This week the Green Goblin returns (with a pal) in Amazing Spider-Man, and Robert Kirkman kicks off a new series with Oblivion Song!
Amazing Spider-Man #797 (Marvel Comics)
The time has come. Dan Slott is leaving The Amazing Spider-Man. After years of penning the wall-crawler’s adventures, the writer is prepping one last story, and it’s set to be one hell of a finale for Slott and artist Stuart Immonen. Not only has Norman Osborn returned as the Green Goblin, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve: none other than the Carnage symbiote. As the beginning of “Go Down Swinging”, Amazing Spider-Man #797 is not only a great kick off to what’s sure to be a bombastic event, it’s also a great example of how great Dan Slott is on the book when he’s on his game.
Yes, Norman Osborn has his powers back (thanks to a certain red “friend”), and he’s out for revenge against Spider-Man for removing his powers . With his powers finally back at the same level as his rage, Osborn sets out to stalk the Wall-Crawler and learn his secrets by kidnapping a familiar face and attempting to get the information he desperately needs, but can’t remember: Spider-Man’s true identity!
This is definitely an opening chapter for Dan Slott’s final story line, but while it’s very light on action, it is one tense read. Slott’s greatest strengths on this series are his characterizations and long form plotting, and both of those aspects of his run are in full effect here. Harry Osborn, Mary Jane, J Jonah Jameson, the Bugle, and every other Spidey side character makes an appearance here, and Slott does a great job of building up the tension for just who Osborn has kidnapped, and the final page will definitely have you worried for the wall-crawler. Osborn is truly unhinged, and Slott’s script has made Norman Osborn the scariest he’s ever been.
As always, Stuart Immonen is on board for this final chapter in Dan Slott’s run, and of course his art is stellar. Arguably the best artist to draw Spidey in Slott’s long run, Immonen adds to the dread of this issue by keeping Osborn in the shadows, and acting on some very dark and disturbing impulses. The face of madness has never looked better, and neither has Spidey’s supporting cast. His art is so good that the highlight of the book doesn’t have anything to do with the Green Goblin, but with Peter and Mary Jane, who have a realistic (albeit disappointing for yours truly), talk about their future together.
This Osborn story has been a plot thread that has been building since the final issue of Superior Spider-Man years ago, and those small pieces of plot has lead to a truly dark and disturbing issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Knowing what Norman Osborn has for his secret weapon will ensure that this will be one of the toughest fights Spidey’s ever had, and while I’m sure he’ll survive the experience, it remains to be seen how much this will change him or the ones he loves.
Oblivion Song #1 (Image Comics)
Now that Invincible has wrapped, it’s only fitting that Robert Kirkman dives into another ongoing series. Not content with just having The Walking Dead and Outcast on store shelves, the hit writer now has Oblivion Song, a new series with artwork from Lorenzo De Filici. While it features a similar post-apocalyptic setting like Walking Dead, the series instead focuses on inter-dimensional creatures and the aftermath of 300,000 Philadelphia citizens being lost in an event known as the Oblivion. In the ten years since the event, the government has all but given up on finding any new survivors, but one man, Nathan Cole, still makes daily trips to find new survivors.
Robert Kirkman’s script is full of the things the writer is known for, including the major focus on internal and external drama between the characters. The main hook of the series is definitely a strong one, and it’s a good reminder that Kirkman still has what it takes in the storytelling department. Even though we don’t have a lot of background info on Nathan Cole, there’s plenty to like about the character to keep you invested in his story, and like all good Kirkman first issues, there’s a major cliffhanger that pretty much guarantees you’ll be back for issue two.
I’ve never seen Lorenzo De Filici’s art before this issue, but he makes a great first impression here. His style is a good mix between Ryan Ottley’s cartoony style in Invincible and Charlie Adlard’s detailed art in Walking Dead, and he’s able to give this story the epic style it deserves. While there are some strange facial expressions on the characters, there’s still plenty of really great moments here, and Filici’s stock in the comic industry is certainly going to rise thanks to this project.
Fans of Kirkman will find plenty to like with this new series, and new readers will also find a lot to intrigue them as well. While it’s missing the zombie survival gimmick of Walking Dead, the inter-dimensional aspect of this series is super intriguing, and one that should lead to another successful series for the man who helped change indie comics.