Comic Fodder

Marvel Comic Reviews: Week of June 6

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.

Avengers: The Initiative 3

By Dan Slott, Stefano Caselli and Daniele Rudoni

Now that the superhuman civil war is over, Tony Stark has instituted The Initiative, a near military approach for training and monitoring super-heroes, aimed at placing a super powered team in each state of America. Cool concept, right? Totally! It has a ton of room and possibilities to explore the varying problems and consequences of a government-based super-heroes program. But will Marvel do this?

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or where the Marvel Universe was headed after Civil War since I feel their follow-through on certain events can sometimes be a bit shaky. Just look at House of M. Though the majority of mutants lost their abilities, only a few were major characters, and ultimately even they, in some shape or form, got their powers back. Needless to say, I wasn’t certain if this recent event was merely a tool to disrupt the status quo or actually explore something a little different. With Avengers: The Initiative, it looks like, as of now, the plan is to delve into some new and interesting territories.

Nowadays, there can be, at least for me, some storytelling problems for mid-arc issues. They can have, at times, a tendency to feel a little bit like filler. You know you’ve experienced it -- 32-pages of no real revelations that you’ve waited a month for and now will have to wait another month to see any sort of advancement in the story. That stuff chaps my hide. Don’t get me wrong, if you were to read these types of mid-arc issues with the others in trade form, you’d never notice since they're simply part of the story. But as a single issue, you end up leaving the book a little disappointed. Slott definitely does not fall into this trap. He does a great job of building on his strong start for this title.

Not only does Slott take us a bit deeper into the identities of the new recruits, but we also get a glimpse into the true nature of the program. In probably the best scenario of this title so far, Komodo is enlisted to depower four super-powered individuals in a skirmish atop Bailey’s Auction House: three villains (The Shocker, Boomerang, and Hydro-Man) against one hero (Spidey). As Komodo and War-Machine descend on the battle with the same technology that brought down She-Hulk, our three villains take flight. But they make no attempt in following the bad guys. Their primary target is Spider-Man. Though civil war is over, it appears that Tony Stark’s main priority is to put all non-registered super-heroes in check before dealing with the real threats out there -- a sad state of affairs, if you ask me, but a great source of conflict and drama for comic books. We also find out that Tony has created a Spider-Man corps to take the place of Peter Parker once his powers have been taken away. We’ve got some major stuff brewing in this title.

As it stands, this is a great read with lot of potential. If you’re not already reading it, pick up this title!


New Warrior 1

By Kevin Grevioux, Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco

I’m a sucker for new titles. Slap the number one on a book and I’m first in line to pick it up. Of course, this can be a good thing or bad thing. I can end up finding a new title that I love and will read for years. Or I find myself three-bucks poorer on a read that does not one thing for me, except maybe put me to sleep – I won’t name names but there’s been a few. Okay, I’ll name one: volume three of Excalibur. Ouch! Anyway, the first issue of New Warriors is pretty darn good and makes me cautiously excited for the title. I say cautiously because there’ve been a few really good titles that haven’t caught on with readers but have with me and end up getting the axe.

I fully realize it’s too early to tell if this new on-going will be good or bad but I really have to say that I enjoyed it. I’m assuming this title will be the good guys’ answer to the new Thunderbolts as the book quickly establishes that this team is opposed to the new world order.

At the start of the book, Sofia Mantega (a.k.a. Wind Dancer) is living the life of a Regular Joe (or would that be Jill) as a waitress in greasy diner with a would-be admirer, Barry. She is soon recruited to join the ranks of the New Warriors and finds herself blowing off a date to meet up with the team. But it isn’t the team she ends up meeting, it’s Barry. Nice twist. And Barry isn’t just anyone. He’s someone she used to know. Even nicer twist. I loved the four pages of interaction between these two characters. And the realization that Barry was really Barnell Bohusk (a.k.a. Beak) really hooked me in. I was never a big fan of Beak in Morrison’s run on New X-Men but I can really get onboard with him now. And I really appreciated that Grevioux used two characters that suffered from the effects of House of M on a book spinning out of Civil War. He made both characters, Sofia and Barry, completely genuine and extremely likable. And when we discover that the former leader of the New Warriors, Night Thrasher, is still alive and part of the team, everything comes full circle.

It’s always nice to get a little back-story before plunging into a book. And it’s done here. Though if you’re at all unfamiliar with New X-Men, X-Academy, or New Warriors, the significance of the characters will most likely be lost on you. But it won't effect your read. I’m intrigued on how these two powerless heroes will be incorporated into the fold. And if this book is any indication, it will be done well. All in all, this is a book worth picking up!


______________________________________________

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

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