Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Daredevil 104

by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark

One of the hallmarks of modern comic writing has been to take a somewhat one-dimensional character, usually a villain, and give them a good treatment. The updated telling of their story fleshes them out to give a much more complex reason for motivations besides the classic unexplained desire to rule the world or kill the good guy. Brubaker has succeeded with Mr. Fear, although perhaps this is easier to do in modern times with the ability to decompress a story and allow more issues to develop characters.

Brubaker does just as well with Matt Murdock’s character, as Daredevil tortures Ox without really torturing him, per se. Matt has always been a pragmatic boxer with his willingness to dish out pain, and it’s nice to see that Brubaker has not forgotten this. Michael Lark’s dark art style continues to feed into the grim and gritty world of Hell’s Kitchen and adds to the sense of desperation and fear.

Who knows what will happen with Mr. Fear’s careful calculations, because the Hood also has plans for the local crime scene, and has made it his business to make himself known. One of the worst things that can happen to people who have big plans is to have a third party show up with an entirely separate agenda. It tends to throw all of your planning and preparation into chaos. The sense, though, is that the Hood wants to play nice, so maybe he will have a good proposal that will add to Murdock’s problems.

Fantastic Four 553

by Dwayne McDuffie and Paul Pelletier

The overall story was weak, but a lot of the smaller ideas and portrayals were good in this time travel conclusion. The good stuff is the hope that Ben receives for a future cure for his condition, as well as the thought that he continues to become stronger as the years pass. Future-Johnny burning blue-white hot is also neat.

Unfortunately, the premise that set all of this up is Doctor Doom time-traveling to the past and attempting to deceive the present team with Black Panther and Namor robots. Sue tries to pretend that Dr. Doom doesn’t lie, but he programmed the robots to pretend they were the Four’s friends, which is a lie. So we’re already parsing it into semantics over how big a liar he really is: did he lie, or just have his pet robot lie?

Here’s the worst part of this three-part story: it contradicts itself. As soon as we get to the part where Sue claims Doom has a sense of honor and cannot lie, but he had his robots claim that Doom was there to save the world from Reed. If that’s not enough to convince you, as soon as Reed destroyed the robots in 552, Doom said, “He killed your friends.” That was a lie. Doom himself calls it a “minor deception.” Which makes all of what follows in 553 a steaming pile of (censored).

What follows is a further lie from Doom that Reed will go mad, and present-Reed accepts the future-Doom’s request for asylum; setting aside time-asylum requests that could destroy the timeline, shouldn’t the future-Four have jurisdiction over the future-Doom? Further silliness ensues as future-Ben proves to be loose-lipped. You would think fifty or so years’ worth of this type of stuff would teach him to keep his mouth shut. Doom wants to seal the timeline, which automatically means the two teams have to fight?

In the end, we find out that future-Reed never went mad, but only that Doom’s ego was so big, he wanted to be humanity’s savior. Why this meant they had to fight is never explained, and their mutual solution is idiotic. Both present and future teams agree to send Doom to a different timeline without a Reed Richards, where he can “save” mankind. Excuse me, but have these guys ever been to Latveria to witness how he disposes of anyone who disagrees with him? Have they ever witnessed his attempts at conquest and despotism? Oh wait, they have! Countless times!

Everyone should know that Doom is more than willing to break thousands of eggs to get his omelet exactly the way he wants it. Whatever humanity they sent Doom to, they just (pardon the pun) doomed it. It ranks in the top ten of stupid endings to a Marvel story, and it’s competing with things like the Spidey clone story, folks!

The editors must have been asleep at the wheel to allow something so obvious as the “Doom doesn’t lie” thing to be part of any Doom story. It doesn’t stand the shenanigans test for even one issue. The book deserves slightly better everything. Better story, better art, and better editing.

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