A comic sandwich. Put three pieces of DC between two slices of Marvel and you've got an above average week.
I didn’t read any advance discussions on this book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As it sits, it very much reminds me of DC’s Detective Comics or Action Comics. The stories show us characters in the web slingers universe without really showing Spidey until the last story. The return of Kaine by J.M. DeMatteis is actually the weakest of the three stories; delving into a character that hasn’t been seen since the end of the Clone Saga. Slightly interesting, but not worth the money on its own. Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz seem to rise to the occasion though, with Spider-Girl. Now I’ve never read one issue of this comic when it was out, and now I wish I had. This story was fun and the characters were extremely interesting. I may have to delve into this young lady just a bit more. The final story is by one of my favorite writers, Sean McKeever. The return of Frog-Man is cute, and I mean that in all the right ways. The art, by Stephanie Buscema, compliments this story perfectly. I hope these two stick together on this title. Not the best I’ve ever read, but I’m all about fun, and the last story has it. My Score: B-
A beautiful tale of two friends, best friends, who have gone through so much in their young lives; come together for a heart to heart. Conner and Tim, together again! It’s a beautiful piece of work that Geoff Johns executes in high style. Superboy continues his list, and his search for the elusive Lex Luthor. Deciding he needs the help of a top notch detective, he goes to his best pal, Red Robin. There are some great moments here during their conversation, but none compare to the moment when Tim insists that Bruce is alive, and Conner replies simply: “I believe you.” Johns really gets the friendship that these two have. Though the issue lacked in moving the plot forward at all, it made up with such a nice character piece. My Score: B+
These Blackest Night minis could be tough. They have to mean something to the readers as well as the characters; however, we all know that the end of these diversions, you’re not going to see a huge leap forward in plot. So what is left... character pieces? Yep, and that’s exactly what we have here. If you are a fan of both Dick Grayson and Tim Drake, this entire series is a pleasure to read. Tim fans, especially, will enjoy the personal angst that is pulled from this young boy who has probably lost more loved ones in his life than Bruce and Dick put together. Like I said, there’s no huge twist at the end, but Tomasi does a great job reminding us how much these two young men have lost, and that there bond as brothers will not be fully broken anytime soon. My Score: B
Since we’re on the topic of Batman, let’s continue a bit longer with the second half of the Azrael story. The first part was very enjoyable, and the conclusion is just as strong. Fabian brings the strong arm of God back with a vengeance, and enough mystery to make me want to read more. Though the best part of this story was the interaction between Batman and The Question. If you were around for any of the original Batman/Question dialogue, you may want to check this out. Two different people behind two very familiar masks. That alone makes this a worth while read. My Score: B
Finally! The greatest of all comic book villains reappears. Okay, so maybe he’s only the greatest in the world of me, but he’s back! The question is how to bring back the oldest and deadliest of the X-Men’s foes. He’s been a savior, a mass murderer, even a baby. So where to place him in the next chapter of the evolution of mutant kind? Let’s make him a follower of Cyclops! Not that I believe this for one minute, but whatever Magneto’s plan, Fraction and team are setting up his arrival as intriguing. Add to this the fact that we’ve got the return of Scalphunter and the continuation of the mystery of Hope (she’s Jean Grey folks!); throw in a cool cliff-hanger, and you’ve got nearly a perfect opening to a new arc... except the art. I’ve not had that much of a problem with it until now. Suddenly Magneto is looking about thirty years younger and I can’t figure out why. It kept pulling me away from the story. Still, Fraction more than makes up for this irritant with a dynamic story. My Score: B+