Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #4
by Jeff Parker, Patrick Scherberger & Norman Lee
Unlike previous issues, which were cribbed from classic Lee/Ditko Spider-Man stories, this issue features an all-new all-ages tale teaming up Spidey with the Human Torch. Parker, best known for his OGN The Interman, puts the fun back in everyone's favorite Webslinger with a story that's in the classic mold yet still fresh. The two heroes team up to stop the giant villainous Street before he tears up New York and finishes telling his boring origin story, and contain the giant monster Goom, accidentally freed by Johnny from the Negative Zone. The art by Scherberger & Lee is slightly cartoony and fits with the style of the story, and the fight scenes are easy to follow. This is good solid all-ages super-hero fun.
Rating: 3 (of 5)
City of Heroes #3
by Mark Waid, Nakayami, Basaldua, & Oback
I'd love to be able to tell you the full names of the artists who drew this, but there's nary a credits box to be found anywhere. Probably a good thing though, because in the years to come no one associated with this comic will want to have their names remembered. Oh, the art was competent enough for a standard super-hero book, but the problem is with the 'story.' Although I read the previous two issues leading up to this conclusion, I read so many comics per month that there's no way I can keep track of every continuing plot. But as with the credits box, any sort of recap is absent as well. So what we get are 20+ pages of generic characters in costumes hitting each other for reasons that aren't clear. In other words: extreme boredom. Meh--I expect better than this from Waid; hopefully the paycheck was large enough.
Rating: 1.5 (of 5)
Desolation Jones #2
by Warren Ellis & J. H. Williams III
While the first issue led us to believe that this was yet another take on the usualy Ellis archetypal main character, this second issue explores Jones further and proves him to have greater depth than we might have previously realized. Namely, this protagonist has something that other Ellis types do not: empathy. He also has a sense of compassion, all expertly realized in the extended scene between Joens & Emily Crowe, the woman whose body has been modified to produce fear and revulsion in every person (except for Jones). It's downright touching, something I wasn't expecting. If Ellis can keep playing against expectations, combined with the superb art by Williams (which I could go on about, but I don't have to since Jog does such a good job of praising the art on his blog) we might have another winner on our hands.
Rating: 4 (of 5)