Tug's Pick of the Week

SPIDER-MAN #1 — Click for a Larger ImageSpider-Man #1

This week, Tug’s Pick is going redundant.

Last week’s Pick was Amazing Spider-Man # 506, and this week, Spidey has managed to swing above the rest of the pack again.  You might be thinking that I’ve lost my edge, or maybe I’m just too into Spider-Man.  But, hey, I just call ‘em like I see ‘em, and Spider-Man # 1 from the Marvel Knights imprint is the best read you’ll find on the shelves this week.  And besides, if I had to pick a Spidey comic that was completely different from Amazing # 506, then Spider-Man # 1 would be it.

The Marvel Knights imprint has long been a home for books that take a dip in the reality pool more often than other comics.  Series like Daredevil have come to define this imprint as a haven for street-level characters involved in grittier-than-usual stories.  Spider-Man # 1 is no different, and who better to write a gritty Spider-Man title than Mark (made Ultimate Cap kick Ultimate Hulk in the crotch) Millar?

If you were to ask me what it is about Mark Millar that I like so much, I probably couldn’t really tell you.  I could only start listing off titles: Ultimate X-Men, Superman: Red Son, Wanted — eh, and this is just recent stuff.  Like any writer, he has his stumbling blocks (cough, Trouble, cough), but no one need fear this time around.  Millar takes the Marvel Knights ideals to heart as the story opens with Spidey besting the Green Goblin in a no-holds-barred brawl that leaves both men looking like veteran hockey players.  Millar’s real skill, though, comes in the quieter moments of the book — which range from a heart-string-plucking chat with Aunt May about moving out of her house to a hysterical class discussion between Peter Parker’s students about the personal life of their teacher.

My only complaint is that the plot involves a mysterious villain figuring out Peter’s identity and trying to get to him through his family.  Normally I wouldn’t object to this so much, but it seems like this same plot device is going around the comics world like a bad rash.  I do have faith in Millar, though, and I’m sure his version will be a cut above the rest.

Rounding out the nice things I have to say about this comic, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the art by Terry and Rachel Dodson.  When you think "Marvel Knights artists," the Dodsons don’t really come to mind, but they manage to really show the battle scars of super-heroics well.  Oh, and it’s also pretty darn neat when that draw that Mary Jane girl.

So, our review in a nutshell:

Spider-Man + good writing + good art = See you Wednesday!

Other goodies you’ll want to give a look:

BITE CLUB #1 — Click for a Larger ImageBite Club # 1

OK, so you probably wouldn’t think that there would be much to this comic beyond the clever title and the Frank Quitely cover, but this is a really interesting read.  Howard Chaykin and David Tischman put vampires together with The Sopranos, and the results are good.  David Hahn’s art is a perfect fit for this book, making Bite Club # 1 another Vertigo hit, alongside Fables and Y—The Last Man.

H-E-R-O #15 — Click for a Larger ImageH-E-R-O # 15

Man, when did this book decide to get good again?  For the last few months, this book has been telling some interesting enough stories, but nothing really mind-blowing.  In this issue, though, everything is finally coming together as Robby Reed (the original owner of the HERO dial from way back in the Silver Age) finds Jerry Feldon (the young man who found the dial in the first and best arc of the current series) — and together they begin to hunt down the missing HERO dial in hopes of keeping it from falling into the wrong hands.  Unfortunately, it looks like they may be too late —

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