AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3.5 out of 5
Spider-Man Vs. Venom
(Art by Todd McFarlane)
A powerful new villain threatens Spider-Man in the most personal way on a quest for revenge; Venom, the symbiotic partnership of vengeful reporter Eddie Brock, whose life was ruined by Peter Parker, and the sentient alien costume which Spider-Man picked up on Battleworld but later forcibly rejected. With Venom knowing his secrets and possessing all of his powers, Spider-Man is pushed to the limit in his attempts to survive and protect his family.
Here we have Venom's introduction and first confrontation with Spider-Man. It's good stuff, but its not great stuff and Venom isn't quite the arch-enemy he later develops into at this point, with even his design not yet having really found its feet. I'm also a bit nonplussed by Eddie Brock's motivations. The jist is that he wrote a story about a killer which turned out to be accidentally untrue and he blames Spidey/Peter for proving it was untrue by catching the real killer. You'd be annoyed at the situation and devastated by the effect it has on your career, but would you really declare undying murderous hatred for the person only-obliquely responsible? Seems an overreaction to me.
The second half of the book has the second confrontation between Spider-Man and Venom and it much more what I was hoping for. Here Brock shows his cruel side by targeting Peter's family but also shows that he's not entirely villainous by specifically avoiding harm to innocents when he can. Venom's design is also a bit nearer it's iconic look, with his oversized grin now including more fang-like teeth and his masks' eyes being more distorted than before. It's just a far more menacing look in general.
And on the subject of the artwork, I just want to make a point of saying how great McFarlane's drawing of Spider-Man himself is. It's one of the most iconic styles of Spidey and possibly my favourite of all time.
3 out of 5
Superman Vs. Predator
(Art by Alex Maleev)
This story features Superman attempting to defeat a group of genocidal scientists and their mercenary hirelings in the jungles of South America. However, the technology the scientists are using isn't from Earth and the true owners aren't best pleased to see it being used by humans. So, as Superman faces off against the villains of the piece, attempting to rescue the ever-imperilled Lois Lane, the Predator stalks one and all from the shadows.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this graphic novel, which so neatly captures the feeling of the 'Predator' movie. I also liked the way that the ancient Mayan ruins reveal that the Predators have been coming to Earth for a long time.
The one real flaw in this book is the altogether too convienient space-cold that dulls Superman's powers, thereby allowing confrontations with the Predator that don't involve Superman kicking the snot out of the alien in two seconds flat. I mean, it makes sense from the point of view of the crossover, but it's just too transparent a plot device.
4 out of 5
Collaborations & Anthologies:
Indiana Jones Omnibus: The Further Adventures - Volume 1 (here)
Indiana Jones Omnibus: The Further Adventures - Volume 2 (here)
Spider-Man's Greatest Villains (here)
Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Fool's Bounty ( here )
Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Resurrection Of Evil (here)
Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Screams In The Void (here)
The Amazing Spider-Man: Birth Of Venom (here)
The Power Of Iron Man (here)