This week the ol’ Parker luck is back in the Marvel Legacy era of Amazing Spider-Man, and travel to Hell for the ultimate monster race with The Showdown Vol. 2!
The Amazing Spider-Man #789
Spider-Man’s had it very easy lately. Ever since he became the new Tony Stark of the Marvel universe and went global, Spidey’s been a lot less “friendly neighborhood”. Everything was coming up Parker…until now. Dan Slott had his fun making Spidey a globe-trotting super hero who hangs out with Mockingbird, but we all knew that the shoe would drop on ol’ Peter Parker at some point, and with Amazing Spider-Man #789, it finally does.
Everybody hates Peter Parker. After shutting Parker Industries down after an attack by the Superior Octopus and HYDRA, Peter Parker is back to having no job, no money, and (seemingly) no friends. The only difference now is the fact that he’s a major public figure thanks to the entire tech Parker Industries created. There’s a small amount of Spidey action, but a large chunk of this issue is focused on Peter dealing with the fallout of his actions and trying to figure out his way in the world. Yes, this issue serves as “status quo reset” issue for lapsed readers, but it’s nice to see Peter back to his old down on his luck self.
The “down on his luck” return does border a little on the extreme, especially when Peter is accosted by what seems like the entirety of New York City, but Dan Slott is able to tap into Peter Parker’s frustrations like no other writer. That’s expected since he’s been writing Amazing for close to ten years now, but even with Slott still on the book; Amazing has a new, recharged feeling that comes from this return to the “classic” Peter status quo. I’m not even annoyed that this issue barely features any action in it. The “back to basics” script does wonders for this title and Slott’s script.
Like Slott, Stuart Immonen has stayed on Amazing Spider-Man too, and, well, what else is there left to say about Immonen? He’s one of the top artists in comics, and having him on Amazing Spider-Man is an absolute treat for a long time Spidey fan like myself. Immonen’s still on top of his game with this issue, delivering not only some great action scenes in the few ones that appear in this issue, but also the hilarious facial expressions that occur on Peter’s face as he deals with everything around him.
If you were a Spidey fan that was turned off by the “Spider-Stark” era, there’s plenty to like in this issue. Hell, even if you liked the past few years of Amazing, this issue is a great epilogue to everything that happened to Spidey since he started his own company. All in all, Amazing Spider-Man #789 is a great example of what Marvel’s Legacy branding is attempting to do: tell new stories that bring their characters back to their roots.
The Showdown Vol. 2
What if demons, werewolves, zombies, and all other kinds of monstrous creatures had a chance to escape Hell, but only if they won a race through all of Hell’s levels? That’s the premise behind The Showdown’s second volume from Russ Lippit and Ezequiel Pineda. The Showdown Vol 2 isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you happen to love crazy, over the top horror and monsters, you’ll find plenty to love here.
As part two of a planned trilogy, I was a little worried that I’d be lost reading The Showdown’s second volume. Luckily Lippit’s script is pretty accessible for those who haven’t read the first volume of this race of the damned. Focusing on a wide variety of racers, Showdown reminded me of a crazy, hard R horror take on the old Wacky Racers, albeit with a LOT more gore and nudity (it should be noted that The Showdown Vol 2 is definitely NOT for the kiddos). While Lippit’s premise is solid, there are some moments where the dialogue is a little corny. However, as the book goes on it greatly improves, and Lippit even peppers in some pretty cool moments and a fun surprise cameo later on.
On the art side of things, Ezequiel Pineda really throws everything at this book. There’s a wide variety of creatures and monsters that Pineda showcases in The Showdown, and while they don’t all look as cool as they could, there’s still a lot of great designs, and Pineda knows how to draw some great action. Car chases and races are typically the hardest things to make in comics, but here Pineda is able to figure out how to deliver the goods in a way that’s extremely dynamic.
How much you enjoy The Showdown Vol 2 will definitely depend on how much you enjoy horror movies. Since I tend to enjoy that stuff, I found a lot to like in it. If you’re looking for a fun, campy, and very extreme book to read this Halloween, The Showdown Vol 2 will definitely do the trick.