Comics I’m Not Sure Why I’m Still Reading | Jason Green

spidey-header.jpg1. Amazing Spider-Man






1. Amazing Spider-Man

Going into the "Brand New Day" era of Amazing Spider-Man, I expected to have a hard time getting over my distaste for the mystical erasing of Peter Parker’s marriage. What I didn’t expect to have a problem with, given the level of talent working on the books, was the quality of the book itself. And yet that’s exactly thrice-monthly Spidey’s biggest problem: the quality of the book varies wildly from issue to issue, thanks to rotating creative teams that never quite gel together. It’s frustrating to keep a book on your pull list to make sure you don’t miss the good issues when you know that you’re going to drop three bucks on some stinkers. The "Spidey braintrust" is the most inconsistent creative team in comics—Joe Kelly and Mark Waid can deliver the goods, Dan Slott hits more than he misses, Marc Guggenheim slips in a few winners but largely misses the mark, and Bob Gale’s issues are unreadable cheese—and the art varies from sturdy superheroics (John Romita, Jr., Steve McNiven) to quirky and experimental (Marcos Martin, Carlos Pacheco) to utterly unremarkable (Phil Jimenez). Coming off of J. Micahel Straczynski’s lengthy run, one of the most consistently compelling on the character in recent memory, makes it even harder to stick with it. As a result, I find myself valiantly struggling three times a month between the fanboy-ish urge to not end my lengthy unbroken run on the title, and the pragmatic impulse to only buy the issues that I know are going to be good. The completist in me continues to win, but for how much longer?



2. Madman Atomic Comics

Mike Allred’s artwork is unassailably awesome. The stories in Madman Atomic Comics, not so much, consisting mostly of art experiments in place of narratives. The result is a love-hate relationship—something my pal Nick of St. Louis’ own Star Clipper Comics sums up well here—that makes the book hard to enjoy but hard to say goodbye to.



3. Ms. Marvel

Another inconsistently written title, which is all the weirder as it’s only had one writer for three years now. The recent Secret Invasion tie-in run was a prime example: the first chapter was the best of the book’s run so far, and the last chapter was an anticlimactic disappointment. Just when I was ready to drop it, Ms. Marvel is being pulled into the Dark Reign crossover, and like a sucker, I’m going along for the ride. Ah well…at least the art is consistently awesome, and Greg Horn isn’t drawing the covers anymore so there’s no reason to feel embarassed handing a copy to the cashier.



4. Trinity

When it comes time to decide whether or not to keep a title on the ol’ pull list, it comes down to one basic question: do I want to find out the ending of the story bad enough to pay X number of dollars to read it? By that calculation, Trinity shouldn’t be making the cut. It’s a book I started buying more because I was intrigued by the concept of a story told in weekly installments written and drawn by a single creative team, especially a creative team as stellar as Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley. The result has been kind of a mixed bag, a decent story with an interesting premise, but is it worth dropping another $63 on just to see how it ends?


5. WildCats

DC’s recent treatment of the WildStorm universe has been pretty well terrible, so the new WildCats ongoing gets a pass merely for being readable. A title can be a decently entertaining action title and still be worth paying for, but what makes WildCats a questionable one is that every issue features 18 pages of story and 4 pages that form the first part of a back-up continued in the other WildStorm titles…titles I’m not buying, and thus those 4 pages are worthless to me. So why am I stuck paying for them?| Jason Green


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