Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Looking for some good reads? I'll steer you towards the light, and away from the car wrecks!

Daredevil 99

by by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark

Someone has been leading Matt on a wild goose chase, and his response is classic Daredevil: let's go out and beat on goons until I luck upon one who has the info I need. Ah, if only regular law enforcement could do that. For good or bad, Brubaker shows us that the more things change, the more they stay the same, as Matt follows his predictable pattern that always seems to pay off for him.

Unfortunately, some villains are finally getting smart and taking the hero's powers into account. I won't spoil who shows up in this issue, but let's just say it's nice to see some old villains show up and be handled nicely so you can see their potential as challenges and villains, as opposed to some of the more hokey ways they have been shown to us in past comics. There is also a hint that the difficulties with Milla are being influenced by the mastermind. Which I'm not sure is a good thing, because it would be even more interesting if they weren't. They want to blow our socks off with issue #100 next month, so I say give them a chance and check it out.

New Excalibur 22

by Chris Claremont and Pat Olliffe

It is so sad to see a once-talented writer do nothing but recycle plots and even dialogue. Pat Olliffe's art is nice enough, and Tom Orzechowski is always dependable as the letterer, but we have so little story to work with, it's getting boring. Claremont has a tendency to break away from the main event and show us small segments of the normal person's point of view. But the balance is not handled well, and you find yourself wanting more of one point of view or the other, but not small bits of both.

We break away from somewhat wordy pages to a completely unnecessary fight between Shadow Beast and Dazzler. Set aside the poor explanations for where the Shadow X-Men came from, and even set aside the disgusting fact that they are still hanging around, but there was a temporary alliance between them and Excalibur. We are shown they are fighting with no apologies and no explanations? This is really going off the track into a horrible mess at this point. Then, after the tables turn, Shadow Beast acts surprised and offended at Dazzler's response attack, and shouts out, "What are you doing, woman? We're on the same side." Considering he started things off by throwing her dozens of feet in the air, either he's officially crazy, or the writer is.

In the meantime, Peter won't stop calling everyone "Petal," and Dazzler starts claiming she is using her powers better than before, even though we have seen no sign of increased training. Then Dazzler launches into an entire speech about how the enemy is SO skilled and SO powerful, that there is no room for mistakes. I got news for you, if you can't convince us, three or four issues into a storyline, that the stakes are that high, the creative team has done a lousy job, and having a character spell it out is murder by exposition.

We end this travesty with Dazzler crying over the body of Shadow Beast, who was attacking her 15 pages/minutes ago. The death of an evil doppelganger who attacker her suddenly breaks her down in grief and simultaneously stiffens her resolve? All I feel after this issue is the grief. Please, give us a new creative team or just end the series, there is no point, no direction, no clue as to how and why Dazzler can resurrect, and not even one panel to reference Nocturne. It's sort of like the old Uncanny X-Men, but with all of the drawbacks and dangling plots, and none of the benefits.

Nova 5

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Sean Chen, Scott Hanna and Brian Denham

Multiple artists, multiple writers, and the end product is gorgeous. I'm not sure why Sean Chen is not on the Top Ten list every time there's an artist competition, but I doubt he'll be flying under the radar for much longer. Every page is a visual spectacle, with nice lines and wonderful colors. In the meantime, the secondary characters make an impact on you in such a short time, it actually makes the occasional death more meaningful. The last issue ended with us wondering if Richard Rider was dead. This issue ends with another twist. I hope the editors give the creative team as much latitude as humanly possible. If they do, there's no telling where this wild ride will end up. This remains my top recommendation if you can pick up a new title.

Uncanny X-Men 489

by Ed Brubaker and Salvador Larroca

The cover is misleading, and it would have been oh-so-nice to actually make something good happen out of Storm linking up with the Fantastic Four. Can you imagine a team-up with the Thing and the Human Torch? The relationships and opportunity for the X-Men to join up with others from the superhuman community are so (forgive the unintended wordplay) fantastic, it's a shame more isn't done with this.

Cover aside, Brubaker is about the only writer these days who shows Storm with intelligence and leadership, so he gets bonus points. Hepzibah is talking more Earth-normal, but we haven't been told if that is a shortcoming of the writer, or if the alien is adopting human speech patterns in an attempt to blend in with her new companions. Things don't make much sense when Storm refuses Ben's offer of help, because if it were me, I'd take all the help I could get. Her insistence that the X-Men "need" to deal with the threat alone actually smacks of racism. Switching to Xavier's hunt for Magneto, there is actually a little repetition of Masque's video manifesto, as a way to emphasize the urgency of finding Magneto. The whole scene was pretty much unnecessary, and reminds you of a scene that would be put on the "extra scenes" section of a DVD. Overall, a solid continuance of a good storyline. Chapter 6 of Endangered Species continues here, with Mike Carey firmly in the writer's seat. I'm not going to ruin the story, just recommend you check it out, it looks like the story will be picking up the pace soon.

Wraith 2

by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Kyle Host

The annihilation: Conquest story continues, as we get to see some holdovers from the Annihilation War, Praxagora, the Super-Skrull, and Ronan. The majority of the story is a little slow, as it is primarily a vehicle for explaining his origin. As origins go, it is fairly good, but his motivation for revealing it was a little lacking. Kudos to the cover artists, Clint Langley, for making Wraith command your attention. The nice background details are a little overwhelmed by the Wraith himself, so hopefully we can see some other rich details in the next cover.

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