Comic reviews: Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #11, Super Hero Squad Spectacular #1

Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #11

Written by: Paul Tobin
Art by: Ronan Cliquet

This month’s issue features the Thing teaming up with the Incredible Hulk. Despite the cover’s image, the actual story features a more amiable meeting between the two (apparently the Hulk hasn’t learned how to properly greet someone), with Hulk considering “Rockman” (the Thing) his friend. The two team up with Sue (aka the Invisible Woman) to deal with something the Hulk discovered (the reason he sought Thing’s help). The subplot centers on the social lives of Nova and Captain America.

I enjoyed seeing the Thing, as my favorite member of the Fantastic Four. The scenes where he tells the story’s villain what’s going to happen to the “cool robots” he made were fun. The Hulk was also enjoyable; here, he’s shown in a somewhat-less-angry, more subdued light, including in his scenes with Sue.

There’s also a backup story about Thor, who (per the Thor film out this summer) continues to be hyped up heavily by Marvel. Additionally, an ad for “Super Heroes” #13 shows it’ll be a Thor tale (next issue, #12, features the Hulk on the cover).

Super Hero Squad Spectacular #1

Written by: Todd Dezago;
Art by: Marcelo Di Chiara (main story); Dario Brizuela (“Substitute Squaddies” story); Leonel Castellani (Reptil story)

Finally out this month is the one-shot “Spectacular” issue. From the context of the stories and material packaged here, I suspect this issue was originally meant to be published as several issues of the “Super Hero Squad” comic’s run, turned into a “spectacular” with that title’s cancellation.

The main storyline features a parody of Marvel’s classic 80s miniseries “The Secret Wars,” the precursor (along with DC’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths”) for the modern superhero comic crossover. The Beyonder, a powerful cosmic figure, is presented here as an 80s pop culture fanatic, particularly of the decade’s music (cue various 80s music references). He’s also obsessed with Earth’s superheroes, and pulls them to a distant world (along with the villains) to wage endless battle for his own amusement. The Squaddies, of course, have other ideas.

The first backup story covers what the remaining heroes of Earth are doing in the Squaddies’ absence, while the second backup story covers what Reptil’s been up to lately. Both the main story and the Reptil story continue the plot threads from the final few issues of the original comic’s run, namely A) the results of the She-Hulk, Tigra and the Wasp joining the team and B) the resulting lack of room on the Helicarrier. The Squaddies gaining a new headquarters on top of all this would definitely put the comic on a different track from the TV show, if this probably wasn’t the last “Super Hero Squad” comic for the foreseeable future (besides some one-shot video game-based one coming out soon). Too bad… I liked the new direction for this book’s final few issues.

The Thor promotion/hype continues here too, as Thor’s featured on the cover exclusively (and without any other Squaddies present).

Some amusing sight gags in this issue, including the scenes of the overcrowded heroes at home (the Hulk’s a Harry Potter fan?) and the 80s pop culture references the Beyonder zaps up (“Frankie Says Relax,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Q-Bert, etc.). I’m not the biggest 80s fan (I prefer the 70s or 90s), but was still amused.

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