Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Each issue this week had the potential to be better, so equal parts pleasure and pain. The best of the bunch was Marvel Zombies 2.

Captain America: The Chosen 3

by Ed David Morrell and Mitch Breitweiser

Nice story and art, and half-way through the series, I still have not been given any indication if this story takes place before Steve Rogers dies from the aftermath of the Civil War, if this an alternate universe, if it is a version of one of Marvel’s end-stories for a character… any comment made in-story would help, and an editorial note is not out of the question.

The lack of help in placing things in Marvel continuity aside, the story itself raises an interesting question: would Cap kill when fighting terrorism? His actions pave the way for the U.S. military to kill others, something that Cap agonized over when he was forced to shoot a member of Ultimatum a few years back. Here, there is no questioning of the morality of his actions, he simply does it. If the company is going to radically alter Steve Rogers that much, such a big change in his thought processes ought to be explored. Volumes could be written on this, and they pass right over it.

For all the shortcomings, the series is coming to life quite well, and I find myself, against my better nature, thinking that this Newman might be a fitting replacement in the Captain America uniform (I’m still wondering if they thought of a new man, and then thought it would clever to just call the guy “Newman”). I’m eager to find out how this all plays out.

Marvel Zombies 2 #1

by by Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips

When a good idea plays out well, the biggest fear of a sequel is the idea that people are just milking things for the money. Did the author have a really good idea for what happens next? Or did they just throw a ton of money at him and order him to rinse and repeat? Only time will tell, but issue one gives hope!

The Marvel Zombies pick up 40 years later, and the writer maintains all the continuity from the previous series, and adds an interesting layer to things by introducing a new mystery. Sean Phillips is great on the art, and of course Arthur Suydam is back doing homage covers of classic scenes. If you can stand it, wait for the trade, because they will probably have some bonus features. If you must have your comics monthly, go for it.

New Excalibur 24

by Chris Claremont and Jeremy Haun

We can breathe a sigh of relief, as the slow torture ends for Excalibur. The final issue comes out, with a cliché ending that leaves everything the same. The Shadow X-Men are all killed by the end, of course. Sage goes back to being a good guy, of course. There isn’t much left to say of a title that has been sinking to the bottom of the top 100 comics sold each month. Hopefully the creative team all move on to better projects more deserving of their time. Only fanboys who simply must have a completion collection of all things “X” should buy this. Even the cover is unremarkable, yet another cliché team pose. Blah.

Penance: Relentless 2

by Paul Jenkins and Paul Gulacy

Paul Gulacy is not perfect with his art, but he’s good enough in most cases that you will find yourself sitting still, absorbing the occasional panel. Whether a sixteen-panel page of Baldwin suiting up, or a full page next to that, of a house of someone richer than you or me, it draws you in. The occasional page lacks correct perspective, but hopefully he will learn to use that and make it actually work for him, in time.

The situation is serious enough that Tony Stark feels he has to come off of his lofty perch to deal with things, but he has limits, because Osborn’s team has its own area of purview in the U.S.; Tony can’t necessarily just bark an order and have everybody automatically jump to his tune. The story develops well enough, except that a CD that is supposed to contain launch codes for nuclear warheads were stored in a massive storage vault, and Baldwin was able to swipe them.

At that point, the story breaks down into immediate idiocy. Did they not look at the CD when Baldwin handed it over? Did they not process it immediately, seeing how important it was? Was Baldwin able to gain access to the place where nuclear codes were stored? No answer makes any sense. The United States military simply does not leave nuclear access codes lying around. There are untold numbers of tax-paid men and women who spend their lives making sure everything nuclear is accounted for, three times over. Oh, but this guy just waltzed off with them. Okay. Sometimes a story can be good, but only if you ignore the one element that means it could never happen.

Wolverine: Origins 18

by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon

A decent story, being ruined by Dillon’s usual lazy style. The guy can’t seem to draw more than two or three stock faces for every character, and his backgrounds are notoriously empty of detail. Go see George Perez’s current work in Brave and the Bold, to see how much you can actually pack into the backgrounds, if you have the heart to actually try. I buy every issue under protest, and wish desperately for a new artist, or for this artist to show me something new, something to show that he cares enough about his craft to try to improve. The story itself is relatively decent, although it does have a feeling of being drawn out a little by this point. Hopefully next issue will give us an ending to this particular flashback.

X-Men: Emperor Vulcan 2

by Mike Carey, Humberto Ramos, and Chris Bachalo

Billy Tan puts out an good cover, but they don’t list him in the credits. At this stage of the comics industry, every time a cover artist is different from the artist inside, they really should give some cover credit. But what about the insides?

Inside the cover, Luque has some pretty good pencils, and the inking and colors all meld well together for this space odyssey. The story behind this new race is a good idea, and the strength of the opposition leader is powerful enough to take out Gladiator, so we know we’re in for a good fight. Add to that an innovative use for a stargate, and you have a good story and some great art. One of the better reads this week.

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