Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 564

by Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale, Dan Slott, and Paulo Siqueira

The cover claims “You’ve never read a Spidey story like P.O.V.3!” The hook is that the three Spidey writers divided up the story so they each get few pages. Gee, that was really worthy of the hype. These guys are either desperate, or just plain kidding around these days. It’s probably the latter

Anyway, each section of the story switches viewpoint to a different character, which means we get a very small story, just repeated twice from slightly different angles. The villain is a guy who can trick out cars at a touch. Why he would resort to villainy when he could make a fortune in high school parking lots off of rich spoiled kids is anybody’s guess. It’s basically a filler story, and you’re not missing much.

Astonishing X-Men 25

by Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi

As much as I like Warren Ellis, he can’t touch Joss Whedon for how well the characters interact with each other, but this run should be a fun ride regardless. Armor has morphed from a young, respectful Asian girl into a sarcastic comedy relief figure, which is unpleasant, but what can you do? The main feature of the story paints the picture of the X-team setting up in their new digs in San Francisco. They do a good job with the art and the exposition, and Ellis makes a compelling case for helping out the police in civilian clothes, versus the costumes.

Of mild interest is a good scientific explanation for how Cerebra works, and the fact that Beast refers back to a time when there were only 198 mutants left, which shows Marvel is trying to stick with the numbers they gave to us, and throwing out the idea that there were more mutants still around at the time, un-catalogued. The introduction of Chaparanga makes little sense, but you’ll have to suspend your disbelief for the sake of the story. It is supposed to be the world’s dumping ground for alien spacecraft, but everyone knows that in real life the United States would wrap up anything they got their hands on in a remote desert somewhere behind the highest security they could set up, to study the alien technology, and to keep dangerous tech away from the hands of others. So it really does not compute that there could be an entire area where they just dump alien ships, but it’s a neat concept, and it’s Warren Ellis, so I’m just going to suck it up, say it can happen, and see where he takes us.

Avengers/Invaders 3

by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Steve Sadowski

The main focus is just like the cover shows (and thank heaven for a creative team that puts an appropriate cover to match the inside story these days), it’s Past-Namor vs. Present-Namor. Guess who wins? I’m not telling, but it makes for good reading. There are a couple neat beats elsewhere in the issue, with Cap just sitting around, waiting for Bucky to spring him, as they have that as a sitting plan for anytime they get captured together; and the original Human Torch raising some interesting questions as he examines a Life Model Decoy (LMD). The final panel drips with irony, and anyone who reads the current Captain America series will feel it immediately.

In short, this is another good issue in what is shaping up to be an enjoyable story.

Secret Invasion: Front Line 1

by Brian Reed and CG Studios

Interesting cover, with lacking CGI-type art inside. The attempt is to focus on the vantage point of normal people in the Front Line series, but the lack of good backgrounds ruins a lot of the mood. Too much white background when we could use a little detail throughout the entire issue; if the background isn’t white, it’s pale and boring and repetitive.

One page has a remarkable disconnect in the middle of Skrulls wiping out the city and all super heroes with ease: Jonathan goes from on his butt outside his cab in one panel, to evading four or five Skrulls, being inside his car, and backing up, followed by running over a Skrull. The lack of transition can be confusing for newer readers, and even made me study it for a second to decipher how they went about portraying it. Usually, if I stop to study some art, it’s because it’s some good art worthy of a second look. If I have to stop to study art just to clear up my confusion, the artist has done a really poor job. To top it off, while other Skrulls are tagging super-speedsters, Jonathan gets away in his cab!!!!

The end shows a gathering of humans in a hospital, and a Skrull among them. Excuse me, but you have hundreds of Skrulls roaming the streets in broad daylight, after a strategic strike to take out all threats. What possible reason could there be for continuing to hide a Skrull among the injured in a hospital? What possible threat could be worth their time there? If we do not receive suitable information, that means they set this up only to give them a story for the series. Try to avoid this title. I may report on it again, if only to give you insight into the car crash that is this comic.

Squadron Supreme 1

by Howard Chaykin and Marco Turini

The setting is five years after the Ultimate Universe/Squadron Supreme crossover, and Nick Fury has stayed behind. Most of the original Squadron is missing, and we are introduced to a bunch of new powered beings, with the implication that some communicable virus jumped around until it reached a host suitable to express those powers.

The Squadron Supreme originally appeared in the form of the squadron Sinister as villains for the Avengers, obviously a parody to joke around with DC, since the four were archetypes of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash. A second appearance later added in the rest of the Justice League archetypes from the 1980s. The key thing that was intrinsic to them, though, was that they grew to be characters in their own right, and nice Marvel equivalents to their original parody of DC characters.

Chaykin has done nothing more than introduce parody archetypes of the original Marvel hits, replacing the DC archetypes. The new girl is a Spider-Man ripoff, the four astronauts mimic the Fantastic Four, down to one girl, a blond guy, and the fourth member who later transmutes into something distinguishingly different from the other three. The patriotic hero is less Captain America than some type of Uncle Sam personification, but it has already been done better in Busiek’s Astro City with Old Soldier.

Marvel once tried to trash the Thunderbolts team and start an entirely new series with new characters, but they insisted on calling it Thunderbolts. Fans of the Thunderbolts bought the first issue, most threw it away and cancelled their subscriptions. The switch lasted six issues before plummeting sales had Marvel switching back to the original team and premise. So the question is: without having the real squadron around, how long before this series bites the dust? Will they reintroduce Hyperion and company as they go further? Or will the fans recognize a bait and switch and revolt, shutting down this experiment in six issues or less?

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