Tag Archives: Ed McGuinness

A Spider-Man/Deadpool #4 Review – Double Date Drama

Spider-Man/Deadpool #4, cover, Ed McGuinnessTITLE: Spider-Man/Deadpool #4
AUTHOR: Joe Kelly
PENCILLER: Ed McGuinness
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: April 20, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Marvel’s bromantic buddy comedy continues with a classic comedy set up: The double date. This makes for an issue that’s less about drama, and more about the wacky, comic book style comedy. But Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, and the team make it work. This issue comes off like a story that was destined to be told, unlikely though it may be.

Still trying to see the good in Deadpool, Spider-Man accepts his invitation to hang out at a club in New York City. Little does Spidey know that Deadpool has been contracted to kill his alter ego, Peter Parker. Likewise, Deadpool has no idea Parker and Spider-Man are one and the same. Peter is also unaware Deadpool has made the night into a double date. But the night takes a turn when Spidey learns his date is none other than Thor!

Spider-Man/Deadpool has a really nice, and to an extent unconventional, emotional core. It’s obviously meant to be a comedic story. But it’s also about Wade Wilson wanting acceptance and friendship. He’s trying to impress Spider-Man. Who can’t relate to that? And in turn, Spidey is trying to extend the olive branch, and trust Wade. The reader is rooting for Deadpool, and wants this “bromance” to be successful. No matter what bells and whistles they put on this book, that’s the key to this story’s success.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #4, 2016, Ed McGuinnessI won’t spoil how the date turns out. But Kelly writes it in a way that all the characters shine, and it’s genuinely funny. I never knew Spidey and Deadpool were such good dancers…

Ed McGuinness’ style really lends itself to the dynamic, comic book superhero pose, as we see on the opening splash page (shown left). McGuinness is also good at drawing cartoony expressions that we can still read in spite of Deadpool’s mask. Spidey doesn’t get that same treatment, which obviously makes Wade’s look unique. Also, the colors on this book really pop. Kudos to Jason Keith for that.

Considering what the majority of this issue consists of, the ending comes as a hell of a surprise. I won’t spoil it, but obviously things aren’t what they seem. I credit them for upping the intrigue in an issue that was mostly devoted to the comedic side of things. Spider-Man/Deadpool is a tribute to how diverse the superhero genre can be. It doesn’t have to strictly be about good guys punching bad guys. Kelly, McGuinness, and the crew have given us a tremendous take on the buddy comedy that makes the best of what both Deadpool and Spider-Man have to offer.

And the most explosive stuff is likely yet to come. Secrets have a tendency of getting out. What happens when Deadpool and Spidey learn the truth?

Image from author’s collection.

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A Spider-Man/Deadpool #2 Review – Wade Meets Spider-Adjacent

Spider-Man/Deadpool #2, coverTITLE: Spider-Man/Deadpool #2
AUTHOR: Joe Kelly
PENCILLER: Ed McGuinness
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEAED: February 10, 2016

***Miss last issue? BAMF.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Have you all heard of Deadpool? Just checking…

Marvel’s ultimate bromance continues, as ironically Deadpool seeks Spider-Man’s friendship, but wants Peter Parker dead. A mysterious source has been in touch with Wade Wilson, supplying him with information about terrible things happening inside Parker Industries. Deadpan once again seen out Spider-Man, and gets two for the price of one. Both the original and Miles Morales show up to face him. Neither believe Wade to be a changed man. But can he change? Can a man seemingly born to kill simply stop spilling blood?

For yours truly, the best part of this issue was the way Wade talks to Miles. Instead of Spider-Man, he calls him “Spider-Adjacent” and “Retcon Spider Clone Junior.” It’s all in jest of course, but truth is often spoken in jest isn’t it? I talked about this in my Spider-Man #1 review not long ago. Miles Morales is no longer the Spider-Man, he’s a Spider-Man. In terms of his status in the Marvel Universe, that’s a major drawback. It’s nice to see someone at least come out and address it.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #2, Ed McGuinnessEd McGuinness is once again on his game. In the first half of the issue we get a gorgeous shot of Spidey swinging through the city (shown right). There’s a fight sequence between Peter, Miles, and Wade that has a really nice energy to it as well. We’re also introduced to the Dead-Buggy, i.e. Deadpool’s take on the Spider-Buggy, which proves to be a lot of fun. McGuinness also gets the chance to draw a classic Spider-Man villain, which is a nice treat.

Thus far, the key to the success of this series has been Deadpool’s sincere desire to win Spider-Man’s friendship. Far-fetched though it may be, Wade Wilson is taking a crack at being as straight-laced a hero as he can be. And while that’s not exactly in the cards for him, we admire him for trying, and we want Spider-Man to like him. Because we like him. Sadly, with Deadpool now gunning for Peter Parker, this bromance is about to hit a major bump in the road.

Spider-Man/Deadpool is off to a great start. We’ve got a renowned team, executing a plot that has both intrigue, and the trademark Deadpool humor. Plus, considering how successful Deadpool was on the big screen this month, there’s never been a better time to have Wade sharing pages with (arguably) Marvel’s marquee character.

Image from author’s collection. 

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A Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 Review – Marvel’s Bromantic Comedy

Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 (2016), Ed McGuinnessTITLE: Spider-Man/Deadpool #1
AUTHOR: Joe Kelly
PENCILLER: Ed McGuinness
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: January 6, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The best thing about this issue is Marvel using Spidey and Deadpool’s name value to promote The Vision. They include the entire first issue in this book as a bonus. Seriously, pick it up. It’s awesome.

Of course, having Joe Kelly back on a Deadpool book is nothing to sneeze at, with his old cohort Ed McGuinness no less. These two made Deapool a force to be reckoned with in the ’90s, and are now back for a romp with the mouthy merc, with Spider-Man in tow!

When we join our heroes, they’re tied up and at the mercy of the demonic Dormammu. Deadpool BAMFed them out of New York City in the middle of a fight between Spidey and Hydro-Man. Thus, they have not one but two threats to face. But why is Deadpool suddenly butting into Spidey’s business? What does he have that Wade Wilson wants?

Spider-Man/Deadpool #1, 2016, Ed McGuinnessSpider-Man/Deadpool is, first and foremost, a bromantic comedy. Kelly delivers on the banter front from both Spidey and Wade. But for me the banter takes a backseat in terms of humor in this issue. At one point, our heroes are facing a Hydro-Man made out of sewage. Call me juvenile if you must, but that’s a funny idea. But what I got the biggest kick out of was the panel to the right. Something about his (pardon the term) body language, mixed with how his hand and lower half are regenerating makes this a very amusing image. Kudos to Ed McGuinness for what I’ll call subtle humor here.

Like a lot of great bromances, the core of this issue ends up being about friendship, feelings, and all that stuff. I don’t expect a lot of heart to be on display in these pages. But it is there. Naturally, Wade’s heart takes him in entirely the wrong direction, as we find out at the cliffhanger.

Ed McGuinness is one of the innovators of the Deadpool character, so he’s as natural a fit on this book as anybody. But even when you don’t factor that in, his uber-musculed, highly expressive, and hyper-dynamic style make him a great choice for anything that’s taken tongue-in-cheek. McGuineess’ art has a great versatility about it. If you want him to play it straight, he can do that. If you want him to be silly, he can do that too. Often times, he’ll give you a combination of the two.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 (2016)The question with Spider-Man/Deadpool isn’t necessarily about where they’ll go with things. Rather, it’s where can’t they go? Whether he’s duking it out with the entire Marvel Universe, cutting up zombified presidents, or even taking on Thanos himself, Deadpool has plenty of versatility in his own right. It looks like they’ll be staying in Spidey’s world for the immediate future, as next issue they’ll be joined by none other than Miles Morales. There’s some potential there for Kelly to have a lot of fun breaking the fourth wall. So even if you’re not a big Deadpool fan, next issue may be worth a glance. And if you are, odds are this book has a big upside for you.

Images from author’s collection.

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Best of Batman & Superman: Superman #165

***Batman and Superman are friends. It’s an unlikely friendship, and one that can put them at odds. But ultimately, it’s a friendship based on mutual respect and trust. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on the horizon, we’re going to hear a lot about these two fighting. “Best of Batman & Superman” will show us the opposite end of the spectrum. These are the moments that showed us why Superman and Batman are better friends than enemies.***

Superman #165, 2000TITLE: Superman #165
AUTHOR: Jeph Loeb
PENCILLER: Joe Madureira. Cover by Ed McGuinness.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
ORIGINAL PRICE: $2.25
RELEASED: December 2000

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Don’tcha hate it when your arch rival becomes President of the United States? Man, that sucks…

We all knew tough times were ahead for Superman after the 2000 presidential election. In one of their wildest stunts, which actually stuck for a few years, DC Comics opted to make Lex Luthor the President of the United States. Naturally, this was a huge blow for the Man of Steel. When he’s written well, Superman is essentially a man of the people. So what does a man of the people do when the people make a potentially catastrophic choice?

For Superman, the answer was turning to those he trusted. Not just his wife, but his friends, colleagues and confidants in the Justice League of America. Superman #123 takes place in the aftermath of Lex’s election, and sees Superman visit with each member of the League. As it’s the holiday season, he gives each one a small gift. This issue is drawn by a number of artists, each of whom pencils a particular encounter. But naturally, we’re focusing on the Superman’s time with Batman, which is drawn by Joe Madureira. The scene is only three pages long. But it’s an interesting glimpse into how the Superman/Batman dynamic works.

Superman #165, Batman, Joe MadurieraClark and Bruce had disagreed about how to handle Luthor running for president. Batman had some even more bad blood than usual with Luthor due to his involvement in the events of the recent No Man’s Land storyline. When it looked like things were turning in Luthor’s favor, Bruce wanted to dig up dirt to use against Lex, whose reputation was squeaky clean in the eyes of the public. But Superman questioned the ethical nature of such a move, and insisted they trust American voters to do the right thing.

Obviously, they didn’t.

The tension between the two is obvious when we open the issue. Batman’s cartoony scowl aside, while all the other meetings started with friendly dialogue, this one begins with silence.

Bats then asks: “Wasn’t it you who said we have to put our faith in the America people to do the right thing?”

Swallowing his pride a bit, Clark then gives Bruce a small magnifying glass (Get it? He’s a detective.), with the words: “This…is from Lois.”

Batman replies with a thank you. Then we get the line that truly makes this exchange special: “When the time is right, we’ll take Luthor down.”

Superman #165, BatmanIn the final panel, after Batman has left, Superman repeats quietly to himself: “When the time is right…”

This may seem fairly small and insignificant. But to me it illustrates the compromise that makes the partnership between these two men work. It’s that balance of optimism and cynicism. Batman wasn’t wrong to be wary the country potentially choosing Luthor. But Superman’s ethical argument wasn’t wrong either. Superheroes shouldn’t necessarily have to stoop to playing dirty. Especially when it comes to politics, which quite frankly, is dirty enough already.

Still, Luthor won, and Superman had to eat crow. But in the end, Bats still trusts Superman enough to work with him in defeating this enemy. And Superman trusts him too, despite their differences.

Clark takes Bruce’s words to heart as the issues ends on the next page (pencilled by Ed McGuinness), as we see Superman and Lois Lane beginning a brief vacation in the Bottle City of Kandor. Tough times are indeed near. But after spending so much time with his confidants, Superman chooses to take some quality time with his closest confidant of all.

Both our heroes look pretty jacked up here, which isn’t really my cup of tea. But as a style choice, it’s fine. The only thing I don’t appreciate here is the aforementioned scowl on Batman’s face, which stays with him the whole issue. That’s not to say he has to get sentimental, or even look particularly happy. But Superman’s expression changes in the scene. So why can’t Batman’s?

On it’s own, this scene stands up just fine. But it’s even better when you consider taking Luthor down is exactly what our heroes do a few years later in another Jeph Loeb story, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. One might consider this scene a nice little prelude to that story. Luther may have gotten himself elected. But in the end, justice came calling.

For more “Best of Batman & Superman,” check out our look at Gotham Knights #27.

Images from author’s collection.

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A Batman/Superman #1 Review – What Page Are We On?

Batman/Superman #1 (2013)TITLE: Batman/Superman #1
AUTHOR: Greg Pak
PENCILLER: Jae Lee
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: June 26, 2013

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

In a company that likes to toss around the term “all star,” Jae Lee is a true all star. His dark, gothic style is usually fantastic, and it’s seemingly tailor-made for a character like Batman. But is Lee the right guy to put on a Batman/Superman book? I had my doubts, and I still do. But there is some good stuff here…even thought some of it’s rather confusing.

This issue shows us the first one-on-one meeting of Superman and Batman, first in civilian form, then in costume. To Greg Pak’s credit, his character work is awesome. His opening scene is particularly strong. Clark Kent travels to Gotham City to investigate the murder of some employees at Wayne Enterprises. He stumbles across a boy seemingly being beat up by some bullies, as Bruce Wayne (in a familiar disguise from Batman: Year One) looks on. He gets in Bruce’s face for not interfering on the boy’s behalf. But it seems the would-be victim was simply luring his opponents into a trap. From the get-go, this issue captures the source of Superman and Batman’s constant conflict, and the reason these two characters work so well together despite their differences. It’s Clark’s hopeful idealism paired with Bruce’s cynical reality. Then we go into a beautifully formatted two-page spread, which shows us what the two characters have in common: The quality of people who raised them. It’s a fantastic start.

Batman/Superman #1, robotsBut from there, things get weird. Batman uses some weird robots to try and wrangle Catwoman, who’s being controlled by a new villain called the Trickster (through she hasn’t been referred to by that name in-story yet). Then Superman flies in and the whole thing goes to hell. From there…I’m not sure what happens. Suddenly they seem to know eachother (Batman calls him “Clark”), and Batman is wearing a slightly different outfit. And then we get an appearance by someone we definitely weren’t expecting.

At this point, it seems a lot of this is supposed to be a mystery. But the whens and the wheres of this issue are confusing. In Justice League: Origin, which was written by two of the company’s co-publishers, mind you, we know that most of the League is meeting one another for the first time. And yet, this issue indicates that Superman and Batman met during Clark’s early years as a hero, when he was still wearing jeans and a t-shirt. And YET…later on in the issue Batman calls him by his civilian name and asks: “What’s with the jeans?” What page are we on? Are we in some kind of weird time warp thing? We need to clear this up pretty fast. As in, tell me what this is by next issue, or I might be gone…

Batman/Superman #1, Jae LeeAs I mentioned, I’m not completely sold on Jae Lee’s suitability for a book which prominently features Superman. His Clark Kent looks good, I’ll give him that. I also appreciate that his Superman doesn’t look like an Abercrombie and Fitch model, or a competition bodybuilder (I’m looking at you Kenneth Rocafort). But for instance, there are a few panels (shown above), where he draws a young Clark Kent in Smallville. I think this is supposed to be your typical contrast of sunny Smallville and shadowy Gotham. But Lee’s shadowy style, combined with June Chung’s color choices, give it a much too dreary look. He’s got the right idea, but it doesn’t really fit the way he does things. It can be argued the same is true when we get to red cape time. But it’s tough to say so definitively, as midway through red cape time, Ben Oliver takes over. Yeah, there’s a little tidbit they left out of the marketing campaign…

For longtime comic book readers, it’s tough to even talk about this issue without thinking about the old Superman/Batman series, specifically the stuff Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness did with the first several issues (the story which would eventually be collected in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. The first issue of their run was published almost 10 years ago. That issue also had a writer with a great understanding of both characters’ voices, and an artist whose style might have gone a little too far in one direction for a lot of peoples’ tastes. While Lee likes drawing skinny pale people, McGuinness likes drawing big muscular balloon people. But Superman/Batman #1 is 10 times what Batman/Superman #1 is. It had great pacing and flow, played up the dynamic between our main characters in a way that was both insightful and fun, and it put them against Lex Luthor, a bad guy we all love to hate.

Batman/Superman #1, fightBut while that issue was built upon more than 15 years of story continuity, the New 52 initiative is less than two years old. In Batman/Superman #1 all the iconic Superman and Batman stuff is there, but certain specifics in terms of backstory are still being established. Heck, after we close this first issue we’re not even sure where we are on the  New 52 timeline. All that stuff is still being established in other books. Superman/Batman #1 kept things simple, which definitely helps when it comes to first issues.

Hopefully Pak and Lee (and whoever else is pencilling…) will fill in some blanks next issue. Until then, Batman/Superman #1 is in the “undecided” category for me. That’s a shame, as for a longtime DC Comics fan like me, this series should be a no-brainer.

Image 1 from hypergeeky.com. Image 2 from comicbookmovie.com. Image 3 from bleedingcool.com.

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