Comic Fodder

Marvel Comic Reviews: Week of May 30

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.

Though it wasn't released with this week's titles, I threw in a review for The Incredible Hulk since World War Hulk is on its way. Plus, somehow I missed picking it up when it hit the shelves. Eyes don't fail me now. Anyway, enjoy and good reading!

The Incredible Hulk 106

By Greg Pak, Gary Frank and Jon Sibal

I was a little uncertain about Marvel’s World War Hulk event since it comes pretty much on the heels of Civil War. This issue of The Incredible Hulk is the first of the event for this title. And it serves as a good jumping on point for those of you who haven’t been reading it. The focus of this issue is on Jen Walters, the formidable She-Hulk, and her discovery of what the Illuminati had done to her cousin Bruce Banner.

Pak definitely delivers a strong start to what should be an impressive arc, as he not only gives us a great deal of palatable information of what’s brought us to this point but also offers some insight into The Hulk and a number of other character who’ll obviously be involved in the event. I always find it interesting when a writer chooses not to use the title character in a given issue. Often times, the book will feel a bit disjointed from this device since most of us read the titles we read for the characters in them. But this isn’t the case for this issue. Everything moves fluidly and succinctly from beginning to end.

This issue also does a great job in tying itself to the recent events of Civil War. There’s a certain status quo in the Marvel Universe as lines have been drawn and sides have been established. Jen Walters, believing in the law, is left wondering if she’s chosen the right side. Does S.H.I.E.L.D. have everyone’s best interest in mind? Or are they merely interested in control? Frank’s art is pretty much in line with the mood and tone needed for this book. The action scenes are filled with movement, the conversations are well laid out, and the facial expressions perfectly conveyed.

All in all, this is a good start to an arc that promises to be must read title. Pick it up.

The New Avengers Illuminati 3

By Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed, Jim Cheung and Mark Morales

I wasn’t all that impressed with the Illuminati one-shot that happened awhile back. It felt a tad tedious and a bit arduous to read so I wasn’t initially going to pick up this Marvel Limited Series. But to my surprise, this title has been shaping up to be quite a decent read. If you don’t already know, the Illuminati is a secret organization of superheroes that is comprised of Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Charles Xavier, Namor, Tony Stark, and Reed Richards. The six of them have been working together to “shape the superhuman world.” But to what shape will it be?

This five issue limited series will make it clear what this group has been up to. The third issue finds our furtive team, sans Iron Man, dealing with a mysterious entity known as the Beyonder, who, years ago, captured super-beings from Earth and set them against one another on the self-constructed Battleworld. I was surprised as well as intrigued that this entity known as the Beyonder may not only be an Inhuman, but also a mutant -- a very novel idea. But where does this all fall within the Marvel Universe? This issue was engaging enough but I wasn’t quite sure of the point. With only two issues left of this series, I can’t quite figure out what the plan is for this Beyonder character. Will he show up in other titles? With the World War Hulk looming, will he play a role in that? I’m sure there’s a reason behind each of the three issues already published and for the two upcoming but I’m currently in the dark.

As always, Cheung’s art is good save for the fact that certain frames make the characters appear far more youthful than they actually are. His run on The Young Avengers was wonderful, but I’m not quite convinced he was the perfect choice for this series.

All in all, this was good read but leaves the question of its point. Peruse its pages before picking it up.

She-Hulk 18

By Dan Slott, Rick Burchett and Cliff Rathburn

I’ve always been a huge fan of this title with its interesting characters, stories, and humor. But for me the strength of this book truly lies in Jen Walter’s escapades in the law office of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg and Holliway. For the past few issues, this being part four of the “Planet Without a Hulk” story arc, Jen has been working as an operative for S.H.I.E.L.D. on their Hulkbuster team.

Being that the Hulk is no longer on this planet, his villains have been left unchecked, and a team has been formed to capture them. As this issue progresses, we come to find out that Tony Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. have been using these Hulk-level villains as part of an experiment called Project: Achilles where super power inhibiting nanites are injected into the bloodstream to hinder transformation. It’s the same technology they’re currently using on the new Thunderbolts. The only difference with this injection is that the effects are supposedly permanent (we learn they’re not as permanent as expected in issue 106 of The Incredible Hulk).

Again, this is another title that is illustrating that the current government program entailing superheroes isn’t as perfect as the people have been led to believe. This issue also brings about Jen’s realization that maybe S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t the best place for her and her efforts would be better served at the law firm. Hopefully, the next issue will bring Jen back to the law office and representing superheroes in the court of law. Not that the title has been bad since her activities have shifted, just not as much fun.

All in all, a decent read, but let us hope this issue is an indication that the title is moving back to Jen’s exploits in a court of law. Peruse its pages before picking it up.

Ultimate Fantastic Four 42

By Mike Carey, Pasqual Ferry and Justin Ponsor

With the advent of the new Fantastic Four movie set for this summer, it should come as no surprise that Marvel would bring out its Silver Surfer for a run on the shelves. One of the titles to use this cosmic character is Ultimate Fantastic Four which took me aback a bit since we had the Gah Lak Tus trilogy of books not too long ago in the Ultimate Universe. I’m assuming and hoping they’ll be utilizing this character differently as we don’t necessarily need another go with the world-consuming being that normally follows his arrival. That being said, this issue was a very easy read with a nice mix of emotion, humor, and story development. I sincerely like his take on the character of Johnny Storm. He rights him with a perfect mix of wit, bravado, and heart. This is the first issue in the new arc, and it does a great job wrapping up what happened in the prior story and setting up what is to come. Ferry is probably the perfect artist for this title as he brings a very smooth, other-worldly feel to his art. This is an ideal jumping on point for anyone who hasn’t been reading this title.

All in all, a good read for new and old readers. Pick it up!


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