Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spider-man's Tangled Web #5

Did you ever wonder how the Rhino sleeps or how he spends a Saturday night?  I mean, the guy is covered in enhanced rhino skin and has a horn on his head.

Ever wonder what it takes to really get under that thick skin?

This issue (along with the next) help to shed some light on the man known as the Rhino.

We open with a girl being held hostage.  There's a rumbling in the distance and the Rhino breaks through the wall.  He scoops up the girl and runs off.  She smiles at him, the Rhino's heart melts.  Then he realizes she's not smiling at him, but at Spider-man - who just happened be there w/ a full camera crew.  Rhino takes Stella (the girl he rescued) to a waiting limo, then proceeds to get his butt kicked on camera.

Rhino goes to jail, breaks out and goes to see a doctor.  Rhino wants his skin off; he can't find happiness.  He sleeps on a bed of cinder block and spends money on women who don't care whether he lives or dies.  The dude from the limo shows up while Rhino's drowning his sorrows and offers him another job protecting Stella.  He accepts and takes down the thugs holding Stella and thinks he'll get a hero's welcome.

He receives a tongue lashing; basically, Stella calls him an idoit.

So, Rhino goes to his doctor to get a procedure done - one that will give him the one thing he lacks: smarts.

Now, this is the beginning of a nice little 2 part story - the art is okay, but nothing to write home about.  It tries to be realistic, but it's kind of hard to make a guy in rhino skin look believable.  Also. at times, the line weight is way to heavy.

But, the pay off comes in the next issue.  Until then, happy reading!


Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Duncan Fegredo

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Spider-man's Tangled Web #4

After the 3 issue "The Thousand" story, Marvel offers this wonderful one-off issue called Severance Package. 

It's late at night, and a phone rings at Tom Cochrane's house and tells him to turn on the news.  It's a story about how Spider-man has foiled a delivery of illegal guns.  Tom breaks out in a could sweat and his wife starts weeping.  The phone rings again and a voice tells Tom to be ready in an hour.

Turns out Tom set up the deal that went bad and the Kingpin is pissed.  Tom puts on his nicest suit and, after contemplating taking the easy way out, leaves his family and gets in the car.

The drive is a young lackey named Richie, who recently botched a Chinatown deal.  Outside of the Kingpin's building, Tom clocks Richie, steals his gun and shoots him in the head.

In the elevator, Tom heads up to the penthouse, where the Kingpin waits.  After telling the Kingpin about Richie, Tom asks about his family.  The Kingpin tells Tom he was a reliable man and tell Tom to attack him.  Tom shots at the Kingpin, misses on purpose, and the Kingpin chokes him to death.  We close on a scene with the Kingpin on the phone telling his associate to leave Tom's family alone.

What an awesome issue.  Spider-man is in one panel, but he can be felt through out the entire story.  Does Spider-man realize his actions cause harm no matter what he does?  Had he not stopped the guns, Tom would have lived - but he kept guns off the streets, so a man died.  Heavy story.  The art is good - not great.  There are a couple stand out panels where the subtlety is the high light.

All around a satisfying read.

Well, time to go Christmas shopping.  Until then - happy reading!


Written by - Garth Ennis
Art by - Eduardo Risso

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Spider-man's Tangled Web #3

Last issue ended on a cliff hanger: Spider-man was paralyzed, tied to a chair and spiders were pouring out of his former co-worker's mouth.

This issue opens with a new kind of hero: the landlord.  He walks in just as the Thousand (what the spiders call themselves) are about to consume Spidey.  They then turn their attention toward the unfortunate guy and wear his skin like a suit.

This issue is pretty much just an extended rooftop fight scene.  The Thousand's jealous of Spider-man's life and Spider-man says he's got nothing to envy.  We then get a glimpse of how the Thousand came to be.  He ate the spider that bit Peter that fateful day.

So,the paralyzing venom wears off and they fight; the Thousand ends up getting electrocuted and falling off the roof.

One spider of the Thousand survives and is promptly stomped on in the street.  Nice ending.

The art is a touch to static - the 2 previous issues felt much more fluid.  This was a fitting ending for this story and I put the book down feeling satisfied.  Guess the moral here is the grass is aways greener on the other side.  Spidey's life to an outsider looks like a good time, but in truth it is filled with little but loss.

Might keep going w/ this series for a time - we'll see what I feel like doing when I get a free minute to read.

Until then, happy reading!


Written by - Garth Ennis
Art by - John McCrea and James Hodgkins

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spider-man's Tangled Web #2

Last issue introduced Carl King, a bully from Peter's past who attacked a secretary at the Bugle.  After the attack, we see the secretary walk out w/ the bully's skin hanging in the closet.  Creepy.

Now, this bully know all about the dual life Peter lives, but we do know he's super jealous and super pissed.

Pete ticks off his current girlfriend, Skye, at a party and ends up walking home alone, soaked by the rain with every step.  He gets home and Miss Patton (the secretary) is waiting on Pete's door step.  She tells him some sob story and our hero invites her up to dry off.

Miss Patton - who by now we know is somehow really Carl King - off handedly says she knows Peter is Spider-man, and Pete - frozen with surprise / fear - watches as miss Patton's hear turns a full 180 degrees.  Once again: Creepy.

Carl (or Miss Patton of The Thousand) and Spider-man fight on the roof top and Pete find out that Carl's been watching him for a while - like ever since the day he was bitten on the field trip.  Carl bites Spider-man, paralyzes him, and ties him to a chair.

Upon regaining consciousness, Spider-man finds out what exactly The Thousand is - a bunch of spiders inhabiting the skin of Miss Patton and with Carl's consciouses.  They pour out of Miss Patton's mouth and creep toward our bound hero.  One last time: Creepy.

This is a nice issue of Spider-man, a little trip into the more grotesque side of things.  The scene where the spiders come out of Miss Patton's mouth is bound to give me nightmares.  Once again, I have to say do not judge this issue by its cover.  I really like McCrea's pencils - they are both sparse and chilling.  I really can't do them justice.  Guess I'll have to start posting some interior art on my posts.   This is a solid story.

The Thousand wraps up in the next issue - and who knows, maybe we'll read more of the Web Head.  Until then - happy reading.


Written by - Garth Ennis
Art by - John McCrea and James Hodgkins

Friday, December 10, 2010

Spider-man's Tangled Web #1

After a couple of weeks with Grendel, I need a bit of a break.  So, enter our friendly neighborhood Spider-man to tangle with the villain called the Thousand.   

This issue opens with a man sitting in a diner, sulking.  He's obsessing over Spider-man, who is fighting the Rhino outside.  Spidey cracks some jokes, hits Rhino with an armored car, and generally saves the day.

But who is this man in the diner?  And how does he know that Spider-man is really Peter Parker.

Pete tries to do some laundry and fails.

In a flashback, our mystery man bets up on a young Peter Parker.

Pete tries to sell some pictures and fails.  Miss Patton (a feature's editor, I guess) takes Pete's picture and we cut to the evening.  The Bugle is empty - except for Miss Patton.  Our mystery man shows up and attacks Miss Patton.  The last page of the issue shows the mystery man's skin hanging in a closet like a wrinkled suit and Miss Patton strutting out of the building.

First, let me say one thing: do not judge this book by its hideous cover.  The interior art is head and shoulders above the cover.  It's got a clean feel to it, polished and refreshing.  The fight scene at the beginning with the Rhino is a joy to read.  I'm kind of a novice reader of Spider-man, but this is the beginning of a good 3 part story that is just that: a story - complete with a beginning, middle and end.  Tomorrow - the middle chapter of the Thousand.

Until then - happy reading.

Credits:  Written by - Garth Ennis
               Art by - John McCrea, James Hodgkins,
                            and Steve Buccellato

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Grendel - Behold the Devil #8

So, in the last issue the demon stalking Grendel was vanquished and now the Devil can get back to work. 
This issue opens with Hunter Rose's assistant, Larry, fishing diary pages out of a fire and Lucas running through the streets babbling...he's now sure that Hunter is Grendel.  Lucas storms into his apartment and gathers all his papers when the door slams behind him.

Who could it be but...Grendel.  Lucas was sloppy and Grendel's been aware of him this whole time.  With a flick of his wrist, Grendel slits our reporter's throat.  My favorite line comes next... "always something flammable under the sink," and the apartment is up in flames.

Liz shows up as Grendel is on his way out and  gets off a couple shots.  All go wide except one, which Grendel ricochets off his fork into Liz's face.  The Devil runs off into the night.  Liz ends up dying a week later from her wounds.

Then comes the epilogue - that ties up one loose end from the Hunter Rose era.  We see the fate of Larry.  He ends up taking his own life when the cops come calling after Hunter dies.

A satisfying ending to a lost tale of the first man called Grendel.  The art was great, the story was fast paced.  In the end, like most Hunter Rose era Grendel tales, everyone ends up dead.

Well, I need a bit of a break from the epic story that is Grendel.  Be back here next time for who knows what.

Until then - happy reading.

Credits:  Written by Matt Wagner
               Art by Matt Wagner

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Grendel - Behold the Devil #7

Last issue, Grendel summoned up the dire-imp that's been trailing him this entire series.  In this issue the Devil comes face to face with a demon.

The demon, trapped in a circle, spits out strings of profanity as Grendel stands by in (rarely seen) awe.  Grendel regains his composure and asks the demon a simple question: "Why?"

Grendel breaks the circle with his fork and the demon stings him (he's got a wicked looking scorpion tail) and we are treated to a stunning flash forward.  Hunter sees scenes of the future - Christine Spar, Brian Li Sung, Eppy Thatcher, Orion Assante, Grendel Prime, pretty much his whole legacy.

If those names don't mean anything to you, don't worry, we'll cover them later when we get through the Hunter Rose era.

Lucas and Liz screw - "like...going for broke."

So, Hunter has been shown his future - and he realizes he is not a spectacular outlier in the scope of humanity, he's actually a part of the norm.  He disregards that, his ego winning out, and goes about destroying the pages in his journal that chronicle this whole experience.

Now, this issue is a joy for anyone who has followed this character for the past 25 years.  I fell in love with Grendel when I was 15 and on a whim bought a copy of Grendel: Primer.  It introduced me to a world I found both mysterious and fascinating.  This book has that same feel.  If you've never read the Comico series, this issue will probably leave you scratching your head.  But, fear not, all your questions will be answered - just stay tuned.

One more issue to go - no more monkey on the Devil's back.  We'll wrap this series up next time.  Until then, happy reading.

Credit:  Written by - Matt Wagner
             Art by - Matt Wagner

Grendel - Behold the Devil #6

Grendel - now armed with relics to battle the other worldly presence that has been stalking him - sets his sights on the Koreans.  They tried to kill him in issue 4 and he's still pissed about it.

So, the Koreans realize that their bomb didn't do jack against Grendel, so they go into hiding.  The Korean boss surrounds himself with his bodyguards and hide out for a couple of days.

Grendel tracks them down and makes short work of all five of the armed men.  Awesome fight scene - large splash pages, lots of red against the stark black and white.  This is my favorite issue of the series - this fight scene is simply fantastic.

Liz and Lucas fight about keeping secrets and they part on bad terms.  Remember - Lucas knows that Grendel is Hunter Rose.

We get back the the Devil at work - he draws a circle with a cursed bone and tosses a potion into the circle and...behold the demon that has been following him this whole time.

Great issue - it shows how easily Grendel played the Koreans from the beginning.  This series is a great way to reintroduce the character after a 5 year hiatus.  It reads fast and and looks awesome.  2 more issues - lots of surprises.

Until next time - happy reading.

Credits: Written by - Matt Wagner
              Art by - Matt Wagner

Friday, December 3, 2010

Grendel - Behold the Devil #5

So, Grendel knows that something is following him - and it has 3 toes!  This issue opens with Grendel going underground where he encounters some zombies, who he easily dispatches.  Turns out these dead minions belong to a Santeria priest named Toro.  Grendel asks if he knows what is tailing him; Toro reveals it's a dire-imp.  It can be contained, Toro says, but for a price: 1 million dollars.

Lucas spies on Hunter; Liz talks to one of Grendel's lieutenants, who refuses to squeel.

Grendel knocks off a bank truck and gets Toro his money.  In exchange the Devil gains the tools needed to trap the dire-imp and get back to business as normal.

This was a fine issues - the zombie killing was pretty cool.  This issue sets the stage for the events to come - it's been up hill since about the third issue and the roller coaster is at the top of the hill.  The last three issues of this series are the real pay off. 

So, until tomorrow - happy reading

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grendel - Behold the Devil #4

So, last issue Grendel and Argent fought and Lucas figured out that Hunter Rose is Grendel.  Blood was spilled, money was lost and secrets were revealed.  And still, the Devil feels someone watching his every move.

This issue opens with Grendel and his import broker (insert drug smuggler) sitting down having a rational talk about the loss of the heroine shipment at the hands of Argent.  Well, the conversation is not so much rational blade point. And with some threats to the broker's family thrown in for effect.  Long story short, the Devil want the Koreans to pay for his loss - in either money or blood.

On the other side of town, the only remaining witness to the dock side attack ends up dying in front of Liz after ground glass is placed in his food.  No more witness.  Lucas does more digging into Hunter Rose's past - and comes up with nothing.

The Koreans set up a drop for the money and Grendel heads to the appointed meeting place.  Upon entering the room, Grendel knows something isn't right and we are treated to our broker with a hole in his chest and a ticking briefcase.

Boom - Grendel, blown out of the window in the nick of time, goes back into the building to survey the scene and finds tiny three toed footprints in the blood.

Another great issue in a constantly awesome series.  All the players are being set up for an awesome fight next issue.  Kind of can't wait until tomorrow - until then, happy reading.

Credits: Writer - Matt Wagner
              Art - Matt Wagner