This week, in order to catch up and also to celebrate the recent holiday, Veggieleezy is bringing you a two-for-one showdown between Marvel and DC: FF vs. Flash and Amazing Spider-Man vs. Earth 2!
Credits & Solicit Info:
Red Books: FF #19 and Amazing Spider-Man #689
Blue Books: Flash #10 and Earth 2 #3
So because I work in a hotel, I've been a little backed up on my reviews recently, meaning I've missed the last two weeks due to having to clean up after drunken slobs and wedding parties. As such, I felt I owed it to the readers to do a double review to make up for it. It'll be shorter than my usual posts, but still hopefully good. But enough talk! Have at you!
FF #19 and Amazing Spider-Man #689:
Pros- With FF, we get a fun little story featuring the kids on a field trip to Wakanda. Nothing of major consequence but still fun to read. There are also some genuinely funny moments in this past issue. I think it'd be a good jumping on point for the series for those curious about it. The art reminds me of the Black Panther series from a few years ago. I'm not sure if it's the same art team, but it's a good look, especially considering how this issue takes place in Wakanda. Nice to look at.
As for Amazing Spider-Man, I do have to give them credit for finally doing something different with the Lizard. Every Lizard story I've seen involves Spidey trying to stop Connors from running rampant as the Lizard and curing him in the end. Here, the arc is set up as Connors is cured physically but his mind is still in "Lizard-mode". It'll be interesting to see how they fill this out. The artwork is good, consistent, and fits with the Spider-verse nicely. It's slightly cartoony but doesn't go too far removed from "reality" as it were.
Cons- I honestly didn't have that many qualms with FF, apart from a little laziness with the jokes. I mean, kicking the bad guy in the balls? Sure they're kids, but that's just too easy for me to appreciate. The issue seems to be targeted slightly more at younger readers, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just may turn some readers off because of its simplicity.
I had more issues with the last Spidey issue, however. For me, it seems too much like they're trying to cash in on the movie premiere. Sure, they were probably going to do a Lizard/Morbius arc in the near future anyway, but it feels rushed and out of place following the last arc. Oh, did I forget to mention Morbius is here? Another one-trick pony of a character? I like that they're trying to make him more of a pitiable character but having Spider-Man act like more of a dick to prove that point is forced. Also, how is no one catching on to what Connors/Lizard is doing? Are we supposed to believe that the Lizard is that good of an actor, or is everyone at Horizon just that stupid?
Flash #10 and Earth 2 #3:
Pros- With Flash, I admire how they're trying to add depth to an until recently fairly shallow character, Weather Wizard. Giving him a new backstory is an interesting choice and probably isn't that bad of an idea. The old Weather Wizard origin doesn't hold up too well compared to some of the more recent updates, so changing that story is a nice touch. Also, I like the way Manapul uses color here. I do have some problems with it, but I'll get to that later. What I like is that whenever color is used it's used appropriately. It's used to emphasize the characters' presence in the scene; each of the characters is deliberately "brighter" than the background.
Earth 2 is quickly becoming one of my favorite series. I love watching this world "begin anew", as it were, and seeing it develop. Jay Garrick learning how to use his powers, Hawkgirl being a relative veteran, Alan Scott's new origin, Solomon freaking Grundy (spoilers) coming out of nowhere, and The Atom coming up next issue? I'm loving every minute of the writing here. And the artwork? Fugeddaboudit! Hate all you want on the new costumes, I love them. They're updates on the old looks, I'll give you that, but to me they seem to have a kind of retro design about them. Jay Garrick looks like he's in a kind of Buck Rogers spacesuit outfit, Alan Scott doesn't look that far removed from his "old" costume, Hawkgirl hasn't changed very much, and I'm eager to see what the rest of the world looks like.
Cons- I had more problems with Flash than with Earth 2, as you could probably guess. Objectively speaking, there was a whole heck of a lot of "telling" and not "showing", which goes against one of the primary goals of storytelling. There are just massive walls of text on practically every other page trying to jam in so much detail and story that I felt like I was reading Superman #1 again, and I couldn't finish it, it was so dense. I mentioned before that I had a bit of a problem with the artwork. I said I appreciated how color was used, but I didn't care for which colors were used. The most prominent color on the palette was Barry's scarlet suit followed closely by Weather Wizard's outfit. Granted, those are the most appropriate choices to be the featured colors, but everything else was just so bland to the eye.
When it comes to finding flaws in Earth 2, I'm kind of digging deep to find these, I'm enjoying myself too much. Still I must don my critic hat and plunge away. I suppose they've sort of rushed Alan Scott's homosexuality as part of his character a bit. In #2, we meet his lover and he proposes, which seemed like DC was trying too hard to make up for lost time by overemphasizing it. ...and then the train explodes, bringing us to the current issue, where we now just accept he's gay but we may never see anything about it again for all we know. We went from shoving it in our faces to being a character trait that we just have to take a priori (never thought you'd see Latin in a comic review, huh?). I would like for DC to find a happy medium. No real problems with the artwork, I truly love the style, although it may be a bit similar to Lee's work, but that's a judgment call.
Winners: FF beats Flash with a kick to the nards and Earth 2 trumps Spider-Man with a fabulous new power ring! (I couldn't resist, I apologize)
Well, folks, there you have it. Two weeks of comics, and we're still at a tie. Interesting, isn't it? If I were to do a runoff between FF and Earth 2, DC would win that round easily, but that's in terms of personal enjoyment. Both books were good in their own ways and I wouldn't turn you away from either one; I'd just try to steer you towards Earth 2. As for Flash and ASM, unless you're already subscribing/pulling them, you may want to wait a little while. There wasn't much grabbing me there. Not bad stuff, just nothing terribly gripping.
Whoo. That was more in depth than I anticipated. Anyway, I hope you all had a happy holiday, and I'll see you guys next week! Teaser: it's gonna be a weird one...
Review by: Veggieleezy