Absolute Carnage: Symbiote Spider-Man #1 Review — Engaging and Inconsequential

Written by Peter David
Pencils by Francesco Mobili
Colours by Java Tartaglia and Rain Beredo
Letters by VC’s Travis Lanham
Published by Marvel Comics

Cover price: $4.99 USD

The tie-ins for Absolute Carnage have been a mixed bag, with the usual indicator of quality being how tied to symbiotes the characters actually are. ScreamSeparation Anxiety and Venom have been great reads, while Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool, Lethal Protectors and Miles Morales have been very weak. With that in mind, Absolute Carnage: Symbiote Spider-Man is a weird case, because while Peter Parker is obviously very much tied to the Venom symbiote, the issue itself does not feature him. It instead tells the story of happened to an unnamed extra from back in the day… a surprisingly good story, but one that seems to in no way matter to Absolute Carnage.

Continue reading “Absolute Carnage: Symbiote Spider-Man #1 Review — Engaging and Inconsequential”

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Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 7 — House of X #4 Review

Hanging with the HiX-Men is a series of reviews of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men comics, followed by a spotlight of a specific scene and an eventual analysis of each overall arc once it is concluded. It’s what happens when a longtime X-Men fan has his love for the franchise reinvigorated by a beloved writer who has written some of his favourite comics. With that in mind… Welcome to the HiX-Men, hope you survive the experience.

Continue reading “Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 7 — House of X #4 Review”

Star Pig #1 Review — Refreshingly Bright and Fun

Written by Delilah S. Dawson
Pencils by Francesco Gaston
Colours by Sebastian Cheng
Letters by Shawn Lee
Published by IDW Publishing

Cover price: $3.99 USD

Star Pig is a series I learned about back when I was reading IDW Publishing’s Transformers series, and I marked it down as one I was interested in. While I forgot about it until recently, that’s not a good thing, because it is a fun, lighthearted comic with fun characters that I wish I was experiencing month-to-month as a counterbalance to my otherwise serious monthly reads. It is the quintessential fun space adventure. Continue reading “Star Pig #1 Review — Refreshingly Bright and Fun”

Venom #17 Review — Smaller and Scarier Wins the Week

Written by Donny Cates
Pencils by Iban Coello
Colours by Rain Beredo
Letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics

Cover price: $3.99 USD

Event comics spinning out of ongoing series can be a double-edged sword. They increase the scope of the story and allow for further exploration of the concept, but what happens with the ongoing can be awkward, where it can feel unimportant or necessary, or even both. Venom #17 does not fall into that category, instead expanding on the supporting cast of Venom‘s role in the event, which feels important while not completely inseparable from the events of the Absolute Carnage miniseries. Continue reading “Venom #17 Review — Smaller and Scarier Wins the Week”

Absolute Carnage #2 Review — Slow, Somber and Better for It

Written by Donny Cates
Pencils by Ryan Stegman
Inks by JP Mayer
Colours by Frank Martin
Letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics

Cover price: $4.99 USD

The Absolute Carnage event has been a wild ride. After the visceral explosion of a first issue, I wasn’t sure what Donny Cates would do to maintain momentum for his now 5-issue event. With Absolute Carnage #2, Cates hits the brakes on the action to deliver a great little breather issue. While the plot certainly progresses and there are some great twists and turns thrown into the story, this issue is a slower burn of escalation and setup, avoiding the pitfall that many event comics fall into of being unrelentingly plot-focused and losing sight of characters. Continue reading “Absolute Carnage #2 Review — Slow, Somber and Better for It”

Superdads — Fatherhood in Superhero Comics

The 1st of September is Father’s Day in Australia. While I find it weird that we placed it so far away from the rest of the world’s usual date, it is what it is. So, in honour of Father’s Day, I want to take a look at fatherhood in superhero comics.

The idea of characters being “aged” by younger characters around them is a concern of the comics industry. Indeed, a lot has been done to ensure that characters like Spider-Man and Batman remain at a vague age where they can be considered at least somewhat young. Many in the industry have spoken out against allowing characters to grow and age, in fear that this would also age their paternal figures — the most recent example I can recall would be X-Men editor Jordan D. White mentioning that the younger X-Men cannot be allowed to age, as this would make the core group of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue and the like older. I think this fundamentally misunderstands superhero comics and their appeal, the stories they can tell and some of the best works in the superhero genre, and how children are vehicles for further development of characters. While comics like Saga and Birthright have excellent portrayals of parenthood, superhero comics lend a greater weight to everyday struggles, to everyday emotions and relationships.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll be looking at specific characters and specific runs on those characters (to a degree). This is just meant to look at the different kinds of fatherhood presented in superhero comics, while focusing on specific works where possible. Anyway, let’s have a look at our superdads. Continue reading “Superdads — Fatherhood in Superhero Comics”

Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 Review — A Brisk Read of Zero Substance

Written by Saladin Ahmed
Pencils by Federico Vicentini
Colours by Erick Arciniega
Letters by VC’s Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics

Cover price: $3.99 USD

The further into Absolute Carnage we get, the more I get the feeling that only comics inseparably tied to the symbiotes are going to be any good. While Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 has the benefit of Miles having some part in the Absolute Carnage crossover and having been involved in Donny Cates’ Venom, it doesn’t take advantage of that. Instead, Miles Morales #1 is just a superhero punch-up comic, and not an interesting one at that. Continue reading “Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 Review — A Brisk Read of Zero Substance”