Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

One of Marvel's better weeks!

Annihilation: Conquest 1

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Tom Raney

To sum up this issue: we see Blastaar, Quasar, Moondragon, Korath, Xemnu, Ronan, wraith, Super-Skrull, Shatterax… and at least three others that should make you happy. Scott Hanna is on inks, and Frank D’Armata is on colors, and Aleksi Briclot is the cover artist. If you’re into trades, wait for the trade, but I want something this good to read every month. Pick this up!

Fantastic Four 551

by Dwayne McDuffie and Paul Pelletier

After one of the worst issues in living memory, the creative team comes back with something better this month for our favorite family of four. It’s amusing how Reed is able to read a panel on a wall to tell that a temporal incursion has occurred. He must have those temporal monitors installed in every room in the building! That’s right, it’s another time-travel story, and the plot is disgustingly familiar: people from the future travel to the past to warn you that you are going to destroy the future, and won’t you please, please, pretty please, not do what you want to do?

As cliché as the story starts, we’ve got some decent art throughout, and McDuffie at least goes back to the 100 ideas that Reed wanted to implement from Civil War days. Regretfully, they immediately move to idea #101, which is to “fix everything.” Yes, folks, Reed had 100 bright ideas, but he still needed one more to fix everything else. Which means that whatever those first 100 ideas were, they didn’t end hunger, end poverty, end disease, or end conflict. Which begs the question, what the heck was idea #88? Faster toasting of our Eggos?

Ok, whatever, I’ll just roll with it. The time-travelers don’t care about the first 100 lame ideas anyway, they only care about #101. However, as soon as Reed hears that Sue left him for Namor, he decides to blow future-Namor’s head off. Luckily, Reed was storing a lethal device in his workbench where he dreamed up these 101 ideas to improve humanity. Let’s call the Namor-killer device idea #52! I can just imagine how he could have improved the world by wiping out some other people! It’s a cliffhanger ending, so we can’t tell if we’re dealing with a robot, a clone, an LMD, or genuine-from-the-future-fish-king. Oh, and T’Challa puts his mask on somewhere before the end of the issue, for no apparent reason. It’s not a bad start to a story, if you set aside the been-here done it ten dozen times before premise. We’ll see how it unfolds. This one issue does not make me now recommend the title to anyone.

The Immortal Iron Fist 10

by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and David Aja

Past and present mingle as usual, as we see Danny Rand’s father, Wendell, defeat Davos in tournament, while Danny plays hooky in the present, reading books while Round 2 takes place. Again, don’t be confused that the sub-title of this issue is “Round 3.” They’ve left that the way it is the entire time, no sense asking them to have the rounds coincide with the sub-titles now! The story is taking its time, and it feels like one that will read better if you wait for the trade. The writers bounce back and forth between Cage and company, Hydra, the past, and the current tournament. The stage is set at this point, though, so the real action should begin soon. Hopefully.

Ms. Marvel 21

by Brian Reed and Aaron Lopresti

A cool cover by Greg Horn leads in a big splash page that also looks pretty good. The story simply does not match the premise of the book anymore, though. I’m not sure if this is being done intentionally, or if the initial premise has been forgotten to allow for unnecessary conflict. The original idea is that Carol was going to improve herself. Instead, she attempts to fight her way out of every situation, without stopping to think. Even when she has to stop and take a moment, and allows the alien to explain things, Carol still reacts in precisely the worst way, which causes her more complications.

On the positive side, we finally get an explanation for the Carol-turning-blue part, and Machine Man steals the show in a way that will either make you guffaw, or make you slightly sick. One part that is confusing is the appearance of Wonder Man and his vague mention of something else going on. Is this Tony-turned-into-Ultron over in Mighty Avengers, that Simon is in the middle of still? Is this the Skrull thing? Is it something else? We don’t know, because they are too vague. For all we know, Simon has an embarrassing medical condition that he doesn’t want to tell anyone about.

But back to Carol. I have limited experience with alcoholics, so maybe someone in the know can inform me if this is standard practice. Instead of trying to improve herself, Carol tends to make the worst decisions possible, and pretty much has since this series started. There’s not even the sense of getting an update from herself mentally on how she’s doing. Aside from this big deviation from a central premise, the book is still a fun read, and the art is better than ever before.

Starlord 4

by Keith Giffen and Timothy Green II

It’s hard to review this final issue of Starlord without spoiling too much, so let me just say it’s a good ending to a good story, and the art and story-telling hold up just as well as the start of the series. Whatever is left of the team will continue into Annihilation: Conquest #1, and I’m looking forward to seeing them there. A solid effort by the whole creative team.

Uncanny X Men 492

by Ed Brubaker and Billy Tan

A solid cover by David Finch is always a good way to start off a comic, in my opinion, even if he does always make Wolverine seem like his veins are popping out through his costume. The Messiah Complex storyline kicks into full gear, and it feels good. Here’s why: Cyclops is back! The character has been ignored and abused for so long (except for Joss Whedon over in the Astonishing title), he is finally coming to life under Brubaker’s handling. Xavier gets short thrift, but considering everything he’s done, it’s understandable. Cyclops also gathers together other mutants to give assignments, and if anyone wants to argue… they don’t put up much of a fight. And for all of Scott’s leadership, the team is still behind the curve.

A second reason this story feels good is the fight scenes. We have easily-identifiable bad guys, most of whom are introduced to a new reader, and the fight is not senseless, but a tactical strike with meaning. This story is a definite buy, and better than anything else Brubaker has done with the mutants so far. Oh, a minor gripe with a bonus page, allegedly from Nick Fury’s files. They mention how Storm was originally supposed to be “The Black Cat,” as conceived by Dave Cockrum. Someone please explain how Nick Fury knows this? I mean, I know he’s good, but come on…


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