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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #700 Review

Everything comes to an end they say. But I never thought Amazing Spider-Man would in this day and age. No Marvel comic has ever reached #700, (unless you want to count Wolverine #1000) so that in itself is a huge feat. I've been a loyal fan of the character for as far back as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories was watching the marathons of the 90's Animated Series JETIX would air Saturday mornings, that's how I knew Spidey. My first comic was Amazing Spider-Man #438, guest starring Daredevil. (It's a little out of shape, but I still have it.) In 2002 I went with my dad to watch the big screen film, it was a great experience, I was only six. It was one of my first theater experiences. (Ten years later, here I am, watching the reboot called The Amazing Spider-Man.) What young kid doesn't like Spider-Man? But a true fan remains a fan throughout the years. But then you have to ask I Spider-Man or Peter Parker fan? The truth of the matter is we're all Peter Parker fans, because that's who Spider-Man is. Steve Rogers is Captain America. Bruce Wayne is Batman. It's not about the title or costume, it's about the person inside. That is who we are a fan of. #700 is the death of Peter Parker, the rumors that had started as early back as last year are true. I haven't been a big fan of his comics since prior to Brand New Day. I didn't agree with the decision to have Peter and MJ split back in One More Day, and I still think it was one of the worst decisions in comic history. But, the series goes on and one had to choose whether to stick with it or not. I hopped back on the comic bandwagon in 2009, at the end of the Character Assassination arc. I have every issue since. While it has been up and down for me, I've stuck by the series. Here we are with the end. The hype (both good and bad, emphasis on the latter) was astounding. Finally we would see if Peter really would die and who the 'Superior' Spider-Man' would be. It's a truly interesting ending and beginning.

Doctor Octopus had switched bodies with Peter two issues ago in what was one of the most shocking reveals in all of comics. Last issue we saw Peter, being the smart guy is, formulate a plan despite being trapped in a dying body. The plan was one hidden in Doc Ock's memoroy. The Sinister Six (or Sigma Six as it's called in the issue, I wonder if they had G.I. Joe in mind) are formed, the mission is to retrieve Spider-Man. Things don't go exactly as planned, it all comes to a final showdown between the two. This issue was spoiled about a week in advance. Many read it, I stayed away. I was going in only knowing Peter would die. Who the Superior Spider-Man would be was the mystery. I didn't truly think Doc Ock would be, I thought Peter would defeat him and give the mantle to someone else. (Miles Morales was the popular rumor, ever since being mentioned at the end of Spider-Men #5.) Spidey 2009, aka Miguel O' Hara, was also a huge rumor. But this issue put those rumors to rest. Otto Octavius is the Superior Spider-Man. The road to that reveal in this issue was a truly intense one. Despite being in a dying body, Peter is at his finest. Dan Slott was able to balance the fact that he's dying, his care for the people he cares, and somehow his humor. (One of my favorite scenes is when he has the Trapster trapped with the letter "Courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Doc Ock.") It's also interesting to see how Dock Ock reacts to things since everyone thinks he's the real deal. The dialogue between the two is handled wonderfully. How he openly taunts Peter saying the people he cares about is in danger is priceless. Mary Jane is handled well. But...I don't think she was suspicious of him enough. Like, his constant reference to her as 'woman' should have made her suspicious.

Everything comes forth into the final battle. It's intense, greatly written, and the surprises don't stop. Peter was never was able to reconnect, but he manages to shoot his memories into Ock. This is interesting, it's through that when Doc Ock sees the value of life. It feels rather rushed however, even slightly forced. After I read that part, I was like,"That's it? Just like that he changes his evil ways and wants to protect the people?" There's a pretty nice scene earlier in the story, where Peter technically died for three minutes. He went into the afterlife and saw all of his deceased friends. The dialogue is really good, especially the parts with Silver Sable and Uncle Ben. I was never a fan of Humberto Ramos's cartoony style. Admittedly this is definitely his strongest issue. It still retains a bit of a cartoony look, but is excellent throughout, really capturing the heat of the final battle. There's also some fantastic panels with Doc Ock Spidey, fully differentiating from when the real Peter Parker wears the suit. There are two backup stories. The first one is about an older man as he tells his 'son' about the days he was apparently Spider-Man. Throwing whatever the heck this continuity this is from, it's a pretty touching story. The other story is a Black Cat-centered one. It was admittedly funny and the art by Stephanie Buscema was cute. I don't know about you, but I love the main cover. It's really cool how all the Spider-Mans make up the red part (did you notice Carnage?) while a bunch of Venoms make up the blue.

The Amazing Spider-Man #700 is a very fine comic. In it we see Peter in a dying body trying to stop an impostor. In it he dies, and Otto Octavius reigns. Peter Parker is dead. Spider-Man is not. So are you a Spider-Man or Peter Parker fan? The Superior Spider-Man will most likely do well in the beginning, but time will tell if people will stick around, because if people stop buying and start complaining, Perter will come back. And I have a sinking feeling they'll bring him back in time for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Even though I am a Peter Parkjer fan, I will be buying the Superior Spider-Man, which starts in two weeks. In the end, it wasn't the Green Goblin or Venom he died in final battle against, it was Dr. Octopus, whom has a lot to do if he wants to earn the respect of Peter Parker fans everywhere. The death is handled well enough, even convincing that it will be permanent. We'll see in a year.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

SH Monsterarts Godzilla (1995) Review

A year ago SH Monsterarts debuted the Heisei version of Godzilla. (And if you want to be technical, the one from the 1994 film, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla.) Since then, the Monsterart line has become the new main line for Godzilla figures. It has faced controversy with some collectors, but for the most part it has been proudly praised. The last one was the highly anticipated King Ghidorah. In fact, I'd say it was the most anticipated one in the line. When it came some had the problem of 'fragile wings.' But for the most part people were satisfied with the buy. (The wings are rather weak, but my main problem is how easy the middle neck falls out!) The latest figure in this line was just released in Japan last week, the popular Burning Godzilla. (It's called Godzilla 1995 on the nice-looking box, but I will use the Burning title.) This figure is the start of the Godzilla vs. Destoroyah set. Junior is coming at the end of the month, with Destoroyah in February. Over the past few months I've acquired a few other Monsterarts, Godzilla, Fire Rodan, SpaceGodzilla, and King Ghidorah, so I know the line pretty well now. Burning Godzilla makes a fine entry and is easily the definitive figure of the character.

It would have been easy to just recycle the Godzilla figure and add the burning parts on it. But the company went the more favorable route, using a whole new mold. Burning Godzilla has a much more fierce face than his 94 counterpart. The figure captures that wonderfully. Upon playing around with it after opening is when I discovered how fierce it can look. So props to that. Articulation is very good, you can pose this guy however which way you want. However, due to it having better articulation than Godzilla, it sacrifices the more 'clean' look on the former. What I mean is that you can see the gaps of where to pose, especially in the left leg. (You can see the inside of the figure through the leg, upon first opening it was quite distracting.) Nothing really bad, it just looks more like an action figure in some areas than the rest of the figures do. Burning Godzilla is famous obviously for one thing...the patches of fire all over him. It looks quite awesome on the figure, done in translucent orange. They even got the eyes red like in the film, adding to the fierce look. The highlight is the dorsal plates. They look absolutely gorgeous, one of the best parts of the figure. Some were worried about the white dorsal plates on the side. It's really not that big of a deal, they're not as bright as they appear in some pictures online.

One of the famous things about this line are the accessories that come with each figure. Sadly the ones in this package are very lackluster. First off, it doesn't come with a beam. You can use the spiral beam from Fire Rodan's package, but if you didn't buy the bird, you're out of a luck. Seriously, it's almost a crime that it doesn't include a beam. However, it does come with two puny maser tanks. They're cool little things, but only two? At least four should have been included. But you know what else we get? Another pair of hands. A pair of hands. Instead of getting a beam, we get a pair of hands and two tiny maser tanks that could easily get lost. The accessories are the quite the letdown. Now, regarding scale. Burning Godzilla stands surprisingly above his 94 counterpart, and even SpaceGodzilla! On one hand, for all the money this thing goes for, I'm glad it's big. But for people that love 100% accuracy, it's too strange for him to be as tall as SpaceGodzilla. The real test is how he will stack up with Destoroyah.

Overall, despite lackluster accessories and showing some gaps, the Monsterart Burning Godzilla is a fine figure. It captures the fierceness of his on-screen counterpart really well. Even if it's a little bigger than it should be, it makes for a great purchase and will most definitely look great next to Destoroyah in two months. The burning patches look great, the face looks incredible, and the dorsal plates look fantastic. A great addition to the Monsterart line.