The Comic Stop: Andy Burns on Ultimate Spider-Man #2, Superman #1 and Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah

Three issues make it into The Comic Stop this week – the debut of the New 52’s adult Man of Steel; a kid named Miles Morales, who has some big shoes to fill; and a girl named Jenny, the star of one of the weirdest stories I have ever read.

Ultimate Spider-Man Volume 2 Issue 2
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by: Sara Pichelli
Marvel Comics

Anybody put off by all the talk about a new, bi-racial Ultimate Spider-Man is truly missing a great series. Two issues in and Miles Morales is already a memorable character. Like his best work, Brian Michael Bendis is taking his time with his new creation. We’re not getting battles, explosions or a carbon copy of how Peter Parker became the original Spidey. Instead, this is a slow burn. We’re getting to know Miles, who in the premiere issues was, like his predecessor, bitten by a genetically mutated spider. Powers manifest, some of which are familiar, others which are brand new. We’re meeting a new and unique supporting cast of characters, including Miles’ father and his best friend, the instantly endearing Ganke.

As much as I loved the Peter Parker of Ultimate Spider-Man, and as sad as I am to see him gone, in two issues Bendis managed to get me on board with his new vision of our wallcrawler. I’m already itching for issue 3.

 

Superman #1
Written by: George Perez
Illustrated by: Jesus Merino
DC Comics

Another week, another batch of New 52 issues from DC. Having already read Grant Morrison’s early years take on Superman in Action Comics #1, I was eager to see how George Perez would handle the modern day Man of Steel in this brave new world of 52. For some, changes to his costume and marital status were going to be hard ones to look past, but seeing as how I haven’t been a reader of Superman comics for years, I didn’t really take issue with any of the amendments. The costume looks good to my eyes, and apart from the missing red underwear, isn’t that much of a departure from the iconic outfit of years gone by.

There are definite tonal changes to the character, mind you. Doing battle with the villain of the first issue, there’s a bit of banter coming from Kal-El, something I was a little surprised to see. After all, Superman isn’t Spider-Man. But this is a younger Superman than we’re used to, one who is still finding his feet as a hero, so I’m willing to go with it. The new 52 Clark Kent is also more aggressive than I’m used to, another tonal shift. There is a ton of exposition throughout the issue, an interesting stylistic decision that I can’t remember seeing in any recent mainstream books. While I feel like, as an older reader, I’m used to more showing than telling, as I was reading Superman #1 I felt as though this would be a perfect starting point for young readers. I’m not totally committed to the new series yet, but I’m on board for at least another issue.

Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah
Written by: Mike Mignola
Illustrated by: Troy Nixey and Farel Dalyrymple
BOOM! Studios

Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah is one of the strangest books I’ve ever read, and I’ve read some strange stuff over the years. I won’t give too much away, mind you, because if you’re into the work of Mike Mignola or H.P. Lovecraft, you’ll find a lot to like about this trade paperback collection of the four issue series, first published more than 10 years ago. It’s a gothic tale about a twisted and cursed girl, ugly citizens of an English port town, dead prostitutes, flopping fish and tentacles. Lots of tentacles.

While I was drawn into the mystery of the story, I really couldn’t get over just how ugly all the characters were in Jenny Finn. That’s not to say that the art work is ugly – far from it. Dalrymple and Nixey’s work both shine in black and white; it’s just clear that what they were going for was a certain eerie and unattractive quality to their characters, which that lack of colour certainly helps highlight. To me, Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah felt like it could be a companion piece to Alan Moore’s From Hell, except far more accessible.

For fans of Mignola, Lovecraft and Captain Highliner.

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