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.

New Warriors 2

By Kevin Grevioux, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Marte Gracia

I’ve been very intrigued by the crop of new titles and teams spinning out of Civil War. The whole Initiative is establishing a fascinating cross-title arc which should translate into a fun future for Marvel – fingers crossed. This title is certainly falling into the fun camp. And I’m very interested to see where it’s heading. I do, however, have my speculations, but I’ll keep them to myself. Divulging them wouldn’t wreck a thing. Except for maybe my burgeoning reputation – I’m crap at conjecture. And if I start putting them all in print, it’ll get terribly embarrassing.

Anyway, there seems to be a trend in comics where time is taken to establish a team. Obviously, this can play out in two different ways. If done correctly, you’ll find yourself almost enveloped into the pages of the book. You understand and identify with the characters. You become involved in the triumphs and disappointments of their exploits. If done poorly, you’ll find yourself bored. Yep, it’s as simple as that. And though this title is taking its time, New Warriors is far from boring. Grevioux has written a truly distinctive character in Sophia. She’s lost, and we feel for her. There’s a depth and inner turmoil. She’s the perfect hero. With a weaker character, the book would lack a spine, and we’d lose interest. Of course, there’s more going on in the pages of this book than her story, but she, along with the fact that the rest of the team has yet to be revealed, keeps this book in motion.

I don’t believe I made mention of the art in my first review of this title. I should have since it’s a perfect fit for the book. Medina keeps a nice clip to the pages, there’s a lot going on but you can follow. The mood and tone are well captured. And the action is vibrant.

Pick up this title!

Runaways 27

By Joss Whedon, Michael Ryan, Rick Ketcham, Jay Leisten and Christina Strain

My initial reaction to Joss Whedon taking over this title was far from positive. It’s not that I don’t like him as a writer, his work on Astonishing X-Men has been terrific, but the voice of this book is so connected to Brian K. Vaughn that it was hard to imagine anyone else writing it. Actually, I half expected the characters to sound like rejects from an old Buffy episode. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. But it has still taken me a few issues to get on board with Whedon (do we really need the Punisher complicating matters) as its writer.

This installment has officially changed my outlook and hopes for Runaways. There’s no doubt that Whedon has a true appreciation for the characters of this title but something just seemed lacking in his approach. The time-traveling predicament he’s placed them in seems to have done the trick. And it’s a wonderful twist for the title. To see them hit the streets of New York in the early 1900’s is great fun, something I feel was lacking in his previous efforts, and I look forward to where this will lead them. By far, one of my favorite moments was when our runaways encountered a group of “Wonders,” a team of people with abilities assumingly much like their own, from this era. I’m not sure yet what role these “Wonders” will play in the continuity of this title. But with a batch of new and interesting characters, I can only hope at least one will follow them back to nowadays. Or maybe we’ll even get a new title out this.

The art of this book is great. Ryan has captured the era both in clothing and environment. And the panels are full of energy and life. One of my biggest pet peeves in art today is when the facial expressions never change from page to page. If it weren’t for the word bubbles, we’d never know what a given character was feeling or thinking. There were so many images throughout this issue that didn’t need any further explanation than the picture itself – wonderful!

If you aren’t already reading this title, pick up this issue!

Ultimate Power 6

By J. Michael Straczynski, Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Justin Ponsor

The most troublesome thing for me about this title is that it will have taken three different writers (Bendis, Straczynski, and Loeb) to complete its run. Make sense? No. Especially since this series only consists of a mere 9 issues total. Why the need for all the changes? And have these changes affected the overall story? Well, to be kind, it didn’t help.

This week brings us issue six (writer two) of Ultimate Power and we don’t seem to be much further along in the story department. Mind you, there are some great action sequences (everything and anything to do with Blur and Quicksilver – bravo) with some interesting tidbits thrown in here and there (pitting Scarlet Witch’s powers against those of Arcanna could cause an implosion of natural laws and destroy the world – cool) but I feel we should be further along by now. Don’t you? Or am I completely off my nut? Oh, I’m not forgetting the “big” (please note the sarcasm) reveal at the end – I’ll get to that in just a second – but with only three issues left to wrap-up this story, I’m afraid the resolution is going to feel a little more than rushed. You can’t spend six of the nine issues to get to the turning point of the story. Well, obviously you can, this issue proves that. What I should say is that you shouldn’t (operative word) spend six of the nine issues to get to the turning point of the story.

Okay, let’s talk about the “big” reveal. Huh? C’mon, really? Him? Again? Noooo!!!! What suspense there was, at least for me, has been completely and utterly destroyed. Would Nick Fury really have anything to do with this character? I mean, what purpose would this character serve in this conflict? Initially, I wasn't planning on spoiling the "big" reveal but what the hey. It's Dr. Doom. Argh!!!! Seriously? Yep, he's somehow the mastermind behind -- Nevermind, I can't even bother explaining it. Let's just say that I assume all will be answered in the remaining issues, but, again, c’mon!

Though I do have some complaints about Land’s art (his female faces always seem to be in stages of ecstasy and seduction), his work is consistently beautiful. He has a knack for making a book appear to be stills from a film. The action sequences are always dynamic. The characters are always identifiable. Even his “Shrakkk’s” and “Krak-a-boom’s” are perfectly timed. It makes me wonder if I’d be able to read this title with out him.

All in all, this is a mediocre issue with some good art. If you’re currently reading this title, pick it up (there are only three issues left). If you’re not, wait for the trade. Better yet, I’ll tell you after issue 9 if it’s worth the dough.


Dana Severson is your resident reviewer of a bunch of things
Marvel with aspirations of mutant proportions.