Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Here's the run-down this week, folks. Two that are so-so, two that are good if you're already reading them, and one you should get no matter what.

The Amazing Spider-Man 554

by Bob Gale and Phil Jimenez

I think if enough time goes by, most of us will let the One More Day stuff die away, and thankfully, all of the artists selected for the different creative teams have been excellent. The story is finally becoming not-so-lame, although his Spider-sense still seems to only kick in when the writer bothers to remember it.

Everybody is bad with math, too, because Peter just supposedly spent a lot of money to replenish his web fluid, and still owes others money, but give him $2000, and suddenly he’s thinking he can move out. Suddenly it’s like Mephisto wiped all of the maturity Peter built up over the past twenty years as well as his memories. It reads almost like a 60s comic, but in a bad way, because we know Peter is good at math, and we know he frets about money, and we know he should be thinking about paying off his debts still. And a starving photographer KNOWS that he can’t always count on making the same big money time after time, and tries to average out his money so the big payoffs will get him through the lean months. Despite all the money and editors and attention Marvel throws at Spidey, they still get details like this wrong.

I could spend a few paragraphs ripping into them for suggesting a bundle of stem cells can create an ever-super-speed-evolving bad guy, but frankly, it’s just a simple plot device, and everybody shrugged and said, “heck, it’s just a comic book,” so I’ll do the same thing. You want to wave your magic wand and claim everything “evolves” until it can’t be defeated? Guess what, Chris Claremont has recycled that particular gimmick so many times in his career, he should get a trademark on it. So we have yet another guy who can’t be beat, because every defeat is temporary, and he comes back impervious to the last thing that took him out. All this effort to reboot Spider-Man, and they’re running one of the most clichéd villain types in comic history? Ptheh!

Okay, I said I wouldn’t tease them too much about the magic of evolution, but then Connors claims that the cold will slow his transformation. If this thing evolves as fast as we’ve seen, why wouldn’t it just sense the slowing, and evolve to a state where the cold affected it as little as fire will? Plus, his whole solution is to put it in stasis with quicklime. Guess what? He’s already in stasis! Connors said it was! So to stop him from coming out of stasis… you’re going to put him in stasis? I take it back, this title is still lame. The current writer should go and not come back.

Oh, and for a bonus, they have a letters column so they can defend (still!) One More Day. They have a couple of glowing letters using the most flattering words to describe how wonderful the book is now thanks to something that rivals the Clone Saga, and one small letter that mentions a guy is canceling. I still can’t recommend this book unless you like mediocrity with a side of good art.

Captain Marvel 4

by Brian Reed and Lee Weeks

This issue is a stepping-stone issue. By that I mean, nothing big happens other than trying to generate suspense, just so they can do a conclusion next issue. The problem is, the question that is being asked is this: Is this the real Captain Marvel, or a Skrull? Let me spoil this right now, for people who have not been reading comics for thirty years: It’s the real Captain Marvel. Why? Because it would be more interesting if he was a Skrull, and that’s precisely why Marvel has decided it will really be him. My guess is that they will end this with him back in the time where he needs to be, so he can have his nice little orderly death of cancer. It has been a predictable, mediocre read, but it had the potential to be some much more, which is why I took a chance on it, but I’m leaning towards the recommendation that you pass on the trade unless you’re a completist, and want everything to do with the Marvel-wide Skrull storyline.

The Immortal Iron Fist 13

by Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker, Tonci Zonjic, and David Aja

Things are slowly coming to a head as Xao completes his portal and opens the way from Earth to the Heart of Heaven. This is Round 6, but there is no battle between the living weapons of the cities. This issue is mostly concerned with putting all of the players into their proper positions for a showdown, so it may be all over in an issue or two. Without the practice of flashbacks, though, they needed a pretty heavy introductory page of text to explain how we got to this point. Not a good jumping-on place for a new reader! (Just so you know)

Iron Man 27

by Daniel & Charles Knauf, and Carlo Pagulayan

Good art and good story, but Marvel is running into trouble with continuity. It’s not even a problem with past continuity, but rather just maintaining consistency among its titles. In almost every other title in Marvel, Tony Stark is the (censored), and in his own title, all of S.H.I.E.L.D. is almost persona non grata in the United States, with all of them on trial. All this while everywhere else, he’s in charge of ferreting out the Skrulls and protecting humanity? If they’re going to do this to us, they should put together a running timeline on their website so we can see where all the stories fall.

Thor 7

by J. Michael Straczynski and Marko Djurdjevic

Even if you don’t normally buy Thor, you should buy this issue this month.

It is quite possibly the best single issue out of anything else in the past month.

Despite the lack of action, Straczynski is taking this title in a very interesting direction. Thor has brought back everyone but Odin, so Thor can finally chart the destiny of Asgard. Are we so sure Thor should have gotten mad at Iron Man the way he did, considering what he just did to his own family? There are some interesting developments with Don Blake, and with Thor in his Thor-sleep, plus a revelation from Odin that is a really good read. It stands alone as a great tale, and you can ignore whatever comes after it if you want. But it also blends in well as a normal part of the ongoing storyline.

As my only complaint, did anyone else notice that Laura Martin is gone from the colorist slot, and in her place is… Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic? Really? Maybe Laura Martin had to move on to another assignment, but Marvel is going to be filling in replacements with nepotism? That’s how you’re going to run the business these days? Because there’s no way you’re going to convince me she would have gotten the job without Marko Djurdjevic on pencils. Ah well, if that’s the way they want to play it, I guess it’s their call. I can only imagine what somebody else might be feeling right now who wanted a shot at coloring the title.


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