Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Pull up a chair, it’s more good than bad!

The Amazing Spider-Man 559

by Dan Slott and Marcos Martin

Well, the saving grace of this title has been the art, but even though Dan Slott is back, and he tends to write our favorite wall-crawler better than most others, the artist is not a super-star. One would think that Marvel would continue to use talented people at the top of their game to keep their solitary title looking good, but Mr. Martin is just not in that class.

The story is a little improved, but with small, glitches, let’s call them, interspersed throughout the story. The weather has been a character recently, with Spidey’s neighborhood being snowed in, although this has not been reflected in any other title. There was still a little snow depicted last issue, but this issue it is inconsistent. We go from a lush coverage to a street almost entirely devoid of it, depending on the page. There was not enough effort given to make the environment relatively the same throughout the story.

Then the story takes a twist that makes you wonder who this really is. Peter Parker accepts an assignment as a paparazzi?!? His fabled Spidey-sense does not help him avoid pointy elbows from his competitors. Then, throwing everything his Uncle Ben ever tried to teach him out the window, he uses his powers to catch a celebrity pictures, for a two million dollar payday. He promptly has trouble running away, displaying his abilities in public as Parker, and then stopping short just because a woman he knows is in a hot dress.

Presto, Pete’s a millionaire. He can to just afford to move out, he can move into a plush place, buy all the web fluid he wants, and pretty much anything else he feels like now. Is this intentionally bad writing? Have they utterly destroyed the ethical, guilt-ridden character who as grown into one of the most responsible heroes in the world? Or is this supposed to be one of the effects of accepting Mephisto’s deal? Either way, it stinks to high heaven. Marvel seems to be sacrificing what the character was in an attempt to keep him relevant to a younger audience. Maybe their sales charts say it’s working, but there are cases where a commercial success does not impress me. As someone who knows the history of the character and grew up with him, it’s one thing to have Ultimate Spidey go off and do whatever the writer wants him to do. Uncle Ben is rolling over in his grave right now, and this title just came on my radar as one to possibly drop if it gets any worse.

Guardians of the Galaxy 1

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Paul Pelletier

If I do drop a title, here’s a new title for me to collect. Coming out of the Annihilation: Conquest story, Star-Lord and Adam Warlock have assembled a team to be cosmically pro-active: Rocket Raccoon, Quasar (Phyla), Drax, Gamora, and Mantis as a support person. Their base is Knowhere, recently discovered by Nova, and Groot is still around as well. This issue has it all: good action, good story, good characterization, and what looks like some really interesting plots coming up. Get in on the ground floor, folks, this one’s a keeper!

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom 2

by David Micheline, Bob Layton, and Ron Lim

This is a really solid second issue. Often the second issue acts mostly as a placeholder, a slow way to get from Point A of a story to Point B, and can make for an unremarkable mini-series. Not here. Doom’s machinations are delightfully devious, and builds logically upon his past relationship with Morgan le Fe. Iron Man has some colorful battles against Mephisto’s minions, but will escaping be enough? Because Doom has been successful so far, and who knows what his next goal is? This is easily better than half of Marvel’s current ongoing series on the stands. Pick up the trade later if you don’t want to go hunt down issue #1.

New Exiles 6

by Chris Claremont and Roberto Castro

This title is on the edge for me dropping it off a cliff. The story is a silly one, with the conclusion of the prince-loves-a-dragon story. For some reason, the veteran Kitty is thrown for a loop just because the version of Kitty she is representing/manifesting right now is beautiful. Oh, and still no explanation for that, by the way, so Claremont continues his decades-long trend of starting fifteen subplots and never bothering to explain any of them. Does he expect to be on this title two years from now? Because I’d bet he isn’t.

The whole creative team is getting sloppy, as Morph fights Venger. In another panel, the prince chases after his dragon love. The only reason I know this is because I stopped to examine the page better. They used Morph’s costume and body to call out the dragon’s name and chase after her. They got the coloring entirely wrong, so you think it’s Morph at first. I can’t remember the last time I saw such a blatant coloring error. How do things like this escape editorial? And their marketing folks? And their proof-readers? I remember in the 70s and 80s when someone’s gloves would be the wrong color, but this is the type of rookie mistake you would expect from a new team.

Venger is incredibly lame, but it looks like we’ll be seeing more of him in the future. The whole direction of this book has been lost, and it bears almost zero resemblance to the spirit of the book when it first started. It happens a lot with long series that change creative teams. We’re due for another change. Don’t bother with this book, I’m hanging on purely for car-crash-witness reasons.

Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four 1

by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Barry Kitson

The scenes involving the Fantastic Four in the Secret invasion series were insufficient, but this three-issue mini-series will make up for it. Kitson’s art is awesome, and we are treated to some nice pages full of lots of energy interspersed cinematic pages of cosmic panorama. There’s also a surprise villain at the end that fits in very well with the group’s history. This issue was already better than Secret Invasion #1.

Thunderbolts 120

by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato, Jr.

The Green Goblin takes center stage as the rest of the team falls apart, under attack by the four mentats held in the Thunderbolt’s prison cells. This issue features my least-favorite Marko Djurdjevic cover, but that’s not saying anything too bad, because the cover is still pretty decent. Deodato’s art is impressive, and I think he has reached a new high. His attention to shadow and lighting enables him to portray this “dark” team appropriately, and I think this is some of the best work in his career.

Wolverine 65

by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney

Can we hope that a new creative team is taking over Wolverine? This is the fourth part of the “Kill Mystique” story arc, and Logan doesn’t do it. Jason Aaron wraps up the almost-meaningless flashback that retroactively reveals how the two first met. The two fight to a stalemate, then Logan leaves a gun behind so she can kill herself. Everyone knows that she will not do this, that she will survive and come back, so Logan goes through all that effort and then walks away. It’s a waste of space, and a waste of my money, and the ending might be dramatic if we thought there was any chance that this would be the final appearance of Mystique. Another bag of rocks from Marvel.

X-Men: Legacy 211

by Mike Carey, Scot Eaton and Brandon Peterson

It’s a journey of more flashbacks for Professor X, and we find a mild surprise, that Mr. Sinister had his hooks into Charlie when he was a kid, and most likely did some genetic tampering. Do we owe a villain a debt of gratitude for making the founder of one of the world’s greatest super-teams into a powerful telepath? Mike Carey takes us on a delightful tour of X-Men history, bringing up threads of stories long-neglected. Although the action is low, the development of Xavier as he attempts to reconstruct who he was is a very gripping tale, and is holding my attention quite well. It might have more trouble, but they have two excellent artists working on the different styles of art sequences, and the overall combination of art and story makes this title a knockout. It might not be appealing to a new reader, but trying to be objective, it strikes me as if they are trying to write in a way that will not confuse newer readers too much. I’m not sure how successful they will be in that.

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