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9/2/09 -- Chappy's Blue Plate Specials -- le spoils!!

Written by chap22 on Wednesday, September 02 2009 and posted in Reviews

Once again, you get a four-fer this week. Enjoy, faithful diners! {nomultithumb}


Immortal Weapons #2
immortalweapons2.jpgBride of Nine Spiders -- Not quite as good, nor nearly as heart-wrenching, as the previous issue, but this is another solid tale of the Immortal Weapons, as we shift focus this time to the mysterious, beautiful, exotic and deadly Bride of Nine Spiders. Less origin story and more horror tale than the Fat Cobra installment, Bunn's writing seems a bit clunky in the beginning where we're introduced to the Bride's ancestor/predecessor, and even clunkier when we skip ahead a century or so to present day, but once this book shifts to "haunted house" mode, it really takes off.

The Spider Queen fights off amorous advances in the distant past, only to be wounded in opening the hidden mystical gateway to her home Immortal City. Due to these wounds, she loses the mystical Singing Spider, whose song is rumored to cause vivid hallucinations and hold the secret to opening the gate. Flash forward to the present, as a young multimillionaire buys the till-living Spider at a fancy cruise auction, against the warnings of a mysterious woman who seems to know the Spider's secrets. 5 months later, the buyer has disappeared, and said woman hires an elite team of thieves to take the Spider back from the buyer's mansion. Upon their mission, the team discovers the Spider's singing has been recorded and placed on perpetual loop, causing hallucinations and apparently trapping the current Bride in the mansion, along with the buyer and his dead family. The thieves shut off the music, the Bride escapes, kills the buyer, and grants mercy on the thieves before leaving with the Spider, though all of them are scarred from the experience.

Again, the writing really starts to flow upon reaching the mansion. From there, this tale turns to pure haunted house horror, and Bunn does a great job with mood and atmosphere and a sense of dread, fear, and confusion, as the thieves struggle with the Spider-caused hallucinations and the Bride's talents. Brereton's art helps with this a lot, as his style obviously is geared toward this type story. I do feel the art suffered just a bit from having 3 inkers (made it look a bit rushed on some pages) and some colors that were a bit too bright in places, but it was still a pretty book to look at for the most part.

The Iron Fist backup was also serviceable, though this story is pretty unspectacular. I will say that Foreman's art has looked MUCH better in these short pieces than it does in a full issue. All in all, I really liked this issue.


Batman #690
batman690.jpgI'll be damned. I will be damned. 4 issues in now, and I still have ZERO complaints about Winick's Dick-as-Batman run. It is unfathomable. Here we get one of Winick's nearly-all-action books (which is one area that I've always admitted he does well), featuring Dick taking on Clayface and the souped-up ex-soldier/killer we met last issue. Dick prolongs the fight a bit to gather info, gets a little help from Alfred, then ends it decisively until the villains are aided by their benefactor, Black Mask. Down in the tunnels, we finally see how Penguin lands under Black mask's thumb (as seen already in Streets of Gotham). Meanwhile, we also learn what Two-Face needs a teleporter for (and I gotta admit, this is a nice touch...really pretty clever writing here by Winick). As the villains escape, Alfred informs Dick there's an intruder in the Cave. Upon investigating, Dick gets ambushed from behind by Two-Face, who's wearing that ghastly looking Two-Bats costume (my only complaint about this issue, and one I'll blame on editorial interference) and asking two questions, even though the answer to the first one is painfully obvious, especially to Harvey.

Bags remains Bags, delivering the crisp clean style he's known for, and making the action look good as always. Even he can't make Harvey's new costume look good, but purses and sow's ears and all that. The dialogue's sharp, the characterization is pretty much perfect (which I SURELY did not expect), the action is fun, and I'm excited to see next month's conclusion. I loved it.


Invincible Iron Man #17
ironman17.jpgI've been raving on and on that this is the best IM arc since Armor Wars, and maybe the best ever. That said, this issue felt a bit slower than the rest, almost padding, yet it was still high quality stuff. Tony's still on the run and loses the classic red-and-gold armor due to an inopportune nap, Madame Masque comes home not quite empty-handed and nearly gets killed for it anyway, Norman's still pissed and starting to lose it, Hill and the Widow get captured by HAMMER, and Pepper is allegedly dead. Things look kinda bad.

But man, it’s been fun to watch it get that way. Fraction's story continues to put Tony deeper and deeper into a hole, and Larocca's art continues to shine all the way through. Like I said, this ranks just below the previous 8 or so issues, which still in my opinion puts it ahead of about 95% or so of the rest of the all-time IM library. I can't wait to see where we go from here. I loved it.


Irredeemable #6
iredeemable6.jpgThis book continues to roll along, unraveling some mysteries while beginning new ones at the same time. Here we get some possible insight into what may be the Plutonian's childhood, or what may be the Plutonian's child (only time will tell); see the heroes running for their lives and make a startling discovery regarding Modeus (which we have to wait until next issue to find out ourselves); see one of our heroes volunteer to sacrifice for the rest's survival; and see the mission which may have truly begun the Plutonian's descent into depravity.

Ashas been the norm for this book, Waid really writes his tail off here, giving the Plutonian a personality which at times is simultaneously menacing and heartbreaking. His actions, his private moments, his facial expressions all show that his is probably not the life he would have chosen, but instead the one he has felt forced into, despite his best intentions. Power corrupts, and when small disappointments lead to grand failures, not even seemingly-absolute power can halt self-doubt, regret, and despair. And those appear to be the bricks of which his road to evil was made. Krause as usual does a fine job conveying all this as well, mixing solid action with emotive facial expressions, and small scenes with grand ones to truly convey all the fear, loathing, anger, disappointment, mistrust, shock, and pain which are found in this issue. Once again, I loved it.


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