Tag Archives: schism

Review: Wolverine #19

Wolverine #19
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Ron Garney, Jason Keith (Colors)

So last issue, Wolverine (who has been moonlighting as the Black Dragon) and Gorilla Man were joined by the Immortal Weapon Fat Cobra in their underground adventure to get Wolverine’s money back.  If you remember way back to two issues ago, they ended up underground after Kung Fu Master Po informed Wolverine of an underground (deep underground) drug smuggling ring, operated by Jade Claw, that was using dragons to traffic opium.

Are you still with me?

It’s a lot to take in, and it’s hard to wrap your head around at times, so maybe you should just leave your head at the door for this one if you didn’t figure out in issue 17 that this arc requires that.

Anyhow, at the end of the last issue, the odd trio were pulling a Trojan Horse move by sneaking their way into the Jade Claw’s underground compound in the bellies of dragons.  Wolverine #19 begins with the trio emerging from beneath the ground in front of a bar, carried by a dragon, with Wolverine’s money.  The rest of the issue is a flashback of the story’s resolution.

To sum it all up, there’s more fun dialogue interplay between Wolverine, Gorilla Man and Fat Cobra, and Wolverine’s journalist girlfriend Melita Garner gets a job at New York’s finest newspaper.  Oh, and one of the D-list villains from last issue (whose name I’ve already forgotten…Soul Striker or something, right?) lets things get out of hand.

This arc was a fun read overall, but I prefer a little less cartoonishness in subject matter with Wolverine.  When things get a little too supernatural/magical, like this arc and last year’s “Wolverine Goes to Hell,” things start to wear on me a little bit — although “Goes to Hell” did have a rewarding payoff.  By comparison, this arc is lighthearted filler.

To be fair, though, Aaron has had a lot on his plate with the stellar X-Men: Schism event book this past summer and the new Wolverine and the X-Men ongoing series launching last month.  This story basically served as a transition to Logan’s return to New York, and the upcoming arc involving Kingpin and the Hand seems promising.

STORY: 7/10
ART:   8/10

Review: Wolverine #18

Wolverine #18
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Ron Garney
Color Art:  Jason Keith

Wolverine’s impromptu team-up with Gorilla Man last issue ended with the two, along with Wolverine’s kung fu master and some kid who made me think of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, in a series of caves deep below San Francisco’s Chinatown where the Jade Claw is using dragons to mule drugs.

That’s a lot to wrap your head around.

This issue opens with a battle royale involving the villains Razorfist, Soul Striker, Darkstrider and Rock of the Buddha.  Wait…Who?  I’m not exactly sure who any of these guys are, save for maybe Razorfist, who I seem to remember being killed by Logan in last year’s X-Force: Sex & Violence limited series.  Regardless, it’s mentioned that he was killed by Wolverine before…just not killed well enough.

Anyhow, the dragons eventually become involved, and Wolverine and Gorilla Man end up tied between two of them as Soul Striker (these villain names are killing me) recites a villainous monologue before knocking the old kung fu master into a pit and taking the kid away to serve in Jade Claw’s underground poppy fields.

This leads to another villainous monologue later in the issue where Jade Claw explains to the kid that she plans on ruling the world from below ground by controlling the drug trade above ground.  Jason Aaron does a lot to establish Jade Claw’s villainy, but so much of it is ridiculous and over-the-top that it’s hard to swallow.  (Her least expensive bra costs enough to feed an entire family and she has her feet washed in the still-warm blood of women who fancied themselves more beautiful?  This is b-movie grade cheese.)

As a matter of fact, that combined with the banter between Logan and Gorilla Man (and later Fat Cobra, a sumo-ish guy from the Immortal Weapons who randomly shows up this issue) makes this story arc the comic book equivalent of a comedic kung-fu buddy cop b-movie.

I’m not used to having this much humor in Wolverine, but Aaron pulls it off nicely.  I’d be interested in seeing him write Spider-Man at some point, perhaps in a limited series.  The art by Ron Garney and Jason Keith matches the tone of the story, as well.  It’s somewhat gritty, but bright and stylized.  Overall, this arc has been a fun ride so far and  a nice change of pace from the typical Wolverine fare.

Story:  7.5/10
Art:  8.5/10 

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Wolverine #19 – 3 page preview

Marvel Comics released a three page preview of Wolverine #19.

This is the post-Schism era of Wolverine. What have you like about Jason Aaron’s take on Wolverine?

Someone has Wolverine’s money and he’s determined to get it back in your first look At Wolverine #19! From the fan favorite creative team of Jason Aaron and Ron Garney, X-Men Regenesis continues deep in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown as Logan finds himself paired up with Immortal Weapon Fat Cobra and Gorilla Man. Except when the three have to go up against the world’s newest and most powerful drug dealer…what’s waiting for them at the gates of his underground stronghold is not at all what they expected. Want to know what Wolverine and crew are up against and if they’ll all make it out alive? Find out this December in Wolverine #19! – Marvel Comics

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Review: Wolverine and the X-Men #1

Wolverine and the X-Men #1
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend 

The dust from the climactic showdown between Wolverine and Cyclops during Schism has settled.  Feeling that the young mutants among the X-Men needed a chance to be children and not warriors, Logan has returned to Westchester with Beast, Iceman, Kittie Pryde, Gambit, Rogue and Rachel Grey to start a new school in the place of the destroyed Xavier School.

Of course, he named it the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.  Who else would he name it after?

The first issue of the all-new, all-exciting Wolverine and the X-Men opens with Professor Xavier touring the newly rebuilt school, giving Logan his advice on being a headmaster and offering warnings on the ups and downs of being in charge of a school for teenage mutants.  Is that Doop in the background at the school’s front desk?  I know a few people who will be overjoyed that writer Jason Aaron found a way to bring him back.

The rest of the issue revolves around Logan and headmistress Kitty Pryde giving inspectors from the New York State Department of Education a tour of the facility, essentially serving as a primer on the book’s cast.  Various panels show Idie Okonkwo, Rockslide, and Anole in a psychic self-defense class with Rachel Grey, and Husk teaching “Introduction to Mutant Literature.”

Toad is shown as the school’s janitor, trying to tell Logan of some, ahem, structural issues with the school that Beast built.  Of course, it’s not a good time to point these things out considering the inspectors are there.

The inspection continues to spiral down until Iceman finally tells Logan that there’s a kid at the gate who wants to see him.  That kid turns out to be Kade Kilgore, the 12-year-old Black King of the new Hellfire Club who masterminded the events leading to the falling out between Scott and Logan.  Aaron establishes Kilgore and the Hellfire Club as this book’s first major villains in the following panels, as the pint-sized profligate promises to destroy all that Logan has built.

I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with Bachalo’s work over the years, primarily about proportion and being able to discern what’s going on in some panels.  Why is the 12-year-old Kilgore the same height as Logan?  I know Logan’s supposed to be somewhat on the short side, but the same height as a 12-year-old?  Aside from that and not being quite sure what was going on in the last page of the issue, however, I really enjoyed the art.  It was up there with his “Shed” story arc from Amazing Spider-Man last year.

As a first issue, this issue covers all the bases a series début needs to.  Aaron plants a lot of seeds for future plotlines and introduces readers to the book’s major players in the least confusing manner possible (which is especially important in the character heavy X-books).  The diagram in the back-breaking down the Jean Grey School’s faculty and students is a nice touch, as well as the mock-up of a class list brochure.  Choir with Professor Doop?  Sign me up.

Story:  9/10
Art:  7/10 

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Review: Uncanny X-Men #544 “It’s the end of the X-Men as we know it, and I feel fine!”

Uncanny X-Men 544 Cover

Uncanny X-Men #544
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Greg Land

This issue of Uncanny X-Men is one of many issues depicting the emotional anguish from the fallout of Schism. It also marks the ending of volume one for this series, which is always sad and rarely justified; especially with the fact that volume two is right around the corner: coming in November. Mr. Sinister takes a role in this issue as narrator, walking us through the events that caused the break between Cyclops and Wolverine. As this event is still very fresh in our minds, his part in this issue was a complete waste of space in a comic that should have fired on all cylinders as a tribute that was the past 48 years of X-Men history. Granted, there was a scene within showing Sinister being, “birthed”?, from a mechanical sphincter and yes, it’s hilarious looking! Sorry for that spoiler, but from here you can run wild imagining the context around such event!

But, when you judge only half an issue on its content, it seemed mildly worth it. This series’  just coming out of an epic event with Colossus becoming the Juggernaut as a sister story of Fear Itself, which I think may be the best concept coming out of said story. So congratulations there! I was ready to wind down from these “larger than life” events marvel continues to weave, so the content between Scott Summers and the few X-men they could fit in, was touching. Beast had to fly himself to Utopia to make one last personal jab at Cyclops, cause we hadn’t heard it enough from him. Beasts’ character has certainly taken a hit; since they turned him into a whiner, thank goodness for Iceman in this issue!

Writer, Kieron Gillen, really attempts to set the stage for volume two of Uncanny X-Men, cue Mr. Sinister. I think everybody’s  “Hype-O-Meter” is soaring surrounding X-Men titles, that the necessity to plant seeds in this issue truly wasn’t necessary and really hurt the underlying emotional turmoil that this “family” is breaking. Never the less, I’m extremely excited for volume two, because ever since Gillen has come on board with X-Men titles, he’s been producing great work. Generation Hope took a while to find its wings, but it’s certainly starting to pick-up.

Uncanny X-Men Sketch, By: Greg Land

Artist, Greg Land, does a good job this issue. I am a fan of Land, though I agree his anatomy of a woman is tweaked to appeal to the perv in all of us. But he conveys emotion very well and holds weight in this issue with scenes of Cyclops packing away old photos with not a word spoken. Also, i commend the way he pencils Cyclops overall. Over recent years, Scott Summers has been built up to be a  commander of a truly powerful army and you have to almost have a Steve Rogers confidence and appeal to pull such a feat off and Greg Land really paints that image of him well.

This issue is an unfortunate send off to such an influential run. Though this sure doesn’t dampen the excitement for upcoming volume two! I mean, have you seen the roster, this team is going to rule the world within Cyclops and Magnetos iron grip! X-fan’s it’s an exciting time,  so save your pennies!

Story: 6
Art: 8

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Review: Wolverine #17

Wolverine #17
Writer:  Jason Aaron
Art:  Ron Garney & Jason Keith

Jason Aaron’s run thus far on the relaunched Wolverine has been nothing short of what fans of the Marvel Universe’s favorite clawed berserker want.  It gives them all the claw popping ultra-violence the character’s solo series have become known for without sacrificing a more fleshed-out approach to Logan’s personality.  After all, Wolverine is not a cold-blooded killer so much as a failed samurai, or a man with a noble idea of who he wants to be and yet doesn’t realize he is already that person.

From the stories that began in Aaron’s earlier book, Wolverine: Weapon X, to today’s Wolverine #17, everything has felt streamlined and there has been a great balance between fast-paced, energetic storytelling and deeper exposition.

Having just returned from his isolation following what happened at the hands of the Red Right Hand over the course of the first dozen or so issues, Wolverine finds himself at a crossroad at the beginning of this story.  If you’ve kept up with the events in the wider X-Men universe, there was a falling out between Wolverine and Cyclops during the Schism event.  Logan, feeling it wasn’t right that Scott expected the children on the X-roster to become warriors, ultimately decided to return to Westchester, New York to restart Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (which, if you haven’t been keeping up, was destroyed during the “Messiah CompleX” crossover a few years ago).

Before he can leave San Francisco, however, Logan has a few loose ends to tie up — like letting his reporter girlfriend know that he’s leaving and ending his masquerade as Chinatown’s kingpin the Black Dragon.  Upon visiting Kung Fu Master Po’s dojo, however, he discovers the money he had stashed in a safe there has been stolen by a gang involved in a Chinatown drug war.  This is the money Logan planned to rebuild the school with.  (Yes, he has that kind of money.  He’s been around for like 200 years, you know?)

Needless to say, he’s pissed.

The pace of the issue is rather fast, feeling much shorter than it actually is.  It sets up a team-up with Gorilla Man, including some fun back-and-forth banter (not just with Gorilla Man, but with Po, as well), and introduces some elements of Chinese mysticism.  Ron Garney and Jason Keith’s art continues to fit the tone of the book well, whether Logan is slicing and dicing his way through a hail of gunfire or having a heart-to-heart with Melita.

That said, I’m not really sure how I feel about mythical elements and Wolverine being together.  I’ll be honest and admit it took me a few issues to wrap my head around “Wolverine Goes to Hell” last year.  This is only part one of the story arc, and a fun read regardless, so I’m willing to further suspend my disbelief to include those elements for the time being.

Story:  7/10
Art:  9/10 

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Tuesday’s top picks: Green Lantern 2 & X-Men: Regenesis #1

This week’s picks are more about books that make me angry more than about they are the best books to read.

Green Lantern (2011) #2
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Christian Alamy, Doug Mahnke.

Renegade Green Lantern Sinestro sets a course for Korugar with one purpose: To free his homeworld from the scourge of… The Sinestro Corps?!


Why would I be interested in this book? WHY WOULD I CARE ABOUT THIS BOOK??!! My love of Geoff Johns is slowly fading as each issue of Green Lantern goes by with Sinstero as the main character. Nothing against Sinestro but I’m didn’t start reading this book because of him. Also, the story about the Guardians acting like idiots is very over played.

We all know that Green lantern is Johns’ baby and he made the book a best seller but maybe he is out of stories…. It could be time for a change or a break. John’s could be doing too much now. This is why it’s very hard in the NFL to be the head coach and the general manager at the same time.

I have been down this road before with Spider-Man and it isn’t pretty. I will continue to read Green Lantern because I love the universe. This is just a dry period in story telling.

X-Men: Regenesis #1
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Billy Tan.

When the dust settles from the X-Men’s Schism, a line has been drawn, and every mutant must choose. Who will they follow – Cyclops or Wolverine? Either way, with mutantkind cut in two, things will never be the same. Setting the stage for this month’s WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #1 and November’s all-new UNCANNY X-MEN #1, Kieron Gillen (UNCANNY X-MEN, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY) and Billy Tan (UNCANNY X-FORCE, NEW AVENGERS) take us through the ranks of the X-Men as they choose their destiny.

This book is purely printed to sucker you into buying it!!!! Why couldn’t this story have taken place in a different book (X-Men, Uncanny) that is already published? Schism has me really excited about the X-Men universe but have the story-line is to make you buy more books. Write one book really well and stop giving me five okay or shitty books.

Just like Green Lantern, I will buy this book because this might be important to the story-line but the odds of Re-genesis just being a filer book is high.

What do you think?
Follow me on Twitter! @comicvault
Rated T+

Question of the Day: What was your favorite comic book this week?

In the post-52 and with the end of X-Men Schism, what books did you like this week?

The end of Schism was good but I felt like it was a device to create more X-Men titles with Wolverine in it. The book that continues to give me goose bumps after all these years is Walking Dead and this issue was no different. The last page of Walking Dead was again a cliff hanger. What did you like?

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Review: X-Men Schism #5

  X-Men: Schism #5
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Adam Kubert

The end has finally arrived!

Jason Aaron you have successfully, hands down and without a doubt written a brawl between Scott and Logan that’s never been recorded in history. Was the merit of the fight a bit childish? Sure! But, did it make for a great story? Why, yes it did.

Going into Schism, I was not quite expecting the story that was delivered. Sure, I was a bit mislead by the mini series “Prelude to Schism”, where it was depicted as if all the X-Men were on Utopia awaiting some coming onslaught, of what is assumed to be sentinels, to reign doom upon their heads and that there was little hope for survival. Which also, I might add, Wolverine and Cyclops were at the height of their friendship by mini series end. But I don’t blame Mr. Aaron for that; I blame Marvel for taking advantage of the hype surrounding Schism as a whole. But, either way, the mini series did contain some great characterization and we got to hear the voice of Professor X, as he’s been oddly absent for months.

Well, lets go back to the fight! Ohh, the fight. With the way Schism number four ended, at the beginning of this brutal battle, I was sure that issue five would conclude with: Cyclops taking Wolverine’s right hand and Logan  cutting out Cyclops’ left eye; thus bringing upon “The Age of Apocalypse”!?! Though that didn’t quite happen, Jason Aaron did not disappoint. I mean, take a look at the so conveniently placed image to your right. And that’s the first panel of page one!

But let it be known that this issue was not just one big brawl, it actually had a lot of character work throughout the X-Men members. And you better bet that Sentinel that was inching it’s way to Utopia surely went down with a bang. Adam Kubert is great at framing action scenes, which built momentum. Though his art this issue seemed a bit rushed. Some panels I could’ve sworn were artist Ron Garney, which has a sketch style where Adam has defined lines. I had high expectations for each artist due to the fact that they only had to contribute one issue. So, I was hoping for the best. But ultimately, Adam Kubert’s art was good and most importantly he caught all the emotional tension on panel.

Now I’d like to nit-pick here, for the reasoning behind this fight hasn’t quite mad sense to me. I’ll be getting a little spoil-ery here, only making reference to what Marvel has already released online, and previous “Schism” issues. First, why does Wolverine want to blow up Utopia? Does he not remember that Emma, Magneto and company are incapacitated within the island? Or, that there is a whole Atlantean civilization beneath the shores suspending Utopia? Apparently he doesn’t much care for the livelihood of those Atlantean kids. Which brings me to how Wolverine finds himself on this moral high ground to open a school for youngsters after all is said and done? Is this not a cold blooded killer of men we are talking about? One who can’t go six issues, within any of his various comics, without falling into some rage or mind control. Sure, he’s had young side kicks in the past, but all he’s ever done is brought them in harms way. So, i guess my question being, why was it that Wolverine was chosen to provoke this “schism”? I feel if it had been Iceman, one of the original X-Men alongside Cyclops, had made the stand instead of Wolverine, then there would have been a large emotional weight and it would’ve just settled better in my stomach.

But nonetheless, Jason Aaron wove a fantastic tale, and even created a re-imagined and memorable incarnation of one of the X-Men’s greatest foes, the Hellfire Club. I’m excited to see how this group further antagonizes our mutants within upcoming title, “Wolverine and the X-Men”. Which will be written by Jason Aaron and I am ecstatic that he will be taking on an X-Men team going into “Re-genesis”.  The future is looking bright for our merry mutants, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

Story: 9/10
Art:     8/10

Also, highly recommended this week:

X-23 #15 MARVEL
Animal Man #2 DC COMICS
Swamp Thing #2 DC COMICS – Reviewed by: Mike DeVivo. Check it out@ http://www.chicagocomicvault.com/2011/10/review-swamp-thing-2-animal-man-2/

Tuesday’s top picks: Moon Knight #6 & X-Men: Schism #5

It’s the end of the X-Men world as we know it and I feel fine?

X-Men: Schism #5
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Adam Kubert

It all comes down to this! After years of fighting side-by-side the X-Men are torn irrevocably in half. On one side, X-Men team leader, Cyclops. On the other, X-Men mainstay, Wolverine. Between them lies the fate of mutantkind, and surrounding them, the foes who want to end them forever! Be there for the conclusion of the story that will set the stage for the X-Men universe for years to come, from Marvel Architect writer Jason Aaron and art legend Adam Kubert!

Oh no! Cyclops might die (sarcasm). Even though we know that Cyclops won’t die and this is just a ploy to give Wolverine another book, I’m still excited. I have always been a fan of Cyclops and I feel he in general has taken a back seat to the bad boy Wolverine. If there is a slight chance that Cyclops might kick the shit out of Wolverine I’m all over this book. Dig deep, Wolverine tried to steal his girlfriend! I want a serious beat down.

Moon Knight (2011) #6
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Alex Maleev.

Moon Knight gets one step closer to the kingpin of Los Angeles and uses Ultron as bait. But in doing so he may have unleashed a hell the West Coast cannot survive. Another blistering chapter from the Eisner award-winning team that brought you DAREDEVIL and HALO!

Rated T+

Okay, so sometimes Bendis lets his characters talk too much, but Moon Knight is crazy! This is the perfect character for Bendis to write, with the four personalities bouncing around in Moon Knight’s head. I also feel like this is a perfect place for Echo, you kind of forgot about her and she just pops up in Los Angeles, makes sense. (Since Hawkeye came back from the dead, how many girls has he slept with? 3?) I know that Maleev’s art work goes both ways for some people but I’m a fan. By using a photo I believe he can grab an emotion in a person’s face like no one else. Plus, Maleev’s sketching style works to give up this crazy, any minute we could change direction feeling.

What do you think?
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Review Double-Shot: Amazing Spider-Man #670 & Venom #7

Amazing Spider-Man #670
Writer:  Dan Slott
Artist:  Humberto Ramos

Venom #7
Writer:  Rick Remender
Artist:  Tom Fowler

Just when you thought event storylines were stale and overplayed, along came Dan Slott with “Spider-Island.”  This Spidey-centric event has, along with the X-Men’s “Schism” storyline, thus far surpassed any of the past few Marvel-wide books — including the current Fear Itself.

But I’ll get to that in a moment.

If you’ve missed the prelude in Amazing Spider-Man #666 and the first three parts of the story that followed, Dr. Miles Warren, AKA the Jackal, returned and unleashed an epidemic of genetically-altered bed bugs upon the city of New York.  Bites from these bugs gave just about everyone in NYC spider powers, not everyone used them responsibly, Peter became the not-so-spectacular Spider-Man in light of everyone else having these powers, and the Avengers and several other heroes were called in to help keep the problem at bay.

Part four of Spider-Island, Amazing Spider-Man #670 opens right where the previous issue left off.  Spider-Man’s current girlfriend, crime scene detective Carlie Cooper, has transformed into a spider creature along with the rest of the infected New Yorkers.  Poor Pete…Now that all of Manhattan are spider monsters, he has no idea who he’s punching.

Moments like this are where Slott’s grasp on the book’s characters really shines through, and Ramos captures the breadth of Pete’s desperation accordingly in a full-page panel of Spidey on his knees, apologizing in vain to Carlie and watching helplessly as a stampede of formerly-human spider monsters rushes away into the city.  Slott further delivers with a one-liner-filled Spidey/J. Jonah Jameson team-up that few others could have pulled off as well outside of a “What If?” book.

Alas, the team is not meant to last, as Jonah succumbs to the “spider flu” and transforms into a monster himself after arriving at his command center.  I can’t elaborate any further without revealing a major spoiler, but it’s hard to imagine Jonah being the same after this.

Something that has really stuck out with me about this story arc is the effort put in to making sure the tie-in books fit in well with the main story.  They aren’t necessary to have the full experience of “Spider-Island,” but they add depth and Marvel’s Spider Office has gone to great lengths to make sure everyone knows where they fit in the larger story.  In this issue alone, there are at least two notes letting readers know where the Spider-Island: Avengers one-shot and Venom #7 fit.

Speaking of Venom #7, it basically details Venom’s (who, if you haven’t been keeping up, is now Flash Thompson and property of the U.S. Government) side-adventure to bring Eddie Brock AKA Anti-Venom to Reed Richards at Horizon Labs so an antidote can be extracted using the Anti-Venom symbiote.  Rick Remender, who also writes the masterful Uncanny X-Force, captures Flash’s desperation to keep Venom under control as he fights the alien’s former host — even going so far as to tease fans by making it seem as though Venom is about to take over Brock again. (Damn you, Remender!)  Fowler perfectly captures the fear in Eddie’s eyes as this is happening.

To add a bit of extra drama, Flash must complete this job quick, as his estranged, abusive father is in the hospital on his death bed with mere hours to live.  Again, Remender captures the added turmoil within Flash throughout the book.

Overall, these are both solid issues.  Slott and Ramos continue to deliver the goods in Amazing Spider-Man, delivering one of the most fun events in recent memory (while using a villain nobody wanted to go near after the “Clone Saga” storyline of the mid-90s, no less).  You can get the full Spider-Island experience without Venom, but Remender’s run on the series has breathed new life into the character, and Fowler’s art is icing on the cake.  I could go on all day, but if I did that, you wouldn’t need to read the books.

ASM #670
Story: 9.5/10
Art: 9/10

Venom #7
Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10


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