28 August 2008

The Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day vol. 2 HC (Marvel, 2008)

First of all, it was a little bit confusing to have the second volume collection of retconned Spider-Man also titled "Brand New Day" with a similar looking cover as the first volume. Hey, what can I say? I'm easily confused and when you want to attract my attention when I'm browsing the 'New Arrivals' shelf at the bookshop, you better make a bit of an effort. I'm just saying.

Volume 2 of Spider-Man: Brand New Day has a nice trilogy of issues where Spidey goes up against a trio of Mayan ninjas with Wolverine and then tries to web up a Mayan god with the help of a homeless man (who believes SHIELD is after him). During a blizzard. Unfortunately, it is sandwiched between two mediocre stories by Bob Gale featuring new villain, the drug addicted Freak. I thought it was so mediocre that I dropped it and actually went and did something else in my life. Shocking but true. How difficult is it to finish a 100+ page book, really? The problem is that Freak is not much of a threat. He's a drug addict who stumbled upon Dr. Curt "The Lizard" Connors laboratory while on the run from Spider-Man. Mistaking it for his friend's meth lab, he injected himself with the drugs he found in there and is transformed into, well, a freak. Phil Jimenez nice pencils is not helped here by Gale's ho-hum dialogue. Even Spidey's snappy patter during his fights with Freak seemed a bit off.

Zeb Wells' part of the book however perked me right up. It's old school Spidey here. Humour, snappy talk, mysterious villain and Mayan ninjas. You can never go wrong with ninjas of whatever nationality in a comic book. Ninjas are a guaranteed comic book gold! Pencils by Chris Bachalo is superb as well.

But Bob Gale came back to close the book with one more issue of (yawn!) Freak that ends with a cliffhanger so not unexpected that I didn't care what happened to Freak. Hope he doesn't come back for a long time.

Overall, Brand New Day vol. 2 is a slight disappointment from the first one, saved only by Zeb Wells' Mayan ninjas-fight-Spidey-in-a-blizzard-story.

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