Film Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Release Date: December 6th, 2018 (Singapore sneak preview)
Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Written by: Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman
Based on: Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Miles Morales by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli
Music by: Daniel Pemberton
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine, Lake Bell, Marvin Jones III, Stan Lee (cameo), Cliff Robertson (archive recording), Oscar Issac (cameo), Donald Glover (cameo)

Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Marvel Entertainment, Arad Productions, Lord Miller Productions, Pascal Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing, 117 Minutes, 143 Minutes (Alt Universe Cut)

Review:

“That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.” – Stan Lee

I intended to see this in the theater but the holidays are really busy for me and I didn’t get around to it or any other movies around that time. I heard great things about this movie though, so I rented it as soon as it was available.

Full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of animated films. At least I haven’t been in my adult life. I still love a lot of the old cartoons and anime I watched as a kid but due to the overwhelming positive fan response to this and my love of Miles Morales, I wanted to give this a chance.

Overall, it’s a mighty fine motion picture and the best Spider-Man movie since Spider-Man 2.

I thought that the CGI animation was really well done. I prefer traditional animation and have never found CGI animation to be that interesting but this shows how great this animation style can be when pushed to the max and utilized for its strengths while being meticulously crafted with heart.

The story doesn’t really follow the comics but how many comic book film adaptations do? Still, it was engaging, it captured who Miles is and it examined a lot of different aspects of heroism. I absolutely love how it presented and handled the life of an aged Peter Parker. And ultimately, the bond between Miles, Peter, Gwen Stacy and the other heroes was strong and everything human and emotional felt natural.

I was really excited to see Spider-Gwen and Spider-Ham, especially. I loved Gwen’s earliest stories and I’ve been a Spider-Ham junkie since childhood.

This also features a lot of villains and even does a gender bending twist to Doctor Octopus that worked for me.

I think that this movie definitely did exactly what it set out to do which was to launch Miles Morales into the minds of normal moviegoers and kids that don’t pick up the comics while incorporating a nice array of other Spider-heroes in a fun and unique way. It also humanizes the vilest villain and makes this a more emotional and touching movie than most of the live action Spider-Man adaptations.

I’m definitely excited for the multiple sequels and spinoffs that Sony seems to have planned for the very near future.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: I’d assume, the future sequels and spinoffs. As well as Miles Morales Spider-Man comics.

Comic Review: Spider-Gwen, Vol. 6: Life of Gwen Stacy

Published: September 19th, 2018
Written by: Jason Latour
Art by: Robbi Rodriguez

Marvel Comics, 111 Pages

Review:

I wasn’t too enthused going into this but I’ve gotten this far and this is the last chapter in the Spider-Gwen saga.

This series started out really good, I liked it, I was engaged by it and even if I didn’t like some of the alternate dimensional weirdness I really liked this Gwen Stacy and her story.

The fifth volume really took the wind out of the series’ sails though. This went for a Venom story because you can’t have a Spider-Person comic go on for too long and not have that obligatory Venom story. Well, that story didn’t end and it carries over into this final chapter.

But then there is even more alternate dimensional weirdness. And then things get so convoluted and reality skews so much that it’s hard to follow and a massive clusterfuck. This gave me a headache and it was really tough to get through even though it was fairly short at 111 pages.

I just finished reading this and I don’t even remember what happened other than timey wimey bullshit, multiple Gwens, Gwen going to prison, cameos out the ass and more confusion.

Also, I don’t know if Robbi Rodriguez stopped giving a shit but the art is worse than it was at the beginning of the series: significantly worse. I don’t know if he was rushed, trying to experiment or was just too busy sending pictures of his asshole out to people’s Twitter timelines.

I don’t know what this was. It ended this fun voyage like the iceberg that murdered the Titanic. And frankly, I don’t give a shit about this character anymore, even though I really dug her for the first three or four volumes.

Gwen has gone on to have a new series called Ghost Spider but I don’t even want to read it, even though its done by a new creative team.

Rating: 4.25/10
Pairs well with: Other Spider-Gwen collections.

Comic Review: The Amazing Spider-Ham: 25th Anniversary

Published: June 30th, 2010
Written by: Tom Peyer, Tom Defalco
Art by: Joe Jusko, Adam Dekraker, Jacob Chabot, Agnieszka Garbowska

Marvel Comics, 52 Pages

Review:

I like Spider-Pig or Spider-Ham or whatever you want to call him. He’s a goofy comedic relief character that has made me smile for years. However, he seems to work best when he crosses over with human characters. Here, he is back in his own dimension where he must battle a myriad of animal-based villains.

This is comprised of three stories, which means they’re all pretty short, since this is a single issue comic. Although, it is about the size of a double issue.

The first story sees Spider-Ham face off against the Swinester Six. In his universe, they are Doctor Octopussy, Sandmanatee, Eelectro, The Buzzard, Mysteriape and the Green Gobbler. Yes, the are just as bizarre as Spider-Ham but the Sandmanatee had me in hysterics.

The next story is about Spider-Ham’s daughter, Swiney-Girl, facing off against Crayfin the Bunter, who is a disgruntled baseball player that wants revenge on J. Jonah Jackal. This story is split in half with a really short third story in the middle that sees Spider-Ham turned into a human by Ducktor Doom. That one ends with human Spider-Ham eating Doom… seriously. It was both awesome and sort of disturbing.

The Amazing Spider-Ham: 25th Anniversary was amusing but the stories were over as quick as they started and really, it just left me wishing there was more to them or that they just focused on one solid story. I know that Spider-Ham is more like a comic strip than a comic book but Marvel has proven that they can do solid full-length stories, as they gave us a great Spider-Ham tale with Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham, a few years before this one.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham

Comic Review: Spider-Gwen, Vol. 3: Long-Distance

Published: July 3rd, 2017
Written by: Jason Latour
Art by: Robbi Rodriguez

Marvel Comics, 112 Pages

Review:

This collection of Spider-Gwen starts off with a Thanksgiving issue that is more of a distraction than anything. But at least we get a visit from the Jessica Drew Spider-Woman and the Roger Gocking version of Porcupine, who is her baby’s nanny now.

Following the Thanksgiving issue, we go into a Christmas issue. This series really likes doing holiday themed stories, as these both follow the Halloween issue that capped off the last collection of Spider-Gwen.

Luckily, we didn’t get a New Year’s, Valentine’s or St. Patty’s issue. But what we did get is odd and bizarre one-off stories that didn’t really push the overall narrative of the series forward.

On the plus side, we didn’t get more whiney Emo-Gwen brooding. We got some humor, some parody and a general lightheartedness. However, I feel like I could have skipped this book entirely and not missed a thing.

With this collection, I feel like the writers ran out of ideas for this series that started out pretty darn strong. It reads more like comedy than anything else and with all that has been established before this, there is a lot of ground that can be covered.

Gwen also still doesn’t have her powers at the beginning of this. She has a limited amount of “power-ups” she can use to become Spider-Gwen and really this is being written more like a video game where things like power-ups need to be explained but I guess that’s cool for the Millennial generation, as is the emo brooding heroine.

I liked Spider-Gwen but if I was reading the series, issue to issue and not collected, I probably would have checked out over this stretch, as it feels like it’s just aimless and throwing shit up on the wall. I’ll at least check out the next volume and see if it gets back on track but this was where my interest really started to wane.

This book has a lot of cameos though, so if you’re a fan of team ups and cameos, you’ll probably dig some of this.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: Other Spider-Gwen collections.

Comic Review: Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham

Published: March, 2007
Written by: J. Michael Straczynski
Art by: Mike Wieringo, John Severin, Nick Dragotta, Skottie Young, Jim Mahfood

Marvel Comics, 25 Pages

Review:

I read this while eating a ham and cheese omelet and a side of bacon at the diner by my house. I kind of feel guilty in retrospect but I guess it helped me have a greater appreciation for Spider-Ham in some weird, twisted way.

Spider-Ham is a parody character but his best stories are the ones that cross over with the real Marvel heroes. This one issue book is a parody of the events of Civil War but it features the real Captain America, Iron Man and Doctor Strange, who has the largest cameo.

Spider-Ham is a little disturbed over the fact that he doesn’t have thought bubbles like the comics of old. This is to poke fun at the modern style of comics that usually present inner dialogue in boxes. Spider-Ham just wants his old school thought bubbles, so he goes on a quest in search of them.

Our porky hero crosses paths with the Avengers battling each other and finds himself sucked into the void with Doctor Strange, who was unaware that Spider-Ham was right next to him when he cast a spell. Spider-Ham then finds himself bouncing around different realities and one is even a parody of Apocalypse Now. In the end, we get a hilarious and glorious twist.

This is an incredibly quick read and a fun one at that. I love Spider-Ham when he pops up in stuff and reading his own comic, which I haven’t done since I was a kid in the ’80s was a blast.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: The Amazing Spider-Ham: 25th Anniversary Special and Spider-Gwen, Vol. 0: Most Wanted?

Comic Review: Spider-Gwen, Vol. 0: Most Wanted?

Published: November 17th, 2015
Written by: Jason Latour
Art by: Robbi Rodriguez

Marvel Comics, 112 Pages

Review:

I have wanted to read Spider-Gwen for a long time now. I’ve actually owned her action figure for awhile, as I was a big fan of the costume and always loved Gwen Stacy and just the idea of her becoming a Spider-hero was pretty intriguing.

I picked up this volume before reading volume one, as zero is before one but this isn’t an origin story and Gwen is already Spider-Woman. So, until I read volume one after this, I’m not sure if these are numbered chronologically or not.

Anyway, I dig Spider-Gwen a lot.

The story takes place in an alternate universe in the massive Marvel multiverse where each dimension is different in someway. In Spider-Gwen’s universe, she was bit by the radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker. Thus, she inherited all the powers that went to Parker in the universe we are most familiar with. Also, Peter becomes the Lizard but that story isn’t in this volume. Although, this deals with some of the emotional aftereffects of Gwen having to take Peter down.

We also see Matt Murdock, the Daredevil, and Frank Castle, the Punisher. In this dimension, both men are very different. In fact, they are both bad guys, as far as I can tell with Murdock working for the Kingpin and Castle being a hard nosed, ignore the book, type of cop. The Punisher is a brutal vigilante except he still has his badge.

The one thing I love about this series is the art. It’s beautiful and enchanting in the best way possible. It has a feminine feel to it, which works for a female hero, yet it still has a grittiness. The costume design is friggin’ fantastic, the use of colors is superb and this is an incredible looking comic of the highest caliber. Kudos to Robbi Rodriguez for his art and Rico Renzi for his colors.

The story is also great and if it wasn’t, I couldn’t stick with a series despite how good the art is. Spider-Gwen is written by Jason Latour, who co-created the series with Rodriguez. Latour has written stories for Wolverine, Punisher, Winter Solider and done art for a myriad of titles throughout the years, going back to his work at Image on The Expatriate with B. Clay Moore, a guy who made one of my favorite series, Hawaiian Dick.

This volume sets the stage for what’s to come and although it doesn’t feature the real origin of the character, I felt like I had a good grasp on everything. I wish I was able to read about Spider-Gwen fighting Peter Parker as the Lizard but I’ll have to find that story elsewhere, I guess.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: The other Spider-Gwen collections.