Heroes & Villains: ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Flash Forward’ #1, and ‘Inferior 5’

It’s a busy week for Heroes & Villains! I’ve got a little to say about A LOT of books so let’s get it on!

Spider-Man #1
J.J. Abrams & Henry Abrams (W)
Sara Pichelli (A)

Marvel has event comics. Then there are EVENT comics. The new Spider-Man miniseries is most certainly an EVENT comic. I long ago eschewed Marvel’s annual event comics, citing fatigue after the third THIS WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING comic series came along in as many years. However, I am not immune to the siren song of savvy marketing and when they announced that J.J. Abrams (yes, that one) was going to write a comic, A SPIDER-MAN COMIC, with his son, and with Sara Pichelli on art duties… I couldn’t wait.

It’s always a chore writting about these things the day before they hit the street, trying to dance around the actual plot of the book and not spoil the hell out of it even though I’m sure most major media outlets are going to. In brief, the book pulls a huge 180 after the first few pages and gave me something I wasn’t expecting at all. If you can make it to the comic shop today without getting the twist in the book spoiled for you, I salute you.

Perhaps it’s unavoidable to talk about the “stunt” aspect of one of Hollywood’s biggest directors writing a comic with his 21-year-old son. I’m sure the internet had more than a few things to say about it (I wasn’t about to seek that out). What I can’t get past is how unbelievably cool it would be to be that age and work on a comic with my dad. I would have given almost anything to have that kind of experience. Hopefully, this opens the door for more young creators at Marvel with full of new ideas and boundless enthusiasm.

Like most good first issues, it leaves the reader wanting more. I’m extremely curious to see what Abrams, Abrams, and Pichelli (that sounds like a cool law firm) have in store for us over the next five issues of this limited series. 

Flash Forward #1
Scott Lobdell (W)
Brett Booth (A)
DC Comics

In my personal pantheon of favorite superheroes, The Flash and Spider-Man are always jockeying for first place. It varies from month to month but I’ve consistently read both titles (or variations thereof) on a monthly basis since probably the early 80s. I’m of an age where the question “who’s your Flash?” usually leads to a lengthy explanation from me.

For the sake of brevity, Barry Allen was my Flash up until Crisis happened and the former Kid Flash, Wally West, took over. As I grew up, so did Wally’s character. He became probably the better defined of the two, thanks to the work of William Messner-Loebs and Mark Said during my formative years. In a lot of ways, Wally became the perfect legacy character…a sidekick replacing the mentor and then carrying on the mantle of the hero. Proper mythic comic book stuff.

But, as comic characters so often do, Barry Allen came back from the dead. Suddenly, we had two Flashes which, if I’m being honest, wasn’t a bad problem to have. Wally got a super cool costume, his own city (Keystone City) to protect, and was then promptly erased from existence, thanks to the Flashpoint crossover. Another Wally (Wallace) West was later introduced as a new character, which I was in favor of since it presented an updated and more modern take on Kid Flash. But, boy, comics fans on the internet sure weren’t happy (cough racism cough). If you want to get bummed out, feel free to read up on the subject.

ANYWAYS, original formula Wally West got brought back by Doctor Manhattan (comics!) and took to the superhero thing again until yet another event comic made him an (accidental!) murderer. So, Wally West has had a rough go of things over the last decade. Now, he’s getting his own miniseries, Flash Forward, to hopefully clear things up! 

So, it’s safe to say I’m here for the Wally West redemption tour because he’s certainly been done dirty by DC over the last several years. Flash Forward seems to be off to a promising start with some interesting multiverse shenanigans and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for the Scarlet Speedster. 

Inferior 5
Keith Giffen (W/A)
Jeff Lemire (W/A)
DC Comics

This entry is going to be something of a wild card because I honestly had no idea what to expect when I picked the book up. Spinning out of the DC Comics Invasion! crossover, which literally took place THIRTY YEARS AGO, Inferior 5 takes place in a small Arizona town in the aftermath of an alien invasion. 

Inferior 5 is a twelve-issue maxi-series. It’s nice to see DC taking a chance on something that’s not as easily definable as your standard superhero book. Giffen and Lemire are laying some very interesting groundwork for what’s to come and I’m definitely intrigued.

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