Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Spoilers below for the final issue of Captain Marvel.

Annihilation: Conquest 6

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Tom Raney, and Wellington Ives

There is a lot going on with a multitude of characters in this final issue, but somehow everything seems to fit right in, and comfortably so. Granted, the wrap-up issue seems to conclude a lot of things in a very convenient fashion, but it’s hard to write a six-issue mini-series without doing exactly that. Even so, they still leave us with a teaser, by having Adam Warlock talk about an even greater threat to come than both the Phalanx and Annihilus. It is becoming a common cliché to speak of greater trials to come at the end of a story, but we know it leads into the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy series, so it’s easy to forgive them. Who knows what extras might come out in the trade paperback of this series? This was a great ride.

Captain Marvel 5

by Brian Reed and Lee Weeks

Another mini-series has its conclusion, and to be honest, by the end of issue 4, it’s hard to figure out if there is any way they could have ended this story that would have satisfied me. I predicted this would be the real Mar-Vell, because it shows him popping through space-time to appear before the Sentry in Civil War: the Return. Sentry’s Cloc verifies it’s Mar-Vell, and Sentry brings in Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic, arguably the two smartest humans in existence in the Marvel Universe. They put him in charge of the entire freaking prison facility!

It turns out, he’s a sort-of clone, a Skrull with memory implants. Falsies, if you will. And if you’re a somewhat regular guy like me, you don’t like falsies. If you end up with a woman who has storeboughts, it feels like false advertising, which is what this entire series feels like now. Although this is more interesting than the idea of time-yanking, it immediately brings to mind the Spidey-clone story, and we are left with the bad taste in our mouth of having bought an entire mini-series based on the premise that one of our favorite heroes had come back… and it’s not him. Ben Reilly, anyone?

It’s almost a rerun clone story. Mar-Vell’s first child, Genis, came from genetic engineering, and grown to adulthood ultra-fast. So maybe not exactly a clone, but a kissing cousin to it. Elysius getting her hands on some Captain Marvel genetic material I can understand, but how the heck did the Skrulls get some? He was captured by the Skrulls once, but that was before he had cancer. Is there anybody that can’t get genetic material these days? They gloss over how they got his material, gloss over how they duplicated cancer, gloss over how they made a copy of Nega-bands(!)…The Nega Bands were created by the Supremor based off of quantum bands that Quasar wore. But hey, for the sake of wrapping up a story… the Skrulls made a pair too! Oh, and they somehow are able to implant all of the original’s memories into this Skrull too, even though I’m pretty sure the Skrulls never witnessed all of Captain Marvel’s life, so go figure that one out.

The story is very incomplete, and leaves you with the question of how dumb Tony and Reed are for not being able to tell this guy was a Skrull. Either they ran a battery of tests to prove he was the real deal, or the panels in The Return tell the full story, and they automatically accepted it was him. Either way, they got taken. And we were all told that we were reading Captain Marvel, and we were reading a malfunctioning Skrull sleeper agent.

Here’s the worst part: we still have to put up with all of it. It would have been interesting if he was a clone or sleeper agent, and died at the end, or reverted to type, or arrested, or anything other than what happens. Instead, we have the memory of a true hero being tarnished by a Skrull who has delusions of being a hero, and who isn’t going away anytime soon. As bad as the series was, it feels somehow worse to know that this pale copy of a great character is wandering around. I wonder if Hulkling will ever find out that his heart-to-heart with his father wasn’t really with his father?

The Invincible Iron Man 28

by Daniel & Charles Knauf, and Roberto de la Torre

I get confused because Marvel has announced a new Invincible series soon, as they try to capitalize on the upcoming Iron Man movie. The problem is, their current series, Iron Man Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., is still referred to as The Invincible Iron Man in the indicia! Will they change the indicia of this title when the new one debuts? Who knows.

The storyline has dramatically improved in the last couple of issues, and we get a special treat of seeing another of his more popular armors highlighted, although it seems like the Mandarin breaks his arm in one panel, and in the next and for the rest of the issue, Tony’s fine. The way Iron Man wins is too easy; he gets his Extremis abilities back and can access and reroute every missile. Gee, that was tough. That sarcasm aside, it turned out to be an okay read.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom 1

by David Micheline, Bob Layton, and Ron Lim

If you are a fan of Iron Man and have never been exposed to the Micheline/Layton team, get ready for a treat! The big boys are back, with some nice art by Ron Lim, improved with some classy inking by Bob Layton himself. The way Tony Stark finds out about this “hidden mission” he went on is clever, and Iron Man is actually acting like a hero for a change, rather than a douche-bag! Will miracles never cease? This one will be worth your dough, I am recommending it. You don’t have it yet? Run out and get it now! (Unless it’s midnight and the comic store’s already closed. Then you can wait a little bit.)

X-Factor 30

by Peter David and Valentine de Landro

This story is almost a standalone story, but with a cliffhanger. Arcade is on the loose, and most of the issue is the team fighting. It’s not a hash, though, and it feels refreshing to have a comic book where you have some good fight scenes for a change, what with all of the decompressed storytelling Marvel is putting out, and with all of the other just-plain-depressed heroes brooding everywhere. It’s a good read.

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