Over on Earth-Comics...

I looked at that Spider-Man: India book today. Now, I realize that as far as Marvel is concerned, Spidey's a brand, not a character. And in order to achieve their goal of becoming a worldwide media conglomerate, they wish to extend that brand into new areas. And yes, sometimes brand extension requires a few cosmetic changes to work in those new areas, like when Coke alters their name or logo in order to sell in the Asian marketplace. Honestly, I understand all that, even if I don't necessarily like it. However, I'm thinking that if you want to market a book about an Indian version of Spider-Man to Indian people, maybe you should make the characters actually look Indian? Seriously, all the characters looked pretty caucasian and more than a little manga-esque. If you skim the book quickly, the clothes and architecture are the only outward indications of this having anything to do with India.

Had to get that off my chest. Thanks for indulging me. Anyway, here's a quick rundown of what I actually did read for real this week. There may be a spoiler or two, so, you know SPOILER WARNING and all that:

Fantastic Four 520 - I said it before, and I'll say it again: Waid knows how to write this book. It's a great mix of action, humor, and even a few emotional moments (Sue and Ben's memories of Johnny - especially the Sue bit - were legitimately touching, I thought). He gets that the smaller, familal aspects of the FF are just as important as the grander "imaginaut" stuff, and that's what this book should be: the story of a family who just happen to have these amazingly huge scale science-fictiony adventures in the Negative Zone or the Blue Area of the Moon or whereever. Plus, Quasar shows up, and I'm enough of a geek to find that kinda cool.

Plastic Man 12 - I was kind of underwhelmed here. I liked Scott Morse's last fill-in issue with Woozy Winks on a date, but here everything seemed really forced and unfunny. Of course, following up the last few issues by Baker (and that date story) would be tough for anyone, but still, this just seemed rushed to me.

Micronauts 13-15 - Everyone says the book went downhill when Michael Golden left the art chores after issue 12, but so far, things are still fine from my perspective. Bill Mantlo's next storyline kicked off to a fine start (even if the dialogue is a little hokey; fun cameos by SHIELD and the FF, though), and you've got Howard Chaykin on the drawing board (though his style isn't as immediately recognizable, likely due to the Al Milgrom inks), so what's not to love? Hard to believe there was a time when Marvel put so much energy into making a book based on a toy license actually be good. I mean, jeez, even Rom had its moments of general good-a-tude.

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