I used the Marvel digital sale to read through Spider-Gwen, and enjoyed it a lot.
The main obstacle is figuring out the reading order for the collections, which is ridiculous. It goes:
- Vol. 0: Most Wanted?
- Vol. 1: Greater Power
- Vol. 2: Weapon of Choice
- Vol. 3: Long Distance
- Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen: Sitting in a Tree
- Vol. 4: Predators
- Vol. 5: Gwenom
- Vol. 6: The Life and Times of Gwen Stacy
The Spider-Women crossover is essential to the main plot of the series; the Spider-Man crossover is mostly a Miles story and can be skipped easily enough.
Once I figured it out, it’s mostly very good. Robbi Rodriguez’s art is brilliant, and the story is good, if a bit over-complicated at times. The later arcs get a bit too plot-heavy; I liked all the stuff with her and the band she’s in with Mary Jane, Glory Grant, and Betty Brant, as well as the stuff with her and her father, and most of that gets left behind somewhat once the big Kingpin/Venom storyline kicks in.
I also preferred exploring Gwen’s world to her constantly coming to the 616 to hang out with those characters.
Hopefully post-Spidergeddon the new series will settle down a bit and not be so arc-focused. I like Seanan McGuire, so I’m looking forward to what she does. The lack of Rodriguez on art is a shame, but Rosi Kämpe is pretty good so far.
I just finished reading the first trade of the Ewing/Bennett Immortal Hulk run, and man was I way off after the first issue. At the time I thought it was okay, but that Bennett’s art wasn’t a great fit and felt generic, and the horror felt too safe. This is a fantastic comic, easily the best Hulk since Peter David’s run, and doesn’t seem as likely to go off the rails as the Bruce Jones run did. Bennett’s art is fantastic, and the one issue with fill-in artists makes use of that perfectly.
Anxiously awaiting the day Mayor Wilson Fisk is no longer a thing.
I get the impulse, especially if a writer wants to be able to comment on Trump without directly commenting on him, but it feels gimmicky, especially coming off of J. Jonah Jameson as mayor (which I actually liked). NYC mayor is becoming as revolving door a position as Director of SHIELD or Xavier School Headmaster.
You do realize the actual mayor of New York is not much of an improvement over Fisk, right?
If he’d lived up to his ‘90s potential Waid would indisputably be considered top tier. Instead he’s settled for Marvel comfort food and too little of stuff like Strange Fruit, which because it was a Boom! project hardly anyone knew or cares about. He was also someone who got derailed by the early millennium tendency to launch competing major new imprints. Too few fans followed him or bothered to remember, again, what he was doing, and that’s hurt his legacy, too.
James Robinson is a similar case, but with him his masterwork (Starman) was itself so creatively draining he struggled to complete even that. But few creators of the modern era have moved the superhero needle like that.
What Geoff Johns did was build a career on the legacy of Waid and Robinson, and become a far bigger name as a result.
Johns became a slightly bigger name because he stayed in the one place and he put together long running acclaimed books on a consistent basis, learning to work within the constraints at DC when editorial interference was becoming a really big problem.
Robinson struggled because he has jumped back and forward, and been really inconsistent with his books, never hitting the heights of his starman run again other than the odd smaller project such as Airboy. He’s also a bit of a victim of a more critical time, Starman would maybe not have survived today’s internet blowhards.
Waid is still producing books as good as anything he did in the past, with some of his smaller scale Marvel work, and also, Strange Fruit - which you mentioned. The latter would have been a bigger hit had it been released maybe 10 - 15 years previously. He has also been inconsistent - for every well received book at Marvel he’s done an average one.
Johns has been the most consistent of all 3, even if he has a lot of detractors, he is also valued at DC so tends to get the best jobs and probably picks and chooses what he wants to do now with minimum interference.
I think he’s ‘played the game’ career wise, as well as being an asset creatively - whereas it’s well know that Robinson and Waid have been outspoken in terms of their issues with editorial and some of the bosses, particularly DC. So it’s no real surprise he’s got where he is, and fair play to him, I love his work so it works well for me.
Waid’s Daredevil run was great. I really think it’s one of the only notable Marvel runs of the last decade.
I like the Fantastic Four the best of Waid’s runs at Marvel.
I would put him in about the same level as Peter David (as Jim mentioned), Gail Simone, Dan Slott, Keith Giffen, Azzarello, Aaron. They’ve all had nice runs and moments, and have put together a nice oeuvre, and you know you’re getting a degree of professionalism with their books. But…there’s not many all-time classics on their CVs, and it’s hard to imagine they were ever first on Marvel/DC’s speed dial when a big-selling event book was needed. I like or love all of them.
I’m not a Johns fan and will leave it at that.
I’m not as sure what to do with Rucka and Brubaker. Rucka probably belongs in the tier mentioned here but Brubaker’s got too many great crime books by now, plus the defining Cap run of the era, plus some very solid DC and Wildstorm work early in the 2000s. I’d say he’s top tier.
I think Brubaker and Ennis are in the same class. Not enough mainstream work to be top class, and they jumped to indie work and stayed there too quickly, resulting in a very samey resume.
I think the mark of top tier is being able to work on any book or any range of characters. Brubaker, Rucka, Ennis, Aaron - clearly have a type they stick to. They’re like character actors, great at one thing but not multi dimensional. Brubaker couldn’t write Silver Surfer or Alpha Flight or Fantastic Four and make it great. True top talent can take any book and make it great.
Getting back to Waid, I think he misses the top tier because he fell off with his ambition after he stopped doing what he did best and just did what fans expected. His best creative material was expanding the mythos of the Flash, something he’s never done at Marvel. Fans seem to have confused what made Waid’s Flash so great. It’s not just that he made the series popular for the first time in decades (it’s ironic that Barry Allen’s famous death became the story rather than the reason it happened at all, which was that he just wasn’t a big draw anymore), but that he took bold risks. It’s not that he made nostalgia a part of the draw, but how he did it, by emphasizing the present even more than the past, by using the past as a hook. But Marvel only ever seemed interested in exploiting his image as the guy who understood the root of a character or a team’s appeal. And that’s like asking for Superman at a birthday party but getting, and no offense to Ma & Pa, Clark Kent. There’s a giant gulf in results, regardless of how much you enjoy the basic charm of a character or team. That’s only half the story!
Robinson, again, managed something great at great personal strain. Anyone who expects Starman results from everything Robinson does fundamentally misunderstands how he achieved them, and at what cost. But the funny part is, the last time he did try, no one cared. It was the New 52 era Shade mini-series, which was great. But you’d hardly know it, because no one talks about it. Again, everything he’s done since is exactly more or less to the level of what Waid’s been doing, and fans wonder what happened. And if you care to pay attention, it’s obvious!
De Blasio has never defeated Daredevil. He is significantly worse than Fisk.
Which mayor we talking? Koch? Dinkins? Giuliani? Bloomberg? DeBlasio?
I was a big fan of Robinson’s Starman, but I’ve not read about the behind the scenes story. Could you recommend where to start?
It’s true that I would love to read more quality Robinson work. Scarlet witch was getting there, but didn’t get past it’s initial redefining arc into stories.
He goes into it a lot in the Starman Omnibus afterwords.
I think the problem with Robinson is that he publicly walked away from comics, after Starman finished, looking for greener pastures elsewhere. His decade or so in the wilderness did not do him any favours. People forgot about him. And, his writing didn’t evolve the way his contemporaries did.
Also, whilst Starman is still a masterpiece (rightly so, and I consider Shade part of this too), Robinson has clearly demonstrated that he doesn’t have what it takes to be front and center in the mainstream superhero universes. He writes perfectly decent Superman or Batman stories, but he has a slightly off centre approach to them that puts his take at odds with what most fans are looking for.
No it isn’t.
It’s well documented that Robinson’s work has required a lot of steer and correction and even rewriting from editorial over the years. Im big fan of his but his runs on superman, justice league and fantastic 4 come nowhere near what Waid has done recently at marvel.
Out of the two I’m more likely to pick up a Robinson book, perhaps out of my blind loyalty to the writer, for what he has done in the past, but he’s not at Waid’s level, he’s nowhere near consistent enough.
Again I stress that I say this is a fan, but he’s not comparable to Waid.
A decade or more ago, I went through a phase where I would buy everything put out by a handful of writers, sight unseen. Robinson was one of those. He was my favourite writer for a long time, based off Starman, but also his great work in the Wildstorm universe, his Legends of the Dark Knight, and Firearm.
I still have a lot of affection for his work, and will always pay attention to it, hoping that lightning will strike again, but it rarely does.
I felt Waid on the other hand, never quite hit the same heights as Robinson did, but has been more consistent than James over the decades, and it is therefore much more likely that I will buy something new by Mark today.
Okay, let me rephrase. It’s Marvel who views them the same way. Clearly Waid has been more reliable and thus has a better reputation, but they’re asked to deliver the same kind of material.
It’s funny, because Tom King is currently doing what Robinson was capable of. I think Robinson had all the trouble he did because he started believing his own hype and as a result doubted that he could deliver to those expectations. But two decades later and still only Robinson was capable of writing Starman. King bucks expectations wildly, but he also isn’t nearly as interested as Robinson was in devoting himself so completely to a minor character like that. If he had stuck with Omega Men or Vision or Mister Miracle for years at a time, we could begin that conversation. But at the same time, it’s a different market now. Fans are wired differently, and more likely to complain about that kind of storytelling. Omega Men remains undiscovered, and Mister Miracle “is a poor attempt to replicate Vision.” But if Robinson had done this, he’d be in that top tier today, no questions, just as King has gotten there, to my mind, thanks exactly to it.
I think Robinson needs a good editor, on Starman, for a good part of its run he had one of the best in the business in Archie Goodwin.
After that he was more variable. I liked his contributions to New Krypton and Shade was excellent but that’s about it.