Due to Christmas new comic book day, which is usually on Wednesday, was pushed back to Friday. Plus my local comic shop is having an end of the year 50% off trades and hardcovers sale so I got extra stuff. I got four new comics plus a trade paperback, and four hard cover collections:

  • The Authority Prime – 3
  • Berlin – 14
  • Brawl – 3 (of 3)
  • Usagi Yojimbo – 108
  • The Pin Up Art of Dan DeCarlo (the TPB)
  • Age of Bronze “Betrayal” part one (HC)
  • Two Fisted Tales Volume 2 (HC)
  • The Incredible Hulk Volumes One and Two (HCs of the Bruce Jones written stuff)
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read this week.

  • Frank Miller The Complete Spider-Man Hardcover
  • I picked up this collection of Frank Miller drawn Spider-Mans with little expectations of greatness. Miller hasn’t drawn many Spider-Man comics and the ones he did do aren’t very well known. All the stories are from the early 80’s when Miller was just starting out. I think I read most of them then and still have a few of them buried in the collection. But I haven’t cracked one of them in twenty years.

    The first two stories are from Spectacular Spider-Man 27-28 and are written by Bill Mantlo penciled by Framk Miller and inked by Frank Springer. Since Miller was the guest penciler we are thrown into the middle of the story. I didn’t expect much from these issues being that they were the earliest examples of Miller’s work but they surprised me. The story was a typical Spider-Man tale as he teams up with Daredevil but it was solidly told. Miller isn’t at his height but there are flashes of it. They story doesn’t finish with these two issues as, I guess, the regular artist on the book came back and Miller left. So we are left hanging in this volume. Yet I wanted to read what happened next. That’s the best compliment I can give these issues. They left me wanting to read more of the story. Certainly not great but good and I was hooked in.

    The next story is from Amazing Spider-Man Annual 14. It is written by Denny O’Neil, penciled by Frank Miller, and inked by Tom Palmer. This is definitely the best story in the book and worth the price of admission. Spidey teams up with Dr. Strange and Miller is really doing a great job with the layouts. He has this half double page spread that reads across on the bottom part of the page motif every chapter or so that really works well. The Ditkoesque magic stuff is good also. It’s good to see this printed on nice paper where it shines. The writing is good too as Spidey and Doc try to stop a menace created by Dr. Doom and Dormammu. Nice stuff.

    For the third story we get Marvel Team-Up 100 written by Chris Claremont, pencilled by Frank Miller, and inked by Bob Wiacek. I found this the weakest one in the bunch. In fact I stopped reading it halfway through and skipped to the next one. The writing is just a mess. Spidey fights and teams up with the Fantastic Four as they battle twin good and evil mind controllers and it all seemed so structureless and pointless to me. The art was fine though. Nothing wrong there.

    Next we have Marvel Team-Up Annual 4, Written by Frank Miller, penciled by Herb Trimpe, and inked by Mike Esposito. No Miller artwork here just Miller writing. This story started out fine as we get Spidey teaming up with Daredevil to take on the Purple Man and the Kingpin but other heroes get shoe horned in and the plot becomes a mess. Not a shining example of Miller’s writing.

    The volume finishes up with Amazing Spider-Man Annual 14. It is written by Denny O’Neil, penciled by Frank Miller, and inked by Klaus Janson. Another solid story. We get classic Miller/Janson art plus the Punisher versus Spider-Man versus Dr. Octopus. Some great fight sequences especially with Doc Ock.

    Overall the two Denny O’Neil written stories were the best with the Dr. Strange story coming in at a near classic super hero tale. The book also finishes up with some covers Miller drew for various Spider-Man books. None of them are great but they are nice to see. Buy this book only if you are a Miller completist of for the two O’Neil written issues.