1. Let’s start off with news about my favorite superhero . . . Brian Michael Bendis recently said that he and co-Daredevil-writing-partner David Mack will begin a new Daredevil series next year. Can’t wait. I’ve been re-reading the Bendis run on DD and I’m almost to where I’m saying it was even better than (gasp) Frank Miller’s . . . Even better: The new DD series will have art by Maleev, Sienkewicz, and Janson: Three of the best dirty/gritty artists alive today.
2. Moving on to what is probably my second-favorite hero, and news of Spider-Man 4. More and more rumor mongers are becoming convinced that Black Cat will be in the next one. Of course, one source for that rumor said that Felicia Hardy would be the daughter of a new villain called The Viper, but other sites have stated that the fourth film will feature an established Spider foe, not a new guy made just for the movie. So who knows if that’s true. Also, I’ve read that Rachel McAdams is trying out for the role. Rachel with white hair? Hmmm. Anyway, there could be no truth to any of this, but ain’t rumors fun?
3. And in DC news . . . The company’s animated DVD line has been top notch. The next one will be Justice League versus The Crime Syndicate, their evil Earth Two counterparts. Members of that group recently appeared on a two-part Batman: Brave and the Bold. Love that group.
4. Dark Reign – The List: Amazing Spider-Man #1 (and Amazing Spider-Man in general). Why am I folding a capsule review of this title into this News post? Because a lot of you might not be keeping up with Dark Reign: The List.
I’ve mentioned the Punisher and Daredevil one-shots here, and this is the one where Spidey gets to take on Norman Osborn mano-a-mano. It’s a decent story, but it’s hard to imagine how, at the end, this will really hurt Normie. Needless to say, he doesn’t get to cross Spider-Man off of his “kill list.” So far, the only listed item that I think he’s been able to complete is Punisher. And that’s not going so well for him, either. The art, by Adam Kubert, is terrific, but we’re already getting too much Spider-Man each month. I’ve been a cheerleader of the “Brand New Day” relaunch and Marvel’s compressing Spider-Man into one book published 3 times a month, but now we’ve got Amazing SpM along with “Web of Spider-Man” and now this one-shot. With Marvel trying to do a slow boil to its Siege storyline next year, it can’t do five Spider tales in a month and keep that level of suspense. Plus, it would have been far more gratifying to see Spidey take on Osborn in his own title, Amazing Spider-Man. It’s too fragmented. Again, the story itself is pretty good, but it’s a little anticlimactic—especially after Wolverine advised Spider-Man to kill Osborn during “American Son,” which was the last really good Amazing Spider-Man story arc we’ve seen. If the coming “Gauntlet” story isn’t much better than what they’ve been doing, I may be off his title. If you’re going to demand I shell out $10 a month on Spider-Man, it better be great with less filler.
5. Smallville. This year’s Smallville episodes have pretty much sucked. Having the Wonder Twins on last week was cute, but not having them do much of anything was pointless. I’m hopeful that Geoff Johns’ two hour “Justice Society/Legends” episode, coming in January, will put some energy into this show. It’s always been an uneven affair, but making it darker this season was a mistake. If a show is showing its age, you need to punch it up, not turn it into a bigger downer. There should be more Justice League and Legion stuff—the things that made last season so fun an surprising.
6. And speaking of Punisher (I mentioned it above), don’t miss Frankencastle and the return of the classic Legion of Monsters. I have no idea how Rick Remender is going to pull this storyline out and make everything “back the way it was” at the end, but so far the ride is fantastic. Although I’m sure fans of the Ennis run and those who like their Punisher noir-ish and pseudo-realistic will completely disagree with me, I’m a fan of comics that are . . . Comics! Wild, crazy, unpredictable and nothing like real llife.