Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

The new year has started, and so have the reviews. Post below to let me know if you would like to see the reviews have something new in them for 2008.

Annihilation: Conquest 3

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Tom Raney

There is no revelation as of yet how Ultron went from Mighty Avengers to being the head of the Phalanx, but hopefully we will not have to wait for another ever-so-late issue of that title before we get some revelations in this one. There is a slight disconnect at the beginning of the issue, as the High Evolutionary is overwhelmed somewhat quickly, when in #2, he was pumped up as one of the close-to-all-powerful figures in the universe.

The overall story continues to delight and surprise, as Ronan’s attempt to make an alliance with Ravenous takes a twist that I did not see coming. In an age of cliché when you can predict most things that take place in a comic, the ability to surprise the reader is fairly rare. Another advantage is that they spend enough pages of story on each group so that you feel there is forward motion with each faction, unlike the one or two page treatment much of the cast over in DC’s Countdown receives. This title is fast becoming one of my favorites.

Exiles 1

by Mike Raicht, Carlos Ferreira, Zach Howard, Paul Azaceta, Mario Gully, Arnold Pander

This one-shot special is subtitled “Days of Then and Now,” and is mostly a place-holder in between the old Exiles series and the new one coming up. You have six different artists composing an eight-chapter story, and it's a fairly good story. In my opinion it is better than the past several months of Exiles stories that we have received from other sources, and closer to the original roots of the concept of the team. Plus, Luke Cage looks cool as Iron Fist. Check this out if you’ve got a spare couple of bucks.

Ms. Marvel 23

by Brian Reed and Aaron Lopresti

The storytelling is dropping off quite a bit as we witness the same old Brood queen that Carol destroyed a long time ago show up, and she claims that Carol somehow made her invincible. No explanation, though. Maybe it’s more of that “magic” that makes Peter Parker single again, and everything happened, but everyone’s memory is foggy. Whatever the case, the queen stabs Carol, who has been healing pretty quickly thanks to Cru.

Upon physical contact, Cru lets us know that she has gained a lot of insight into what makes Carol tick, and there is a lot of potential, but she is “sickening” at the same time. Which may just be an allusion to her alcoholism, but might also be reflective of her ability to make a ton of sucky choices all the time. Regardless, Cru is able to reactivate certain powers Carol used to have, so we’re going to find out next issue just how invincible the Brood queen really is. A so-so issue with a nice cover by Greg Land, but the series seems stalled when I read it, like it’s just another monthly serial without much real purpose or direction. If you can afford it as an extra read, get Exiles first, then try this one.

Silver Surfer: In Thy Name 3

by Keith Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat

Ugh. After the previous Silver Surfer title written by Straczynski, this one is a real let-down. It was borderline if I would bother even trying it in the first place, but I figured it was sort of my duty as a reviewer to try it out. I wish I could get my money back. The cover art is the worst part of the comic, so it most likely discourages browsers from picking it up in the first place.

The story has devolved into an advanced race that is provoking war with the religious underclass of an alien race that the first race already has under their rule. The Surfer cannot figure out how to defuse the situation on his own, or even avoid being a pawn in their dealings, so he sicks Galactus on them. Eh, I’ll report on how it turns out for you next month. I’m in it for three issues, it’s sort of like watching that last 15 minutes of a bad movie. I might as well stay committed.

Thunderbolts 118

by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato, Jr.

Norman Osborn goes creepily insane at a trickle, and unknown to all, it is four superhuman prisoners that are psychically working on all of the personnel in the base. Deodato’s use of shadow plays out very well in this setting. Venom, meanwhile, has devolved from an alien parasite into a violent man-eater for some reason, but then I thought it was fairly stupid when they moved it over to Scorpion’s body anyway. All hell breaks loose as the Swordsman launches an attack, and Penance is still sidelined with Doc Sampson.

How much of the chaos is the fault of the recently-captured psychics? We don’t know and they get zero screen time this issue. Which means this is reading like part of a trade paperback, and we really should have more of the story in our hands already; at the very least, they should have been shown to us once, but they are only mentioned in the text synopsis at the beginning of the issue. If they would tweak the writing just a little bit, they might be able to present things more solidly in a monthly format, but I’ll take what I can get, because the rest of the comic is pretty good!

Uncanny X Men 494

by Ed Brubaker and Billy Tan

Twists and turns as the mystery of the new mutant baby unfolds, and nobody can seem to hold onto him. Not Cable, not Forge, not Bishop… Some of Sinister’s goons show up led by Gambit, but not much insight into the character. Is he a mole for Cyclops? Is he staying just for Rogue’s sake? Long-time readers will spot the tattoos on Madrox and Layla and remember the future that Bishop came from. It is refreshing to see some characters that have been around for a long time get some meaningful attention. Agendas are making for some strange bedfellows in this saga, and we can expect more intrigue next month. I’ll admit it, I’m hooked!

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