Retro Review–Amazing Spider-Man: The Original Clone Saga (Part One)

Part One – Amazing Spider-Man #139

The Original Clone Saga is a Spider-Man series that started in Amazing Spider-Man #139. The issue that starts the saga is written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Ross Andru. The comic released in December 1974. New villain The Grizzly debuts with surprising villain Jackal appearing at the comic’s end. The comic is a slow start of potential things to come.

The story shows us that Peter Parker’s civilian life has been struggling. He’s looking for a new apartment that’s cheap enough for his income. That’s a hard act to complete in a city such as New York. Conway does a great job of quickly connecting readers to Peter and his plight. It’s sad to see Peter, who has done so much for the city, not even be able to find an affordable home. It’s a reminder of the homeless that are wandering the streets of New York at night.

Grizzly is a formidable opponent in his debut. He will remind readers of the Rhino. However, he will become a forgettable villain as he’s just the muscle for the true villain. Peter Parker in the issue investigates a townhouse in New York. Grizzly and Jackal await inside. They capture Peter Parker, then attach a device to Peter’s wrist. The device is to help Jackal figure out who Spider-Man is. This sets up the next issue where Peter has to figure out how to remove the device.

This is a slow start to the saga without giving much info to lure in readers. The only hint is that Jackal is playing a part. The artwork is superb in the book. Ross Andru is fantastic so far. Conway does great with the several issues that Peter faces. He just doesn’t have readers hooked yet into what’s to come.

Overall rating: 2.5/5.


Retro Review: More Fun Comics #73 (1941) (Aquaman Debut)

Today, we take you back in time. We love time travel. More Fun Comics #73 released in November of 1941. DC Comics asked DC editor/writer Mort Weisinger in 1941 to create a few new characters. He quickly created three hits: the speedster Johnny Quick, the archer Green Arrow, and the underwater hero Aquaman. Aquaman made his debut in the back pages of More Fun Comics #73. Today’s review is of that debut story written by Weisinger and co-creator Paul Norris that did the art for the book.

In Aquaman’s debut story, we see the nautical superhero take on the Nazis. It was 1941, when the United States was in the middle of World War II. Comics during the time was featuring the war in their stories and Aquaman wasn’t the only superhero fighting the Nazi regime. Weisinger begins the story with suspense as a German submarine is going to attack a small boat filled with men, women, and children that are seeking help. The submarine fires a shell at the boat, then Aquaman’s hand rises from the water. Aquaman grabs the boat, then swims quickly away from the submarine. After Aquaman saves the survivors, he heads straight for the submarine to kick the asses of the Nazis.

In this sequence, there is a shift in the story’s mood. It goes from worrisome to happy. Weisinger liked to have a fusion of suspense and lightheartedness in his scripts. Aquaman busts onto the submarine–throwing punches and delivering hilarious nautical-themed quips. Norris portrays this beautifully with scenes of despair and scenes of enjoyment. Norris features bright colors to give happiness to this tale. You can tell that Aquaman is a tale to bring smiles upon readers’ faces in a time of darkness.

Aquaman defeats the Nazis in the book. Weisinger briefly introduces Aquaman’s origin story quickly in the comic. Across three panels, readers are introduced to Aquaman’s father. It’s not enough to truly get a grasp of who the character is. It is enough to entice readers for more info of Aquaman’s past. Overall, the short story is fun and entertaining for readers to want more.

Overall rating: 4/5.

Comics Marvel

Retro Review of Venom: Lethal Protector #1 (1992)

Written by David Michelinie. Drawn by Mark Bagley. Published by Marvel.

“Venom: Lethal Protector” is the first solo series for the popular Spider-Man foe. The comic released in 1992 as a six-part series. Venom’s story takes place in sunny San Francisco, California. David Michelinie changes Venom from menacing villain to powerful antihero. Michelinie implements one distinguishing characteristic for this new Venom. Venom still hates Spider-Man, though he believes in helping humans.

Mark Bagley is the artist for the first three issues (parts) of the series. His Venom is huge with defined muscles and facial features. An example is when Venom saves a woman from a mugger. Venom smiles at her in his own frightening, yet heartfelt way. Bagley’s renderings of Venom’s face is sharp with strong line work.

Eddie Brock, Venom, is trying to start over in San Francisco. However, this proves difficult as he is wanted for murder. The cops give chase to Brock, who turns into Venom in order to escape police custody. A civilian takes a photograph of Venom, which makes its way to the Daily Bugle in New York via a U.P.I. wire. Michelinie and Bagley use a flashback sequence with white and black panels to detail the vicious rivalry between Spider-Man and Venom. These panels stand for the moral grayness that is Venom. A man, Eddie Brock, and an alien symbiote that both hated Spider-Man for their own reasons. Hatred made Venom evil, then Venom/Eddie Brock changed their heart when Spider-Man saved Brock’s ex-wife. Venom vows to not come after Spider-Man as long as Spider-Man doesn’t come after him. However, Peter Parker/Spider-Man heads to California after the Venom photo surfaces.

Towards the end of the comic, there’s a beautiful contrast of the two characters. Venom is in a park where he’s fighting a gang of mobsters, who are being hateful to a crew of homeless people. Spider-Man appears–assuming that Venom is attacking innocent people. Spider-Man is in the wrong as Venom is doing what he promised in his agreement. The morally sound character, Spider-Man, lets the grayness of Venom confuse him. Their relationship calls in to question the gray matter of what defines a hero. A strong point to build around.

Final evaluation– Lethal Protector is a great start for a Venom series. The analysis of the Spider-Man/Venom relationship drives this comic forward with strong art by Bagley.

Overall rating: 4/5.

Movies Spooktober streaming

WNUF Halloween Special Review

The WNUF Halloween Special is a great retro throwback to older local tv specials. Set in 1987 at the height of Satanic panic and the war on drugs, this movie parodies the state of local news during that time. What helps make this movie so authentic is the way it is filmed and shot. Shot on old VHS stock this movie looks like a worn VHS tape that has been sitting on your shelf for too long.

The main portion of the movie is a local TV special exploring the mythical Amityville-like house where a boy named Donald Webber murdered and mutilated his family’s body. Webber apparently claimed to be possessed by demonic spirits. We follow Frank Stewart, a local news reporter, a husband and wife duo, Louis and Claire Berger, who along with their alleged clairvoyant cat Shadow investigate paranormal incidents; the cast is rounded out with a priest, Father Joseph Matheson, and Frank’s producer Veronica.

Preceding the special is a local WNUF newscast that features stories about a dentist offering $1 deals to kids to bring in their candy and prevent cavities, political rivals going at it, a cheesy weather report, and a report about a local Christian organization who wants to ban Halloween for being demonic. This helps add to the authenticity of the special by creating believably old local newscasts.

The big highlight of this movie is the wonderfully authentic commercials. We get political attack ads, law office ads, an advertisement for a store that sells rugs and carpet, tv show commercials which include shows such as Chicago Lightning, and my personal favorite ad for a breakfast buffet strip club.

This movie is an excellent throwback to old tv specials and is a great movie to watch for the Halloween season-I know it is now required viewing for me. I would highly recommend this movie. Check it out on Shudder.

Rating 5/5