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53. The Walking Dead vol 21: All Out War pt 2 by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard - So I guess that's it for Negron. The Walking Dead does get into a lot of world weary circular plots where safety is always crushed by bigger threats, but the Negron story underlines a story that I didn't notice but Adam Troy-Castro pointed out on Facebook, namely that The Walking Dead is ultimately about rebuilding society after complete collapse. And at first there are going to be enclaves but then there will be cooperation by the various forces. Negron was the most prominent of the dictators and he was the most successful and it took a lot to get rid of him and once he is gone there are more communications between the various fiefdoms that have sprung up in the wake of the zombie apocalypse. The story of the end of Rome is full of warlords and political systems that can't hold together and when everything is rebuilt it's usually very strange. The Walking Dead doesn't give us the collapse (it happened fast) but it does make some interesting stabs at the rebuilding process. And now I know why the back covers were always about the freedom of society after everything collapses.

54.Superman vol. 1: Son of Superman by Peter Tomasi & Patrick Gleason - Superman is dead again and there's an alternate universe Superman who is married to Lois and has a son in the middle of Kansas. Everything about this story is referencing the death of Superman story complete with a lot of material about that weird killer robot version of Superman with the sunglasses who turned out to be the guardian of his dead body. And this Superman in the story - this alternate and married Superman is the one who died in Death of Superman and came back with a stupid Dennis Miller haircut. I don't know why DC wants to throw all the mythology into a blender and feed it to us. It's like they no longer want to pick and choose what is canon and just made everything canon these days. Apparently the new Swamp Thing origin story is a convoluted combination of Len Weid and Alan Moore with neither story given much respect.

The only other part I liked here was the part where Superman invaded Batman's moon base. I suppose that's a nice way of meeting Batman's kill list. Superman totally smashes the Bat Moon Cave.

55. Spider Gwen: Most Wanted? by Jason Latour & Bobbi Rodriguez - Gwen Stacy was a boring character in the 60s and 70s. According to Marvel: The Untold Story the general consensus around the Marvel offices was that Gwen Stacy needed to die lest Stan Lee forced them to churn out Gwen Stacy stories indefinitely. Also, Stan Lee wrote Stacy to be the shiksa girlfriend that was his fantasy. So she was there to be an impossibly blond shiksa goddess and then the very first fridged girlfriend in comic book lore (unofficially fridged. The Green Lantern girlfriend literally went into the fridge in the 90s.) She got brought back as a clone and there was some dispute of the fridge designation since Mary Jane became much more mature after she died in order to replace Gwen in Peter's heart.

In this story, Gwen is in an alternate earth and Peter Parker tried to be the lizard and died. There's also an alternate Frank Castle (cop) and Matt Murdock (evil lawyer). Gwen is a fun character who keeps fighting with villains like Vulture but also trying to figure out her relationships with her band (Mary Jane is the lead singer, Gwen is the drummer. They keep breaking up). I find that I liked the sequel more since that one had more lizards. But this is a fine comic about an energetic heroine.

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Tim Lieder

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