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Comics Reviewlution: Giant Flash Annual, Ultimate Spider-Man
Reviewed by Kenn McCracken, ©

Format: Comics
Review Date:  
RevSF Rating:   10/10 and 8/10 and 10/10 and 10/10 (What Is This?)

Ken, my friend Joe keeps annoying me so you must suffer with me!!!!!!!!!! Get the comics reviewlution done already!!!!! Or you shall suffer my wrath!!! He keeps asking me and asking me and asking me and I say, "No, not yet." And then he asks again!!!! So review something!!! Anything!!!!!

Please . . . .? (mnewman@tulane.edu)

I know that none of you have any way of knowing that I am telling the truth, but it's nearly 4 AM on Saturday morning. October 6, 2001, 3:50 AM. Just for you, mnewman@tulane.edu, and your friend Joe, I present the October 3 Comics Reviewlutionô -- so next time, add the second 'n' to my name.

Giant Flash Annual (1963) [reprint] (DC Comics, $6.95) This is one of the best reprint books you could ever invest in. Bar none. Period. Go get it yesterday.

The silver age books are really hit and miss, especially if you have grown up on the comics that came out of the 1990s. They read as cheesy and cartoony -- which, honestly, is half the magic. The other half is the innocence that infuses the books, and this is, in this respect among many others, one of the best. The artwork and cover by Carmine Infantino should be more than enough to get you off your ass and down to the local comic shop -- and if they aren't, there's something wrong with you.

Seriously. (10 out of 10)

Amazing Spider-Man #35 (Marvel Comics, $2.25) Straczynski is doing a great job with revitalizing this title; let me say that up front so no one takes this wrong way. I haven't enjoyed the treatment of Spider-Man since the clone nightmare, but JMS changed that.

Now I add that his first major arc was wonderful until this issue. For all the challenging of the status quo, we get a lackluster and disappointing ending to the confrontation with the seemingly unbeatable Morlun. I like the mechanism of Morlun's defeat (especially given that it allows for a nice emotional debate without changing the essence of Peter Parker), but the execution is too quick, too speedy. Granted, with the build up that it was given, it would have been hard to reach this conclusion without drawing out the storyline unnecessarily. Still, it felt like it was over before it started; perhaps it will read better when collected into a trade paperback.

On another note, John Romita, Jr.'s art is a joy, as always. At times (that is, in one specific panel) it is impossible not to think of the X-Men arc featuring Kulan Gath, one of my all-time favorites, and that's a nice moment.

There is one very strong reason to read this issue, though, and that's the setup that JMS provides for future arcs. It seems as though this title is headed toward confronting real-life issues, and I'm very interested to see if Straczynski handles this as well as I expect. (8 out of 10)

Ultimate Spider-Man #14 / Ultimate X-Men #10 (Marvel Comics, $2.25 each) Yeah, these are two separate books in one review. Eat me.

Both titles are exemplary of the idea behind the Ultimates line: reimagine and redefine the core characters of the Marvel Universe for a new generation of readers. Both Brian Bendis and Mark Millar have taken nearly unmanageable concepts and reshaped them into streamlined, beautiful worlds. You see the situations and characters that you are so familiar with, and then watch as they take on a new, often more natural life. Nothing feels wrong or forced -- this is the most honest form of story-retelling.

Ultimate X-Men is worth buying if only for the scene featuring Marvel Girl; Ultimate Spider-Man is worth buying and rereading obsessively if only for the new Gwen Stacy.

Did I mention that I'm in love with both of them? (10 out of 10)

Unquantified, shameless mark rant of the week: Doom Patrol #1 (DC Comics, $2.50) This book is so good that it's guaranteed to get canceled within a year. Do your part to avoid this: buy the damn book in multiple copies, and share it with your friends. (10 out of 10)

Kenn McCracken is Comics Editor for RevolutionSF.

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