Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Quick net-ratings for this week's comics: good, good, bad, good, good, and meh, sorta liked it, sorta didn't.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man 22

by Peter David and Todd Nauck

Here's one of the good things about Peter David: he makes use of the supporting cast. There are a ton of characters that have been introduced throughout the years for the Spider-Man cast, and some creative teams ignore them entirely. David is giving us nice doses of J.J.J., Joe Robertson, Flash and Betty Brant, and making sure there is a ton of conflict involved with each one.

The dialogue is fairly good as the story moves along, although David tries to hard to incorporate things you might read on the web into Peter's words (things like "I think I just puked a little inside my mouth). It's a little too derivative, but he has a line about toilets that is priceless, so it's easy to forgive him. He also made the upcoming confrontation between Peter and a certain publisher something I am eagerly anticipating. This run may not go down as one of the best ever, but it is definitely keeping me interested.

Mystic Arcana: Black Knight 1

by Roy Thomas, David Sexton, Tom Grummett, Scott Hanna, and Eric Nguyen

This title may be a little misleading, because there's a gorgeous cover of Dane Whitman by Marko Djurdjevic, but the inside story is about Sir Percy. The story starts with a flashback that goes into another flashback, but it is done well, and Grummett's art is outstanding, the inking and coloring very complimentary.

The second story is by Sexton and Nguyen, and brings Morgan le Fay into the picture. This series is like eating little drops of Marvel Magic each month, with an added bonus that Ian McNee calls upon various entities for his spells much in the way Dr. Strange used to do in his old series. Each time we are introduced to a different character or two that has been sorely ignored for too long in the Marvel universe, as a ton of lazy writers tend to just overuse the Wrecking Crew and other bulky villains needlessly.

One final note, I found Morgan le Fay's last words to be a little confusing, so if an alert reader can translate that for me, bonus points! Which are useless everywhere else...

New X-Men 40

by Christopher Yost, Craig Kyle, Scot Eaton, and Skottie Young

Ugg. I thought it would be hard for the art to get worse, but it has. The characters are so uni-dimensional, it's hard to figure out who is who at all.The reason may be that Skottie Young is doing both the art and the inks, and the inking is virtually nonexistent.

The story is just as bad, as Illyana reverts from her evil-sounding self to someone who sounds like the Illyana from our "regular" Marvel universe, which doesn't mix well with her being from an alternate dimension. In the meantime, Belasco brings X-23 back and kills her again in a poorly drawn, yawn-inducing attempt to make us feel something.

Is there a bright light with Chapter Four of the Endangered Species storyline? Sort of, because we get to devour Scot Eaton's art, but for some reason Mike Carey only gets a thanks in the credits, as they let Chris Yost write this chapter. It shows, as the dialogue is mostly stale conversation between the Beast and a scientist from Whedon's Astonishing X-Men.

If this is the way the series is going to be, stay away. I'm going to pick up the final part of the Quest for Magik storyline and then one more issue to see if something changes for the better, but if not, I'm gone.

Quasar 1

by Christos N. Gage and Mike Lilly

Not a bad start for this Annihilation: Conquest tie-in, but the best thing is the cover by Matt Wilson. The art and story are decent, although I must have missed the part where the Super-Adaptoid joined up with the Phalanx. A good writer would find a way to fit that part into the overall story.

Three nit-picks:
1) The dialogue is inconsistent, as Phyla (Quasar) refers to her companion as "love," which nobody really does. If we remember, Phyla-Vell is actually an alien, though, so it should be okay. But she also makes a comment about Moondragon being a stalker that sounds like your teenage cousin talking. It makes for sloppy talking.

2) The text in narrative captions are so much like the old exposition of thought bubbles, they lose their weight as captions. They should really have just been thought bubbles. I'm not sure if that is an editorial decision, but narrative boxes should really be phrased differently, in the tone of explanation to the reader, as opposed to the direct translation of a thought bubble.

3) The use of a "mysterious voice" has been so overused in comics, it's pathetic. ‘Nuff said.

Unlike the prologue story, there is a much greater mention and emphasis on the relationship between Quasar and Moondragon, as the writer attempts to explain why Moondragon has been chasing after guys the whole time. The problem with the explanation is that it is 100% completely wrong. Moondragon claims she was "groomed from childhood to be a candidate for the role of Celestial Madonna." While that part is technically true, Moondragon did not learn that until many years later. There was no pressure for her to date men as a consequence of that, especially considering her "grooming" consisted of martial arts, athleticism, control over mind and body, and becoming a geneticist. The Priests of Pama did not sitting around lecturing her to find a good man to settle down with. The idea that there was some long-standing pressure on her to be the Celestial Madonna is revisionist, and amounts to simply another lame ret-con attempt to justify Moondragon's new orientation. It is bad writing, and they should have just left it out of the story. Hopefully this is the end of it, though, and they proceed with a good story. Constantly explaining Moondragon's 180 approach to orientation wastes time that could be spent developing the major storyline.
...That sounded like a fourth nit-pick, didn't it?

Thunderbolts: Desperate Measures

by Paul Jenkins and Steve Leiber

This one-shot is mainly about Osborn being a control freak, as he protests the fact that Penance has no nanite leash and keeps Moonstone in the dark about an operation. An interesting story overall, but a nagging question of why Moonstone seemed to think the main "bad guy," Americop, outclassed the entire Thunderbolts team. That part just didn't make any sense, and kind of ruined the rest of the story.

Wolverine: Origins Annual 1

by Daniel Way and Kaare Andrews

It's back to Madripoor, as Logan meets up with the old chief of police, Tai, and asks for a favor. The art is not normally my cup of tea, but it establishes the right kind of mood for the storyline. One of the big problems with this series is the attempt to go back to each and every person and event that Wolverine has been involved with, and show us the backstory. What's the problem with that? Only that the story revealed is often times a letdown from what your own imagination had conjured up. There used to be a mystique associated with Logan's past, and the mysterious connections he has made him all the more intriguing. These are being whittled away bit by bit in this series, and the editors seem to let any subject be used, any flashback be told, without asking an important question: is the reveal a big enough, good enough story to warrant dispensing with the mystery?

The final reveal is supposed to be some big surprise, but the name is Romulus, and we've already known he was behind the conspiracy. As a matter of fact, the idea of every single iota of Wolverine's life all being part of the exact same conspiracy is a little unbelievable. At this point, Cyber, the Weapon X program, Sabretooth, Daken, Alpha Flight, and now Madripoor are all part of the conspiracy. What about the corn flakes he ate for breakfast this morning? Are they part of the conspiracy too? We only have to wait a few more months to see that Professor X's father and everything in Japan were also a part of the conspiracy. Tiresome.


Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.