Comic Fodder

Dana's Marvel Comic Reviews

Each week Comics Fodder will bring you a number of reviews from the Marvel Universe. Some books will inevitably be missed. But should any reader feel a certain Marvel title has been shamefully overlooked by me, take a gander at my comic counterpart’s reviews. If he’s missed it too, drop a quick note and we’ll try take a look.

Captain America 27

By Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Mike Perkins and Frank D’Armata

I’ve been very interested in where this book was headed once Captain America was killed. What can you really do with a title when its main character is no longer in it? A lot. The focus of the story is basically on the Winter Soldier, whose introduction back into the Marvel Universe was a stroke of genius. There’s so much you can do with him. And Brubaker is definitely the one to do it. We are consistently allowed to see inside – what’s going on in his head, how his brain work, what motivates him. It’s this inner commentary laced throughout the issue that truly drives the story. It takes us from the beginning to the end, giving us purpose, insight, rationale, opinion, and discovery.

The pace of this issue is slow but not slow in a bad way. It doesn’t hit the stasis we’ve experienced in many books. There’s a purpose behind it. It’s slow for the sake of development. It’s slow for the sake of story. There’s a build to it, a readying for something big, something to come. As a reader, I think we need this. We need to get deeper into the characters. To see them for who they are. To see their isolation after Cap’s death. We need to let the pieces fall into place. To let the tension mount. Without this, the impact of events to come will be lessened. It’s nice not to rush to the end.

The art in this book is great. I’ve always liked the work of Epting and Perkins. The characters are well drawn within the mood and tone of the book. This is another must read title.

The Incredible Hulk 107

By Greg Pak, Gary Frank, Jon Sibal and Chris Sotomayor

I’m officially a World War Hulk convert. As I’ve written time and time before, I was very hesitant about yet another crossover event for the Marvel Universe. Every time one ends it seems another is set to begin. If the first issue of World War Hulk hadn’t already done so, the current installment of this title would have put to bed any and all of my reservations. There’s a real craftsmanship to the pace and character of this book. It’s almost a master class in how to write a comic. Even though there are certain events imparted in both this and the event title, it doesn’t feel like a total rehash. They’re disclosed in a very logical and concise manner. They help to show us what’s going on around the event. Give us reactions from some of the key players which may otherwise obscure the main story if they were handled within the pages of World War Hulk.

I’m going to avoid giving the inevitable blow by blow iteration of the happenings in this book. I’d hate to give anything away for those who haven’t read it. I do, however, want to make mention of a couple points I found truly spectacular. There’s a fight that happens toward the end of this issue. And in the timeline of World War Hulk, it would take place soon after Hulk’s fight with Iron Man. There’s a simplicity in the fight that speaks volumes about the two characters. It’s a fight that has depth. And it leads us to a powerful and moving end that will serve as a strong start to the next issue. The other point I wanted to reference is the glimpse we’re given of some average, everyday civilians. It’s nice to get a non-superhero take of what’s been happening in the Marvel U.

The art is great which comes as no surprise. I touched on the fight in the paragraph above, and would be remiss if I didn’t mention it again. Frank does a fantastic job throughout but the final pages of this issue were both dramatic and exciting. He captures the tone of this title perfectly. This is a must read.

Moon Knight 11

By Charlie Huston, Mico Suayan and Frank D’Armata

There are certain books out today that are simply page turners. The union of plot and art, action and character are so well done that it brings the story to life. It’s a work of fiction so engaging, so electrifying that you just can’t wait to read each flawlessly rendered panel. It’s what brings you back to a title each month. Then there are those books in your queue that are still page turners but in a completely different way. Instead of taking you from one page to the next, you somehow find yourself leafing back through the book in a total state of “huh?” You search each sheet for some kernel of information you’ve obviously missed but still end up confused. These are the titles you return to out of obligation. Sadly, this is how I’ve come to experience Moon Knight.

After the first arc of Moon Knight, my expectations for this relaunch title were pretty much high. It was a dark and interesting book; with a refreshing take on a hero so far at the bottom it seemed impossible for him to find his way back to the cape. But now that he has, I have to admit, I don’t seem to care. The method in which the story is accounted is absolutely way too confusing. There are flashbacks on top of flashbacks to the point where I don’t know what is what. I know this issue takes place before the events of Civil War 6 and 7 – yes, you heard that right – however I should still be able to follow it. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

The art for this book doesn’t help matters. It’s passable. It still captures the mood and tone of the book but it just comes off muddy. There isn’t anything visually stunning or stimulating on any of the pages. The images were repetitive in nature and an enormous about of focus was spent on peoples’ faces and eyes, which is great if they actually illustrated some emotion, but it was, for the most part, expressionless.

I ran into a couple friends at the local comic shop this week when I was picking up my books. When I mentioned I was reading Moon Knight, one of them simply said – Sorry. And that’s pretty much my feelings as well. Pass on this book.

Ultimate Spider-Man 110

By Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Drew Hennessy and Justin Ponsor

This issue brings us to the end of the Ultimate Knights story arc and the end of Bagley’s run on this comic (if you exclude his help on the next issue). I’m not sure what this title will be like without him. It was a perfect symbiosis of artist, writer, and character. The Ultimate Peter Parker has now become classic. Bagley will be missed.

For the most part, the story was fair. And I’m going to keep my comments brief because I generally enjoy this title, but, with this last arc, I kind of found myself bored. I really, really wish I had liked it more since it will be Bagley’s last.

I felt it lacked the tautness of previous arcs. Every issue, including this one, left me wanting more but not in that good way. And I have to admit that I’ve never liked Ultimate Spider-Man issues that deal with Kingpin. I just don’t think Bendis handles him well. And he has a tendency to fill those stories with a lot of characters. If he doesn’t know what to do with him, my advice would be not to use him.

All in all, I’d peruse the pages before picking it up.


Dana Severson is your resident reviewer of almost all things
Marvel with aspirations of mutant proportions.