Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part Two

No time for kibitzing, so let’s jump right into it:

1985 #2

by Mark Millar and Tommy Lee Edwards

At first I wasn’t going to read 1985, because the synopsis sounded like a twelve-year-old’s fantasy. I’ve already read a ton of stories over in DC involving Earth-Prime, where heroes appear on a world that has no other heroes. The Flash has made trips to our universe, we’ve seen Ultraa, Superboy-Prime, watched our planet get blown up during the Cuban Missile Crisis during a JLA/JSA/All-Star Squadron crossover… what would be the big deal about Marvel doing an Earth-Prime story?

But two people at the comic store said it was good, and I wanted to see how an offbeat title like this would tie in with Fantastic Four. I was equal parts intrigued and repulsed. I was intrigued because this is the ultimate kid’s fantasy. Which one of us hasn’t dreamed of being thrust into the middle of an encounter with super heroes, and somehow become the lynchpin to the survival of the world or the universe? I was repulsed because this read like a slight variant on Secret Wars, with less gripping art. I’m waiting to see what the twist is, because right now it’s too familiar a concept for me to enjoy.

However, I can easily understand how anybody who was once a kid and dreamed of a day like this might enjoy 1985 as a treat. Maybe I’ll warm up to it as it goes on. The jury is still out for now.

Mythos: Captain America 1

by Paul Jenkins and Paolo Rivera

Paolo Rivera’s art really works wonders with the historical feel of the Mythos series. It’s like looking at old Italian paintings that dutifully recreate the sense and the atmosphere of a time slightly gone. Despite the untold number of times we have heard the origin of Cap, Jenkins and Rivera together manage to paint a canvas that feels fresh, while simultaneously depicting a nostalgic scene. The end of this book is a nice touch, too. I highly recommend this book.

Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers 1

by Chris Yost and Takeshi Miyazawa

The cover art is misleading, because we got a lot of anime on the insides, and it feels like a bait and switch tactic. It is one thing to have an Alex Ross cover and get Doug Braithwaite art on the inside, but this is something less desirable. Hulkling from the Young Avengers is the main target of the Skrulls, since he presents a possible challenge to the queen’s rule. The Runaway’s resident Skrull, Xavin, fights her own teammates in an attempt to retreat and save their lives. So the Runaways live up to their name yet again. Or at least they try to run. The art really sinks this one, so if you can survive without collecting everything in the Secret Invasion crossover list, this is one to skip. They only have two more issues to wrap everything up anyway, so there aren’t many chances for it to get better.

Thor: Reign of Blood 1

by Matt Fraction, Khari Evans, and Patrick Zircher

The next event after Thor: Ages of Thunder, the winning streak continues for this series of one-shots. The first story has a fairy-tale style of art, not my particular taste, but the story is interesting enough that I didn’t really notice that much on my first read through it. The cool thing about that is, even though I realized later it wasn’t my normal artistic cup of tea, the artist was able to complement the writing so well that I drank it all in as one piece, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Patrick Zircher has some art more to my taste in the second part of the book, with a story that takes a darker twist. We get to see the next major event that shaped Thor’s attitude, adding on to his arrogance from Ages of Thunder. Notice that we still face the fallout from actions of Loki. Did he foresee these consequences this far from when he first embarked on his latest trickery? Or does he just relish the effects that happened after he set the wheel in motion?

In a very good way, we are presented with a Thor growing dangerous and darker towards humanity, and we see the threat, and yet at the same time, since we saw his side of the story, it’s hard to blame him. Matt Fraction has crafted a tale that has us wary of the Norse legend, and sympathetic towards him at the same time, which is not easy to do. The tale will conclude in Thor: Man of War. If you aren’t getting these, be sure to pick up the trade, it will make an awesome trade paperback.

Ultimate Spider-Man 123

by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen

This is a fun little story with an emphasis on Venom. Astute readers will pay attention to the person listening to Eddie Brock on the park bench, and maybe even guess how it ends, but even knowing the ending ahead of time, it’s still a fun story to read. Not saying more than that. This would even be a good issue as a stand-alone to read.

Ultimates 3 #4

by Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira

I am waiting for this book to really reach its potential, but so far it is shaping up to be the least impressive of Ultimates runs. Jeph Loeb is trying to tease us with the true identity of the Black Panther, but the rest of the story is a rather uninspired fight with the Brotherhood. Even the coloring seems less than good in this issue. I don’t like the way Thor is rendered at all, it reminds me of a manga video game with a template troll berserker warrior. The mal-proportion of the characters wasn’t good with Rob Liefeld, and I don’t like it here either. Madureira needs to either take anatomy lessons, or change his style of exaggeration. I know a lot of people like him, but I don’t get it.

Loeb’s conversation between Wasp and Hank confuses me too. Hank tells Wasp something only the two of them will know, precisely to prove he’s not a robot. Wasp responds by saying, “Who told you about that? Nobody knows that happened!” Well, nobody but the guy you were with, Hank. Why would she be surprised that the guy trying to prove he’s the right, true guy would know something only the two of them are supposed to know? She sounds totally blonde in that moment. She has also lost all traces of her race in the Ultimate universe, and seems closer to the white chick in the regular Marvel universe under Madureira’s pencils. Not good.

Young Avengers Presents 6

by Matt Fraction and Alan Davis

Eli and Kate start off with the awkwardness of trying to just be friends on a date, which Ronin interrupts so he can set up an appointment of sorts with Kate. This is the old Hawkeye vetting the new Hawkeye. Fraction could have chosen his words with more care, because when he first meets Kate out of his Ronin costume, he claims he is not Hawkeye anymore, she is. But as soon as he gets down to business, he tells her, “I’m still Hawkeye.” Well, which is it then?

I like that Fraction is keeping up on certain trends, though. He throws in a life coach reference, which I might not have known what that was, except that I’m performing a life coach role for one of my friends. What follows is some of the best advice anyone can ever receive: “You’re gonna miss each and every shot you can’t be bothered to take… if it’s worth caring about… you take the shot.”

Other parts of the book are clever and fun as well, from the video game match between Luke Cage and Spidey, to the gossip pattern that makes up the clique of the Young Avengers team, to Clint thinking about what Cap would want. The last two pages are pretty cool too. Get this; if you’ve missed the previous issues, the trade is worth it.

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

Insightful criticism as always TP. I am in total agreement with your opinion of Mythos Captain America, a well done, moving story. I would like to see more of these types of stories, familar to the long time fans, but acessible to new readers as well.

-- Posted by: earl jones at July 1, 2008 9:46 PM