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411’s Comic Reviews: Superman #1, Spider-Man #1, More

July 19, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Superman 1

Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review Roundtable! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.

Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!

Yesterday we discussed our Thoughts on Marvel’s What If? Returning!”

Now on with the show!

Dead Kings #1

Preview by Stephen Gustafson


Thrice-Nine took Sasha’s brother, and it took Maria’s heart.

Plagued by the ramifications of a techno-magic world now thirty years gone, Thrice-Nine is a dirty folklore world that limps along, degenerating into a place filled with paranoia and poison. Sasha Vasnetsov thought he’d escaped all that, but when news comes that his younger brother has been kidnapped by the secret police, he finds himself dragged back into the madness with a simple goal—to find his brother.

But Sasha is going to need help to do this, and he enlists Maria Kamenaya, a former warrior with hundreds of enemy kills to her name, who was betrayed by the very country she served. This quest is how they get both of those things back, in the lawless land of decapitated states…the land of DEAD KINGS.

Written by Steve Orlando (Batman/Shadow, Crude, Midnighter, VIRGIL) and drawn by Matthew Dow Smith (October Girl, Suicide Squad, X-Files) DEAD KINGS is an in-depth exploration of retribution, in all its dark, complex forms.

Writer Orlando talked about the book saying, ““DEAD KINGS is a Post-Post-Apocalypse. The human spirit, and species, is enduring, even after we’ve invoked science and sorcery to drive ourselves to global war. In DEAD KINGS, there is no mystery to magic, it’s simply assets and technology, and like any other type of dangerous technology, we’ve abused it to create massive diesel-punk war machines that nearly destroyed the world. But the world’s crawling back, and in Thrice-Nine, the kingdom that used to be the Slavic Empire, anarchy rules. The Oprichniki, Secret Police without a Captain, run the loose nation as a police state, the Wild Wild East…rounding up anyone who disagrees with them or lives against their standards. The worlds been burnt and born again, but these human drives remain. Sasha Vasnetsov is on a quest to free his brother Gena from a work camp for the socially regressive. He never accepted Gena until he was kidnapped, and now Sasha has promised to liberate his brother and return with him to their mother before the end of her fiftieth year. He’s going to need help…and he finds it in Maria Kamenaya, an abandoned iron soldier and survivor of the Great Iron War that almost killed the world.

This is Russian Folklore to the tune of Blade Runner 2049, and it’s going to take you to a world you’ve never seen…the world a generation after the end of the world, where the first sprouts of goodness are fighting to grow up through the cracks.

Please, come with us, and help them thrive.”

Superman #1

Review by RobF

This is the Superman we have been waiting for. After a fine debut Brian Bendis and Ivan Reis
have found their stride and has given us a great story. The Earth is in grave danger, somehow
transported in the Phantom Zone. And Superman has a decision to make, one that can major implications. To top it all off, Superman’s family is still missing.

The Fortress of Solitude is gone, his wife and son somewhere in the stars. Problems that cannot be solved with his might. It’s a new normal for Superman, and he doesn’t know quite how to deal with it. On top of it all the Martian Manhunter comes to him with a request: to lead the world. Superman never thinks himself as a leader, but he is, at least by example. But he hasn’t stepped up and asserted his will on the people. It’s an interesting request, one I’m sure Superman (and Bendis) will wrestle with for some time. Bendis is at his best here, challenging Supes physically, mentally and emotionally. Something has to give.

Reis, inker Joe Prado and colorist Alex Sinclair are all on point. They complement each other
perfectly. The Superman/Manhunter sequence works because the harmony between the 3 is so strong.

Superman needs a purpose, something other that battling villains. Bendis and Co. are exploring this search. It’s a strong start with the potential for more.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

Spider-Man #1

Review by John Pumpernickel

Am I the only one who has become completely numb to #1 issues? They could take away the numbering system and I: A) Not notice and B) Not care.

Marvel gives us Amazing Spider-Man #1, written by Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley on art duties. Why a #1? Because they are taking over for Dan Slott, who had a 10-year run with the web-slinger.

Big shoes to fill so why not a #1?

Amazing Spider-Man #1 does what a #1 is supposed to do. Give new readers a jumping on point while at the same time giving longtime readers something new to chew on. Spencer crunches what came before without dumbing things down or stepping all over on the history that’s been established. But fans have some changes to absorb.

Otterly’s art is solid and I’m curious to see how he matures with the book. He conveys action and quieter moments with epic punch. He has a fun style and suits the story just fine.

You know what you get with Peter Parker. Spencer streamlines things a bit, taking away some elements some people have gotten used to like Parker’s doctorate and journalism career. Spider-Man’s place among other superheroes is unbalanced, giving him a little more of an edge.

Perhaps the biggest “surprise” is the return of Mary Jane as a romantic interest. Too soon to call and something that will play huge in the future.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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