DARTH VADER / SPIDER-VERSE / HARLEY QUINN V-DAY SPECIAL [Reviews]: A Stash of Cupids, Siths, and Spiders!

Yeah, yeah, yeah… Valentine’s Day was this past Saturday; and this is the Sunday Stash, finished on a Monday, that most of you will read on a Tuesday. My arrow-riddled, black heart bleeds for ya, ya Cupid fux!

Now, go and getcha box of half-eaten VD chocolates, and hunker down for some straight up smack-talking and comic reviewing ova here!!! And be sure ya nibble off the sugary, brown-scabbed coating on those holiday candies; before you let the cherry-filled pus inside of ’em, run down ya chins! That’s good eatin’ folks! Straight from Cupid’s dirt fountain…

Now, Stash this!

“Dynast” Dana Keels
IG @hatandwand

The two-faced holiday known as St. Valentine’s/Single’s Awareness Day is upon us, and Cupid has his big red love gun loaded with heart-shaped ammunition! This year, the Cupid Cannon hangs from the swiveling hips of Harley Quinn, on yet another of her Miss-adventures, as she looks to buy the Caped Billionaire as her own heart-pounding playboy. She’s got the guns and guile to do whatever dastardly deed she needs to succeed. A pair of matrimonial jokers, named Amanda Conner (Power Girl, Gate Crasher) and Jimmy Palmiotti (Retrovirus, Batwing) deal their darkly humorous deck of wordsmithery on this one; and John Timms (Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International) drops indelible his polychromatic ink all over the pages in this ish! The dream sequence makes for a utility-beltworthy break in the narrative straight from the Bat Cave; and bataranging from the visual stylings of Timms’ present day, to the nocturnal visions of Conner and Dave Johnson (100 Bullets, Deadpool), further embeds us into the plotline. The overt references to real life venture scumbag Bernie Madoff and the heroic Occupy Wall Street movers and shakers, feels like a mad-hatted misfit here, and seems to bog the story down. None the less, Harley’s hankering for her own box of chocolates still satisfies the sweet tooth; even if it’s a bit saccharin-filled. With a sugary-dosed ending to boot, you could do a lot worse than double-scoop this book for your Valentine’s pleasure. Quinn this into your waffle cone, Bat Fans! 3/5 Harley Quinn romance novels.

DARTH VADER #1 - Marvel
DARTH VADER #1 – Marvel
Ryan “Salvation” Scott @ radio_adventure

As someone who was a faithful Jedi Master to the Dark Horse stampede of Star Wars comics, it was quite difficult for me to accept the Force moving back to Marvel– even though I force push for Stan Lee. That being said, Darth Vader #1 has done a lot to put my midichlorians at ease.

Written by Kieron Gillen (Young Avengers) and drawn by Salvador Larroca (Avengers, Cable and X-Force), this book marks the first issue rebooting of a story from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

In a lot of ways, Lord Vader IS God IS Star Wars; and, so from a fan’s perspective, it was a Sithful decision to take on this Lucasian universe through the lens of Anakin’s black mask.

The plot of the book picks up shortly after young Vaderson has obliterated the first Death Star into Alderaan dust, leaving Papa Vader to starsweep the afterblast, while the Emperor faults his apprentice for the failure. Without giving too much away, this leads Darth Boy back to his home planet of Tatooine; where he pays a visit to the slime-bloated, Hutt crime lord, who slug trails the desert there.

Vader’s looking to employ a hired gun, from the battery of bounty boyz in this fat rogue’s gallery of blaster-wielding scum bags. It’s starting to smell like Mandalorian poodoo in here! (Hint, hint)…

Next, on AMC's..
Next, on AMC’s.. “The Walking Sith”…

Even after six movies (three of which heavily focused on the characters origins), Vader remains darkly mysterious; and this book started out on the right path in revealing more of his continuing mystique.

Additionally, this title translates well from the screen to the page; extending effortlessly like the Dark Lord’s red saber, hell bent on subduing you into worship. It feels like something you could easily be watching on the screen, which is perhaps the highest compliment a fan could pay to the creators of this book. From one nerd herder to another, I couldn’t recommend this book more highly.

The Force is strong in this one! 6/6 Sith Lords.

“El Sacerdote” J.L. Caraballo Twitter @captzaff007
“El Sacerdote” J.L. Caraballo Twitter @captzaff007

The Spider-Verse storyline comes to an arachnoid-fevered conclusion in The Amazing Spider-Man #14! The Spider-Men-and-Women — and a spider pig? — have traversed the various realities and multiverses; fighting off the Inheritors (essentially, a family of Morlun’s), who have themselves, been feeding off the life-essences of various spider types throughout reality. This final issue is exceedingly exciting, and it was great seeing all the arachnida weave their webbery together. Dan Slott (Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, She-Hulk) has done a lot to silk-knot the noose here; and while the denouement possesses a few broken strands, my Spidey sense tingles me that there’ll be a much more satisfying emotional cocoon wrapped up in the next issue. The artwork by Giuseppe Camuncoli (Hellblazer) and Oliver Coipel (House of M) is very slick, and cohesively joined, with eight-legged spider precision – although the character design and layout didn’t push the story into new post-MacFarlane-ian depths (this isn’t a knock on their work, just something to note). Every Spider-Being here gets their moment to spin some heavy silk, particularly Spider-Ham, and Miles Morales. It was great fun to see Leopardon show up on the scene too! To have been able to see that play out on a giant movie screen….oh man! All in all, this was a fun read, lots of action, lots of heart, and a grand conclusion to an epic story. 4/5 Web Slingers.

Luke “Heirophant” Anderson
DIVINITY #1 - Valiant
DIVINITY #1 – Valiant

Rolling out of the Valiant Next Event comes another new title, Divinity, featuring an all-new super character that further expands the Valiant Universe’s roster: Coming off like some kind of conceptual blend of the Fantastic Four’s origin story, mixed with Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff, and DC’s Superman, this CosmoGod is a Communist! Burgeoning talent Matt Kindt (Sweet Tooth, Unity, Rai) plays this one a bit mysteriously; telling a dreamlike tale with a topsy-turvy chronology that plays to the philosophical and metaphysical, and hints at this incredibly powerful being coming to the fore – though to do what, or why, remains intangible. British artist Trevor Hairsine (2000AD, X-Men: Deadly Genesis) does a fairly restrained job, seemingly building up to the crescendo of the full page splash reveal of Divinity (is that even the character’s name?) in all his glory, all tightly inked by Ryan Winn (The Darkness, Detective Comics) in clean, bold lines. Though not much has been revealed, Divinity #1 is unique enough to make it stand out against the likes of Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman, or Alan Moore’s runs on both Miracleman and Supreme; and in the hands of this creative team it could be just the antidote needed to Convergence’s upcoming line-wide takeover, or to another bloody Secret Wars, or even NEW POWERS SUPERMAN (though I’ll still be collecting that, I can’t get enough JRjr). 4/5 Prodigal Sons.

Jason “Bad Preacher” Bud ***EDITOR***
THE HARVESTER #1 - Legendary
THE HARVESTER #1 – Legendary

Reaped forth from the fertile fields of phantasmagorical fecundity, rises the forlornly formidable figure known as The Harvester. His origins swell up from the obsidian depths of a soil pitch-blackened. He is the progeny procured from an elixir of sinister seed, culled from a motley brouhaha of mystics and warlocks, known to us mortals as: the storyslayer Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor), the leadslinger Eric Battle (The Scourge), the colorkiller Lee Loughridge (Batman Adventures), and the fontfiend Sean Konot (Green Arrow). This torrid tale appears to initially unfold in present day River Falls, Wisconsin; yet we’re soon led to believe that this may not be true at all. Harry’s Bar is filled with a barrage of boozing Blackbeards, who spray their beer and binge on their blow, as they hold up Harry’s help as hostages. A Harbinger of Gentlemanly Jim proportions emerges from the ether in his cool, gray-suited ensemble, asking these lugheads if they’re ready for their lumps.. Is this man in the ascot, The Harvester’s mascot? Is he as the butler Alfred is, to the Caped Crusader? With motorbikes, bodies, and bloodiness preceding him, The Harvester hamfisticuffs his way into the scene. He’s a walking Golgotha of Frankensteinian flesh, formed from American pop culture archetypes: Part Oz-like Scarecrow, stitched together with Kung Fu Caine, and Man-with-No-Name. And what’s with the rising red sunshine/happy waving hand tattooed on the flesh over his left pectoralis major? I just wonder if you can get high from sucking the dust that bleeds from his bullet wounds.. Anthropology grad-student Vicki, and private dick/investigative journalist Justin Luster (maybe he moonlights as a porn star on https://www.nu-bay.com/categories/168/brunette as well, with that name) conjecture as to whether The Harvester is merely an urban legend, or some supernatural other.. It seems this floppy top-hatted Reaper may have a triple digit victims list– one that spans more than 150-years. Where does this fiend go when he mingles back into the worm dirt after dispatching his deadly deeds, and who’s giving this Lovecraftian killer his contracts? Looks like Vicki and Justin might be teaming up to sleuth the secrets out. Perhaps time is nigh for séance and spyglass… 3/5 Disinterred Corpses.

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