THE HALL OF WOW – March Inductees


Each month our team of writers each submits a classic or modern cover that they deem worthy of entering into the esteemed HALL OF WOW. At the end of each month, we ask our loyal followers over on our Wow Comix World Facebook page to vote on their favorite as part of our big giveaway!

See the inductees for March 2022 below!


9

The Amazing Spider-Man #75 – 1969 – Cover by John Romita

A fine reflective picture of a weary Web-Slinger. Truly iconic 

Chosen by Taz Maz


10

Silver Surfer #4 – 1969 – Cover by John Buscema and Sal Buscema

The ‘Sky-Rider of the Spaceways’ faces Thor on Buscema’s classic cover.  This depiction of a showdown on Asgard’s rainbow bridge stands as a great example of dynamic action, pose and character design.  Each instantly recognisable and very much a signature of one of the old masters.  Check out ‘How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way’ if you want to see how he worked his magic.

Chosen By Andrew Flood


11

Wonder Woman #600 – 2010 – Cover by Adam Hughes

There are no women like Adam Hughes women, and there are no covers like homage covers. Slap ’em together, and you get this stunning image. The already fantastic cover to Sensation Comics #41 is impeccably reworked by master artist Adam Hughes in a cover that no comic book fan could resist putting on display, and a fitting reward for readers of Wonder woman issue 600.

Chosen by Leo Brocklehurst


12

Unwritten#43 – 2013 – Cover by Yuko Shimizu

Could have picked any cover from this series. Shimizu drew them all and every one of them was brilliant!

Chosen by Ross Kelly


13

Tomb of Dracula #1, April 1972 – cover by Neal Adams

A cover that perfectly captures the over-the-top drama and the stunning artwork of the Bronze Age revival of horror comics, following a slight loosening of what the Comics Code would allow. Each issue of this series is a perfectly balanced blend of tense, dark atmosphere and melodramatic histrionics and this cover represents that perfectly, the helpless blonde in a classic Lugosi style Dracula’s arms with an eerie backdrop of forest, castle and moonlight. And that logo is just absolutely timeless!

Chosen by Nathan Harrison


14

Batman #496 – Cover by Kelly Jones

I’ve never been a fan of Kelly Jones’ artwork if I’m being perfectly honest. Which is why I have to give him credit for this brutal and haunting image from his Knightfall cover gallery, in which, the ghost of Jason Todd cries out for vengeance from beyond the grave. But is it a ghost or merely an expression of Batman’s guilt-ridden conscience? Pain, sorrow, guilt, justice, vengeance, anarchy, chaos: all of these things are happening here!

Chosen by Bryan Lomax


15

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: DEATH OF APOLLO #5 – 2015 – Mike Meyhew

This watercolor from Mike Meyhew is simply stunning. From a technical standpoint, it’s flawless. The color pallet, the postures, framing, and just how beautiful are those stars!

Thematically, it evokes an emotional depth in which the run itself just missed out on delivering, but given the title, any BSG fan would feel a lump in their throat seeing a scene such as this on the cover.

Chosen by LJ Marshall


16

Action Comics #393 – Oct 1970Cover by Curt Swan

It’s action, suspense, and a key question: why would a kid want to stop Supes from saving his father?

The added bonus of “How Superboy Became Superman” makes this a must-read 

Chosen By Liam Ashby


That’s it for this week! Some fine pick’s there from our review team!

Have you got any of these classic covers? Which of this week’s selections would you vote for!? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget that you can see all of the HALL OF WOW featured covers by heading over there right now in the menu above!


The Amazing Spider-Man #90 – Review

Gleason’s writing chops are nothing to mess with and pair beautifully with legendary artist Mark Bagley in a satisfying issue that I couldn’t put down, as far as verdicts go, you’re not going to get a better one than this.

The Amazing Spider-Man #90

Written by: Patrick Gleason
Artwork by: Mark Bagley
Published by Marvel
Released: 23/2/22

As a quick refresher, in the past couple of issues, Ben Reilly has been partially mind-wiped by those slimy rapscallions over at Beyond, the same dudes/dudettes that have unleashed the Queen Goblin on New York. On top of that, Old Peter Parker has managed to get back on his feet and is on his merry way to put an end to Queen Goblin’s reign of terror!

We begin with Beyond’s top dog, Maxine Danger tracing Ben Reilly as he swings across a bridge with Janine, who notices there’s definitely something off about Ben, which is where he confesses that he feels like he’s missing something in his mind (which, by the way, he totally is,  being brain wiped and all). He tells Janine that he just needs to focus and everything will be hunky-dory, but Janine knows that’s not good enough, it’s at that point that she spills the Intel she’s discovered about Beyond. Or rather, how they’ve set up the whole thing, sending out super-villains for Ben to stop so that they can get good publicity for themselves and their little Spider-man project. They decide that they’re going to take it to the top and go confront the big bosses at Beyond, but first, we’ve got some sweet, sweet action to attend to.

Pete is up in the skyscrapers, battling the new Queen goblin foe, which is where we get a ton of quality Spidey crack-ups, from getting confused with the X-men’s Goblin Queen to mentally crying for help as he barely manages to dodge the goblin’s blows. It’s moments like this where I feel Patrick Gleason really understands and gets the Spider-man character, I don’t feel like it’s one writer’s take on Spider-man, I just think of it as Spider-man, which is the best kind of writing. Of course, it’s great to actually know who’s writing a book by the tone it sets and dialogue and all the rest of the mumbo jumbo. But when it feels so much like the definitive, quintessential character, that’s when you know you’re doing a good job of writing a mainstream comic book. Obviously, it’s awesome to get some subversive material from creators not typically known for the superhero genre like, for example, Pete Bagge’s megalomaniacal Spider-man as well as a lot of other early 2000’s marvel books, which was a very interesting period for the company, but for Marvel’s flagship title, Pat Gleason does a fantastic job of realizing what readers want out of the main Spidey title. And speaking of what readers want, Mark Bagely is delivering some of his best work in the last 20 years in this issue as Spidey and the Goblin take their battle through offices, Spider-man billboards (with the Sam raising font, nice touch), and even subways. Every panel has energy inside it, there’s so much going on, but in a really good way, these pages are bursting at the seems with excitement and it really displays Bagely’s accumulation of skill on his 30-plus year tenure drawing the character. I, at least, got the sense that he must have really enjoyed penciling these issues and it shows great stuff.

Getting back to the story, the Queen goblin manages to use her unique “Goblins gaze” ability which she used successfully on the black cat’s last issue, which would have resulted in her death if not for the web-slinger arriving just in time. So Peter falls into the sea and goes through the whole “you’re not good enough” thing, but Spidey is able to defeat the hold it has on him, in his words “Doesn’t she realize self-doubt is kind of our thing?”. Pete manages to jump up out of the water and deliver the finishing blow to the latest addition to the Goblin Hall of shame.

Spider-man is able to get back onto the docks, where he meets up with MJ and the Black cat at that moment in all great superhero stories, where the previously split apart gang get back together again for the big finale, Peter is sent on his way to find Ben by his companions, but as we check up on Ben, he is kind of going a little bit insane, he’s not going evil insane, but Beyond have really scrambled his eggs to the point he doesn’t even remember Peter’s name when they meet up, but Ben pushes through it, and this installment ends with a page as awesome as when I found 20 pounds in a grid that one time, which means its totally awesome. Both Spider-men, suited up and ready to take Beyond down, Once and for all!


This issue was one of the best parts of Beyond to date, delivering all of those epic moments you know you love as we dive headfirst into what is bound to be an incredible final act of Spider-man: Beyond. Gleason’s writing chops are nothing to mess with and pair beautifully with legendary artist Mark Bagely in a satisfying issue that I couldn’t put down, as far as verdicts go, you’re not going to get a better one than this. Although if I had to make one small gripe, I would say that the Beyond company’s whole twist and game plan is a little predictable, but that is an issue that pails in comparison to all of the great aspects of this Spidey-saga. Join me soon for the next chapter!

9.5/10


Review by Leo Brocklehurst



Ghost Rider #1 – Review

In this bumper sized first issue, Johnny Blaze is undergoing therapy after a motorcycle crash has left him without a clear memory of who he truly is.


Ghost Rider #1

Written by: Benjamin Percy
Art: Cory Smith
Released: April 2022
Published Marvel Comics

In this bumper sized first issue, Johnny Blaze is undergoing therapy after a motorcycle crash has left him without a clear memory of who he truly is. The idyllic life he leads in Hayden’s Falls as a husband and loving father of two children is shattered when he experiences horrific visions of demons. Are his family who they claim to be? Is the next-door neighbour’s dog a vaguely irritating yapper, or a demon in disguise? Is the white-picket-fence-apple-pie town he calls home a hotbed of supernatural forces? The big question that covers all of these, “Are there such things as monsters?” is repeated as a mantra as he drinks to forget that he might well be a monster himself. When Zeb, a scout for a group of night magicians, turns up in Hayden’s Falls, Johnny is shown what lies within himself and beneath the façade.

A well-executed story, it’s perfect material for a relaunch issue. Rather than dwelling for too long on the memory loss aspect, writer Benjamin Percy wastes no time in getting to the action. The first half of the comic focuses on Johnny’s therapy sessions, home life and visions, before the Spirit of Vengeance comes to the fore in a superb full-page splash.

Pencilled and inked by Cory Smith (with additional pencilling by Joe Bennett), the colour work by Bryan Valenza keeps Hayden’s Falls just the right side of dark, so even though a baseball pitch and supermarket look bright enough on the surface, there’s still a hint of the underbelly lurking beneath (think David Lynch’s picture-perfect town in Blue Velvet and you’ve got the right idea). Zeb’s walk down the main street while he ruminates on the falseness of it all is revisited when all hell breaks loose, with the people he passes by — including a mother pushing a buggy, a postman, a man mowing his lawn – reappearing later in a much different guise. Meanwhile, the anti-hero status that makes Johnny such an interesting character is realised through his bouts of drinking and hallucination-induced outbursts towards his wife and kids.


A very promising first issue that also introduces Talia Warroad, a former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. turned FBI, whose claim that “I hunt monsters” is already proving to be as intriguing as Zeb’s interest in Johnny. If this is the last we’ll see of Hayden’s Falls, I’ll be sorry (the concept is rich in narrative possibilities), but that won’t stop readers glad to see Johnny break out of his false reality and get to some serious demon slaying. Nice to see Percy and Smith returning the Ghost Rider mythology back to its roots by focusing on the original Spirit of Vengeance. I eagerly await the next issue.


Review by Christopher Witty


Alien #6 – Review 

The writing remains pretty solid, and there are enough tie-ins to Alien lore new and old for this Alien fan to feel invested. There have been consistent nods to the Alien films in previous issues and this issue builds further with references to Prometheus.

Alien #6

Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Guru-eFX


Published by: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 25/08/21

There is actually a great variant cover by Anacleto that I think is better showing the intrinsic link between Gabe and the mysterious ” woman in the dark “, an Alien presence that has been one of the great and slow-burning reveals in the series.

This main cover of a stand-off between Alien and human was a little frozen and lacking in both action and terror in comparison to some of the other covers in this series. It is however a fair reflection of the climactic action in this issue. A space-suited human (Gabe) faces off against an Alien he helped create. Our hero faces almost certain death, but the fate of all he holds dear is on the line.

Issue six is the end to Marvel’s Alien first arc. We get the usual round-up of the story so far in the first couple pages and are then straight back into the action. 

The writing remains pretty solid, and there are enough tie-ins to Alien lore new and old for this Alien fan to feel invested. There have been consistent nods to the Alien films in previous issues and this issue builds further with references to Prometheus. I liked how Iris the corporate terrorist synthetic has a humanity-threatening agenda similar to David in the film by trying to unleash Aliens on planet earth. She describes her role to create a ” post organic utopia”. The idea that the Xenomorphs are the universe’s method of greeting the hubris of organic species whose technological advancement sends them out into the great unknowns of space gives the unfolding franchise plenty of scope for one-shots and arcs. Organics are to be met by the “cleansing fire” and this is something I really thought reminiscent of Hadleys Hope in the Aliens film. 

Gabe’s fate in his attempt to redeem himself as a father, going to any lengths and sacrifice for his son concludes, much like depicted in the cover, in a fatal stand-off. It was a heroic way to face death in the face of insurmountable odds. I think there is enough plot development for this to possibly take future twists with the Xenomorphs and the mysterious connection they share with Gabe and the hypersleep and xenomorph impregnated Danny.  

Guru-eFX knocks the color choices out of the park. There is a sense of terror and horror brought to the pretty average Salvador Larroca art. Larocca’s art just isn’t consistent enough for me and any Alien depictions just seem a bit too jolly, posed, or lacking in punch for me. The lettering from VC’s Clayton Cowles is flowing in nature and makes for compelling page-turning which with the intriguing story again propping up the art for me. 

This first chapter offers promising new avenues for the future. Iris stated in her death a bigger picture or implied purpose” I don’t expect either of you to know what that means”  Well this reader damn sure doesn’t either!  Marvel hasn’t wowed with this first arc but there’s some good groundwork in a franchise that has a weight of several decades’ expectation on it. It is maybe not to everyone’s taste but it’s hard to not keep reading on. 


Verdict

A great blend of new and old gives us an exciting take on an expanding Alien universe. Roll on the next arc!!!


Reviewed by Taz Maz



STAR WARS: CRIMSON REIGN – REVIEW ROUNDUP

The next Star Wars event begins here, with the opening issues of Crimson Reign. Roundup collects Star Wars #19, #20 – Darth Vader #18 – Crimson Reign #1.

STAR WARS: CRIMSON REIGN REVIEW ROUNDUP

The next Star Wars event begins here, with the opening issues of Crimson Reign, the second arc in what has been dubbed ‘The Qi’ra Trilogy’. But will it be another epic barnstormer to follow up War of the Bounty Hunters, or will it be the start of a descent into event fatigue? We round up some of the latest Star Wars releases from Marvel Comics to find out…


DARTH VADER #18

Written by: Greg Pak
Art: Leonard Kirk
Colours: Alex Sinclair
Released: 01/12/2021

Following the reveal of Ochi of Bestoon’s dramatic double-cross, and the Empire’s utter decimation of the Hutt syndicate, Darth Vader looks set to be the title most closely intertwined with the events of Crimson Reign. From the outset, this issue examines some of the effects of the emergence of Crimson Dawn and Vader’s response to them. It makes for a non-stop, galaxy hopping narrative but, as usual, under Greg Pak’s stewardship, the big man himself makes the biggest impact possible in the few panels in which he appears. He may not be at the front and centre of every skirmish, but his influence is what always drives the narrative – he’s a smart, shadowy, sinister controller of events that Crimson Dawn’s Qi’ra could only ever dream of being…so far.

The highlight here is the introduction of a ragtag group of assassins on personal missions to take revenge on Crimson Dawn, something which Vader seems set to use to his advantage. It’s clear that Pak is going to give us more reasons to love and empathise with each of them before dispatching them in the cruellest fashion possible – it’s good to know that some things never change!

Artist Leonard Kirk does a solid job throughout and his presentation of action and chaos is clear and assured, making the splash pages that highlight the bigger moments all the more impactful. Alex Sinclair takes full advantage of the shift away from the Imperial colour scheme of greys and blacks, as the reds and oranges of battle practically pop off the page.

Special mention must also be given to Aaron Kuder and Richard Isanove’s stunning cover – this is simply begging for a frameable print!


STAR WARS #19

Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Marco Castiello
Colours: Rachelle Rosenberg
Released: 08/12/2021

The effects of Crimson Reign look set to be a little separated from the core Star Wars comic, at least for the next couple of issues, as Luke goes off in search of more lessons of the Jedi to aid him in his quest to finally be ready to face Vader.

#19 also sees the introduction of a new artist, Marco Castiello, who steps in to cover a few issues for the incredibly talented Ramon Rosanas, who lends this series a real classic comics feel. Castiello’s approach is a beautifully sketchy one, which gives an appropriately otherworldly feel to each of the alien vistas that Luke visits as he tries to find a Jedi outpost that hasn’t been ransacked or completely destroyed by the Empire. Castiello’s dense inking makes for some suitably shadowy close-ups of a Luke Skywalker in turmoil, contrasted eye-catchingly with Rachelle Rosenberg’s dynamic colours.

Some of Charles Soule’s best moments in his consistently excellent run on Star Wars so far have been in his character work around Luke, filling in the gap between the boy at the end of Episode V and the man at the beginning of VI. This issue is no exception, as we see Luke fluctuating from doubt to confidence and back again in a realistically human way. He also receives guidance from a character that some fans may recognise from Soule’s short run on Darth Vader back in 2017 – it’s little nuggets like this that make the interwoven world of Star Wars comics so rewarding and beguiling. (More on that when we look at #20!)

The only slight problem that rears its head at the beginning of this issue is the sudden realisation that so many threads were left hanging during the six months or so that War of the Bounty Hunters was going on. While the reminder is handled in a way that fits the narrative and avoids clunky exposition, there is a slight risk of the reader being taken out of the moment as they scrabble around to remember what happened not only a good six or so months ago in this particular book, but also before the events of a line-encompassing, 34 part event series. That said, the threads that look due to be picked up soon should be exciting ones and give more signals that this book won’t be quite as interdependent on happenings elsewhere as during the previous event.


CRIMSON REIGN #1

Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Steven Cummings
Colours: GURU-eFX
Released: 08/12/2021

And so we come to the headliner – the first of five issues of Crimson Reign, the backbone of the event of the same name. Soule is at the helm once again and wastes no time in setting up a number of intriguing prospects whilst driving the narrative forward simultaneously. While the core of the story is formed around a war between the various crime syndicates across the galaxy, there is a lot more at play here, and Soule drops in mystery after mystery and tease after tease, making for a tantalizing read and an agonising wait until the next issue!

The older, wiser Qi’ra continues to be an interesting character in Soule’s hands – the potential for true cunning and guile we saw in her at the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story is truly realised here as she plays seemingly half the galaxy off against each other to her own ends. Those ends don’t yet seem to be entirely bad ones from what little Soule reveals here, but it’s certain that her methods are questionable – the final panel hints that dire consequences approach…

Steven Cummings has an unenviable task with this issue – so many characters are featured, so much ground is covered, so many locations are used, that it must be one hell of a task to realise everything that pops out of Soule’s head for this one. It’s a challenge that Cummings grasps with both hands – he takes a cinematic approach, his images acting as a perfect partner to the narration of the Archivist. There’s also an early 90s feel here too – shades of Ron Lim abound, panels featuring alien creatures or space battles could well have been lifted from that legendary artist’s almost as legendary run on Silver Surfer.

A promising start to an event that looks set to be altogether different to the one that came before it.  


STAR WARS #20

Written by: Charles Soule
Art: Marco Castiello
Colours: Rachelle Rosenberg
Released: 12/01/2022

Luke’s search for Jedi knowledge continues in another issue that takes a step back from the goings-on in Crimson Reign. Soule once again shows just how much he gets Luke and the struggle he is facing to become the Jedi he wants to be whilst grappling with the expectations placed upon him.

All of this is dealt with in an incredibly exciting manner for any fans of other parts of the Star Wars comics and books range. There have been hints and references to the incredibly successful The High Republic publishing initiative throughout Soule’s run (he also forms part of the writing team for that project), but here we finally get a moment to make High Republic fans cheer. No spoilers here, but Soule has picked just the right character to compare and contrast with Luke, as they speak to each other through the power of…magic mushrooms…?

With that comes some trippy visuals, which Castiello makes even more alien than the landscapes in the previous issue. Again, his dense inking really serves the issue well and Rosenberg’s colours are intense and solid, lending some of the more nightmarish panels a satisfyingly bloody hue. This isn’t an action-packed issue, and both artists make use of the space to great effect, providing striking images throughout and evidently revelling in their little trip into the days of the High Republic.

VERDICT

So far, it seems that the approach to event storytelling is a different one with Crimson Reign – less all-consuming than War of the Bounty Hunters, right down to the lack of an event banner on the covers for Star Wars and Darth Vader. It’s encouraging that the main Star Wars book especially has been given a little space to breathe and to deal with the fallout of the last event before diving headlong into the next. Pak and Soule continue to be two writers at the absolute top of their game, showing that Star Wars comics can work whether the storytelling is on a grand, bombastic scale or whether it’s dealing with the inner turmoil and doubts and fears that will eventually be the making of the galaxy’s greatest hero.

Review by Nathan Harrison


Fantastic Four #280 – (1985) – Throwback Review

Byrne’s art is clean and graceful as ever. His She-Hulk is a particular highlight and her journey through the hellish burning city is a real stand-out.

Fantastic Four #280

Written and Drawn by John Byrne
Released – July 1985    

Published by Marvel Comics

The Fantastic Four is surrounded by an angry mob, with flaming torches and fists raised, crucified against giant stone letters spelling the word HATE while New York City burns in the background. It’s a dark and powerful image by writer and artist John Byrne and inker Jerry Ordway and makes a great cover for Fantastic Four #280. I definitely want to read on.

The story begins with the FF standing outside a giant hole in the ground, all that remains of the Baxter Building, their home, and base of operations, which has been plucked out of the ground and fired off into space and ultimately blown up. This all happened the last issue and necessitates a quick recap for anyone like me who missed it.

Exposition in older comics is always a pleasure to read. It’s clunky and unnatural and usually between characters who already know what happened but I love it all the same. Byrne being an excellent writer actually does it really well in this issue. It’s all done in a quick three panels on the second page as Reed Richards explains all to a disbelieving police officer.

Perhaps I should insert some exposition of my own. This issue comes somewhere in the middle of John Byrne’s revitalizing run at a time when She-Hulk has replaced The Thing as the team’s wise-cracking muscle.

Obviously, a building disappearing and leaving a gap in the skyline is going to draw a crowd and it’s here where the story’s dark mood begins to manifest itself. It starts with one old man, a tenant of the Baxter Building angrily berating the “Fancy-pants super-hero” for letting his snack shop be destroyed which he’s run for twenty-two years and carried a lifetime’s worth of memories.  Reed Richards tries to placate him but it’s clear nothing he can say can help and it’s the first indication of how powerless super-heroes can sometimes be.

Instead, a police officer takes charge, pulling the man away and slamming him against the wall. The old man is revealed to be a Jewish-German immigrant and comparison to Nazi Germany and stormtrooper tactics are soon made explicit. Byrne is not pulling any punches and isn’t interested in his point being misunderstood.

Things escalate quickly when the She-hulk tries to intervene. The police and then the watching crowd turn on the Heroes. She-hulk is arrested and the mob surrounds the others throwing bricks and brandishing clubs. Unwilling to use their powers against ordinary people the FF are forced to split up and retreat only to find that the epidemic of hate and anger has spread to the whole city.

It’s a strong opening act reminiscent of Byrne’s award-winning work with Chris Claremont on the Uncanny X-Men who as mutant outsiders are continually hated and feared by the world. Except the Fantastic Four aren’t outsiders. They are the mainstream, Marvel comics most famous and loved superhero team. If the world can turn against them in a flash, it can turn on anyone and the impact is all more powerful because of it.

The rest of the issue follows a more conventional line as the real Villains make their move but the themes of powerlessness continue. Mr Fantastic struggles against the power of propaganda and She-Hulk finds that no matter hard she hits she can’t defeat a villain whose powers are intangible hatred and fear.

Byrne’s art is clean and graceful as ever. His She-Hulk is a particular highlight and her journey through the hellish burning city is a real stand-out.


Verdict

A very grounded issue of the Fantastic Four with a serious point to make with an excellent opening act and a brilliant cover. As a casual fan, I’d definitely be interested in reading more from Byrne’s 80’s run.


Reviewed by Ross Kelly



The Thing #1 – Review

This is really good comic. Writer Walter Mosley and artist Tom Reilly pack so much into the thirty-two pages that’s instantly worth reading it again and again!

The Thing #1 (1/6)

Written by Walter Mosley
Art by Tom Reilly
Colour Art by Jordie Bellaire

Released November 2021
Published by Marvel Comics

Join Ben Grimm, or The Thing to use his professional name in a new six-part solo series entitled The Next Big Thing. Set away from the Fantastic Four’s present continuity, somewhen in the team’s past, this is something to be enjoyed on its own, without the need for a ‘previously on’ recap button.   

And I hope you do enjoy it. Because I thought it was fantastic! There, got my verdict in early…

This is really good comic. Writer Walter Mosley and artist Tom Reilly pack so much into the thirty-two pages that are instantly worth reading it again and again. It’s got a bit of everything, action, humor, super-hero hijinks, and a surprising amount of horror. Presumably, the kitchen sink will be in issue two.

But mostly it’s full of character. Mosley and Reilly combine to capture all sides of Ben’s personality, from his big heart to his big temper. Reilly’s cartoon-style art is incredibly expressive and perfect for capturing the range of emotions on The Thing’s rocky exterior. However, the standout theme is one of loneliness and melancholia. Despite his positivity and can-do attitude, Ben is still a man forever trapped in the body of a rock-skinned monster. Although it’s his jealousy and not his appearance that is the biggest obstacle to love and happiness.

Ben returns home from a few days fishing, ever-lovin’ and ready for some company only to find the Baxter building empty and the rest of the FF and girlfriend Alicia away being busy or having fun. Ben is out of the loop and reunions will have to wait. It’s the first touch of sadness but there’s more to come.

The reunions don’t go well. Ben’s jealousy and temper get the better of him and he ends up getting arrested by the superhero police. The prison sequence is great fun, locked up with the Avenger Hercules (who’s hungover) in an unbreakable cell. It’s proper superhero daftness and it’s a joy to watch them break out.

Bailed out by his teammates and dumped by Alicia, Ben is offered the chance to join an intriguing new dating agency. Reluctant at first but loneliness and bad dreams change his mind. There’s a lovely scene where Ben has to fill out a character questionnaire form and has to be thoughtful and honest with himself. In fact, every page seems to have a lovely moment or surprising detail in it that elevates everything to another level.

Sometimes it’s just a panel, like the look of regret on Reed Richard’s face unable to ease his friend’s pain. Other times it’s the whole page. Ben walking alone through the cavernous fairy-tale Baxter Building surrounded by wonders, a Beast minus his beauty. I could list a dozen other special moments.

Meanwhile, there’s a horrifying new villain called MOT stalking the streets and dreams of New York. A death-like figure is able to reach into a person and pull out their heart, corrupt it, and then put it back in. MOT’S sequences add an unexpected strain of horror to the story. There’s some strong imagery and nasty violence (and the consequences of violence, which is refreshing). However, there’s nothing gratuitous. Like everything else in this comic, its pitched just right.

Finally, Ben starts a new day with a message in his inbox and he’s off to meet someone new. A positive ending on what’s been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. 

Then the wall explodes. Roll on issue two.


Verdict.

See above. Superb storytelling and great art, a really strong exploration of the character, and packed with lovely moments. These guys really know their Thing!


Review by Ross Kelly


THE HALL OF WOW – February Inductees


This little addition to Wow Comix World is a celebration of comic covers! We LOVE a good comic cover, who doesn’t? And so we thought what better way to honor the very best than opening our own ‘Hall of Fame’.

Each month our noble review team submit two covers, past or present, that they personally deem worthy to be entered into our Hall Of Wow! Then, at the end of each month, ONE will be chosen as our grand champion. What’s more, if you predict the winner in our end-of-month giveaway, you could stand to win some free comics!

You can check out all of the covers selected so far here!

Onto the first batch of inductees this month…


1

Marvels #4, April 1994 – cover by Alex Ross

“Pretty much any piece by Alex Ross would be worthy of inclusion in the Hall of WOW. His unique, painterly approach never fails to lend a new perspective on fan favourite characters and this classic is no exception. By making use of the reflective surfaces of Spider-Man’s eyes, we’re given a haunting new take on the moment that broke Peter Parker’s heart and marked the moment when comic books came of age.”

Chosen By Nathan Harrison

2


Daredevil #228
Art by David Mazzucchelli – 1986

“Terrifying close-up of Matt Murdoch’s fear-drenched face as his life is torn apart by the kingpin. Stripped of everything except his sanity, but that too is about to fracture.”

Chosen by Ross Kelly

3


Detective Comics #457 – 1976

Art by Dick Giordano and Tatjana Wood

“One look at this cover tells you everything you need to know about why Batman does what he does. It’s such a beautiful composition of tragedy and pain that shows us, in a very literal sense, just what’s going on behind those whited-out eyes.”

Chosen by Bryan Lomax

4


Conan the Barbarian #73

April 1977 by Gil Kane and Ernie Chan

“Out from an ‘age undreamed of, after the oceans drank Atlantis… when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world’ comes this awesome cover, depicting Conan during his fabled adventures alongside the pirate queen Belit.  Here they face near-insurmountable odds above ‘The Well of Skelos’, each valiantly facing down beasts and dark sorcery alike.  This is full of what made the Conan tales such fun.”

Chosen by Andy Flood

5


Marvel comics #1000 – 2019

Art by Julian Totino Tedesco


“She hulk lights this cover up in one of the most dazzling images in marvel history, Spidey, Thor, Wolverine, and Hulk all stare in bewilderment that She Hulk still rocks a walkman. This cover is an instant classic. It’s funny, it’s awesome, it’s 80’s. This retro cover for 2019’s Marvel Comics #1000 begs you to pick it out of the longbox and slap it in one of your nicer bags and boards.”

Chosen by Leo Brocklehurst

6


Section Zero #1 – June 2000.

Art by Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel

“It raises eyebrows and questions simultaneously with its silhouetted characters and what looks like an alien abduction. The sideline saying: “There is no Section Zero” gives the new reader the impression that it is a secret society filled with intrigue.”

Chosen by Liam Ashby

7


Dark Knight Returns #2

Art By Frank Miller
– 1986

“Ok, laugh it up. I see constipated Batman too, sure, but look again. I’m 98% sure on this being one of my favorite depictions of the man himself ever, let alone favorite cover art.

Perhaps it’s his expression, the huge arms, the torn clothing, or simply the pose itself that does it for me. Eitherway, I certainly know that this is the Batman who ain’t gonna go down without a fight! And I dig that.”

Chosen by L.J Marshall

8


Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8.

Art by Mike Zeck -1984

“The Symbiote that would become Venom owns this cover above all the chaos going on in the background. Original interior art for this comic recently sold for $ 3.36 million “

Chosen by Taz Maz


That’s it for this week! Some mighty fine first picks there from our review team!

Have you got any of these classic covers? Which of this week’s selections would you vote for!? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget that you can see all of the HALL OF WOW featured covers by heading over there right now in the menu above!



Top 10 Underrated Spider-Man Stories (That you may have never heard of!)

SPIDER-MAN is Marvel’s most popular, iconic, and lucrative character. He’s been headlining the comic industry for 60 years and has no shortage of iconic stories such as Kraven’s last hunt, the night Gwen Stacy died, coming home as well as a myriad of others. However, those are stories mostly EVERY Spidey fan has at least heard of if not read multiple times over, and not every great Spidey story has had its fair share of attention, so here’s 10 (count ’em, 10) Fantabulous Spidey books that deserve a little more love.

Some ground rules: 616 only (this list would be too hard if it wasn’t), must feature Spider-Man (obviously), and must be in comic book form, no books, games, or movies/shows are going to be found here.

10: THE CLONE SAGA (1994-1996)……..yup


Yes, the clone saga. THAT clone saga. The 2-year mega-event that for some reason is cast aside as a convoluted, uninteresting, pointless mess. Whilst it IS a convoluted mess, it’s got a hell of a lot going for it and most people you talk to likely haven’t read it due to what they’ve heard (and also the fact it was a 2-year mega-event). The clone saga gave birth to great stories like power and responsibility, revelations, and the heartbreaking issue 400; let’s consider these honorable mentions. I for one think that stories like these make memorable additions to Spider-man’s long history and so does the clone saga as a whole. The reason the clone saga is at the bottom of this list is that it’s kind of a cheat. It’s more of an era of Spider-man than one storyline but screw it, I want to show it some love. Go the 90’s! (P.S this isn’t the last you’ll hear from the clone saga on this list).


9:  TO HAVE AND TO HOLD (Sensational Spider-man annual #1 2007)


The final hurrah of Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage before one more day (curse you, Joe Quesadaaaaa!) is a really beautiful, touching story set during the post-Civil war era where Spider-man is on the run from the government. Two paths are taken. Peter Parker in a cafe talking to an agent and also Mary Jane talking to a S.H.I.E.L.D operative. That’s just the setup however, the great part of this story is the flashbacks, redrawn masterfully by Salvador Larroca, the book gives us both sides of their experiences together in an incredible one-shot issue. I won’t spoil it so you’re just gonna have to go and read it!


8: Reborn (Peter Parker: Spider-man (1999) #’s 56-57)


When the self-titled ‘Spider-man’ title of the ’90s came to an end in 1998, it was relaunched as Peter Parker: Spider-man the following year (not to be confused with Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-man). In 2003, this new series would end, bringing the run to a definitive ending. The title gave us a hell of a lot of long box fillers but on the other hand, did deliver some fantastic stories like the one listed here. REBORN is the work of acclaimed writer Zeb Wells alongside legendary Maxx creator Sam Kieth. REBORN centers around the sandman…Um, sandmen rather. William Baker’s alter ego is having a supernova of a mental breakdown, dividing himself into parts: his good-hearted self, a seductive woman, an innocent child, and a disturbing villain. In the midst of this, Spider-man attempts to solve Baker’s problems and stitch himself back together for the better. The ending of this arc is kind of sad, however, and ultimately Spider-man loses. If you want to know how I guess you’ll just have to read it for yourself!

7: DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN (Marvel Knights: Spider-man (2004) #’s 1-12)


Mark Millar has delivered some of the most prominent comic book stories of the last 30 years: kick ass, the secret service, the ultimates, swamp thing and so much more, I could go on for hours. Marvel Knights Spider-man however, is a series that doesn’t get noticed enough though. Without a doubt, you can walk into any comic book shop and find an issue from this series no question. It’s absolutely everywhere and yet it’s treated like box filler! It’s great! It’s exciting and moody, bringing new villains like Mac Gargan as Venom into the mix as well as old ones like Norman Osborn himself, the thriller tone to the book keeps you from putting it down and Terry Dodson and Frank Cho do an absolutely jaw-dropping job on pencil duties. The only reason this series shouldn’t be on your bookshelf is that a complete collection trade paperback is pretty tough to come by and if you manage to spot one, it’s likely to run you some change, so the cheapest way to get your hands on this series is to actually get the floppy’s in all their well-loved glory.

6: VS. FIRELORD (The Amazing Spider-man (1963) #’s 269-270)


Do you want to see Spider-man beat the ever-loving H-E-double hockey sticks out of a herald of Galactus? Yes? Well then, you’ve come across just the Spidey story for you! This quick, two-issue arc from 1985 delivers one of the worst @$$ Spider-man moments of all time. Firelord, a cosmically powered super being descends upon the earth for nothing more than a slice of pizza, in the process, he ends up getting a couple of New York citizens hurt which royally ticks Spider-man off. So with the little confrontation between the two, Firelord begins hunting Spider-man down with no signs of slowing until Spidey uses a combination of brains and brawn to beat the snot out of the former right-hand man to the galaxy’s scariest foe. And don’t be deceived by the (absolutely incredible Ron Frenz) artwork, all though Spider-man IS in his black suit, his powers aren’t enhanced as it’s not the actual symbiote, meaning Spidey took the Firelord out with only his standard set of arachnid-enhanced abilities. The only reason this balls to wall epic isn’t further up on this list is that it’s probably the most famous among the tales on this page and is not actually THAT underrated.

5: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CRUSHER HOGAN (The Amazing Spider-man (1963) #271)


Well, would you just look at that? Roger Stern and Ron Frenz must have been doing something right when they delivered this sensational story right after the last entry on this very list! Whatever happened to Crusher Hogan is the only issue of Amazing Spider-man that made me cry (yep, I’m man enough to admit it). Crusher Hogan is, of course, the brutish wrestler Peter Parker fought all those years ago in Amazing Fantasy #15. Unfortunately for Crusher, these days he’s a caretaker of a wrestling ring under the ownership of Man-slaughter, a big ol’ tough guy akin to tombstone or kingpin. Crusher tells these wonderful stories to the kids training there about how he trained Spider-man and gave him his web-shooters and the like. So when Spider-man shows up to take down Man-slaughter, the pair finally reunite. Although Crusher’s stories were all nothing more than fables, Spider-man gives Crusher vindication for his hard work and tells all the kids at the gym that Crusher really was Spidey’s mentor, they shake hands and Crusher was brought to tears, truly one of the most beautiful and heart-warming stories in Spidey history. If you can find this issue in the wild, I promise you that you won’t regret picking it up.

4: FIFTEEN MINUTES OF SHAME (Peter Parker: Spider-man (1999) #’s 42-43)


Remember when I was talking about the relaunched Peter Parker: Spider-man title? I said the majority of it was just long box fillers but there were some highlights. This story is one such highlight. A very, very high, light. Written yet again by Zeb Wells and again featuring the Sandman, this is probably the most fun, and funniest Spidey book ever, and when you’ve got an artist as cool as Jim Mahfood (GRRL SCOUTS author) there’s no way you can go wrong. If you want an absolutely hilarious story about the Sandman invading an MTV beach house equivalent with a certain web-slinger thrown into the mix, this is one story you don’t want to miss out on!

3: A MATTER OF FAITH (Taken from Spider-man: Holiday Special 1995)


It’s Christmas Eve, and Ben Reilly is taking out the trash in the New York City allies. (Yep, Ben Reilly, What did I say about the clone saga, eh?) On his patrol he sees that a woman is falling off the side of the Queenborough bridge, he instinctively swings in to save her but once they land safely on the ground, for the first time in Spidey’s career, he doesn’t get a thank you because tragically, the poor lady didn’t actually want to be saved. Sadly, the woman jumped off, so Spider-man decides he’s gonna show her around the city in an attempt to lift her Spirits, but on their tour, the D-list super-villain Scorcher shows up on the streets of times square! Spidey and the villain do battle but when some debris is flying straight for a member of the on-looking crowd, the woman heroically jumps in and saves them. Ben is able to teach Jenny (the lady’s name) that life is beautiful and worth living. Spidey is able to leave Jenny with a more hopeful output on life as they wish each other a merry Christmas. I myself have never actually heard anybody talk about this story, ever. So if YOU, o’ humble reader, see this, then hopefully you’ve discovered a story you weren’t formally aware of (or maybe you just know everything).

2: THE LOST YEARS (Spider-man: the lost years (1995)


Once more, we venture into the divisive clone saga for one of the most straight-up awesome Spider-man stories ever. Written by Spider-man vet J.M Demattias (Kraven’s last hunt, c’mon) and penciled by Spidey legend John Romita JR. The lost years take place in the five years in-between the original clone saga in the ’70s and its 90’s counterpart.  Centering around Ben Reilly and his ‘brother’ Kaine, these issues tell two sides of the same story in an unexplainably awesome fashion. I won’t spoil it, but this book reads like a thriller novel. We’re given all the tropes of a great Tom Cruise movie and it works like a charm. If you have a day or two to spare on a shorter Spider-man series, this is it! You don’t even need to know anything going into it whatsoever except that it’s not Peter Parker we’re following, but his clone. Stunning art and a stellar story, what could possibly go wrong? The lost years is one Spider-man storyline you’ll never forget.

1: THE COLLABORATOR (Spider-man’s tangled web (2002) #15)


Here we are, number one on this list. So that means that in my opinion, at least, this should be the best and yet most underappreciated Spider-man comic book ever. Well friends, I truly believe that this is it. The collaborator is the greatest Spider-man comics book of all time.

It’s not just the best-underrated one, I can honestly say that this is the best. Ever. Master of independent comics Paul Pope joins marvel for a one-shot story for Marvel’s criminally overlooked tangled web title which tells the tale of a teenage girl who absolutely adores Spider-man, more than anything in the world. Unfortunately, her father doesn’t share the same opinion. But when the daughter is caught in the middle of a super-powered attack, Spider-man appears on the scene, on one page only, for the girl to tell him where the Villain went. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ruin the end for you because you owe it to yourself to hunt this book down like it was dinner for tonight. The sheer brilliance of this story lies in the fact that it is a Spider-man comic book through and through and yet he appears on one solitary page, in silence. The story isn’t even about him but it shows Spider-man how he would really be. The story is crafted to make you anticipate and build your expectations for the arrival of the wall-crawler and when he shows up you find yourself awe-stricken by the sight of this hero. It’s simply Amazing, Spectacular, sensational, ultimate, one could go as far to say its Web of. When I say that you NEED to read this issue, I really mean it. Treat yourself and snatch it up. My imaginary hat goes off to Paul Pope 1000%.

And with that, we draw to the conclusion of our list. So what have we learned? That’s right, Spider-man rocks and we should read more comics. Good night!

Article by Leo Brocklehurst


Watch out! A NEW Wow Comix store opens in Bury this week! Here is all you need to know…

After a few weeks of moving we have finally left our shop at number 3, The Rock! The doors of our brand new shop on Bury Market are finally opening on Monday morning (7/2/22)

After a few weeks of dismantling, painting, and long box hauling we have finally left our shop at number 3, The Rock! The doors of our brand new shop on Bury Market are finally opening on Monday morning (7/2/22), and the people of Bury shall finally be saved from the tyranny of a local comic book shop-less existence once again!

You will now find us on the corner of Bury Indoor Market (Unit 21) and we will be open for business 9am – 5pm, Monday – Saturday! You can access it by either approaching from the indoor market area entrance within the Millgate, or via our main entrance outside the market hall which faces out across Angouleme Way should you be approaching out of the Millgate Shopping Center via Market Parade (The b&m side..), or from walking around the outdoor section of the market itself. It is also conveniently situated opposite one of the main pedestrian subways that lead into the town center. See the map below for a closer look!


Inside the new store, you will find all of the usual wonders that you might expect from us. So of course that means it’s rammed full of great vintage British and US comics, magazines, annuals, mugs, posters, toys, cards, models, and of course many other collectibles and critical reading material!

If you want to keep up with all the going’s on at Wow Comix Bury, make sure you are following us on its own Facebook page and our Twitter! You can also subscribe to us here on Wow Comix World of course where, alongside our customer-led news and reviews articles, we share all the events, photos, products, and other news and updates from all of our shops!


To our online customers, please be aware that we are not re-instigating the in-store pickup option at this moment in any of the stores. If you have any questions on the matter or anything regarding the new store do feel free to contact us via the contact form on www.wowcomix.com.

The process of leaving 3, The Rock brought back a lot of great memories for us as it’s been such an important part of our company as a whole since we moved there, having held our main office and online department in behind the shop front. Over the last few months, these parts of the business have now been relocated to other premises.

Goodbye 3, The Rock!


However, with closing the doors on the old shop we don’t find ourselves feeling overly sad to leave, simply because we are super excited to be opening some new doors (literally, it has two entrances!) just a stone’s throw away, and we can’t wait to see what you think of it! It opens at 9am tomorrow and we hope to see many of you there over the days and weeks ahead!

3, The Rock Is Dead! Long Live 21, Bury Indoor Market!