Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy #1
Following Jay Jameson’s funeral, and the disappearance of Jerry Salteres – a Parker Industries employee treated with NewU – Spider-Man finally investigates NewU HQ himself, and finds more than he bargained for.
The first real issue of this crossover arc is noticeably darker, tonally and artistically, than the previous issues of this run of Spider-Man. Peter is dealing with the weight of another death on his conscious, and even as Spider-Man, barely quips while facing the Rhino and the new Electro.
A backup story that covers the night of Gwen Stacy’s death from her point of view is interesting, putting us into her head for the moments right before, during, and after that iconic comics moment.
If anything, this issue sets up some huge things for the rest of the crossover, opening the door for pretty much any character to come back and become an issue for Spider-Man to solve.
Power Man and Iron Fist #9
Captain Marvel’s vison of Luke Cage breaking into prison to rescue Danny becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when she throws him threw the prison’s walls and causes three-way fight between her forces, Luke and Danny’s allies, and rioting prisoners.
This entire issue serves an as object lesson to Carol about the negative consequences of her predictive anti-crime measures. She becomes the monster at the end of the book by causing the jailbreak and riots she saw Cage do in Ulysses’ vision.
Compared to the thematic weight of the rest of the arc, this issue does feel a bit light, likely because this is the big action finale. Luke’s doubts and hesitations about what he should do to save Danny are decided for him, and Captain Marvel is such an unambiguous villain that the story flattens out around her.
As far as the fighting, PM and IF’s rag-tag allies manage to hold their own against Captain Marvel, SHEILD, and Storm, and the prison riot gives the whole book a real sense of chaos.
After a brief meeting with “Vincent Van Gore,” who calls himself Muse, Daredevil goes to New Attilan to try to convince Medusa to share evidence of the Inhuman investigations into the murders.
Despite being an issue where Daredevil’s main obstacle is bureaucratic red-tape, this issue doesn’t drag, and manages to include a couple of great action scenes: an opening one with Muse, and a 3-page fight between DD and Karnak. Medusa’s role in this book is also great showing as well as telling exactly what sort of queen she is and the power she has. However, like most things involving bureaucracies, nothing much happens to really advance the plot. Daredevil’s audience with Medusa and Karnak is entertaining, but ultimately ineffective.
This issue also introduces a new character in Frank McGee, an Inhuman with literal photographic memory, and a former NYPD cop of 26 years whose alliances are split between New Attilan and NYC.
Moon Knight #7
Moon Knight One dogfights werewolves on the moon to protect the last of humanity, but keeps on flashing back to Jake Lockley, a New York City cabbie.
Probably the most straightforward issue in this run so far, and maybe because of it, it feels a little incomplete. Like, in previous issues we knew that we didn’t know everything we needed to, but in this one, the story seems straightforward enough that the lack of resolution just feels like something missing rather than something to be discovered.
The book is still fantastically done. Segues between Moon Knight and Lockley are excellent match cuts that question whether Knight is flashing into Lockley or it’s the other way around. Both art styles fit their respective genres of science-fantasy and Taxi Driver-esque noir perfectly.
Howard the Duck #11
The finale of Howard the Duck begins with Howard dead, Tara entering a berserker rage to avenge him, and Spider-Man returning only to find out that another person died under his watch. Meanwhile, at the Sparkitron, Jho tries to make everything better.
The Morrison-esque conceit at the center of the book, that Howard and crew are facing off against not-Chip Zdarsky for ruining his life remains fun, and only gets better when Ax-l intervenes. Tara’s shapeshifting into versions of different comic/manga characters during the fight is another neat series of jokes in a book full of funny moments.
Besides the laughs, this issue does a great job of providing closure for pretty much everything, even to Spider-Man’s reoccurring joke. The last page may even be one of those happy-cry moments for some fans of the book.
The Great Lakes Avengers #1
After a legal gaffe reinstates his rights to use the name, Flatman reassembles the Great Lakes Avengers, well, most of the not dead ones. Big Bertha and Doorman answer his call while Squirrel Girl ignores her texts, and Mr. Immortal is MIA.
It’s hard for the GLA not to feel a little redundant due to Marvel’s increasingly strong humor line-up, and this first issue doesn’t do much to separate them from the pack. The book does a fine job introducing them, but not as good a job of giving them anything to do. Right now it’s just quirky characters with quirky powers shooting the shit with each-other.
Morris Sackett is the king of the world. The NBA’s most valuable player five years running, pop-star girlfriend, and on course to land global endorsements. And he has an ego to match is accomplishments.
Then he gets hit by the terrigen mist. He loses his life, but get a superpower: Morris has no body of his own, but can jump into anybody else. He gets to control them, and he knows what they know.
One issue in, and Sackett is already one of the best new Marvel characters in recent history. He has a larger than life personality, and an amazing set of complimentary powers. His life is all about him, and now he’s forced to be other people.
How the comic conveys his powers is worthy of adulation in itself. The first time he uses them, we see him inside their head, with windows into their thoughts and memories. And as he travels around in them, he learns things about them organically. Upon seeing a friend of the other person, Morris knows how they feel about them. When confronted with a challenge, Morris knows what skills that person has to overcome it. And interestingly, as he leaps from body to body, Morris retains some of each person’s skills.
Mosaic #1 did exactly what it should for a character debut, it made me excited to see more of what he can do.