SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL / REPTILIAN RAGE [Marvel Comic Reviews]: This Little Piggy/Lizzy…

“Pontif” Tony Pattawon
SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 – Marvel Comics

This was a surprisingly fun and hilarious read, as the latest Spider-Man Annual stars the one and only “Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.” First, a quick rant about what makes a great writer and great story to me: when a writer can take a character I never cared for and pens a story that fits the character and makes the character more relatable. It esentially increases the said character’s cool points!

Jason Latour does all of the above with Spider-Ham in the main story “Boared Again!”, with art by David Lafuente, Rico Renzi as the colorist, and VC’s Joe Caramagna doing the lettering.

First off, a moment of honesty… Spider-Ham’s existence makes no sense to me. I thought he was a pig with spider powers. No. Not at all. He’s a spider that was turned into a pig. Well, Spider-Ham and his rogues gallery accidentally get teleported in from his universe to the 616 Marvel Universe, saving Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen from Ringmaster’s hypnotism in the process. Yeah, the villain did his damndest to feature our spidey-friends in his Circus of Crime, but teleporation happens to all in the aftermath — including Hammy’s rogue’s gallery — leaving Spider-Ham completely and utterly bored.

As the story progresses, it’s clear that even the strangest moments of the Spider-Man legacy has stories everyone can relate to; as, here, Peter Porker tries to get through the everyday struggle of being motivated to do the same boring job forever, just maintain a sustainable lifestyle.

Yeah I so feel his pain! Never in my life did I imagine myself relating to a story about a pig with spider friends, uh, yeah, until now. Nope, not even for Charlotte’s Web. Porker continues to patrol as Spider-Ham on his off time, but there is literally no crime at all to stop, often leaving him once again bored and dozing off to sleep. Until Spider-Guin (Penguin with Spider-Gwen persona) drops knowledge on the status of his rogues gallery. Happy to finally have a new purpose –and something to do in general– Spider-Ham goes on to search the multiverse to round up his rogues gallery with the help of Spider-Guin.

“Spider-Guin / Spider-Guin / Does whatever a…uh…”

Next Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Latour write an hysterical parody of the Secret Wars called “A Secret Roar Rages?” Latour does the art and color for this story, too, with Joe Caramagna on the lettering. The story captures an insane war with the 616, battling animal pun versions of themselves; notwithstanding, Spider-Ham takes a break from the action and has a round of drinks at a nearby bar with none other than Howard the Duck. Ham exchanges barbs with his pal before the impending doom of loss to the Marvel Multiverse aka the “Reboot” (cue dramatic music). All and all, this annual has awesome artwork and the rare, fun story where Marvel takes the time to make fun of themself. Thanks, Ham. 4/5 Bibles.

-Tony Pattawon

“Father” Sean Farrell

You poor bastards.. Ahem. Well, gang, this book is a shelf-filler. It’s an evergreen book designed to be on the shelf during a time when there’s a new Spider-Man in the movies and maybe 1% of that audience stumbles into a comic shop and wants to buy a “safe” comic for a kid. Well, they can’t (and won’t!) go wrong with Spider-Man: Reptilian Rage! Set during the time when Peter Parker was still between High School and College, Peter is on a field trip trying to get a scholarship to ESU! Ah, ESU — home to, oh, so many wayward scientists and professors who’re up to no good either intentionally or haphazardly.

This time? It’s Dr. Curt Connors! You know what happens here: Curt tries to be good, something happens and he becomes the Lizard then Spidey gets involved. That’s really it. It’s a fun quick read. It’s safe. But ultimately (heh) it’s not amazing or spectacular (double heh). Marvel Stalwart Ralph (no, not the master of the crain-kick) Macchio writes a decent Spidey/Parker story that harkens back to the 60’s nostalgia without looking or sounding old. Chris Allen’s art and Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors make this an easy to look at and a fun quick read. I can think of worse things to drop $4 on.
2.5/5 Bibles.

-Sean Farrell

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