ROUND 1, BATTLE 20
SPIDER ISLAND #1
CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND THE MIGHTY DEFENDERS #1
I’m at the point with Battleworld where I have to make sure I don’t let fatigue affect my reviews. Popfilter selected its Battleworld Battleword writers from among the strongest and most highly trained endurance athletes in the world, but even we struggle to keep up with the grueling pace of an entire comic event. I’ve been stretching my hammies non-stop since this thing kicked off, and I’m now on a strict diet of runner’s goo packets and salt tablets, but even extreme preventative measures like that have stopped working. I’ve started fainting a lot, and I’m hallucinating often now. I can’t honestly be sure that the comics I read today are the actual comics I was supposed to read – most times I open up a comic book at this point I just see a skull in the center of a rotating mandala. But it’s up to us to finish what we started, and we know you guys are all counting on us to deliver the goods, so I’ve doubled my salt intake and pushed on.
I really had to push through Spider Island at first. The very obvious hook of “look at all these spider men!” felt a little familiar within the context of Battleworld. On the first page you’ve got your characters talking about a spider virus that conveniently gave everyone a spider disease, very similar to the way we would up with a Planet of Hulksâ„¢ and a Thor Corpsâ„¢. It’s the sort of contrived setup that I’m surprised Marvel still thinks will distract its readers from their failing kidneys and blood-filled stools. It’s just that it this point, if Marvel expects me to stay lucid and sane for an entire comic, they’re gonna have to hand me more than just bunches of spidermen to use as a final, desperate anchor to reality.
But if there’s one thing you can say about me it’s that I’m a professional. You literally can’t say a single other thing about me. If you did, I would know, and then we’d have a big problem on our hands. So I rallied. I took a good minute to remember why I agreed to do this in the first place, and then I got distracted because a few of my teeth have gotten really loose recently, but then I was right back on track – I agreed to do this because I LOVE COMICS. It’s a privilege to read comics every day and then use their childish storylines to formulate your adult opinions. It can be easy to forget that.
Once I rallied, I realized that underneath the spidery veneer, Spider Island does do more with it’s material than you’d expect it to. The premise is a little hastily constructed, but once the work of gathering up the characters and dumping them into a setting has been finished, it puts them into motion quickly and builds the world out in unexpected ways.
Unfortunately, Captain Britain is still standing in Spider Island’s way. I’d say about every fourth or so Battleworld comic takes a long, hard look at what the insanity of Battleworld allows them to do and takes full advantage of the insanity rather than just existing in it. Right off in Captain Britain, you’ve got a storyline copped from the opening scenes of the Iron Man movie, but with a pretty cool twist – Tony Stark has his doctor friend wear the armor, and dies in his place. The doctor becomes a hero known as Rescue and creates a utopian city…which then gets sucked up into the hell’s butthole known as Battleworld. There’s simply a way in which Captain Britain plays into the insanity of Battleworld that just works.
Spider Island turned out to be a pretty decent book. But Captain Britain turned out to be a great book right from the start. It gave Spider Island about as much of a chance to excel as Country Britain did Ireland. I’m glad I powered through and read them both. It gave me the strength to keep going. I’m low on salt. I’m low on blood. Low on runner’s goop. My vision is shot. I can’t get hard anymore. But I’ll keep going. These comics reminded me that you still need me. Every clump of stringy hair I pull from my head will be a badge. Thank you readers, see you next time.-DT