The Dig List: 6/1/08

Short (I hope) reactions of stuff I've read lately, some of it current, most of it not.

Amazing Spider-Man #s 559 & 560 - Haven't been reading the Brand New Day Spidey (not out of boycott, but just because I don't usually read ASM to begin with), but I'd draw a Marcos Martin-illustrated comic about tile flooring, so of course I'll buy his Spider-Man work. And his "Ditko-via-Kirby in watercolors" style doesn't disappoint at all here, even when retreading an idea from that first Morrison/Kubert Batman issue a year or two back (a fight making creative use of a comic-themed pop art exhibit). Just gorgeous work, full of all the right energy and pacing. The story itself in these issues? Well, I enjoyed all the actual Spider-Man content, particularly the parkour chase with Screwball in 559 and the creepy powers and personality of stalkery Paper Doll in 560, but all the bits with plain ol' Peter Parker sort of confirm my fears that he'd be written more like the Amazing Spider-Man-Child. Sure, Pete's the original hard-luck hero, the Charlie Brown of the Marvel Universe, but this dude here is just a loser. So I'm disappointed with the direction that Dan Slott and Marvel editorial are taking here, but I'm in for #561 since it's another Martin issue.

The Original Black Cat #s 1 & 2 - I've heard a lot about this old Harvey book from back in the day, mostly about how great the Lee Elias artwork was, so I was happy to get my hands on these reprints, and happier still to find everything was as good as advertised. Elias' style reminded me somewhat of Milton Canniff, so for a book that features a beautiful heroine having adventures wherever her career as a movie star brings her, that's pretty much a perfect fit. And while cheesecakey - I mean, Black Cat's costume is basically a bathing suit, a mask, and some pirate boots... hard to get more cheesecake than that - it's never too over-the-top, and the Black Cat is generally too busy kicking ass and taking names to get tied up by the villains all the time, anyway. She could've given Wonder Woman some pointers! Great stuff, and I plan to track down more.

Captain America: Red Menace Vol. 1 - I'm late to Ed Brubaker's Captain America party, so I'm probably the last comics guy around to realize this, but Brube's going all Starman with this book - taking disparate scraps of continuity surrounding a loose family of characters and weaving them into one giant story about a legacy - isn't he? And from what I've read so far, he's doing it well. I think the secret of his success is that while he respects the past, he's using it as a jumping off point for new ideas and reworking old ideas to fit, like James Robinson did with Starman, as opposed to obsessing over tiny details of the past like Roy Thomas or Geoff Johns. I'm hoping that he's eventually able to work in some of the crazier 70s Kirby bits like the Madbomb or Mr. Buda. Anyway, yeah, this volume continues to bring the good, furthering the story of Cap's search for Bucky and Crossbones' unfortunately successful attempts to de-deprogram Sin, the Red Skull's daughter, but at three regular issues and an Anniversary Special, it's a bit slight. But said Anniversary Special is at least double-sized, and has Marcos Martin artwork in it, too, so that helps.

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