Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

No major objection to any of the stories this week,. Marvel appears to be on a solid streak of reasonably good story-telling.


Daredevil 105

by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, Paul Azaceta, and Stefano Gaudiano

This story starts with a stretch, because Daredevil is somehow able to fine-tune his radar sense and heightened hearing to drown out everything but the sound of one man’s voice. It’s a quick fix for the corner Brubaker painted himself into, with his main character coming up dry on all of his other attempts to locate the villain. I’m not a big fan of suddenly super-charging someone’s power when we have already established their limits, but let’s say it’s the equivalent of the woman who can lift a car to save her child and leave it at that.

The face-off between the Hood and Mr. Fear is relatively well done by comparison, as the street-thug personality of the Hood comes through, as well as his pragmatic way of reacting to things. What follows when Daredevil catches up turns everything on its ear. Technically, DD wins and Mr. Fear is arrested. Unfortunately, everything that counts has actually gone against Murdock.

This title has been roped off from the rest of the Marvel universe lately, and Brubaker has been allowed to do pretty much whatever he wanted. The artistic team continues to suit the mood of the story very well, but it seems like Daredevil’s life was a teensy bit happier when he interacted with other crime fighters. On his own like this, he has been out-maneuvered at every turn. If there was ever a moment to have a main character contemplate suicide, this would be the logical place to do it. Bet they won’t.


Thor 6

by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel

Another issue with not much in the way of action, and it makes for a fast read. The dynamics of how the new Asgard will get along with the local community is amusing, and the stories of the locals are somewhat engaging. The next big step is the issue of Odin, though. Thor has reservations about bringing Odin back, because of the fear that everything will be locked down into fate again with ole one-eye at the helm. Whatever his reservations, he stops stalling and dramatically restores all of whomever is left that we haven’t seen yet (which allegedly includes Odin).

The one minor problem with the story is the sense from Thor that this effort might kill him. Thor is tough enough that there is never any impact carried across to the reader. We all know he will be in the next issue, so we can’t really summon up any angst or concern. He’s Thor! He’ll get back up. The art is passable enough, but the story is still missing that greater element that makes us care. There is still not enough suitable tension or drama to command attention. If Straczynski doesn’t pick up his pace quickly, he may risk having bored readers go elsewhere.


Thunderbolts: International Incident One-Shot

by Christos N. Gage and Ben Oliver

The Thunderbolt one-shots are a great idea for this title, with self-contained stories that still make an effort to tie into the larger development of the characters. The art is not the greatest, but Radioactive Man is rendered particularly well. Without spoiling too much, because this is definitely a story you should read for yourself, the plot involves the loyalties of Radioactive Man to his country, and the Swordsman’s loyalties, as the other foreign member of the team.

One of the core elements of the Thunderbolts team has always been the historical criminality of the members, and the concept of the flimsiness of the trust factor in the group. That “trust issue” is a main focus of the story, and fits in well with the main theme that has always bene an undercurrent in this title. Very good read.


X-Men: First Class 9

by Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz

Another light-hearted read that shows S.H.I.E.L.D.’s interest in the Scarlet Witch, seeing if she would make a good agent, or maybe go back to the bad guy side of the house. Hydra is used for the goon buffoons, and there is no real sense of danger, which does hurt the story a tiny bit, but there is only so much you can do with a story that takes place in the past, when the reader knows how everything turns out years later.

Oh, and if you haven’t been checking this title out, there are some great cartoons in the back that generate a good chuckle. This title continues to be a good introduction for younger kids, and a break from the heavy continuity required for a lot of the current titles, as well as a fun break from all of the grim and gritty realism from creators trying hard to push the envelope.


X-Men: Legacy 208

by Mike Carey, John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson, Scot Eaton and John Dell

David Finch does another cover, but he wasn’t the right artist for the job. The cover features the original team in their original costumes, when they were gawky teenagers. Finch draws them as modern body-building supermodels. They look great, but it’s a little too muscular and well-defined for the time frame it is supposed to represent. Either Finch should keep this in mind for the setting of his art, or the editor should have picked an artist with a different style for the cover.

The word “Legacy” has been added to the title, for reasons that only the weird heads of Marvel can decipher, because it gives long-time collectors and comic store owners a headache. Most of the issue is spent taking a trip through the shattered psyche of Professor Xavier, which means there is no lingering doubt or mystery for the reader at the conclusion of the last issue. There was a good chance to go in the direction of suspense, and have a hunt for the professor, or at least his body. Instead, they chose to open up directly with him, minimizing even further any dramatic impact of his being shot and disappearing from the previous story.

The art inside is a bit of a treat, as Romita Jr. and Janson get to do the “mindscape art,” and Eaton and Dell take over for the “reality art.” Is it just me, or are the credit-giving people becoming more and more specific in what they decide to label the credits? The story falls short a little, in that the only reason Exodus gives for trying to save Xavier is that he is an asset. Why not leave him with his X-Men then? For all of the new title, we only get to see the X-Men in flashbacks, and nothing of the status of the current team, which means you would need to buy the other titles to get a sense of what is happening with all of the other actual X-Men right now.

Despite all of the little quibbles I have, this was a good read, and some good art. The surprise appearance of someone at the end should delight the readers, and set the stage for some interesting reading ahead. This has probably been designed as a good place for new readers to jump on board, which it kind of is, but be warned if you don’t already know about Moira MacTaggert and Voight’s past relationship with Xavier, or the tampering of Scott’s mind regarding Vulcan, you won’t pick up on everything going on.
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Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

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