Wednesday, December 31, 2008

funnybooks of the two weeks prior to this one: The Walking Dead #56 & What If? Spider-Man: Back in Black

So, on the day that new books for this week should be coming out (they won't until Friday, but if you were chomping at the bit for me to get this out you already knew that), I give you my picks for the previous two weeks. Shall we?

I will continue to repeat this until you get tired of it. Zombie movies, zombie comics, zombie pretty much anything are all at their best when they're about the people who have to live through it more than the hows and whys of the zombies or even the danger those zombies present. I said zombies a lot there. Zombies.

With The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman shows that he not only knows this, but thrives on the idea. This is a crazy drama about real people doing real things in a messed up world. The zombies are window dressing, this is a dramatic book that deals with the consequences of living in constant horror.

So a What If? book goes like this: a landmark story from Marvel Comics' history is retold with one detail having been changed, therefore taking the story in a different direction. When this was a regular series, many people would read across the top (for example: "What If the Fantastic Four all had the same powers?" and reply to the comic "everyone dies."

Because that's kind of what happened in most of them. As such, the What If? series is usually a story darker in tone than most mainstream capes & tights comics. This issue, though, which explores what would have happened if the bullet that hit Aunt May (and caused Spider-Man to make a deal with the devil) had instead hit and instantly killed Mary Jane. The result is raw emotion from Peter Parker juxtaposed amazingly against the cold Kingpin and the "by-the-book" Iron Man. And, oh goodness, is it dark.

Peter crosses a few lines, causes some trouble, and goes all Dolemite at one particular moment. Most What If? stories wrap up in one issue, but when next year's batch comes out, I'd like to see where else a Parker that has made these choices and landed in that situation can land. Make it happen, Marvel.

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