cure.  I hadn't quite figured out the way Slott was going to use the fact that Eddie could cure the disease.  I had thought (worried), given the presence of the other-wordly Queen, that it was going to be something that defied belief, like some spell that forces Eddie to sacrifice himself.  I'm relieved to see it's the much more believable scientific approach!  Finally, I've mentioned before how impressed I am with the way the editors and authors are tying the tie-in issues to the main event and to each other.  You need no better example of how on fire they are on this front than Flash swinging past the "Cloak and Dagger:  Ready to Assist You" billboard!  All in all, it's a great issue, both in terms of the series itself and the larger event.

Spider-Island:  Spider-Woman #1:  Huh.  I was really excited about this issue, in part because I was glad to see Jessica Drew's connection to a Spidey-related story.  I thought it was odd during "Grim Hunt" that she wasn't included in the spiders that the Kravens were collecting, given that pretty much everyone else was.  So, when I saw she was going to have her own one-shot during "Spider-Island," I was excited.  After reading it, not so much.  The premise of the issue is odd.  In a "Marvel Two-in-One" issue a LONG time ago, Alicia Masters was infected by a corrupted version of Spider-Woman's mutated DNA.  As such, Reed, in the present, thinks she might have built an immunity to the Spider-Virus.  OK, what?  The Jackal's disease, if I'm not mistaken, is based on Peter's mutated DNA, not Jessica's.  Given that their mutations happened for different reasons, I'm not entirely sure why an immunity developed to Jessica's DNA would be the same as one to Peter's.  Moreover, we already pretty much have a cure, in the form of Anti-Venom, as we saw in "Venom" #7.  However, here, it's pitched like Alicia is the only person who can be used for the cure.  In the end, the whole issue becomes an eye-roll inducing exercise in Alicia "seeing" the real Jessica after Jessica makes the case that she, like Ben, is trying to overcome the person she was born as being.  This schtick also requires you to believe that Jessica views herself as more spider than person, which just seems totally odd and something I've never really seen her previously assert.  I'd say this issue is the only real loser for me so far in "Spider-Island."  (I, of course, then looked to see who wrote it, and it was my logic-challenged nemesis, Fred Van Lente, who wrote almost all the "Brand New Day" issues I hated.)

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