DeMatteis, J. M.
About the Author:
John Marc DeMatteis was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA on December 15th 1953.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3.7 out of 5
Spider-Man And Batman: Disordered Minds
(Art by Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna and Mark Farmer)
Marvel and DC, the two most famous comics publishers, have often crossed their characters over into each other's universes, but here is the meeting of my favourite characters from each. This, sadly too short, book focuses on the interactions between the four main characters; the Dark Knight and the Web Slinger of the title and their most crazed nemesis, the Joker and Carnage.
Justice is more than done to the characters of Batman and Spider-Man, from the way they cope with their somewhat similar origins (loved-one gunned down) to the clash of their very different personalities (dark and moody versus wise-cracking and upbeat). However, what really made this book stand out for me was the interaction between Carnage and the Joker. At first they seem like perfect allies, both lunatics who get their kicks from murdering innocents. But soon we see that Carnage's indescriminate and brutal nature is actually completely at odds with the Joker's sense of, in his own words, theatre. I particularly enjoyed the bit where the Joker describes himself as the Orson Welles of crime and chaos, going on to liken Carnage more to David Hasselhof and Dolph Lundgren.
In short then, this book is the best Marvel/DC crossover I've read to date.
5 out of 5
Spider-Man: The Lost Years
(Art by John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson)
Set in the five years that Ben Reilly spent travelling the world before becoming the Scarlet Spider, this story sees him and his dark reflection Kaine both recovering a small semblance of a life as they both find love in Salt Lake City. However, whilst Ben's new love helps him to come to terms with the legacy of Spider-Man, Kaine's love will lead him into ever darker and more violent territory.
Now, I always quite liked Ben Reilly, except when the writers of the Clone Saga were trying to pass him off as the real Spider-Man, so I was interested in learning about some of his adventures before his reappearance in New York. I was pretty disappointed by the results, however.
There's simply nothing terribly original or exciting about 'hero trying to avoid being a hero has to fight the mob' and even the inclusion of Kaine, the dangerously flawed clone of Peter Parker, doesn't add enough spice to the mix to make it anything more than bland.
Also, having Ben fall immediately in love with a random waitress and be totally baffled as to why when she looks exactly like Mary Jane is just stupid.
2 out of 5
The Amazing Spider-Man: Fearful Symmetry - Kraven's Last Hunt
(Art by Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod)
Spider-Man is ambushed and apparently killed by Kraven the Hunter, who then assumes the role of Spider-Man in order to prove himself superior to his nemesis. The true test of this new, more violent Spider-Man comes in the form of a cannibal killer who has been haunting the streets of New York; the creature known as Vermin.
This is a truly iconic Spider-Man storyline and, as a result, I was initially intimidated by it. However, this is a masterfully told story of fear, obsession and humanity that is both worthy of its place in the Spidey Hall of Fame and is still eminently readable. This is truly a psychological battle of wills between Spidey and Kraven, a supervillain who I'd never really liked before (I think the 60s story where Kraven shoots beams out of his nipples was too far for me). Strangely enough the dark psychological tone of this book actually put me more in mind of a Batman story than a Spider-Man, and this shift in tone for the Webslinger makes for some interesting reading. It even matches his black costume. I wouldn't want every Spider-Man story to read like this, but here it's really well done and feels appropriate.
This is just a really good, self-contained Spider-Man story.
4 out of 5