Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review - Part Two

Since I now review all DC and Marvel titles, we’ll follow almost the same format as for DC: Part One will be regular series, Part Two will be specials, mini-series, and the Ultimate titles. Fair? Reader feedback will let me know if the reviews are too long or too short, if you prefer them all in one lump, or like to read a couple pages and move on to the next article. I could just do all Marvel and DC in one post, but I can’t type fast enough to get them all done in one night!

Avengers/Invaders 2

by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Steve Sadowski

I feel bad for Mike Perkins and Laura Martin, because a lot of people won’t even bother to look at the variant cover. We have another beautiful cover by Alex Ross, and he outdid himself this time. I went and looked up the variant cover, and it looks great, but I will not pay for the same issue with a different cover. As good as the cover is, Alex Ross’ still beats it hands down. You’ve got steam rising from Cap’s shield, you have the Sentry looking like a smug Olympian deity, you have the Wasp tenderly reaching out to feel Steve Rogers’ cheek… well done.

Sadowski does great with the interior art too, but the same problem pops up with the plot, with everybody and their dog automatically assuming these are the Invaders. No mention of Skrulls at all, when that should be the first thought. The confrontation is nice, though, with Carol stressing the “Ms.” part of her name for the WW II-era non-liberated Bucky, and Wonder Man’s hilarious reply to the Human Torch as to who he is: “It’s… complicated.” It’s only hilarious if you’re a fanboy who is familiar with the decades of linkage between these two, but as dialogue, it’s gold.

The biggest problem with the story? Namor gets away, and no excuse for why the Sentry didn’t catch him. This has always been a problem for the “Mighty’ team, because they have so many heavy hitters. We get to see how Namor stacks up tackling Ares, Wonder man, and holding off Iron Man, but Sentry got almost no “airtime” in the fight. Are we supposed to assume he had a mental breakdown and was busy arguing with himself again? Aside from that, a solid read. And just wait until you get a load of Bucky!

Secret Invasion 3

by Brian Bendis and Leinil Yu

We finally get eight panels involving the Captain Marvel Skrull. Since he disobeyed his programming, why did he bother to cooperate with the Skrull invasion and attack the Thunderbolts? His appearance so far does not compute with the lousy mini-series we just read about him. At this pace, maybe we’ll find out by issue #8. Next, Echo gets taken out with amazing ease, considering her alleged close combat skill. I suppose a spoiler alert is in order before you read any further, but Bendis wants you to think Iron Man is a Skrull. I don’t think he is. I think it’s a Skrull trick. But I’ve been wrong a time or two.

The part that really makes no sense (besides the frustrating fact that we don’t get to see any of the Savage Land group except for Spider-Woman, Echo, and Iron Man) is when the Skrulls all start shooting purple energy out of their hands and take down every super hero in a few seconds. Well, why didn’t they do that twenty pages ago?!?! This whole story is a mess, and the art does not save it. The art itself is sporadic, with some pages where Yu took his time, and others that look like he drew thirty lousy panels in one day, just to make the deadline.

Ugh. I can’t bring myself to care about any aspect of this story yet, and by issue 3, that’s a sign of a major problem. Bendis considers the “reveals” of Jarvis, Hank Pym, Dum Dum and Jessica Drew as “major surprises,” and lots of excitement up front? He’s only given us half the story on how things happened. It’s like he tried to give us a shocking payoff so every issue would have something that was a “must read,” but we have to wait for the full reveals to get the full impact of the story. Which won’t happen until the end, and we’ll be lucky if we get that much. Give me DC’s Final Crisis and Trinity any day.

Ultimate Fantastic Four 54

by Mike Carey and Tyler Kirkham

Mike Carey has a lot of fun with the dialogue, as in the Ultimate Universe, the members of the Fantastic Four are mostly teenagers, not full-grown, stodgy adults. Reed pulls a trick with his girlfriend that I duplicate later that evening with my girlfriend. It has about the same impact at first, but I get brownie points for it later. Guys, if your girlfriend doesn’t read comics like you do, you’ll find what I’m talking about: do it, and she’ll either think you’re sweet, or weird. Okay, most likely she’ll think you’re both sweet and weird, but it should be worth it.

Kirkham could actually work on how he draws people to improve in that area, but he’s great at backgrounds. So much so that I forgive him for the people. I have no idea how long he’s been at his craft, but if he can manage to draw people to make them as captivating as his backgrounds, we will all be in for a major treat. He does a good enough job with the Ultimate version of the Salem Seven, though. If the quality remains this good, let’s hope that this is not the Ultimate title that gets cancelled soon.

Ultimate Origin 1

by Brian Bendis and Butch Guice

The beauty of the Ultimate Universe was mostly that you could avoid decades-long continuity problems, and just have fun telling good stories, rebooting characters and hopefully introducing characters like Spider-Man to a new generation of readers in a very good way. In that vein, Ultimate X-Men was a bad idea, as it has already become laden down with heavy continuity, and that makes me think (and hope) that it is the Ultimate title that will soon be cancelled.

Which leads us to what could be another big mistake: Ultimate Origins. Everything in the Ultimate universe is tied together. Why? Not because is makes for a great story, but because Marvel wants you to feel that you can’t go without collecting every Ultimate title as part of an integrated universe. It’s one thing for the main Marvel and DC universes to do this, but it’s a pain in the neck when others try it. We already have massive universes to keep track of, we didn’t need one more! I liked that I could pick up Ultimate Spidey and leave Ultimate X-Men untouched on the rack, where it belonged. This is merely an excuse for them to have interlocking four-part crossovers in the future, and I call shenanigans in advance at this blatant marketing ploy.

Rant aside, how was the story? Simplistic. The whole idea, which most of us had already guessed before this series was even announced, is that aspects of the forces which made Nick Fury, the Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, and mostly everybody else, are all linked to the Super-Soldier Project. Whoopedy-doo. You really surprised, me there, Marvel. How many more of these do we have to put up with? Butch Guice does the art, at least. He’s a minimalist with some of the panels, but Guice is actually one of those artists who understands the use of space, and does good work with sparse backgrounds in places.

This title will have to get much better for me to recommend it to anyone.

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