Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

A so-so spider, a couple good ones, and another title in danger of being dropped.

The Amazing Spider-Man 556

by Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo

This part of the fill-in story doesn’t seem as bad, because they actually address a few threads that have been running through the reboot. JJJ tries to sneak out of the hospital, and Aunt May is at least mentioned for a change. Most of the issue is people talking and Spidey trudging through the snow, with his web shooters on the fritz because his new mix gets frozen by the snow, something that I don’t think has happened in the past forty years of Spider-Man stories.

The new villain makes Spidey look like a novice and nearly kills him. There’s a twist at the end that is fairly predictable, and they continue with the love-fest of a letters page, with nothing but glowing praise for gutting their continuity and making the character “interesting” again. I’m not sure why they are so captivated, considering Bachalo spends most of his time drawing sparse panels containing the whiteness to represent snow. It’s like they were behind schedule, so they inserted something easy for the artist, putting New York under a pile of snow that is reflected nowhere else in any of the other Marvel books. I’m still basically just waiting, hoping next issue is the end of this particular story.

Fantastic Four 556

by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch

CAP is on the loose, but it’s the Conserve and Protect robot (heh, heh, that pesky Marvel; they can’t wait to kill a character and then bring back tons of references to him in every comic book there is. He’s like the Elvis of the Marvel universe, seeming to have a heavier presence when he’s dead than when he was alive). Alyssa built him to be extremely powerful, and the only problem I have is the fact that he takes out about 40 heroes, but those same 40 heroes are awake and trying again in six pages. Wolverine I can understand recovering that fast, but in their attempt to convey an epic scene, they rush things a little too much.

The rest of the pacing of the story is relatively good, with a good amount of time spent on Johnny’s recent escapades, while still giving enough screen time to the others. Reed gets less screen time, but in the context of the story, it’s just right; Millar’s sense of pacing is good. Hitch’s art continues to be excellent. Even though we’re in the middle of a storyline, this is almost good enough to recommend to a new reader at the same time.

Nova 12

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Paul Pelletier

Seriously, Pelletier’s pencils have never looked so good before. If he can remain this good on other projects, we might have a new star in the making. The entire team remains top-notch, with a logical progression to the story. Pacing is good here as well, plus a sense of sacrifice with Warlock. One of the best traits of this title over most others is that you never really know who is going to survive, and who is going to die.

This title’s got it all, folks. Action, adventure, drama and conflict! Nova has some buddies in his war finally, and it all ties into Annihilation: Conquest #6. This is not one of those tired old crossovers done purely for bucks. This is an epic space saga so big that one title cannot contain everything. The smooth fluidity of Nova and the Annihilation: Conquest storyline is a great example to all comic companies of how to pace a crossover event. Between the somewhat lackluster events the two major companies have done recently, it is very satisfying to see an event like this firing on all cylinders.

Wolverine 64

by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney

Guh. This is only part three of a very drawn-out Wolverine-hunts-Mystique story, and the decompression is killing me. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby would have finished this in one issue, and done it better, and given us five new villains by now. Granted, I sort of like the way Logan gets into the embassy, but Mystique holds him off with a chair (!) and slips past him again (!!), so this title is eerily parallel to his Origins title, where they are wasting time and space with a Deadpool-hunts-Wolverine four-parter, that is so bad I quit collecting the title. Scanning Origins in the store, the next issue looked similar to the issue I dropped.

If they’re going to do this with the character, why not just admit there’s a dry spell of good ideas, cancel the title for a renovation, go away for a couple months, and restart it with a new #1? I don’t like it when they reboot, but it’s better then the dren we’re getting now. Part of it is probably due to Ron Garney’s sparse art style; there is very little detail, whereas another artist might fill in more of a story-telling aspect with his ability. Instead, the bulk of conveying information is left up to Jason Aaron, and it’s not enough.

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