Comic Fodder

Marvel Comic Reviews: Week of June 13

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, drop a quick note and I'll give it a gander.

This was another pretty light week for me in the comic book world. No complaints though. It saves me a lot in the pocketbook. Next week looks to pack quite a punch. Expect to see some reviews of Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Moon Knight, and Ultimate Spider-Man. I guess it’s not that big of a punch. Anyway, on with the…

New Avengers #31

By Brian Michael Bendis, Leinil Yu and Dave McCaig

I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of Leinil Yu’s art, so much so that I almost stopped reading this title. But as I’ve gotten deeper into the story, it seems he was the perfect choice for this book and arc. There’s a definite mood to his work that lends itself to a team forced underground. It’s dark. It’s hard. It’s a little edgy. There are only a couple places where I have any real grievance. One of my biggest is in his portrayal of Spider-man. There are artists out there who can really draw this character and give him personality even though his face is completely covered. Yu isn’t one of them. Sorry Leinil.

This issue pretty much picks up where the last one left off with our team in Japan to save Maya Lopez, also known as Echo and most recently as Ronin, who was killed and then brought back by Elektra. Dr. Strange is down; wounded by the blade of the women they’ve come to save. Yep, Maya stabbed him. Her mind is being controlled by our favorite femme fatale in red. Anyway, our heroes are still in the heat of battle with Elektra and The Hand. Did I just mention battle? I did. And that’s pretty much all this installment is – one big fat fight. The past couple issues were quite good, dealing with the Might Avengers, Clint Barton joining the team, etc... But this one is just a lot of fighting with a few quips thrown in. Though I loved the exchange between Spider-man and Ronin about a quarter-way into the issue, it’s just not enough, except for maybe the big reveal – which I won’t spoil – at the end, to sustain at least me for another month. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good battle. I thoroughly enjoyed issue 13 of The Ultimates but Yu’s art, and this goes back to my initial statement, just doesn’t cut it. There are certain sequences in this issue that merely look like a bunch of red images holding swords. I want more.

And speaking of wanting more, all I have to say about the big reveal is – really? Come on, haven’t we done this before? Do we always have to go back to this? Or Ultron, for that matter? For a title that was going in such a good direction, this issue has definitely taken us on a detour.

World War Hulk #1

By Greg Pak, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson and Christina Strain

And so it officially begins, World War Hulk is here. After Civil War, I wasn’t all that thrilled to see another event on the horizon (don’t get me started on Endangered Species). But a couple things really drew me to this title. I love Pak’s writing. And I was assuming some characters, namely a few members of the Illuminati, would get their comeuppance. Both delivered in this first issue.

Pak does a phenomenal job of interlacing exposition, for those who haven’t read The Incredible Hulk, with plot advancement and action, for those of us who have. We start right off with a wonderful sequence on the moon between our title character and Black Bolt. The utterance of a single word and its aftermath was so beautifully conveyed that I had to pause to soak it all in. Loved it!

Another thing that I truly appreciate about Pak’s writing is his knowledge of when to show us a fight and when not to. Yes, we see the very beginning of Hulk’s fight with Black Bolt but then we quickly cut away. A lot of writers would spend pages chronicling this event. Not Pak, he obviously knows that the impact lies in the result. When Hulk reveals Black Bolt’s body to the people of earth, our reaction to what transpired would be so much less if we’d seen the fight. It’s just plain good writing.

The only thing that has been confusing me within the Marvel Universe is Iron Man. Anyone reading Mighty Avengers would most likely understand what I’m talking about. And if I’ve gotten it wrong, please let me know. But didn’t Tony Stark transform in Ultron? He keeps springing up in all these titles, even titles written by the guy who transformed him, that I feel like I’ve missed something. Did I? Even with my confusion, I was thrilled to see someone kick the, dare I say, crap out of Iron Man. After Civil War, he’s probably my least favorite character. And it’s a pretty darn good fight to see. This is another indication of Pak’s good sense. With everything that Tony has done, we needed to see this fight. We needed to hear, no matter how misguided, his intentions. We needed to see him (and the tower) fall. I’m looking forward to the next issue.

The art for me on this book isn’t all that it could be. It’s passable but the scale in which the story is written deserves more. Blasphemous words, I know. I’m talking about comic book royalty here. But I just don’t think it works for this title. No hate mail, please.

All it all, a great start. Pick up this book!


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