Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the first Saturday in May is always Free Comic Book Day. It’s a day where you, the comic reader, can pick up some select free comics from your local comic book shop, as well as get in on some HOT COMIC deals. I got mine at Ultimate Comics in Durham NC. Did you get yours? Well if you didn’t, here’s a recap on a couple of Marvel comics from FCBD!!
Let’s start with Spider-Man!
This FCBD issue actually starts with a lead in to the Carnage event coming this summer, Absolute Carnage. So instead of seeing Spider-Man swinging through the streets of NYC, we join Eddie Brock, a.k.a Venom, (Sans Symbiote. See his series) who’s rambling and raving about how Carnage is trying to unleash Knull, the God of Symbiotes. Apparently he’s gonna use everyone who’s ever touched a Symbiote to do that, so he’s got to get in touch with any or all super teams. Unfortunately the feds think he’s crazy and send him to Ryker’s after he tried to break into Avengers Tower with no powers. In Ryker’s, he meets up with short time Venom, Lee Pace, who starts bugging Eddie about “prisoner stuff” until Eddie snaps and rips Lee’s Symbiote from him. It turns out Eddie is possessed by Carnage and he breaks himself out of prison to wreak havoc. His first victim is of course, a certain wall crawler.
But wait, there’s more! Our second story has both Spider-Men (Miles Morales and Peter Parker) debate over who has the best pizza in New York City. Peter being from Queens says it’s Cucciniello’s Pizza from Queens, while Miles being a Brooklynite, says it’s Sonny’s Pizza in Brooklyn. Their friendly argument is interrupted with a bank robbery courtesy of the Shocker, who is promptly stopped and webbed up for the police. He briefly joins in on the debate and says it’s Sicilian Village in the Bronx, to which both Spiders disagree. By the end they both realize that it’s not the pizza, but the memories they had enjoying the pizza that matters, whether it be late nights with Aunt May or childhood memories in Brooklyn.
So both Spider stories are pretty good. The first being a set up for the Carnage event is a great story and a good hook to the event. While I’m barely aware of what’s happening in the Donny Cates’ Venom series, this little intro for it has me intrigued to see what happens next. Also Ryan Stegman’s art is beautiful! The second story is a nice little back and forth about friendship and pizza, so what’s not to like? It’s also from Saladin Ahmed and Tom Taylor, with pencils by Cory Smith so again, what’s not to like?
FCBD Spider-Man - 8/10 Symbiotes
Next up, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: The Avengers
Let’s take a trip across the Marvel Universe, shall we? We join the Invincible Iron Man after being transported to the past via some Asgardian magic from the end of War of Realms. From there he monologues about what it means to be an Avenger while simultaneously catching us up with what else is happening around Marvel. Let’s see what we have?
Somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, Namor and his Defenders of the Deep are attacking Roxxon Oil but are stopped by the new Squadron Supreme of America team.
In the North Pole, Black Panther, Blade, and Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider prepare to perform an exorcism on Robbie’s car.
Meanwhile, in Shi’ar space, the remaining Avengers are on a course for a certain planet, one with the Starbrand burned onto it. Back in the past, Iron Man is about to be attacked by a bunch of sabretooth tigers, but is saved seemingly by Thor only to be faced by Odin and the Avengers 1 Million B.C.
Much like the Spider-Man FCBD issue, we have a second story, this one with the new team: Savage Avengers. We pick up with Wolverine on the hunt for a friend of his who’s gone missing. He meets up with a detective to tell him that it wasn’t a normal abduction, considering Hand ninjas were involved two of which then attack Logan. He kills one and interrogates the other to find out that they were recently in the Savage Land. Meanwhile in Cairo, a Hand Ninja brings in Daredevil mentor Stick to be sacrificed to lure out his “greatest student”. They also mention finding the Third Eye of Agamotto, capturing Venom in a jar, and the aforementioned kidnapping of Wolverine’s friend. Stick interrupts him, revealing he’s alive and also that that Hand ninja wasn’t just a Hand ninja, it’s actually Stick’s greatest student, Elektra. She stabs the priest in the throat and leaves to continue her mission.
Like most free comic book day issues, this is just a “Coming Attractions” comic for these two Avengers books, and I’m OK with that. I’m already reading the regular Avengers series and was glad to see what’s coming up next for the team. “The Exorcism of Ghost Rider’s Car” looks to be a fun story and the “Avengers in Space” looks bonkers. Captain America as Corsair, Brood Thor, and Captain Marvel back as Binary (or at least using her Binary powers) is exciting! I can't wait to see what Jason Aaron has in store for us. As for the Savage Avengers, I brushed it off as a dark X-Force style black-ops team, ready to do some stuff the regular Avengers can’t do. It looks more like it is its own thing though, just with an Avengers team and I can dig it. With the characters they brought together, I think it’s gonna be a helluva series and with Gerry Duggan’s writing and Mike Deodato Jr.’s art, what could go wrong?
FCBD: The Avengers 9/10 Eyes of Agamotto
With that, we have ourselves another Free Comic Book Day. Mark your calendars for next year if you missed your chance at free comics this time. It's ALWAYS the first Saturday in May!