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.


She-Hulk 19

By Dan Slott, Ty Templeton, Rick Burchett and Cliff Rathburn

This issue brings us back to the law offices of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg and Holliway where this book truly shines. The “Planet Without A Hulk” arc was a fine diversion from the usual storytelling in this book but it’s this kind of stuff that should remind us why this title is so strong. We get interesting characters, great twists, good tension, and much needed humor. This time out we delve into the legalities of “gamma-transformed” people -- a fantastic idea. And Jen Walters finds herself as a witness for the defense of The Leader, a green-skinned criminal with an oversized brain that gives him a super-intellect and the power of persuasion.

The use of the “gamma defense” by defense attorney, Mallory Book, back to her usual ways, is such an interesting and absorbing debate in light of recent events. Should super-powered people be held responsible for their action when “under the influence?” This defense also shows us what a truly fascinating character Jen Walters/She-Hulk is. They’ve always been separate entities, even to the character herself. She feels more at home in the gamma-transformed body than her own. Even though her powers have stripped away, we get back to the underlying story of a woman who sees her life as divided. And results in the question of who is she now that she is no longer She-Hulk.

Pick this title up.


Ultimate Fantastic Four 43

By Mike Carey, Pasqual Ferry and Justin Ponsor

This month brings us part two of the Silver Surfer story for Ultimate Fantastic Four. And Carey does a good job of delivering an engaging yarn but we’re still in the setup stages for this tale so the jury is still out on the overall arc for me. What I can say is that I love his take on the Silver Surfer. There’s an amazing innocence to him that allows for a very straightforward approach to the action and dialogue. With the Gah Lak Tus trilogy not that distant of a memory, I’m assuming that we’ll be exploring a different threat to earth. The potential and promise is all there so I look forward to seeing what happens.

I would however like them to get rid of Enid. I’m assuming she’s there for comic relief but she just comes off as annoying. Johnny’s the humor. Carey’s take on him is so spot on that Enid just distracts from this.

As I’ve said in prior reviews, Ferry’s art is perfect for this title. And the otherworldly feel, is ideal for the Silver Surfer. Some of the best sequences involve this character -- especially when he’s plummeting to earth and later when he breaks free from his shackles.

If you aren’t already reading this title, pick up this and the prior issue.


Ultimate Vision 4

By Mike Carey, Brandon Peterson and Justin Ponsor

Because of how infrequently this title comes out, it’s hard to really say whether it’s good or bad. Actually, I know it isn’t bad so let’s try to rephrase – it’s hard to really say whether this title is good or could be better. I think that’s more like it.

I don’t have a tendency to reread a prior issue before the new one comes out. I rely more on the summation of past events on the first page to spark my memory. When I read page one’s previously section for this title, not a lot clicked back in. So I dove into the book hoping that my brain would be refreshed as I read. This didn’t happen either.

Basically, this issue was a hunt, chase, and fight installment. The art work was very good, the story advanced, and some tidbits were revealed. If you’re currently buying this book it’s definitely worth picking up this issue. But my advice is to collect them all before sitting down to read.


Ultimate X-Men 83

By Robert Kirkman, Pascal Alixe, Danny Miki and Jose Villarrubia

For the most part, I’ve always enjoyed the Ultimate line of comics from Marvel but the titles, within probably the last year or so, have become pretty much hit or miss. And the biggest misses (or messes) seem to be occurring within the page of Ultimate X-Men. This issue is no different.

Kirkman’s run on the Marvel Zombies was great fun so when I heard he was taking on this title, my hopes were pretty high. Well, hopes be damned. To put it plainly, Ultimate X-Men is a mess. Mind you, he didn’t start his run like this. In the beginning, there were some very good and solid arcs but the direction this book is currently going just doesn’t work. And this installment doesn’t do much to change that -- a lot is still going on yet nothing is really happening.

This title has become the comic book version of Lost for me. If it isn’t teasing me with something to come, it’s giving me an uninteresting diversion to the story I thought we were following. And what could have been a wonderful story that dealt with the flipside of mutant life, “The Underneath” has turned out to be an arc with little purpose and no impact. It happened so quickly and was intertwined with so many other things that the use of the Morlocks appears to have been a means to find a place for Nightcrawler. That being said, the rest of the stories are now reduced to devices that add closure to the old team while ushering in the new. I say just give us the new team and get on with fun. Don’t get me wrong there’s a lot of potential still in this book. Let’s hope it surfaces soon.

But my biggest problem with this issue is definitely the art work. It’s just wrong for this book. Alixe is far better suited for an independent title, not something like this. I actually think I would have liked this issue a little more if the art were better. But with it being like this, the story, which is second-rate at best, must stand on its own, and it doesn’t. This is a definite pass.


______________________________________________

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