Here we go: my first real attempt at blogging about a comic event in real time. Sure I blogged about the zero issue. And I blogged about the first issue. But blogging about a second issue? That shows dedication. I’m committed now. If I don’t finish this thing out it would be more embarrassing than anything else. So with that in mind: Original Sin #2.
A little over a year ago Peter Parker died. It was a very sad day, but after 700 issues of Amazing Spider-Man, one of his rogues finally got the better of the titular hero. Doctor Otto “Octopus” Octavius found a way to switch bodies with the wall-crawler, inhabiting Peter’s form before killing off his own ailing shell with Peter’s mind inside. Thus began a new era of web-slinging, as Doc Ock became a hero himself, hoping to prove he could be a superior Spider-Man in a book appropriately dubbed Superior Spider-Man. But now – just in time for the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Peter has triumphantly returned to his own assemblage of skin, muscle, and bones. Let’s hope this effort is more successful than that of his cinematic counterpart.
Mainstream comics are a medium characterized by unceasing long-term consistency. Both Marvel and DC experience small changes now and then – last year’s “death” of Peter Parker comes to mind – but eventually everything returns to the status quo – as did Peter Parker in yesterday’s Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1, which I will be reviewing in the coming days (I’m such a tease!). Crossover events are the source of these temporary shake-ups. Back when big events became popular in the mid to late 80s (DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths kind of began the trend) they were few and far between, but their effects were actually lasting to some extent. These days, though, both companies put out at least one crossover a year, encompassing most of their characters, and leading to changes that will be negated by the time the next one rolls around. Marvel’s last event, Infinity, wrapped up in November, but they are already prepping for the next one, with the prelude issue #0 of Original Sin.
That’s Doop. That guy. The one that looks like Slimer from Ghostbusters. Doop was created by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, and debuted in X-Force (1991) #116 as the cameraman for a reality show about a team of mutants. Doop has a mysterious origin and speaks in a language only he can understand (and any reader with access to a DoopSpeak Translator). Doop recently appeared as a behind the scenes force in Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men (2011). But now, Doop is front and center in his very own title, written by his creator, Milligan, and drawn by David Lafuente. This is All-New Doop. Doop.
Weekly comic book series used to work like gangbusters for DC. 52 – a 52 issue series chronicling a lost year in the lives of the company’s characters – came out at the peak of DC’s last creative renaissance during the mid-2000s. 52 was bold and daring, but most importantly it was entertaining. The editors in charge tried to recapture that magic the following two years with different characters and creators in Countdown and Trinity, but the spark was missing. Eventually DC shuttered their unofficial weekly comics division. Until now. This week saw the release of Batman Eternal #1, the company’s first weekly series since its experimental Wednesday Comics wrapped in late 2009.
After the debacle that was Survive!, writer Brian Michael Bendis returns to the the book that he does best – Ultimate Spider-Man. The series has been running near-continuously since 2000, originally featuring a younger, more modern version of Peter Parker, before Peter died and his title was passed on to a boy named Miles Morales. Back when he debuted in 2011, Miles, a young man of both African-American and Latino descent – seemed to be a direct response to the racist backlash against the movement to cast Donald Glover as Spider-Man. Since then Miles has become his own hero, with his own supporting cast and storylines. Ultimate Spider-Man #200 (which purports to be the third or fourth “final issue” of Ultimate Spider-Man) is more of a reflection of what came before than anything else.
It is rare these days for me to read a DC comic book. During my high school years I got really into DC – almost exclusively. This was the beginning of the Geoff Johns era, when Johns was creatively fresh, but was not yet free to do whatever the hell he wanted with the entire universe. This was the time of the Crisis resurgence, when history was such an important pat of the line. DC was always built on its legacy, which stretches back to the ’30s, save a reboot or two. The editors at the top of the pyramid really turned me off a few years ago when they re-started their universe yet again, in an effort to court a teen audience that may not really exist. I have been back and forth with a couple titles since, but the arrival of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato on Detective Comics is enough to get me to check the title out.
Marvel Studios, the division of the mainstream comics company that produces the box-office bashing mega-franchise, has a problem. That problem starts with “m” and ends with “utants.” Wolverine, Cyclops, Magneto, and the whole host of outcasts are an integral part of the Marvel Comics universe, but as long as 20th Century Fox continues to churn out movies based on the characters, they will continue to own the rights to the X-Men and the hundreds of mutants that come along for the ride. So what is a budding world superpower to do? Why, make new mutants of course! That is how many cynics view the fore-fronting of the Inhuman characters in the comic book realm. Initially created as a higher form of humanity to face off against the Fantastic Four, the new series Inhuman sees thousands of genetically Inhuman people develop abilities all across the world. A world that fears and mistrusts them, perhaps?
Marvel Comics has the upper hand these days when it comes to quality and creativity. Their main competitors at DC are mired in grit and gristle, more concerned with pandering to their established fanbase than seeking out new readership. Marvel was the same way for a long time; in an unexpected twist the great success of the Marvel Studios films has spurred them to try new things in search of new properties to turn into blockbuster films. Marvel’s old ways are still evident in some corners of their product line, particularly in their Ultimate universe. After a cataclysmic event in the Ultimate Universe (appropriately titled Cataclysm), Marvel is preparing to shake things up in that group of books, starting with the Survive! one-shot.