TRUE BELIEVER REVIEWS Joins ADC with Spider-Island Reviews!

22 Sep
The Amazing Spider-Man (video game)

Look ouuuuut, here comes the Spider... Island? (Image via Wikipedia)

Hey guys, Mike here – my good buddy otomo at True Believer Reviews wanted to share his and his cohorts’ reviews with my readers, so here’s the first in a series of review columns from TBR! Hope you dig it, and feel free to leave comments!

Chris Lemmerman has been posting a series called “Reports from Spider-Island” about the current Spider-Man crossover event. While I haven’t read a lot of Spidey comics in the last decade, I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen. Let’s see what Lemmerman thinks of Spider-Island (and click on the links to read the full reviews!)…

Amazing Spider-Man #666: The event kicks off with this issue, which is the prelude to the main event, before the tie-ins hit in the next few months. So, does Dan Slott get the ball rolling, or has Spidey swung into a wall already? The book opens with Spider-Man helping out the Young Allies as they battle Hydro-Man, before swinging off to combat crime across the city. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen something like this – a proactive Spidey, rather than a reactive one, and it’s a joy to see. With Peter enjoying himself, it rubs off on the reader, and this is likely the effect that Slott was aiming for – there’s no better way to get into a character’s head than by feeling what he is feeling. Peter is, for once, on top of the world. And that’s almost certainly the cue for everything to come crashing down around his ears…

In conclusion, Spider-Island is already firing on all cylinders. The story may not be in full flow just yet, but there are plenty of hints and things to talk about until the next few issues hit the stands. From the supporting cast to the villains, the bit-players and the main hero, Dan Slott has a firm handle on everyone involved, and it’s clear that he knows where and what Spider-Island will be. He has been quoted as saying that this is the most fun you’ll have in a comic this summer, and if the rest of the Amazing Spider-Man issues meet this standard, he won’t be a liar. A fantastic start, setting the bar high for the next seven parts – Spider-Island is well and truly a go.  9/10

Amazing Spider-Man #667: Humberto Ramos joins us for the entirety of the main Spider-Island storyline. His work here is top notch, the best it has ever been, filling the pages with huge amounts of characters without making anything feel cramped or rushed. The rotating artists on Amazing Spider-Man is clearly in his favour as he is able to bring his A-Game without worrying about deadlines. Of course, if you aren’t a fan of his particular style, this may turn you off, but personally, I don’t think that this will be a problem since there is so much going on for you to feast your eyes on.

It is clear that Slott is enjoying this story, as he has every issue prior. This is a brilliant start to the event, getting the mixture of action, plot reveals and humour down perfectly to create a compelling first issue that will have fans clamouring for more. Thank god that this is bi-weekly! 8/10

Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #1: I’m not vastly familiar with Nick Spencer’s work, but from this issue alone he really knows how to tell an engaging story…

Spencer gives both Cloak and Dagger their own unique voice, and he twines their narration boxes together so that the reader gets both sides of the story at once. Instead of being confusing, this tactic shows the reader the stark contrast between the pair, and how, for all their love for each other, they are far from in touch with what the other needs…

Emma Rios is let loose across these panels, telling an entire issue’s worth of origin story in a short space of time, using every inch of the page to communicate with the reader and wastes nothing…

This series is off to a fantastic start; it makes the reader interested in the title characters who are so often relegated to supporting roles, gives them a clear story to be told and still tangentially connects to the story they are tying into, with the promise of more… 8/10

Spider-Island: Deadly Foes #1: This is a highly important tie-in to both Spider-Island and Amazing Spider-Man as a whole, as plotlines are resolved and expanded upon that will impact the main story in Amazing for a while to come. Both stories hold up to scrutiny, though the Jackal side of the book is the weaker. If you only pick up one Spider-Island tie-in this week, grab this one.

Hobgoblin – 8/10
Jackal – 6/10

Spider-Island: The Amazing Spider-Girl #1: The first thing you’ll notice when reading this first issue is how half of the first issue is spent catching up new readers on what has occurred prior to the mini-series in the life of Anya Corazon, AKA Spider-Girl. It’s standard fare for that to happen, especially since most of the plot of this issue hinges on having read Anya’s adventures in her Arana series, which most people reading this series (myself included) will not have done…

The second half of the book is much freer… This half of the book outshines what comes before easily, and ends on a cliffhanger that has my interest piqued and my brain working overdrive to work out what could possibly come out of it. Tobin has a firm grasp of Anya and the other supporting characters in this book, and knows how to move his pieces across the board in order to craft something special.

We do spend a bit too much time recapping, and there are quite a few unanswered questions so far, but this mini-series is off to a good start… 6/10

Venom #6: [Rick] Remender ups the insanity factor in this issue, with torrents of spiders, a new host for the Venom symbiote, and a conveniently placed table that all drive the story forward with the sense of urgency that it deserves, given the circumstances. Remender also manages to balance Flash’s supporting cast whilst mingling in some smaller sub-plots, like Flash’s father who is in the hospital as of last issue, all without taking the focus off the main plot…

The art, this issue by Tom Fowler, is a mixed bag. In the earlier action sequences, Fowler’s pencils look rushed and unrefined, at such a point that the Spider-King looks like a grey smudge with legs rather than an imposing foe. However, once the action moves inside to the claustrophobic army base, he steps up his game and everything improves…

Venom continues to be an impressive title, taking a supporting character from the main Spider-Man universe and giving him his own believable plotlines that meld nicely and compliment the ongoing Spider-Island storyline without feeling forced in. Remender’s grasp of the monstrous and crazy are well suited to the title, and if you aren’t reading it already, this Spider-Island tie-in is a perfect diving-in point. 7/10

otomo also chimed in with his own review:

Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #1: [Nick] Spencer tapped into what I knew about Cloak and Dagger, that Cloak was a brooding type, and somewhat boring.  What hasn’t been shown too often before is Dagger’s personality, and how she really is the direct opposite of him.  She’s really spunky and feisty, and it’s made for an interesting book so far.  I like tying in the real world elements of having to deal with a bad economy, dealing with government redevelopment agencies and going back to school.  It made the characters very sympathetic, which is difficult to do when dealing with powerful superheroes…

Emma Rios’ art is stunning, and perfect for this book.  I have no complaints and reading this actually makes me pine for her art on the main event.  I feel like her work is a little stronger than what I see in Amazing Spider-Man.

This was a real sleeper book that I didn’t expect to be this impressed by, but I should have known better as a fan of Spencer’s Morning Glories and Infinite Vacation.  He is a master storyteller like few in comics, and with art like Rios provides, it would be hard to go wrong.  In the back, Steve Wacker teased that this may make it to an ongoing series, so pick up this book and support it.  9/10

What do you guys think?

3 Responses to “TRUE BELIEVER REVIEWS Joins ADC with Spider-Island Reviews!”

  1. tbrotomotomo September 23, 2011 at 08:17 #

    Cloak and Dagger is the best comic by Marvel in a long time. Everyone support this book!


  1. ALL WEEK: The Week’s Most Popular Stories « All Day Comics - September 25, 2011

    […] 19. True Believers reviews Spider-Island (Part 1) […]

  2. TRUE BELIEVERS REVIEWS Returns with Reviews of DC New 52 Titles! « All Day Comics - September 27, 2011

    […] Hey folks, Mike here – Chris Lemmerman at True Believers Reviews has taken a look at several of the DC New 52 titles, including some that I either haven’t had a chance to read, or haven’t wanted to read – so I’m glad he can share his take on them with us! As usual, click on the links for the full reviews – and give us your comments! What did you like, or love, or hate about the New 52 so far? (And check out some True Believers Reviews for Marvel’s Spider-Island here!) […]

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