Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

I’m off for Christmas! Here’s a review earlier than usual. Thanks for reading this year, Happy Holidays to everyone, and a special shout out to all the people contributing to Filmfodder!

Cable & Deadpool 48

by Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown

Sometimes fate seems cruel. That’s the case here, where the Cable and Deadpool series is being cancelled, and a new Cable series will come into play. And Bob the Hydra Agent probably won’t be hanging around with Cable, so what am I gonna do for laughs?

Deadpool goes to reunite T-Ray’s body with his soul, and they battle each other on some kind of mental plane. You would think that Wade would be at the short end of the stick on that kind of fight, yeah? Instead, in the middle of breaking the fourth wall and highlighting the inconsistency of different writers, he gains the upper hand with an art detail that makes you think you’re watching a Saturday-morning cartoon (in a good way). The way his smaller selves re-incorporate into a regular Deadpool body is one of the best panels in comics this month. And they also had a letters page! Why, oh why is this series going away?

Exiles 100

by Chris Claremont and Tom Grummett

Marvel rips you off for an extra dollar this month by reprinting Exiles #1 in the back. It would be nice if they would print two versions, one with the extra “goodie,” and one regular issue for those of us who already have the first issue, or have bought a trade. The entire issue is a let’s-sit-around-and-talk kind of thing, and really just a segue into their new series, beginning over with another issue #1, most likely for shallow marketing reasons. That, and they want to drive comic store owners nuts.

At least Tom Grummett is on pencils and Scott Hanna on inks, so we are treated to a nice art display. Claremont himself reverts to his old tricks, including having Blink kiss Morph full on the lips. He used to pull this trick with Storm and Wolverine and so on, but more often in times of danger. The problem with being a long-time comic reader is that when there is a particular device that a writer uses often, it grates on you to read it again with new characters being the only difference. A writer should change and grow over the years, not turn into an endless cycle of repetition. He introduces a new mystery with the Exiles HQ, one that might be resolved some day in the new series, and then has Sage state the obvious, running commentary on her fight with Warpath and Nocturne. Gone are the days when we sit down to read Batman hitting Superman, and watch Robin off to the side, shout, “Hey! Batman just hit Superman!” We just saw it happen, why are you wasting words on talking about the exact thing we are being shown? Is this a comic book from the 1960s? The issue ends without anyone talking about Morph being Proteus. What are the odds the new series will be better than these dregs? And why is one of my favorite old writers stuck in neutral? I wish I could say nicer things about someone who gave me so many stories I loved in my younger years.

The Immortal Iron Fist 11

by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Kano, and David Aja

One good thing Marvel does these days is have a recap page at the beginning of the issue. That’s a good thing here, because this story is getting so complex with all of the different characters and parts, it needs one! What is not explained is where this takes place in continuity, because Colleen and Misty are working side by side, when over in Heroes for Hire, they just parted ways. Was this story supposed to come out earlier or something? Whatever the case, we are definitely reading things out of order as far as the rest of the Marvel Universe is concerned. More of the past with Davos is explained, and most of the rest of the issue consists of a cool fight between Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter and Davos, and the rest of the players in the story positioning themselves. It feels like the mid-point of a good story.

New X-Men 45

by Christopher Yost, Craig Kyle, and Humberto Ramos

We come to the weak link in the Messiah Complex team, the creative team on New X-Men. Most of the art is not comparable to everything else we have seen in this crossover, and the story suffers as well. Join with me as I count the wasted pages. Page 1 – A full shot of Cable holding the baby. That’s it, that's the entire page. Pages 3 and 4 – a two-page spread of the X-Force joining the fight, and not even all of the team is shown. A few more pages in and Yuriko faces off against X-2, and they show only two panels, the top one taking up two-thirds of the page with an awkward shot from behind Yuriko.

They could have spent so much panel space exploring other elements of the story, but Ramos’ style is so sparse, he barely includes any detail in the work. And it’s easy for him to be lazy, because the fighting is all taking place in the snow! The work is sloppy in so many other ways as well. When the other X-Men are gathered in the hangar, the Angel is sitting down. On his butt! Everyone else is standing, while the one guy who has a huge wing-spread and loves flying free is sitting cooped up. It feels like the artist is phoning in the job, not thinking about each character, and nobody else is jumping in to comment on it either. Hello, Mr. Editor? How about giving us some personality in the characters, rather than just check off the box to make sure each one got to be pictured in the issue?

The story turns lame too, which makes this the worst comic this week. X-Force shows up and X-2 faces off against Yuriko, leaving us with six mutants to take out a few gun-toting Purifiers. After they have defeated somewhere between seven and twelve of them, all the mutants turn into non-combat aware retards, as Wolverine and Warpath are both running away, chasing after Cable with their backs turned, and Caliban has to intercept some bullets for Warpath. Wolverine acts even dumber, yelling at Warpath to leave their fallen friend behind to get to Cable, even though Logan is ahead of Warpath, and Cable is so far ahead, he is somehow able to back-track and fake out Wolvie anyway. If Caliban is truly dead, he joins Feral, Icarus, Peepers, Quill and Sabretooth in death, plus a couple of other mutants whose name we never learned. We’re down to about 190 mutants?

A side-note, I don’t know what is going on with the comic printing these days, but a couple pages fell out of the top staple as soon as I turned the page. This is the third comic this month to do that on me. Anyone else seeing quality problems lately?

What If? Civil War 1

by Kevin Grevioux, Christos Gage, Ed Brubaker, Marko Djurdjevic, Gustavo, and Harvey Tolibao

We receive some wonderful art of Djurdjevic, whose framework sets the stage for two What If stories, one where Cap led all heroes against registration, and one where Iron Man lost. What follows in the pages does a better job examining different sides of the issue than the entire Civil war miniseries, in my opinion. One of the small failures is the way certain heroes are depicted meeting their death. Often the plot calls for some main hero to fall in a What If, but too often, no thought is given to the lame way most of the What If deaths look in the middle of a fight. Every fan who reads the page is going to think, “But so-and-so was right there! Why didn’t she…?” or something to that effect.

The second story has the better art, but I think this is the best of the recent What If stories they have done. There is also a notes page in the back that refers readers to the issues where some of the main-universe events took place, to help a newer reader go back and uncover some of those stories. The editor was Justin F. Gabrie, recently returned to Marvel. Perhaps the great overall product is due in many ways to his fresh eyes.


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