By Jon Durmin
A double-dose of Spider-ful tales by Robbie Thompson this week gives his fans something to be thankful for! Suffering sauropods! Jack Kirby creation Devil Dinosaur is back this week too, with a new pal. Don’t forget to vote in our poll for what New, Different Marvel book most excites you this week!
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
What we know: Lunella Lafayette: a preteen science queen, afraid of her suspected Inhuman gene, and on the wrong side of bullying. What will the bullies say when Luna discovers a Kree artifact that brings forth the post-Triassic Terror Devil Dinosaur?
Pros: This book knows exactly who its audience is and it is not afraid to play straight to that. Solicitation preview pages seem to bear that out, instantly hitting a tone that is simultaneously absurd, exciting, charming, and heartfelt. That writers Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder have a history of collaboration bodes well, and what’s been previewed of Natcha Bustos’ pencils thus far seems highly promising in terms of tone, pacing and flow.
Cons: This is NOT a superhero book, but is being marketed among a line of superhero books. This may make reaching its target audience a challenge. While being part of Marvel’s ANAD line and securely set in the Marvel Universe will call attention to this series it also puts it at risk of being in a marginal sales position within a few issues of launch as a distinct series among superhero titles. As for the creative team – they are largely untested, especially in the world of mainstream comics publishing. Montclare has more credits as an editor than writer. Reeder has little (if any) experience on the writing side of creative collaboration. Bustos commercially published credits can be counted with one’s own digits. However, much of Montclare’s previous work has been on quirkier tales that might suggest an acumen for that sort of work. Furthermore, Chris Claremont, Roger Stern, Mark Gruenwald, Mark Waid, and Kurt Busiek were all once more well known for their editorial work than their writing. John Byrne, Frank Miller, and Alan Davis began their careers as dedicated artists, and Rick Remender as an inker. Stan Sakai was once only a letterer. Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, and Art Adams all had to fight tooth and nail to get their first penciling assignments. What I’m saying is, this team shows potential; A LOT of potential. Maybe this con isn’t so much of a con after all.
What we know: Cindy “Silk” Moon, the OTHER spider-powered sensation bitten by the Peter-Parker-powering irradiated arachnid returns with Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee back to tell her tale. What could have changed so much in the last 8 months that Silk is an outlaw in the employ of arch-thief and Spider-Ex Black Cat?
Pros: Having Thompson and Lee back will create some continuity of tone for fans of a series that was still quite young when Secret Wars led to its cancellation. Rather than just pick up where they left off (*cough*Squirrel-Girl*cough*) the creative duo has decided to take the character in a distinct direction. A direction that, more than that of some other changes making this claim, truly does open up a multitude of new story directions. Lee’s art alone may be enough to reign new readers into giving this book a chance
Cons: With the same creative team, a very new character that hasn’t had an opportunity to build her presence in the broader comics-reading community, a glut of other new releases from Marvel this month, last month AND next month, and a release date immediately before a travel-heavy holiday weekend (well, at least in the U.S.) Silk runs the risk of being overshadowed by more well-known characters and the more established creators.
Venom: Space Knight
What we know: Flash Thompson has come a long way. From Peter Parker’s bully to his friend. From college drop-out to Marine Corporal. From all-star quarterback to purple-heart winning double—amputee. From alcoholism to sobriety (shame to grace if you will). And now Flash has gone from his initially contentious relationship with Venom symbiote to a true symbiosis of mutual collaboration. Like a well-oiled machine, Flash and the Symbiote are about to right wrongs with a noble spirit as Venom, Space Knight!
Pros: Ariel Olivetti’s distinct style has a lot of fans, and it’s alleged that drawing a Venom series has been one of his dream projects since well before beginning his professional career. Preview pages show that Olivetti isn’t slacking off either, and with his enthusiasm for the character this promises to be a very pretty publication. For those not keeping score already, this is the SECOND of Thompson’s Spider-Man connected titles. Fans that like payout in the form of big stories and cross-overs may want to pay attention. Thompson has another Spider-Man book in the pipeline as well (stay tuned to the forecast to find out what in the weeks ahead True Believers!), and this is a sign that Marvel has a lot of faith in him going forward for big things as part of their writing stable.
Cons: If your version of Venom is a drooling, brain-munching, anti-Spider-Man then you’re out of luck with this series. On the upside that previous version of Venom recently appeared in Al Ewing and Paco Medina’s Contest of Champions series, so you can always check out the back-issue racks and jump on that still relatively new series if that’s the Venom you crave.