Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

One title becomes surprisingly good, one becomes increasingly bad, and one predictably stays in the gutter. One issue ends the series, and one issue has an incredibly long title.

The Amazing Spider-Man 551

by Marc Guggenheim and Salvador Larroca

If I turn my brain off and just read, this story would be great. This may be a personal problem, but my brain doesn’t usually turn off. So we open up on a rookie Parker who has already forgotten that he has run out of web fluid. Then Jackpot shows up to rescue him from the cops, even though she spent last issue trying to help tackle and arrest him?!? Guggenheim also makes a rookie writer mistake of peppering the dialogue with too many pop culture references. Most writers try to make the references as widely-popular as possible, but in one or two places he loses me, and I am arguably one of the people who is considered above average in terms of being immersed in popular TV, movies, and comics. If I didn’t catch a reference, odds are half the readers didn’t, which is a waste of the reader’s time, and guarantees that future readers will start skipping over the dialogue the more useless and dated it becomes. Michael Jackson is still a valid reference even today, while Ben Chapman is not. (If you are scratching your head wondering who Ben Chapman is without a Google, congratulations; you just proved my point). Just because the writer likes a current TV program is not enough reason to use it as a reference, if he wants to avoid losing the audience.

In a completely fabricated way, Jackpot makes an even bigger rookie mistake which results in the death of a politician, and even though there is a reference to Parker’s Spider-Sense earlier in this issue, it doesn’t help him to save the innocent. Then, Menace somehow decides that after he has kidnapped the woman, it is only Spider-Man who bears responsibility for her death. Menace disappears less than three feet from Spider-Man in some smoke. It’s hard to figure out how more cliché this could get. And they started out reasonably well, too.

Oh, and still no sign of Aunt May. After they went to all that trouble to save her, Peter making a deal with Mephisto and all, and tampering with the minds of everyone on the planet and all, you would think that they would find a panel to squeeze her into. But no, the massive change in Peter’s life that has prompted this reset to begin with, we’re just going to ignore the prime reason for it. Something stinks when a character is allegedly so important you would give up the love of your life for her, and then you spend the next three issues without a mention or even thought of her. This title is on a roller coaster heading down.

Cable & Deadpool 50

by Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown

The last issue? Say it ain’t so! The snappiest dialogue in Marvel, and better integration with continuity than most other titles in a seemingly-effortless manner, and the audacity to still call their title by two people when one of them is gone… and it has to end? This extra-size issue has a two-page letters column, extra pin-up galleries, complete with a hilarious “find the hidden images” section. Some of the pictures that make up the overall art include duct tape, a stuffed Deadpool, and Marvel Girl’s panties. I don’t make any of this stuff up. My month will be slightly less amusing without Deadpool’s antics to keep me company.

The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death

by Matt Fraction, Nick Dragtta, Mike Allred, Laura Allred, Russ Heath, Lewis LaRosa, Stefano Gaudiano, Matt Hollingsworth, and Mitch Breitweiser

Pant, pant! I’m out of breath, from both the long title and the endless supply of artists they dredged up to complete this story! The creative team continues to switch artistic styles to suit the different time frames of the story that are represented, as we focus on Orson Randall, Wendell Rand, and the rest of their hangers-on.

The many adventures are tied together with the common theme of being hunted by one of the seven Immortal Weapons, the prince of Orphans. In the previous issue of the regular series, he shows up committed to the Thunderer’s rebellion, and this comic tells us how that came to be. With all of the different characters and history involved with the overarching Iron fist story, this issue gives you a good feeling for having relayed worthwhile elements of the back-story.

Iron Man 26

by Daniel & Charles Knauf, and Roberto de la Torre

This issue is my favorite Iron Man story for the past two years, but not because of Tony. It’s because of Dum Dum Dugan. Dum Dum has been a part of the fabric of the Marvel Universe for longer than I have been alive, and he has a conversation with Maria hill that warns her that her next command will be the one that defines her. It is a moment of genuine change for Hill’s character, sparked in part by shame, in part by suspicion of what the correct call to make really is, and it is one of the most character-defining, character-driven scene that I have witnessed in a long while. And just like in real life, it happens in a moment, and does not take any longer.

This issue is also good because Tony is back in his classic armor, the one that most of us still find to be the sleekest and most recognizable. A nifty self-containing nuclear device is cleverly thought up to provide a source of tension, and the art is fairly gripping for the entire issue. Does anyone survive the end of the confrontation? We’ll find out next issue.

If the next few issues are as good as this one was, then people should start checking out this title.

Wolverine: Origins 22

by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon

What started out as a fun diversion has worn out its welcome. This part 2 of a Deadpool appearance does not conclude. It is mindless filler with minimal art, and a nonsensical encounter with a coffee person. They have tried to turn the whole encounter into a Coyote and Road Runner type of thing, and it misses the mark. Instead of wrapping the whole thing up, we have to sit through an entire issue in addition to this next? Oh, and if there is a connection to any part of his origin, as this title was supposed to center on, there is no sign of it yet. Comics this bad should come with a parental warning: keep this away from everyone. It’s garbage!


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