Book Review: Study Hall of Justice by Derek Fridolfs

Study Hall of Justice by Derek Fridolfs is a what if story that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all went to middle school together and the other classmates and teachers are full of future villains. The story is a mystery where the Trinity try to find out who the mysterious principal that runs the school and recruited everyone. The story is told as a graphic novel mostly but we get all the Batman notes and memos, student evaluation forms, articles from the student newspaper and group chats with the group. The story is middle grade approved but there references to future villainy that will go over a lot of not informed kids head. But that could lead them to look into characters more. I liked the end reveal of the mystery principal that explained why the kids were recruited for the school. There was some obscure villains that I was happy to see inserted like Vandal Savage and the Shriek. The highlight for me was the student newspaper with Mr. Freeze doing the weather report and Poison Ivy doing the nature report. This is the first book in a series called the Secret Hero Society, I would be curious what they do for the next book since the school gets shut down after all is revealed. The Art of the book was good at some parts, (the art is all in black and white, except for the cover) they drew adults better than the kids. The art work was done by the team behind the comic Lil’ Gotham.

Plot Summary: Bruce Wayne has been recruited/selected to the Ducard Academy an elite Academy that is invite only, from day one Bruce feels watched. Bruce grows concerned when he finds most of his classmates are evil and some have special gifts the school is trying to harness. He meets two other classmates that share the concern Diana and Clark Kent who have their own secret powers which Bruce starts trying to figure out as well. They try to find out who the principal is and who remains in the shadows.

What I Liked: The school newspaper was my favorite part with Mr. Freeze always predicts frosty weather, Poison Ivy and her nature report called Plants Are Better Than People. Poison Ivy also as a funny scene with a Christmas tree where she yells at others, trees and leaves are not for your amusement. A great moment in book is the Halloween costume party were Bruce comes out as Batman, but he gets mad since Clark took his glasses off and changed his hair and Diana just put on a costume. I liked the aspect of trying to figure out which villain is which.

What I Disliked: The pace was a little slow fora middle grade book. The art for the kids was sometimes bad, the noses were a real problem, the joke had no personality to his face, and girls face look all the same.

Recommendation: I think the middle grade audience will enjoy this, the more they know about comics and characters they will get a lot more out of it. As an adult the mystery was solved pretty fast on who the principal is really quickly, but I did think the reason for the school worked. I would recommend it for children but adults will get bored very fast with this, but it will be a fun shared read with kids as well to elaborate on villains. I rated Study Hall of Justice by Derek Fridolfs 3 out 5 stars.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 14 by Gerry Conway

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 14 by Gerry Conway is Spiderman getting close to getting over the death of Gwen Stacy and starting to see Mary Jane as girlfriend material, plus a lot of action. The pace of these issues in this volume are fast making it an easy read. The new Green Goblin is Peter Parker best friend and roommate Harry Osborn, and it is pretty terrifying he knows Peter Parker is Spiderman and wants to avenge his fathers death. Norman Osborn was almost more of a gangster, Harry is just crazed and wants Spiderman to feel pain, while Spiderman is pulling punch Harry is going for death. We get to see the death of the infamous Spidermobile hopefully. We get to see the first blossoms of a spark in the Mary Jane and Peter Parker romance. This moment will be featured in the comic series One More Day, which impacts where the current day Spiderman is not with Mary Jane. This book features The Punisher, Morbius, Man-Wolf, Molten Man, Mysterio, introduction of The Tarantula, The Green Goblin, forgettable characters the Grizzly and the Mind Worm, and the return of Peter’s friend and one time love interest Liz Allen. Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 14 Collects Amazing Spider-Man (1963) issues 132-142 and Giant-Size Super Heroes #1.

The Plot Summaries: Ned Leads follows a tip of a burglary and gets burned bad. Spiderman tried to stop it as well, both men come away with radioactivity poisoning at the hands of the Molten Man that is working to stop his powers that growing out of control and cannot contain the heat. Morbius is back and he finds a way to control Man-Wolf to help him get what he needs to change back. Peter goes on a friendly river cruise, but it is foiled my the Tarantula and his band of robbers, but the Punisher shows up and thinks Spiderman is one of them thanks to the theme. Harry having just discovered that Peter Parker is Spiderman blows up their apartment in an attempt to kill him. Peter Parker rooms with Flash Thompson since his place is blown up the Mind Worm controls everyone in the area expect Spiderman. The Grizzly breaks into the Daily Bugle and wants revenge on Jamison. Mysterio thought dead, has returned to torture Spiderman with his illusions.

What I Liked: The Green Goblin returned as Harry Osborn is terrifying because he knows Peter so well, and knows just what would crush him if they died. The Motlon Man I have always thought was lame but he has actually ha some of the best fights and really great story. This on could be the end or not, but I was satisfied how it ended if this is the last we see of the character. I like how Mary Jane and Peter are slow playing their relationship. This was a speacial volume for me becuase when I was collecting comics as a kid I had one older Spiderman comic and it was issue 141 with Mysterio and the death of the Spidrmobile, LOL I had no idea, but when I was 12 I thought the car was lame and made no sense. I liked the action scenes a lot in this it was very easy to follow. I love how Peter and Flash Thompson’s relationship have evolved overtime, they actually made good roommates for the night the spent with each other. I like that Flash Thompson is the only one who is sort of figuring out that Peter could be Spiderman.

What I Disliked: The Mind Word is just odd and did not fit. The Grizzly has some of the worst dialogue I have ever read in Spiderman.

Recommendation: This Volume has some gems the Green Goblin will be the most important, but the blossoms of love that Peter Parker and Mary Jane share are special and effect the current Spiderman timeline. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 14 by Gerry Conway 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 13 by Gerry Conway

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 13 by Gerry Conway is a very important book in terms of the Spiderman legacy. This book features Spiderman’s second biggest loss with Uncle Ben being the first, the death of Spiderman’s first villain where he was directly involved in it, and the introduction of the Punisher (Frank Castle). It has some moments of infamy like the Spidermobile that Johnny Storm of the fantastic Four invented, and the weeding of Aunt May to Doctor Octopus. We see the beginnings of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, the start of Harry Osborn starting to go insane like father, like son.. Here’s the list of hero’s and villains in this volume, Johnny Storm, Luke Cage (Powerman), The Punisher, Doctor Octopus, The Jackal, Hammerhead, Man-Wolf, Kangaroo, The Vulture, and Green Goblin. This volume had lots of action and really good art work. There was only one bad story and it wasn’t that bad. This volume had the most throwbacks to previous works. The stories really Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 13 collects The Amazing Spider-Man issues 121-131.

The Plot Summaries: Norman Osborn needs someone to blame for his son’s drug abuse and Peter Parker/ Spiderman gets the blame, now he wants to take something from peter. After Peter fails in stopping the Green Goblin he knows he must not fail again. Spiderman is labeled a killer and Jamison hires a ,Hero for Hire, Luke Cage to bring him in. After a woman is killed in Mary Jane’s building, peter fears but when he finds out who the killer is he gets even. Kangaroo wants a rematch against Spiderman, but he must get super powers to do it. The Punisher and The Jackal team up to rid the world of Spiderman, Who’s the true villain in this story? The Jackal and Hammerhead try to team up but one ends up going after Doc Ock and his bride to be… Aunt May.

What I Liked: how many milestone issues were in this volume. The pace of the stories was rapid fast. I liked the intensity and that villain has the stakes for poor Spiderman. When the villain say kill they mean it in this volume. The loved the way the fight scenes were drawn some of my favorite in the series, theres one move where Spiderman does a flip to drop kick to bad guys that was spectacular. I liked the Punisher’s intro to marvel, you definitely want to know more about his character and what makes him tick, this is definitely the PG version of the character that does not want to kill only stun. I liked how the narrative flowed from issue to issue. There was some good classic Spiderman quips in this volume. I was surprised how much I liked the Jackal a character I have never really heard of. I liked that I we see a scene straight out of the original Sam Raimi Spiderman involving the Green Goblin.

What I Disliked: The death of a certain character I built it up in mind to be so epic, I had never read the issue but knew it and it was not epic at all and it so could have been, big missed potential. I did like the cover for this one I would have went with the cover of the introduction of the Punisher.

Recommendation: This is a can’t miss if you care about the lore of Spiderman, so much happens, there’s stuff in this volume that elevated comics of the time. Maybe it was not as epic as I would of liked or imagined, but these issues broke so much ground for the time. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 13 by Gerry Conway 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: DMZ – Volume 1: On the Ground by Brian Wood

DMZ – Volume 1: On the Ground by Brian Wood with Art by Riccardo Burchielli is a graphic novel that asked what if there was a second civil war and the island of Manhattan was the demilitarized zone on which the war was fought. The Art and story are unique as they take a photo journalistic style to telling the story. The story is a stranger in a strangeland approach where the war has been going on for 5 years and an intern with a news agency gets thrown into to be a photojournalist when the star anchor is killed on set down. The story reminded a lot of the Kurt Russell movie Escape from New York as you see landmarks like central park totally changed to fit this new urban environment. The plot is all about raising awareness for the people still living in the demilitarized zone that are casualties of the war. The overall story is good but it feels like a string of vignettes than the story having an overall arc. This was a reread for me I read volume 1-3 in college, the series has now ended at volume 12. I wanted to read this again because I never reviewed it when I read it in the past and I’m really intrigued by the new HBOMAX show DMZ with Rosario Dawson. In this adaptation they flipped genres of the person going in and instead as an intern in over her head she volunteers to go in to rescue her family. DMZ – Volume 1: On the Ground collects issues 1-5 of DMZ of DC / Vertigo comics.

The Plot Summary: The Second Civil War between the United States and the Free States take place in the demilitarized zone that is Manhattan Island. The War has been going on for 5 years and no journalist has covered it so we have been relying on the military for news. Liberty News wants to send a veteran reporter with Matty Roth a new intern that didn’t really know what he was signing up for. When the Helicopter sets down and the military help to secure the area everyone dies except Matty who has most of the equipment and starts providing news. Matty is shocked of how many civilians still live in the area and start telling their story has he tries to survive.

What I Liked: the art is really good, and all the graffiti on top of everything really makes it look like a war zone. The images are sometimes hard to look at I bet they used a real war photos, especially on the injuries and sketched what they saw. The overall idea is really solid I love the premise and it’s location, to see New York get used for urban war fare is really creative. I like the idea of an intern following through with the mission, and them trying to fire him once he’s inside.

What I Disliked: I was never told which states are the free states and which states are The United States. There was not an ending to the the 5 issues just a carry on doing your job, so it really killed any momentum for the book, and it could have easily had an ending with the guy that stole his press jacket and press path, and show Matty where he stands on violence as he catches up to the guy, but that was wasted.

Recommendations: I will recommend this series I have read a couple more books and does no the series has more of a structured plots coming up. This first volume is a good introduction with a weak ending. I wanted to like this book more but glad it get improved down the line. I rated DMZ- Volume 1: On the Ground by Brian Wood and Art by Riccardo Burchielli 3 out of 5 stars. I will continue to keep reading this series.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 12 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 12 by Stan Lee is the last volume that Stan Lee wrote a majority of the Spiderman issues, he still has input on the stories but does not write the scripts after this. This volume has only two notable villains Doc Ock and Kraven the Hunter, then no name villains like Hammerhead, the misunderstood Gibbon, The Smasher and the Disrupter. Spiderman battles the Hulk and a hellbent Thunderbolt Ross which was actually the weakest issues even with sometimes cool battle scenes. We finally get the mystery solved of where Aunt May has been missing. This volume had the first reprise issues, a failed release of a new Spiderman series the Spectacular Spider-Man that only had 2 issues and was featured in Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spider-Man volume 7, was republished. I was a little surprised how much the comic did change one character was dead in the original so I knew they were going to have to go around that, but pleasantly surprised that a story was just okay was made a little better, the beginning is the exact same and the ending is only slightly different. Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 12 by Stan Lee collect issues 110-120 of The Amazing Spider-Man.

The Plot Summaries: A man who looks and can climb like a monkey joins the circus, only they wanted him for the freak show not for his acrobatics. He leaves the circus but takes his monkey costume and becomes the Gibbon inspired by Spiderman, but he gets tricked by Kraven the Hunter and eats the berries of power the same ones the Black Panther takes, but it makes him even more monkey like, and Kraven gets him to blame Spiderman. Peter finds Aunt May in an enemies lair, while a gang war goes on. Spiderman spots the Smasher destroying an anti gang/mob candidate, but why and who is the disrupter and what does he stand for? Peter Parker gets sent on assignment to Canada to photograph the Hulk, but the Hulk is hunted by Thunderbolt Ross and won’t stop until the Hulk is dead and he might take Spiderman out too.

What I Liked: The art of Gil Kane, John Romita Jr. looks great they really have captured Peter Parker and give Spiderman some cool moves. The reissue turned into 3 issue was good, and different I thought it was going to be the same but has lots of different beats, and seamlessly brings Peter Parker and Spiderman’s personal problems. The Doc Ock saga is always good, and goes in a direction you’re not thinking.

What I Disliked: I do miss that they took my favorite scene from the reissue when Jamison stands up for journalist integrity. This volume is lacking on good stories there’s great scenes but not great stories. The Hulk Story was the worst didn’t care for anyone the military, and really horrible dialogue by every soldier.

Recommendation: This volume is just okay and does not add anything to the character of Spiderman. Th only on going story line is the trouble with Aunt May, first Peter is worried where she is when he finds her he worries she’s in danger, these character’s switched. I say you can skip this volume, the next volume teases the return of the Green Goblin which I’m looking forward to. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 12 by Stan Lee 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Green Arrow by Kevin Smith

Green Arrow by Kevin Smith is just what you expect with Kevin Smith writing Green Arrow, a lot of sexual jokes at a plethora of Justice Leaguers, Some of the weirdest bad guys coming out of the woodwork, really smart observations about on life and death, and observations on teenage sidekicks. This is Kevin Smith’s second time writing for a comic book series, the first time was Daredevil. This is Kevin Smith’s first time writing for DC comics which he has a long standing relationship with. I enjoyed his two Batman Comics that feature a super villain he created in this run, Onomatopoeia, who will say the onomatopoeia like Bang! before he shoots. This book was the resurrection of Oliver Queen who died and his son Connor took the Green Arrow mantle. Oliver Queen had been dead for 5 and half years until this line of comics came out. The main part of the story deals with how Oliver came back and how he gets his memory back which is spotty at best. The rest deals with the villain Onomatopoeia and him trying to kill Connor. The main story is interesting and gets extremely weird for a while, you will probably say WTF or some variety of that. This book does not do a good job of referencing what happened before I had to visit the wikipedia and find out what happened in 1995 to the Green Arrow, which this book only has casual references too. I am a big Kevin Smith Fan I got to meet him at a Screening for Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which is one of my very only non-book reviews on wordpress. Green Arrow by Kevin Smith collects Green Arrow (2001-2007) 1-15.

The Plots: Oliver Queen is back with a very selective memory thinking thinking no time has past since his death and does not remember some events before his death, the big one is Killing the Green Lantern Hal Jordan. The Justice League are leery and don’t want to rule it out that Oliver is a clone. Batman takes this to the extreme as he fights him and knocks him out does a full body scan, which has some surprising results, that Batman needs answers. When that all gets wrapped up a mysterious villain stalks the costumed vigilantes, and gets his sights set on Connor.

What I Liked: I really liked the commentary on teenage sidekicks is really good and calls out how dangerous it is. For the most part the jokes landed but when they fail they fail hard, I’m talking about the quiver jokes. It does answer the controversial question , can you still be a hero and a giving lover, with the whole batman is a hero and can’t go down on a women, well Oliver goes down twice in this book, and he’s still a hero. I love the villain Onomatopoeia he so mysterious and the best part of the book. There’s some great bloody fights that are really brutal and last long. The rhyming dialogue of the Demon, and he gets called out for not rhyming. I liked the illustrations especially green Arrow with a massive beard.

What I Disliked: That religion does come into the book, and it could have just been spiritual. This comic goes to such a weird place it was fun but it goes a little too far off the rails. The book does a bad job of catching up the casual comic reader.

Recommendations: If you’re a fan of Kevin Smith and his interesting observations on comic book characters, then this is the book for you. I terms of Story I enjoyed his Batman run a little better, but I’m a way bigger fan of Batman than Green Arrow, so I could have missed some things. I rated Green Arrow by Kevin Smith 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee is the book that introduces Morbius the Living Vampire the antihero that will get it’s own movie in the Spiderverse soon and will be played by Oscar winner Jared Leto and cameo Michael Keaton as the Vulture. This book bring back Allister Smythe and a new version of the Spider Slayer. This book feature the first time that Stan Lee did not write all the issues of The Amazing Spider-Man as he went to write a screenplay, he was still the story editor, but not the sole writer. The change was not glaring until he came back, I love his little quips in the editorial. The villains in these issues are Morbius, Kraven the Hunter, The Lizard, And Allister Smythe. This volume does have a couple of guest stars namely Kazar and Dr. Strange. Volume 11 brings The Amazing Spiderman past issues 100. which is crazy to think since I’m reading in order that I have read over 100 issues of Spiderman. This issue contain 4 stories that are either 2 to 3 issue arcs, I liked two stories a lot, the other stories one was okay and one was pretty horrible. One of the stories featured Flash Thompson as a soldier returning from Vietnamwhich was interesting for it’s time stamp and showed a little PTSD, also commenting on the complexity of war and misunderstanding. I had a love hate relationship with the art, Gil Kane draws a great Spiderman but a horrible Peter Parker, he’s not good with people but adds such intricate details to landscape in panels. I prefer Romita who is more balanced in all things. The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 collects issues 100-109.

The Plot Summaries:Peter Parker ready for a normal life concocts a formula to reverse his spider powers only it has the opposite effect and makes him more spider like and grows extra limbs. Perker wants to run from the world and can with Dr. Kurt Connors help and his summer home by the beach, but little does Spiderman know another creature is trying to hide from the world named Morbius the Living Vampire. The Daily Bugle is in trouble and Jonah Jamison thinks a picture of a rare monster form the Savage Land will do it, and he knows just the photographer. Jamison is humiliated by Spiderman and wants revenge in walks Allister Smythe and his newest Spider Slayer, but Jamison keeps loosing control of the robot is it him or is it Smythe who is in control, either are not good for Spiderman. Flash Thompson Returns from the jungles of Vietnam much more serious. He is getting followed for what some believe are war crimes, Spiderman saves him and believes his innocence, but a there is a bigger force that Spiderman can’t protect him, enter Dr. Strange.

What I Liked: The Spider Slayer storyline was great and a welcomed return for Stan Lee back in the helm. The Spiderman quips were great and so were the editorial ones. I liked the Morbius backstory and how the Lizard got involved in the story and how he changed. I liked Gwen and Spiderman’s relationship the best, Gwen has a moment where she snaps at Aunt May for babying him and it was great. I liked that they discussed soldiers returning from Vietnam and dipped into the Civil Rights protest again as well. I thought more could be done with the 6 armed Spiderman but it was still pretty fun having him get used to them.

What I Disliked: The Savage Land storyline was a horrible remake of King Kong when he was on Skull Island an excuse to draw Gwen Stacy in a bikini. Te only bright spot was Kraven the Hunter. I laughed in the backstory for Morbius he changes from man to Vampire due to a rare blood disease that he tries to cure when he turns to vampire it changed his regular clothes to a costume.

Recommendation: I liked more than half of the stories, this book had good insight in to social issues at the time. I thought some of the storytelling could have been stronger but it was still interesting and worth your time. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 10 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 10 by Stan Lee is Spiderman in the 1970’s. This novel features more grown up storytelling it has the death of a supporting character, civil rights issues, and drug use / drug abuse of Peter’s close friend. This volume brings big battles and big bads like The Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus back. Spiderman tangles with X-men’s Iceman, The Beetle and The Prowler. This book brought the action in real fun ways, the Spiderman / Doctor Octopus battle is the best, a lot of iconic scenes and real stakes which leads to death. The drug abuse issue as one that broke the comic book code to no show drug abuse, it’s pills and lightest of drugs, but it does show the effects of over dosing. Volume 10 features two 3 issue arc’s with the grief from the death of a supporting character hanging over Peter Parker and influence his decisions in most issues in volume 10. This volume collects The Amazing Spider-Man issues 88-99.

The Plots: Doc. Oct is in prison and his mechanical arms are on display. The display is just too close to Doctor Octopus who can control the arms with his brain waves. The arms come alive and bust him out of prison so he can start his life of crime, luckily spiderman is there to stop him, but the fight breaks out into the public and some on close to Peter Parker dies. Ice man thinks Spiderman is responsible for someones death and wants to stop him and hand him over to the police. Peter Parker heads to London to clear his head and go for a new assignment, and Spiderman has to come out after terrorist. A series of robberies in aunt May’s neighborhood send Spiderman on neighborhood watch and he finds a villain he has not seen in some time. The Prowler knows Spiderman knows the man he allegedly murdered and wants to find him. The Green Goblin’s returns starts with a large group attending a performance of Hair starring Mary Jane Watson, when Norman Osborn is get with flashback of the old art house that Oscorp refurbished. Then he remembers that he stored the Green Goblin gear there and remembers, that Peter Parker is Spiderman.

What I Liked: The Spiderman Doctor Octopus fight was so good I loved every second of it, I though they could have played up the death more, but the fight was awesome. After reading 1-99 of The Amazing Spider-Man, Spidey and Doctor Octopus have the best fights and beat each other to exhaustion, followed by Mysterio, Vulture, Molten Man (i’m shocked too), and Kraven the Hunter. The death was shocking and will have consequences. The Iceman fight was actually good I’ve seen Spidey fight Medusa from the Inhumans, Black Widow, and Johnny Storm. The fight with Iceman is by far the best. I liked the hardcore flirting of Mary Jane to make Harry jealous. I liked the Joke about maybe Aunt May seeing Hair won’t be good for her heart. I liked the conversation Randy Robertson had with class at Norman Osborn. I like how Harry beat Norman my using his son to break him away from the Green Goblin.

What I Disliked: I felt most of the Green Goblin fight was just okay. The Green Goblin had new inventions and new gear but he only remembered he was the Green Goblin again minutes before, why didn’t he use the gear the last time he had plans to kill Spiderman. The Jail Riot reminded me the last jail riot issue. The London storyline could have been better.

Recommendation: This volume was way better than volume 9. I recommend this volume for the action and the consequences of that action. I thought the addiction issue was pretty bold, I did like it the Peter Parker took on the drug dealers, not Spiderman. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 10 by Stan Lee 4 out of 5 stars. Next volume will take me into issue 100.

Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola

Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola is about Hellboy’s is short stories from his discovery in 1947 with stories through to 1961. My knowledge of Hellboy is based solely on watching the films. I think it was a bit of a mistake to have me go in Hellboy timeline Order than the publication order, there’s very small amount of establishing the character or much characterization at all. So I will skip the second volume and might revisit this volume after I have read 1-4 of the omnibus. The stories vary in length from 2 pages to 48. The stories consist of two genres comedy and horror. I liked half of the stories, some felt like repeats of stories I had just read. The art is fantastic I love, love what is done with shadowing and I love the uniqueness of the art of Hellboy. Almost half the book takes place in Mexico in 1957 and I feel the art was the best here. The Mexico stories were hit and miss. I felt the stories worked best when they relied on humor. The Crooked Man The Troll Witch, The Chained Coffin, Double Feature of Evil, and Pancakes were my favorite stories. The Double Feature of Evil was the stand out stories for me, really unique stories that were unlike any other in the book.

The Plots: Hellboy eats Pancakes for the first time and Hell knows he’s not coming back. Young Hellboy breaks out of the research and defense headquarters to go to a circus, but it is not an ordinary circus but one of ghosts. Hellboy investigates paranormal activity in Mexico, gets lost, becomes a wrestler. Hellboy gets married but it is bride is not among the living. Hellboy goes on a quest to bury a man to stop the curse of the crooked man. Hellboy must rescue a stolen baby from goblins. Hellboy must confront a haunted house that pays for the souls it takes.

What I Liked: The humor was great, I laughed out loud as Hellboy has an old pirate corpse on his back looking for a sacred burial, they stumble on to treasure that the corpse wants and get in an argument on what the corpse would need with it. There was burst of great action, that was fun. I loved the art, it is so unique and the shadowing was amazing. I liked the use of muted colors. The mini story of Sullivan’s reward was so great it was creepy and had humor, that is the only story that will stick with me for a while after reading this.

What I Disliked: The Midnight Circus was pretty lame. since nothing happens, and it was really hard to follow the bad guys motivation. A couple of the stories were carbon copies of the other with slightly different ghost. Character development was severely lacking.

Recommendation: I can not recommend this collection, there’s a couple stories you could casually breeze through but there is little to no development with the Hellboy character or any other character. I rated Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola 3 out of 5 stars. This was close to being rated a two but the last two stories pushed it over the edge.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee is an okay collection of Spiderman stories. This is the weakest volume so far in terms of story and memorable action and storylines. There’s a lack of long form storytelling, which is explained and does make sense, if you had a long form story and miss one issue there were no comic book stores in the 1960’s to get the missed issue, but it was definitely a step back in storytelling. The adds to the Marvel universe in this issue are the The Prowler who is not bad just misunderstood, he ends up donning the spider suit once in this volume and to a greater effect later, we also meet Vanessa Fisk the woman behind The Kingpin, and The Black Widow makes an appearance where she changes costume which is pretty close to the outfit she wears today. The only villains in Spiderman’s rogue gallery appearing in these issues are Electro, The Chameleon and the Kingpin. The notable issue that is also on the cover is Spiderman unmask in front of Harry Osborn, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacey, Gwen’s father Captain Stacey, when he come’s to his senses he fixes it but this issue will place doubt in some that find the truth later. Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee collects Amazing Spider-Man issues 78-87.

Plots: The Prowler is born and runs into peter parker who tries to stop him fearing he shows to much strength in front of J. Jonah Jamison throws himself out the window, with the Prowler believing he killed him, the Prowler get set straight and vows to do only good. Electro works at a tv studio that just booked Spiderman for an interview, this will not be good. The Schemer takes away all of Kingpin’s old property while he is in hiding, the Kingpin comes out of it to deal with the Schemer. Spiderman want the bounty for The Schemer and things end up getting personal for the Kingpin. Black Widow after having been in a relationship with Hawkeye and briefly joining The Avengers wants to go on her own she wants to learn the secrets to Spiderman’s powers. The Kangaroo is an Australian villain that can jump high. Spiderman thinking he lost his powers shows his friends that he is Peter Parker, only to realizes what the problem is and having to fix what they just saw. Spiderman stays with Aunt May and sneaks out makes a dummy out of web which Aunt May finds and has a passed out, Peter has no choice to lie to her making her think she’s starting to go crazy.

What I Liked: The lying to Aunt May was pretty soul crushing and was done really well. The internal monologue was written really well showing the indecision of the moment. The way Peter Parker fixed the reveal that he was Spiderman was clever and desperate. The Electro Fight was the only real good one this issue, but it was really good. Gwen and Peter’s relationship is so up and down but you see what he falls for.

What I Disliked: there’s some really dated sexism and it is from the smartest most thought provoking character Captain Stacey. “You know Peter women are not like men, they think only with their heart”, this line is said twice, causing me to role my eyes both times. The Black Widow and Kangaroo storylines are horrible. Stan Lee even admits this is a promo for Black Widow’s own book and that is what it feels like.

Recommendation: Most of this book is skippable because it does not impact the larger story for what Spiderman becomes and it is just not as fun as the previous issues. I would recommend reading the 2 issue Prowler Issues 78-79 and the reveal of Spiderman’s identify issue 87. The Chameleon and Electro issues are fun as well. But the 5 other issues are skippable. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee 2 out of 5 stars.