Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Some good, some bad, and let me know if you want other things mentioned in the reviews:

Cable & Deadpool 46

by by Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown

Bob’s Blog starts off as a recap page, which makes it the most inventive recap page that Marvel has. It’s little things like this that show Nicieza’s creativity. The art is not the greatest in the world, but when you have a comedic title like this, you want a certain kind of exaggerated feel to it, and Reilly Brown brings that to his work, with a hint of the Sunday funnies style.

The current time-travel trip (say that three times fast) is wrapped up, involving the Fantastic Four teams of past and present. Nicieza handles the characterization well, and wraps up all possible paradoxes with handy explanations like a chronal expert. Marvel should really pay him a retainer to mentor some of the other writers in their stable. A bonus this week too, you can buy the zombie cover and skip Skottie Young’s cover art.

Foolkiller 1

by Greg Hurwitz and Lan Medina

It’s a five-issue miniseries, and Medina tries to create a grim and gritty atmosphere with the art, and he succeeds as far as that goes. But the writing is fairly weak. Hurwitz opens with a guy being beaten, but the writing is so poor, it’s actually hard to follow the story.

For whatever reason, this beat-up guy takes an interest in the Foolkiller, and automatically proceeds to do a better investigation than every cop who has ever been on the guy’s trail, paying more attention to his surroundings than anyone else. This leads him to find the Foolkiller in short order, in a decompressed three pages almost without text, which may be a blessing, considering how clumsy and awkward the story flows when there are words to follow.

Un-captivating and un-interesting.

Thunderbolts 117

by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato, Jr.

Deodato keeps things dark in Thunderbolts Mountain, portraying both an oppressive underground bunker, and reflecting the darkness of just about every character we see. The mood matches the setting, as Doc Samson enters and tries to make progress with Robbie Baldwin. Ellis sets the stage for things to erupt in the next issue, but this is one of those reads that does not have much action in and of itself, but the interplay of characters and the building tension more than make up for any lack of fisticuffs. Sales are good on this title, but not everyone is buying this yet. Come on, people, climb on board the Thunderbolt! (Hopefully that didn’t sound too dirty.)

What If? Featuring Planet Hulk 1

by Grek Pak, Lonard Kirk, Rafa Sandoval, and Fred Hembeck

Three stories, and the last one is only a page long, but funny, nonetheless. The main story is beautifully drawn and a good read in its own right. In this one, Hulk dies and Caiera lives, with much of the same result: Earth is in for a whupping. See what happens when Black Bolt gets fitted with a control disk. Oh, and if you want to see more of Iron Man getting his head handed to him, don’t miss this one.

The second story has the hulk landing on the intended planet, the peaceful one that he supposedly can’t ruin. What follows is a great war between Banner and the Hulk, followed by a truce. The entire issue is highly recommended. Best of all, you don’t need to collect anything else, so even though it’s part of a crossover of sorts, you can get this and just read a couple of good Hulk stories (ok, I know he’s dead in the first story, but you get my point).

Wraith 4

by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Kyle Host

Will we get to see any more coves by Clint Langley after this? If they could tap these cover artists and get them to put out an entire issue of something, it would knock everyone’s socks off. The final issue of Wraith ties together most of the plotlines that have been introduced, and still manages to give a little screen time to Super-Skrull and Praxagora. Add to that a great scene between Wraith and Ronan, and you have a good capstone to a good series. The new Annihilation: Conquest series starts after this, and you can be sure that Wraith will be heavily involved in that. One of the better Annihilation titles.

X Men 204

by Mike Carey and Mike Choi

Oh what a difference a day makes! And by this, I mean it’s a brand new day because we have a new artist on the title. Mike Choi does everything that Humberto Ramos and Chris Bachalo didn’t when they were on the title. Even the cover is well done and interesting for a change, and it’s just Gambit and Rogue in front of a playing card, but it’s so much more elegant than anything we’ve seen in the last six months, it leaves me a happy camper.

It’s almost as if a new writer is here too, as we finally get to see some semblance of Cyclops mourning the death of his father. Not only that, but some of the heroes and villains are calling each other by name (!) this time, so if you didn’t know who everyone was, you have a much better chance of following along now. The complications of this title call for a lot of exposition, but it is handled well for a change, as opposed to simply ignored. And is Mystique really a traitor or not? Is Gambit a traitor or not? We may have one or two triple-agents in play here.

This is the end of the lead-in to Marvel’s highly hyped X:Men: Messiah Complex. If the writing and art in this title hold up as well as they started to in this issue, I can finally start recommending it to other readers again. Yay!

The last two chapters of the Endangered Species story conclude here, as Hank finally comes face-to-face with the source of all of his problems. This wrap-up by Mike Carey and Scot Eaton may not provide you with the best sense of closure, and it does feel like there should have been something more to come out of the whole trip, but the art is cool, and hopefully Marvel will be wrapping up this whole Disassembled- House of M-Decimation-198-etc. stuff with their Messiah Complex crossover.

X-Men: Die by the Sword 2

by Chris Claremont and Juan Santacruz

With New Excalibur over and Exiles being re-launched, this miniseries is supposed to be the bridge, but not enough effort has gone into it. The issue opens with an unknown assailant almost killing Captain Britain, and nobody knows who she is. TJ calls her a Rogue-woman in her thoughts, and near the end of the issue, Brian is calling her Rogue. Two problems: one, there is already a Rogue, so the name doesn’t make any sense, unless this turns out to be an alternate-dimension Rogue from the X-Men, and two, nobody ever SAID what her name was out loud!

It is this type of disconnect that makes the writing suffer, and the art suffers as well. The art in and of itself is good, but it does not follow the story well, so that there is a disconnect between what you should be imagining and what the creative team is actually showing us. The massive fight should have a ton of civilians panicking, but miraculously, the civilians are already all calmly assembled by TJ so she can lead them to safety. Dazzler has forgotten she’s a married woman and was off making nookie with Pete Wisdom, and no one can be bothered to introduce Saturnyne to us, and I have no frame of reference for her sudden, bloodthirsty ambition to capitalize on Roma’s weakness and replace her. If I were Roma, I would have slapped her down right then, and not waited for a betrayal.

The rest of the cast interactions, which could have been great, are all handles in a couple pages, and forgotten just as quickly. The rich relationships that Claremont used to be deft at handling are now rushed, since they have to cover so much ground so quickly. It’s too bad, considering everyone else and their dog can decompress as much as they feel like, filling in gaps with meaningless fight scenes. Yet here, where character development and interaction is almost mandatory, instead everything is compressed. Let’s hope the rest of the series is not this awkward.

X Men: First Class 5

by Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz

The first page of this comic is absolutely hilarious, and if you are a comic collector, you will either gasp at the implied heresy or laugh out loud, o both at the same time. Eric Nguyen gives us an interesting cover page, and Cruz handles the interior art. It’s an all-ages tale with a couple of funnies in the back, and it may not be the greatest ballad of Shakespeare, but since the rest of the Marvel universe tacks toward the grim and gritty these days, this light-hearted all-ages title is still a lot of fun.

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

I thought the main baddie in Die By The Sword was named Rouge, not Rogue?

-- Posted by: Josh at October 29, 2007 9:03 AM

Good catch, Josh, that's right!

I'm still not sure how Brian magically knows her name later, unless he has encountered her before. The names are close enough that my eyes confused me, but Claremont knows about Rogue, so why would we have to deal with a Rouge dancing among our mutants too?


-- Posted by: tpull at October 29, 2007 8:51 PM

I thought Brian got his but handed to him off-panel in issue one by Rouge, as she shows up at the end dragging his unconscious body into the party/ball.

I figure the name Rouge is acceptable because it's really a two-part name (can't remember the other part of her name), so in shortening the name it may get confusing.

Also, it's not Claremont's fault that 75% of X-Men fans Spell Rogue "Rouge."

-- Posted by: Josh at October 30, 2007 2:30 PM

Ouch! hah

-- Posted by: tpull at October 30, 2007 8:46 PM