Category: From the Mind of Tim Jousma

Ultimate Spider-Man #5

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First of all, I just got out of the theater after watching Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Do yourself a favor and see this movie. If the Prequel Trilogy left a bad taste in your mouth, consider this movie mouthwash for the brain. It has its flaws to be sure but JJ Abrams knows how to do one thing. Make an exciting movie. Do yourselves a favor and go watch this movie. Don’t be a cynical jerk. Enjoy yourself. These movies aren’t a religion, they’re a fun way to pass a couple hours of your day.

Now onto Ultimate Spider-Man. What a kick in the gut this issue gives you. This is the moment where Peter Parker becomes the Spider-Man we all know and love. Once he finds out that Uncle Ben is dead and that the killer is holed up in an abandoned warehouse, he gets the suit on with every intention of straight up murdering the guy. Make no mistake here, Peter Parker has it in him to kill and it’s a trait he has to keep down in order to honor the memory of his uncle.

This is a dark story. I love that it pulls no punches much like the original origin story of Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15. Spider-Man is a story geared towards a younger audience but even with the Ultimate universe they respect the intelligence of the reader by making everything that happens so real.

The best stories come from a place of honesty. Duh, you may be thinking but it is true. When you have a sudden revelation in your life that suddenly opens your eyes to what a fool you’ve been it hits you like a pile of bricks landing on your head. Peter’s reaction to the identity of the Uncle Ben’s killer sets the stage for everything. He could have easily went ahead with his plans to kill the guy because the bad guy was so much of an underdog it’s not funny. But much like Luke Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi when he has Vader down for the count but the sight of his father missing the same hand that Vader had cut off from him, Peter wins by not going through with his planned action. Revenge would have been sweet and with his powers he probably could have gotten away with it. But he thought of words from his Uncle Ben and simply tied the guy up for the police.

We also get a scene with the Green Goblin torching his wife. It’s an interesting idea that I really wish was expanded upon more but being that we’re dealing with such a Peter-centric story I understand why this part of the story was skipped over. But that leaves us as the reader a little confused as to what the hell is going on. We recognize Harry and the Osborne residence but the scene with the Osborne’s was all of three pages. I would have preferred this to be told in the next issue where they could have added a lot more to the story.

Bottom Line:

This is another can’t miss issue. Long time Spider-Man fans will know what happens going into this issue because while the story is certainly elaborated upon, it is still quite faithful to the original origin story that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created back in the 60’s.

The problem with this issue however falls on the fact that it is trying to tell a couple stories at once. They really should have avoided the Green Goblin story. It had no impact on the story this issue and is so short that you really have no clue as to what is happening. It most definitely is expanded upon in future issues so this is not such a sore spot with me that it is a turn off but thinking of first time readers to this story I can see where a short little three page interlude like this could have you scratching your head.

The art work is amazing, especially the very last panel. When Peter arrives back in his neighborhood after taking care of the bad guy who killed his Uncle, Mary Jane is there to meet him. He tries to say something but ends up falling to the ground in tears, with MJ clutching him in her arms. The love between the two is shown to us in a beautiful picture on the very last panel. The issue is worth it for that alone.

Ultimate Spider-Man #4

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Responsibility. The whole theme of Spider-Man can be boiled down to that word. When we are given responsibility, how do we react? Do we follow through on what we’ve been given responsibility for or do we avoid doing anything with it?

Peter Parker getting powers is something that it goes without saying doesn’t happen to everyone but in a way that’s not the point. What Spider-Man shows to the average reader is that when you are given responsibility large or small, you have to do something with it otherwise you end up regretting it. This issue introduces that regret with Uncle Ben’s death.

This is a powerful issue much like it was when it was first introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15. It adds so much weight and sadness to the story that a writer would have to be trying to find a way to screw this up. I really love how it goes down. Peter is confronted by his Aunt and Uncle for having his grades slip while he’s playing basketball and wrestling. Peter runs out and heads to his new teammate Kong’s house to crash. Kong ends up having a party where not only does Liz Allen come onto him drunk, Mary Jane sees Liz make a grab for Peter and he bolts. He cries it out on a rooftop but finally decides to come clean with his Aunt and Uncle about his new powers. Than he arrives home and sees the cop cars.

Powerful. It makes me think about times when I’ve had major responsibility. I have three that are sleeping now, my children. As a parent, you have no clue what the hell you’re doing half the time. Especially with the older ones you’re winging it half the time and hoping the younger ones make the same type of mistakes so you know what the hell to do. If you happen to have a boy and a girl even worse because both sexes get into their own set of silliness that you have no clue how to do anything about. But you have to plow ahead. Will you make mistakes? Of course. But this is not a game you play on your iPad where you can force quit the damn thing and start over. (Well, you could but there’s that whole burial, cleaning up a murder scene, fleeing from the authorities, and finding the right woman who’ll give you more babies despite that little baby killing hobby you used to have with your ex.)

It’s great that Bendis has found a way to show us that Peter is not taking the new powers well. By the time he gets to Kong’s house he’s mostly a different person. Kids are funny that way. When they can’t come up with the words that something is wrong they tend to act out. They’re looking for attention, hell, they’re looking for you to kind of interpret what the hell is going on because they have no clue what is happening but they will let you know something is up by how they act. It’s been established that Peter is a good kid so to see him shun everything that has brought him happiness as established in the story so far, his Aunt and Uncle, Mary Jane, school, to have him shun all that in order to get the approval of people he didn’t seem to care too much about it is quite telling.

We also see the aftermath of Norman’s experiment. A lot of people are either dead, injured, or about to be thanks to what we see next. A big creature is stumbling down an alley mumbling ‘Parker’. While I would have liked a scene showing how Norman escaped or some panel of him in the midst of changing, getting is to this point is fine. While it could have been better, we still see the birth of The Green Goblin.

Bottom Line:

This is a can’t miss issue. You’re caught in a middle of a story here so taken out of context, if this was your first issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, maybe you don’t like it as much because you do have a lot of people in this issue that could be lost on a first time reader if they didn’t have a chance to read the earlier issues. While that is a bit of a problem, I’ve found the Ultimate comic line has been pretty good for the most part in not shoving so much down your throat so that it gets you lost. It’s kind of like the original Star Wars. George Lucas threw you into the deep end of the pool and if you didn’t swim, you were going to be lost no matter what type of life support he gave you.

The art work it should be noted was stellar, especially with the reveal of the police at Peter’s home at the end of the issue. The third to last frame in particular is just a shot of Peter’s head with a street light in the back ground. It’s like the light represents his dawning realization that something quite horrible has happened. The level of fright in his eyes in the last panel is understandable and, given Bendis’s wonderful work in making us care about Peter and his friends and family up to this point, that fright is painful to watch. But you have to read the next issue. Brian Bendis snared you.

I finished his book Words For Pictures recently and he talks about cliffhangers in comics. He said his goal was to not only have a big cliffhanger at the end of the issue but have a cliffhanger, either big or small, end every page. He wants to give readers every reason to continue on with the story and in this issue in particular he does a great job. Writers would be wise to study his work to see what he does to get folks to get to that next page. Regardless of what you write, you have to keep your readers interested for every page. You can’t have a great beginning or ending while neglecting the meat of the story, the building and resolution of your story. Again, not every cliffhanger as Bendis puts it is going to be big. It’ll be a small beat like in the comic where Uncle Ben attempted to pick up Peter from Kong’s house only to have Peter run away again. The look on his face, you could feel the emotion there. It made you want to turn the page to see how Peter fixes this because you like Uncle Ben. He may be a bit of an urban hippie but you like the guy.

Ultimate Spider-Man #3

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Peter finds himself going through more changes in the next issue of Ultimate Spider-Man as he deals and learns to control his new powers. But people are on to him. Norman, thanks to Doctor Octopus’s blood sample that he retrieved from Peter last issue, knows full well that Peter has his powers. At this point, Peter of course has not donned the suit and taken the mantle of hero so Norman’s focus is more along the lines of how what worked for Peter could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams.

Capitalism has its benefits and its drawbacks. The biggest benefit of course is the fact that pretty much anyone, with the right resources and ingenuity, can and will get rich. You can read through the history books and see person after person come from nothing to suddenly ruling financial empires because they had the foresight to know that the general public needed something before the public themselves did.

Take Steve Jobs. He was born from Syrian parents who did not have the ability to raise him. They put him up for adoption and he ended up living an upper middle class life in Northern California. Along the way he meets up with folks interested in electronics. They introduce him to home built computers. Who knows what they had planned for those computers but the fact was they were made pretty much as machines that only enthusiasts would enjoy. Inspiration hit him when he thought how useful could be as a personal device. He imagined the personal possibilities the devices could have when others scoffed. But he stuck to it and thanks to him, we live very different lives. For all his faults, he found a way to help make the world much smaller because he had a simple idea that others had no interest in doing.

On the flip side you have douche bags like Martin Shkreli. Anyone reading the news over the past couple months will be familiar with the name. He’s the scumbag who bought into a pharmaceutical company and raised the price on a particular drug many thousands of times over for no reason. His claim was that it was to help fund research into new medicines but only the most deluded accept that answer. He did it to make money. Making money in and of itself is not the problem here. If he were selling car parts than I would say more power to him and think nothing of it. It’s his business. He can do what he wants with it. But when you have someone so vain and full of themselves pull something like this and take a drug that has saved countless lives because he needs to pay for the Wu Tang Clan album they only made one copy of, you see point blank what the excesses of capitalism can bring.

In a lot of ways, this Shkreli ass face is very much like Norman Osborne in our story. Norman has one goal, the preservation of his company. Anything, absolutely anything, which gets in the way of that goal will be brought down like a stack of cards. He even goes so far as to have Doctor Octopus and his team inject him with a purer version of what made Peter powerful in an attempt to make sure this was the real deal.

Peter is finding that with his new powers he can do new things. Due to breaking Flash Thompson’s hand, Aunt May and Uncle Ben were forced to pay for his hospital bills. To find a way to make up for it, he comes across a professional wrestling outfit that appears to be run out of a mall challenging members of the audience to take their main villain down in the ring. As a wrestling fan, this annoyed me. If this story were written in the 60’s that would be one thing because kayfabe, the term used in wrestling which describes the lengths people in that industry went to in order to hide what was really going on from the audience, was very much still in effect then and you hear stories about how wrestlers would challenge folks with stunts like this. However, this comic was written in the early 2000’s, well after the fact when Vince McMahon finally revealed that wrestling was very much a form of entertainment. I could be wrong. Maybe stuff like this still happens somewhere in the country but the wrestling stunt was just something I did not believe.

Also, for the sake of argument let’s say that a scene like this happened. You see later in the story that Peter ends up working for the wrestling company someplace else. What business man worth their weight in salt would allow someone whose name they don’t know to perform a physical activity that could set them up for future liability lawsuits if Peter were to screw up and hurt someone in the ring? At the very least the wrestling gig gets Peter his suit. We had to get to this point.

Bottom Line:

This is not the best issue. It’s a necessary issue but not a very good one because a lot is happening here that if you think about it logically just makes no sense. Sure, some may say that it’s a comic, I shouldn’t be thinking too hard about what is going on. I disagree. The best stories, regardless of genre and who the audience is for, should have an internal logic that makes sense. At any time during your read that you encounter a moment where you just shake your head as to why something is going on, you’re losing the reader. When you have established that a character cannot do something like play a simple game of basketball like Peter in the story and out of nowhere, simply because he has his powers he’s the star of the basketball team, you have to explain how he got the powers. Getting the proportional strength of a spider doesn’t necessarily mean you get sweet moves on the basketball court. Show me how he got the moves.

The art work is once again pretty solid. No real complaints. Sometimes the best art in a comic is work that does its job so well you don’t notice it. While we don’t have an iconic shot like Batman posing in the moonlight in The Dark Knight Returns, the art goes a long way of placing you in this world. Well done.

Ultimate Spider-Man #2

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In the original The Amazing Spider-Man comics, once Peter had the bite from the spider, he had one sick night at best, woke up, and was done with any transformation. He was for all intents and purposes, Spider-Man at that point. You have to think that even in the 60’s there was enough knowledge of what radiation poisoning was that there should have been some mention of Peter being the slightest bit sick longer than having one nights tummy ache that Aunt May made better with homemade pumpkin pie. There had to be some sort of transformation period that could have been explored.

Brian Bendis is the one who took the time to see what would happen to Peter if he went through more than just an upset stomach. This issue, called Growing Pains, details just that. It goes through some of the physical and emotional trauma Peter has to go through in order to finally get everything under control and be Spider-Man. In a lot of ways Mr. Bendis has tapped into what makes Peter Parker such a great character. Peter is the living embodiment of growing up. When you grow up you have an awkward stage where you feel funny, you act funny, and you may occasionally smell funny, but at the end of it all you come out of the tunnel and join the fast lane called adulthood. Peter has wanted nothing more than to fit in. Yeah, being popular is cool but fitting in means you’re left alone for the most part. If he fits in, Flash Thompson stops goofing on him. Mary Jane may show some interest in him other than friendship. He becomes what he thinks normal should be. But that growing up part gets in the way. You tend to realize that your vision of adult is not all it’s cracked up to be and you have to learn to adjust or you will be run over by life.

One comment I made about the last issue was the fact that Norman was quick to send goons out to take out Peter when he should have been using Harry to get closer to the boy. Well apparently he took my advice because after overhearing Harry talk about Peter unintentionally breaking Flash Thompson’s hand when Flash took a swing at him, Norman played the part of the good father for a moment in order to con his son into bringing Peter to his labs. That was a smart move to keep Peter close to keep an eye on him as well as showing the reading audience once again what a bastard Norman Osborn is. When you see the look in Harry’s eyes, the blind admiration he has for the father who up until this point treated him like utter dirt, you end up hating Norman ever so much more. Someone that would manipulate their own child to suit their own needs is a rotten bastard. We didn’t have someone saying a speech talking about how Norman did this. We were shown it which is important to remember as a writer. The biggest failure of writers, myself included, is telling the audience what you could be showing them. If you just let them think on their own, they will be able to form their own opinions about what you are showing them.

Peter’s trip happened only to get Doctor Otto Octavius to get a dreaded blood sample from Peter. While it introduced us to the man who ends up being Doctor Octopus, he really served no purpose an unnamed lackey couldn’t have filled. We get Harry calling him Doc Ock but no real mood swings from the good doctor. This is once instance I felt where Bendis was using our knowledge of the Doctor Octopus character for nostalgia purposes only. It will be established of course that he’s one of Norman Osborne’s chief scientists but making the mistake so many have made when it comes to reboots, sometimes a character is tossed into a new story simply because we know him from the original story. Yes, Doctor Octopus becomes better known later. Yes, it is important to establish at some point how he became Doctor Octopus. I just felt this introduction of the character in what is supposed to be a new story was simply pointless if you’re looking at it as a first time reader.

The artwork was pretty solid throughout. It is a nice blend of classic Ditko work with modern touches to add more to the panels. The only complaint I have, and it is a very minor one, has to do with the fact that this issue, whenever Peter has any sort of emotional outburst, Mark Bagly overuses emotion lines to indicate he is going through something severe. As a static visual medium, they have to do something to show action but overusing something is just as bad as using certain words over and over again in the same issue. Again, this is a petty annoyance on my part and may not even be noticeable by others unless you like getting annoyed like me.

Bottom Line:

A solid continuation of the story shows that issue one was certainly not a fluke. I don’t know how far along the series was planned in advance but Bendis sure did one hell of a job showing how Peter grew into the role of Spider-Man. The original Stan Lee classic will always be the Holy Grail of comic books because it laid the foundation for the character we know and love today but as I have said before, any author and any artist can always have their work critiqued. There is no such thing as a perfect piece of art. Even if it’s purely subjective the reason why you may not like a certain choice in a story or an art piece, nothing will escape the steady eye of your audience. Stan had the seeds for a great story but based on how comics were written at that time, a single story just wasn’t explored over multiple issues like they are today. With just two issues in, we’re seeing what I can say is a pretty realistic exploration of something fantastical, the gift of superpowers on an average person. There’s no magic wand and viola, Peter’s a superhero. He has to suffer through a lot to get to the point to where he himself feels like he is a hero much less the average person takes him as one.

I can’t speak enough for how dense the stories are as well. Some comics I have read through rather quickly and there is nothing wrong with that. This however feels like a long chapter in a good book. However you do not have too many word bubbles on the page. You never get distracted with the words, ever. The story serves the art. The art serves the story. They merge as one into one hell of a comic.

Ultimate Spider-Man #1

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Reviewing comics that interest me has been quite the rewarding experience. Coming into this I certainly was a comics fan but admittedly my reading material was Big Two, Marvel and DC, based. I rarely strayed beyond the comfort of what was known in my little universe. Through this, I’ve been able to dive into a number of amazing stories that I honestly would not have given two thoughts to before. Even when it came to stories I may not have liked, I have learned lessons I am putting towards my own writing. A writer is going to follow two rules. Read every day and write every day. When it comes to reading, straying out of your comfort zone may not yield the best results but you can still see what makes a piece work and what doesn’t.

One series that started my obsession with comics was Ultimate Spider-Man. The series was written by Brian Bendis and penciled by Mark Bagly. The point of the series was simple. Marvel realized that for some of their core characters, the history was a bit on the convoluted side in regards to all the twists and turns. That was fine for people who have been around since the sixties but a little tough for new readers to dive into without getting lost. Marvel had two ways to go with this. Either do a universe reset type of story that DC recently did, and failed with, in the New 52 or do what they did with the Ultimate line of comics and take characters like Spider-Man and essentially start over. It has the same premise but goes on from there. Long story short, this comic is a reboot. It is a beautiful example, a step by step guide really, to how to successfully reboot a franchise. It very much loves the source material but does an amazing job of not only modernizing the story but going off in directions that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko probably did not even conceive of.

So to finish off the year right and roll into the new year with a full head of steam, I am taking a different course. Instead of cherry picking through various comics with no real purpose, I’m going to start with a series from issue one all the way to its finale. That way I can examine a series from start to finish and make comments along the way about character development and the effort it takes the writer and artist to keep each issue entertaining all the while making you come back for more. While I will take little breaks here and there for other comics that pique my interest, I want my main focus now to be the Ultimate Spider-Man line. So, here we go.

I love the piece of business at the start with Norman Osborne. What a hell of a way to show the readers what a bastard he is! Instead of having two separate characters talk about him and deeds he’s done, we are shown through his actions that he is just a despicable human being. He doesn’t twirl a mustache or monologue about plans to take over the world. He’s a Wall Street corporate douche bag who’s looking out for number one, plain and simple. We’ve seen people like this on the news. We may work with people like this as our bosses. But this is the type of person most people loathe on the spot. The best part about the story was that we were not told to loathe him, we were given reason to.

When we finally meet up with Peter, we see through the actions of his classmates that he is not the most popular kid in school. While I wouldn’t call him the lowest level nerd around, I mean you have to be in somewhat decent status to get a girl like Mary Jane Watson interested in you, the jocks treat him like dirt. For the most part it’s realistic but the little bits of slang thrown into the story were annoying. The thing with slang is that you never know what will stick for the long term and what will become dated the next month. This is just nitpicking on my part to be sure but I have issue with slang tossed in for characters that is simply used to indicate their age. If you have to go that route, you’re doing it wrong. Just let them be assholes and say what you would say if you were an asshole yourself. Trying to guess what kids would say will just go down a very dark path that doesn’t often come out to where you want it to. Again, this is just a nitpick more than anything.

After Peter gets bit by the spider at Osborn Industries I was a little shocked at how quickly Norman sent someone to kill Peter and his family. Thinking of this as a reader reading this for the first time (I have read it before. I’m putting myself in their shoes.), seeing this just made me think why was it happening? You would think a businessman as unethical as Norman would be sending a fleet of lawyers to throw money at the situation in order to cover it up first, not sending a Jason Statham wannabe to whack a 15 year old boy. With a corporation the size you would expect of Osborn Industries, even if Peter died from the spider venom and Ben and May Parker sue Norman, he’d have his lawyers run cartwheels around the Parker’s lawyer for so long they’d be thankful for a settlement just to pay the legal bills. Sending a guy to take them out just seemed a little excessive at this stage especially with the fact that it is established that his son Harry is friends with Peter. You would think Norman would go out of his way to be the concerned parent who pops in on his son’s friend Peter in a ruse just to keep an eye on him. That’s ultimately where we end up after Peter, with his spider sense, leaps over the hit man’s car, causing him to crash into a tree so the whole hit man angle was pretty pointless at this stage.

Bottom Line:

This was one hell of a start to one hell of a run in comics history. Like when Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek: The Next Generation, plenty of people, myself included, saw no real point in this series being made and scoffed at it without giving it a chance. Boy did I end up eating my words. With beautiful artwork from Mark Bagly, especially when it came to scenes of Peter being depressed such as when he’s alone at the mall food court after the bullies threw food at him, and the amazing story from Brian Bendis, this was a great way to use the elements of Spider-Man that worked in the past all the while throwing in some new story elements to make something completely new. The original Spider-Man will always be there. This is a Spider-Man for a whole new generation. To quote The Who, Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Holy F*cked #4

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Here we are with the final issue of Holy F*cked and I have to make a quick comment on the cover. Take a look at it for a moment. Does it look familiar? Well, it should because it is a straight homage to an old Daredevil cover that Frank Miller drew.

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If you’re going to rip off someone, you rip off from the best. And as Bobby the Brain Hennan used to say, it’s not stealing unless you get caught. Great cover.

So on to the comic at hand. The New Apostles have been defeated. Hercules reigns supreme and appears to be on his way to finally defeating the man he thought killed his father, Jesus. Satan is in the hospital in labor pains ready to give birth to the child of our lord and savior. And Hercules has such huge nipples that a cow would probably be offended by them and ask him to wear a shirt.

So I have to say I called it from the start. One thing I noticed from the beginning of the story was that Hercules was hell bent on blaming Jesus for the death of Zeus when it was in fact Maria who killed Zeus due to her lack of faith. Nick Marino all but confirmed this to me on Twitter when he mentioned that I was the only reviewer to point out that Hercules was mistaken in his belief. Score one for me! (As a married man you learn to take victories whenever you can.)

One other thing I liked as well was the fact that they never outright killed Hercules. Too often in comic book movies or just plain comic books today, they have these elaborate deaths for the villain of the story without putting much thought into what story elements you’re taking off the table once you kill them. Christopher Nolan did great with this in The Dark Knight. It’s not my favorite Batman movie and not my favorite version of The Joker by any means but at the very end, instead of having some elaborate death for The Joker, The Joker is simply captured leaving room for his reappearance in future films. Obviously those films won’t happen since Nolan decided to make it just a trilogy but I think you get my point.

Hercules was a pretty monumental threat here. For him to be taken out permanently in the story would be just plain wrong for all the buildup he’s been given. The story ideas of what could be done with him in future issues are pretty much limitless. What if he were able to wrangle the other gods who fled Zeus for a last stand against Jesus and Satan?

Satan has a baby and it’s a boy. I don’t know where they’re registered but this was the feel good moment in the story. For the silliness we’ve encountered so far, I still felt a connection to the characters that once everything wrapped up in their favor, it was great to see Jesus and Satan have that moment with their new son Rad. I don’t know how in the hell Satan got pregnant or was able to give birth being a man and all but hell, it was great to see them grow together as a couple.

Bottom Line:

So ends another Holy F*cked series. This series was pretty much straight on action from the get go. The other story was similar in a lot of ways but did add in the great bit about faith. This was the Chuck Norris ass kicking story with no pretense of being anything else and it is great for being it. What I encourage everyone to do is buy this comic. There are seeds here for a dive into a funny world that can only be explored if sales of these comics demand it. If you like goofy comedy that’s well written and comes with amazing art work, this is the comic for you.

One thing I’ve discovered since I’ve started this little journey is the fact that the general public’s perception of comics is really quite love. If it doesn’t have a Marvel or DC logo on it, then it must not exist. Yet we see television shows and movies coming out each year based on comic books that most people would not assume were originally comics. While I agree with Steven Speilberg about comic book movies having an expiration date at some point, when you factor in the idea that comic books have no set genre, you really have to question when that date could be. There are autobiographies, history comics, religious comics, romance comics, action comics, comedy comics; any genre you can think of, they make a comic for it. It really is a true American art form that allows folks to, not only with words but pictures, to express any idea that can come to your imagination. An idea like this may not work as a regular book. The artwork really does wonders with the story in showcasing the fact that it is meant to be silly. Holy F*cked is why comic books are so important in our culture. It may not be Les Miserables but it is one hell of a story and deserves your support. (Damn, this sounds like a PBS pledge drive.)

My next reviews:

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Holy F*cked #3

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Here we are. 100 reviews in. While I didn’t stay at it daily, it was pretty darn close and for me that is quite an achievement. So like a comic book that reaches its 100th issue, or a television show that reaches its 100th episode, I thought I would talk about something great. Something that speaks to me. Something that is way past vulgar and fun as hell to boot. Here folks is the review to Holy F*cked issue 3.

This particular issue was a pretty fast read. In regards to story there is honestly not much going on. Hercules has kidnapped Jesus so Maria and the New Apostles set out to find him. On top of that, Satan’s water broke so Maria takes him to the hospital to have Jesus’ baby. (If there is a god, I am going to hell.)

This issue was a bit of a disappointment. Why? In the previous issue, we’re introduced to the New Apostles, Cosmic Moses, Mother 2resa, The Secret Pope, and The Holy Spirit. The setup was built in such a way as to make them appear to be quite the bad asses yet we find Hercules make pretty quick work out of the group. It was sad in a way too because reading the previous issue, I had images in my head of all the story possibilities that could be opened up with these new characters. There could have been a Justice Deities of America group! The possibilities were endless as to what religious figures and beliefs could have been lampooned and yet we find the New Apostles are made to have one fight scene and poof, they’re gone. Now, it’s a comic. There are any number of ways the characters can be brought back. I plead that they find a way to do so…just not in a prequel because screw prequels.

Don’t get me wrong though. The reason for the disappointment has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the story. To me, it’s about the possibilities for stories that are kind of wasted here. This is a fun issue but more than anything, this really felt like a place holder sequence to get us to the finale in issue four.

The art work was great once again. One thing that will end up hypnotizing you if you’re not careful is Hercules’ nipples. Apparently they’re mood nipples because they grow or retract based on the mood he’s in. The title of the issue on page nine was drawn reminiscent of Robert Rodriguez’s work on Machete. That’s kind of how I picture this comic. If you pumped Robert Rodriguez full of mescaline and LSD and gave him orders to tell you a Bible story, this would be the end result. And the world would rejoice in praise.

Bottom Line:

You will enjoy this issue. Don’t mistake my critique for not enjoying this issue. It’s funny as hell and makes me want to see how everything ends. Unless they find a way to resurrect the New Apostles, I do think it is a shame they were done away with so quickly because there is so much potential in those characters. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear more about Cosmic Moses’ journeys playing basketball in Mount Olympus? Hell, have the four land in the middle of some crime ridden suburb somewhere in America and have them kick ass Charles Bronson in the 80’s style.

In a lot of ways, this issue reminds me of Cannon Films from the 80’s. I recently watched a documentary on Netflix about that ol’ great movie company that made so many bad films. Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. Watching that movie really perked my interests up in regards to finishing up the Holy F*cked series because this really comes off as a wonderful satire of that type of movie. Yet these guys, Nick Marino and Daniel Arruda Massa get that they’re making satire. They’re crafting the words and the art just right to build up to what will be I am sure a wonderful finale. If not, at least we’ll have Hercules’ nipples.

Anyway, I’d like to thanks folks for stopping by my site on a somewhat regular basis. This is a pure labor of love on my part and I do feel like I am learning a lot. My goal was to examine comics through the eyes of a writer, seeing what I feel works and what ultimately doesn’t. Since starting with Silk #1 on August 27th of this year, it’s been quite an education over what makes comics work as a whole. I’d always neglected art. I knew what I liked but never really put much thought into it. Reviewing comics like I have has made me much more critical in regards to what is actually going on in the scene on the page as well as appreciating that sometimes work that on the surface may seem simplistic like the work in Holy F*cked actually goes a long was towards increasing your enjoyment of the story. Much like Mike Judge’s work on Beavis and Butt-Head, on the surface you have two characters making fart jokes and not doing much but Mike was brilliant in terms of how he built up to a joke. Mike Judge’s writing and animation is a lot like good sex. It is a slow build where the laughs get bigger and bigger until you reach the end of the episode you’re laughing so hard you have a mess to clean up. Nick and Daniel’s work on Holy F*ck and Holy F*cked have worked much the same and it’s been a pleasure discovering such great work. I just hope they reconsider the fate of the New Apostles. They have a world they can build from this.