Retro One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews 04/16/14

One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews

Retro Edition

Editors Note:  One of my many tasks on the site is to write the weekly reviews for newly released comics.  However, I am currently cut off from my comic shop as I have found myself across the pond, therefore the next three One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews shall be retro reviews of some of my favorite comics.

spiderman 6

Title:  Spider-Man #6

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Todd McFarlane

Artist:  Todd McFarlane

Review:  Thumbs Up!

Todd McFarlane had a fairly long run with our favorite webhead: first with Amazing Spider-Man as the artist and then on Spider-Man continuing the art along with taking over writing duties.  Of everything he did, art and story, Spider-Man #6 was one of my all-time favorites.  It features one of my favorite Hobgoblin issues in this fairly dark tale after Jason Macendale has been fused to the demon N’astirh.

The now possessed and deranged Hobgoblin thinks he is an angel sent from God and starts killing those around New York City that he believes are unrepentant sinners.  Among those who he has strung up in his current lair is a mother and her young son.  He believes the mother is being controlled by the devil, but takes her son as a disciple.  The Hobgoblin decides there is no hope for the others he has bounded and captured, so taking the boy, he throws a pumpkin bomb into the room to destroy the building and flies away.  Meanwhile Ghost Rider senses the death of innocents and rides to find the source.

Afterwards, the police rummage through the destruction the pumpkin bomb caused the building, finding many dead and many alive but severely disfigured.  Spider-Man stands over watch and starts his hunt for the Hobgoblin.  He begins with the street level drug dealers until he gets enough information and tracks the Hobgoblin and the boy down.  Spider-Man confronts him, but in his unstable mental state, the Hobgolin believes Spider-Man is the devil and attacks.  As Spider-Man begins to realize how unhinged, and different, his enemy is, the little boy pleads for Spider-Man to not hurt his new friend.  Fully showing the child’s face, it is partially disfigured to resemble the Hobgoblin’s mask, much to Spider-Man’s horror, and Ghost Rider comes closer to joining the fight.

McFarlane’s Spider-Man run was fairly dark to begin with, but this issue and the next are some of more dark, even mature Spidey stories of the time.  The angle of having Hobgoblin believe he was on a righteous, religious quest was not of McFarlane’s creation, but he wrote and drew it the best.  Seeing the Hobgoblin kill and disfigure in the name of God is out there, but it worked so well here.  Especially having him believe that Spider-Man is the devil himself was fantastic.  The poor little boy is one of the best parts of the issue as well, watching him slowly get brain washed that the Hobgoblin is truly divine.

I absolutely love Todd McFarlane’s art, in fact he is probably my favorite artist of all time.  Drawing the possessed Hobgoblin was probably the best art that he did on his Spider-Man run, though.  It gives you glimpses of what will eventually come in Spawn, and just how terrifying he could make a character look.  The only complaint that I would have to make is that his Ghost Rider really wasn’t anything special; I expect to be, and usually am, wowed when he draws many characters, but for the Spirit of Vengeance I wasn’t.  The cover ranks on the top for my favorite Spider-Man covers from any series.

Usually Todd McFarlane gets raves for his art, not his writing.  Sure enough, I am raving about the art in this issue, but it has a fantastic story that he wrote too.  If you are a Hobgoblin fan, you’d be hard pressed to find a better story than here.  You really can’t go wrong with any of his Spider-Man work, but as single issues go, this was by far the most enjoyable of all.


Title:  Y The Last Man #20

Publisher:  Vertigo

Writer:  Brian K. Vaughan

Artist: Pia Guerra

Review:  Thumbs Up!

If you had happened to have missed reading Y The Last Man, that was a mistake.  It might not have been your fault, maybe you just hadn’t heard about the series, which at this point would be getting harder and harder not to have happened; regardless, you need to read this magnificent series.  It shines as one of the best series that has come out in the last twenty years easily.  Issue #20 is actually the third part to the story arc of Safe Word.  Agent 711 had offered to look after Yorick while Agent 355 and Allison go off to try to help Ampersand as he has gotten more and more sick.  However once the other two are on their way, Agent 711 drugs and binds Yorick, beginning to torture him in an undisclosed location.

After a long treatment of psychological torture and being tied to a bed, Yorick tells Agent 711 that he wants to have sex with her, believing that’s what she wants.  However that declaration causes her to untie him and bring him to water.  She starts holding his head underwater, asking him why he keeps risking his life in several situations that she read in Agent 355’s journal.  She keeps dunking him until he finally admits he thought about killing himself three days after the plague killed all of the men.  He thought of shooting himself in the head, but decided against it at the last moment.  Agent 711 tells him he was to scared to pull the trigger himself so is now throwing himself in dangerous situations so someone else will kill him.  Agreeing with her assessment, he admits he does want to die, but wants her to help drown him.

Right before he loses consciousness, he realizes he doesn’t want to die and fights Agent 711 off, running through the door.  He finds that they are still in her house and she comes to the room to tell him his suicide intervention was over.  After reading Agent 355’s journal, she saw the signs that Yorick was suicidal so put him through the process so he would realize he really doesn’t want to die.  Now “cured”, Yorick is able to rejoin Agent 355 and Allison when they arrive, as if nothing had happened.

It was a powerful story arc as Yorick was tortured, but what made it even more emotional is the revelation that it was all done for his own good.  In the first twenty issues, Yorick had been taking many unnecessary risks.  Looking back to this as he subconsciously had a death wish makes perfect sense considering the depression and guilt he carries over being the last man alive.  This ranked as one of the best looks at the psychological toll this type of event could take on a person, along with showing the extreme it took for Yorick to get the kick in the ass he needed to survive.

Picking out just one issue to look at in this series was very difficult.  While this is one of my favorite issues, the series should be read on a whole as it was meant to be.  If you only have time to try one issue though, this is it.  In the end, taking Agent 355, Allison, and Ampersand gave us a fantastic solo story with Yorick that let us get in his head while he got in his.

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