Comic Fodder

Dana's Weekly Marvel Reviews

Sometimes you just have those weeks when you look at your pull list and are oddly disappointed with the offerings. It’s not that you haven’t enjoyed reading these particular titles at one time or another. They clearly wouldn’t be part of your roster if you hadn’t. It’s just that some of them seem to have lost a bit of their luster over time. Or their stories haven’t been quite up to snuff. Maybe someone new has taken over the writing duties. Or a certain artist has joined the team. Who knows? I often wonder sometimes why I still read a few of them. I mean, I’m always looking for a way to scale back on my spending. Comics that don’t quite trip my trigger are a perfect opportunity to do just that. But then there are those weeks that every single book kind of brings out that kid in you. There’s a certain sense of excitement or anticipation for the arrival of that Wednesday. Everything published for the week is an unadulterated winner. That’s exactly how I’d describe this week.


CLANDESTINE #1 (of 5)

By Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and J. Brown

I’m not at all familiar with the past exploits of the Destine Clan. Actually, I’d never heard of them. When I saw that this title was coming out, I just assumed it was a new team of superheroes or another crop of mutants. With all the titles spinning out of the various events in the 616, it was an honest mistake. Plus, for some completely idiotic reason, I’d replaced the name Davis with that of Moore – you see where I’m going with this – so I was pretty intrigued with the offering. Once I had the book in hand, I was surprised by the name on the cover. What happened? Where’s Moore? Yet another dispute with Marvel? No, I just can’t read.

Even though I had no exposure to this immortal dynasty of superpowers before reading the issue (and an expectation for an entirely different author), I quite enjoyed the comic. And I’m happy to say it was pretty easy to follow. Basically, the clan has been living a life of complete secrecy for years. As time goes by, each family member assumes the identity of a direct descendent. They become the son or daughter of themselves. At first, it can be hard to keep track of who is who. You may find yourself flipping back to the first page for reference. But as you get further into the book, it should all even out and read smoothly. Davis uses the villains of the title, a group of cloaked beings, to relay a great deal of information about the lineage. After that, you’re kind of left in the dark onto why this cult has been tracking the family. I’m assuming we’ll learn more with each issue. But as it stands, the villains serve little more than setting up the back-story which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since most of the drama lies within the relationships of the family.

At the start of the issue, we’re witness to a daydream from Rory, one of the youngest of the Destines, who aspires to be a superhero. The only caveat is that his uncle/brother Walter prohibits this sort of activity unless supervised by another member of the family. They need to be seen as normal. They can’t chance Rory, or his twin sister Pandora, drawing attention to the clan. From there, we’re let in on the overall family dynamic. Little tiffs between siblings, insights into their various powers, problems from the past, and so on. The first issue of ClanDestine serves as a good setup for what promises to be an interesting Marvel Limited Series. 8/10


THE TWELVE #2 (of 12)

By J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston

Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what you like about a comic book much beyond the simple fact that you just plain like it. But with The Twelve, there’s so much going for it that it’s difficult to pick out only a few. If you’ve read the first issue, you already know the premise – twelve superheroes from the Golden Age find themselves stuck in the 21st century and must now learn to live in this very new, modern world.

The second issue quite successfully builds upon the last, delving deeper into the characters and exploring the psychological distress this change has taken upon them. It’s a mixed bag for this group. Some handle and accept the changes with stride and strength while others are left lost and emotionally frozen (nice allegory). It’s a far more profound study of character when there is more than one hero brought from the past. You get a side-by-side look at how people deal with this sort of adversity. And yes, this is something that has been explored before but can you really think of anyone better to revisit this subject other than J. Michael Straczynski? He’s a true master of setup and follow-through. He not only tells a story of these “fish out of water,” but also layers in questions that can be answered in later issues. It’s a far from straightforward approach to writing. We’re left wondering about the sanity of Rockman, the integrity of Black Widow (no, not Natasha), the fate of Blue Blade, and the overall nature of Dynamic Man. If it was a simple retelling, no one would be interested. We’ve been there before. But by interlacing an air of mystery, people look forward to the next issue, the answers brought to the surface, the truth behind appearance. Straczynski just does that.

This is another good issue from a master storyteller. And since I doubt anyone has a vast knowledge of the characters involved with this book, it’s something everyone can read. Jump on board while you still can. 9/10

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Dana Severson is one of your resident reviewers of all things
Marvel. He is often found red-eyed and filled with caffeine.