Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part Two

Daredevil 109

by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano

It’s almost like a niche for them, but Brubaker and Lark are great for bringing intrigue into the Marvel Universe. While Abnett and Lanning are doing great cliffhangers and giving us little mysteries over in Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, Mystery itself flows all around the current Daredevil story. Some aspect of a man in prison being innocent of his crime, but has to take the fall for reasons of national security. Oh, you just know Murdock’s going to mess this one up too!

Having gone through the proper stages of grief, Daredevil decides to try using his brilliant lawyer brain finally, and for an issue without a truckload of action, there are still enough things that happen. Check out the cliffhanger at the end, too!

This title is picking up speed, at least for this interesting storyline. I don’t think you will read anything remotely close to the intrigue genre in either of the Big Two comic companies right now; this is the place, and it feels refreshingly different.

The Immortal Iron Fist 17

by Duane Swierczynski, Travel Foreman, and Russ Heath

Okay, last issue we were told that no Iron Fist lives past his 33rd birthday. This issue we are told that one of them has. Rookie mistake by a writer I hadn’t heard of before he started on this title, Swierczynski. The page after that revelation is a bunch of people-poses with zero in the way of any decent backgrounds, so the art has also fallen a notch lately.

To get to the decent art, you have to go look at the flashback episodes of a previous Iron Fist. Too bad we only get six pages of stuff from Russ Heath. If they could give enough lead time, I would ask Heath to do the entire thing. While I love the fact that older, better artists get a chance to mix in the modern comics, I wish he was able to be physically present with some of these newer artists and teach them some things while they work on a comic together. Even though Heath’s Iron fist is in the desert, he still manages to include more detail than Foreman does anywhere else!

Uncanny X Men 500

by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Greg Land and terry Dodson

I had high expectations for issue #500 of a good title. Turns out, I prefer just about any of the previous twelve issues to this one. I grabbed the Alex Ross cover, of course, so things started out well, and then plummeted. On page six, Cyclops means to say that they are “imagining it,” but a spelling error makes it “imaging it.” Nothing like taking the anniversary issue of one of your top-selling magazines and having a dozen people miss the spelling errors, guys. Way to go; or should I say, way not to proof your work. I can’t help but feel, with Brubaker’s excellence on this title, that Fraction is to blame for some of the problems I have, but there are difficulties with the art, too.

Archangel shows up- whoops, no he doesn’t, it’s normal Warren, so whatever is happening in X-Force is out of synch, and we are getting discontinuities between titles already. The artists miss multiple chances to show us their scenery skills, as everyone in the whole comic gushes about the view of Marin Headlands. If the view is “perfectly fantastic,” how about you actually give us a freaking picture for a change, instead of spending multiple panels teasing us about how great the view is that we don’t ever get to see?!? In the meantime, the picture of Scott walking the mayor into their facility with Storm and White Queen is mysteriously missing any details of their faces. Was this a rush job to meet the deadline, as neither Ororo nor Emma have faces? Inker miss something? More like everybody missed it, so we’re not even bothering to fill in faces anymore for our art. Did I mention this was the anniversary issue?

Wait, it gets worse. The main villain shows up, tosses colossus around while saying, “Now then, where were we?” On panel four of the same page, he says the exact same thing again: “Now then, where were we?” At least with new Warriors, the re-runs would be in next month’s issue, not on the same page! Are we letting kindergarteners do our proofing for us these days at Marvel? Did I mention this was the 500th anniversary issue to kick off a grand new era and direction for our merry mutants?

So to recap: spelling errors, missing artwork, duplicative dialogue, plus Sentinels that lovingly complete each others sentences, as they have conveniently been programmed to brag about their targets’ impending doom. And near the end of the issue, more compliments about the view… that we still don’t get to see.

Sigh. Please let the next issue be one hundred times better than this one. The one good thing I can say about it is that the fight with Magneto was well-choreographed, and I attribute that to Brubaker.

Wolverine: First Class 5

by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry

I know the art is a little more simplistic on these First Class titles, but I have to say I like Clayton Henry’s work, and the writing is better than most of Marvel’s other titles this week. It is the opposite of Uncanny X-Men 500: no spelling mistakes, no missing artwork, plenty of details for us to feast our eyes on, and some nice art effects with good coloring and inking.

I had taken for granted that this would be simple, easy-going tales, a light read that would not last terribly long. Each issue impresses me, and I have to say, I recommend this title very much. Van Lente adheres to continuity of what has gone before, while still raising an interesting issue with Wolverine’s adamantium. If you haven’t been following this, try checking out this issue.

X-Men: Legacy 214

by Mike Carey, Scot Eaton and Ken Lashley

The mental struggle between Xavier and Mr. Sinister continues, and Mike Carey makes for interesting interaction, as three different sides with different goals and motivations all meet at the same place. Amanda is also interesting, as she quotes a particular Bible verse which would lead us to believe that she considers herself about as important as Jesus Christ; how’s that for villainous?

We are treated to still more flashbacks in the form of a mental battle; long-time readers will spot a ton of their beloved continuity, while newer readers might not know all of the details, but they get enough sense from the words and pictures to understand what is happening, although I would be interested to know if there are any new readers out there that have never read X-Men before trying to read this title. Carey and Eaton make a good team, although the final couple pages might be confusing to people.

Next issue might be exciting: Professor X vs. Cyclops!

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

I just read X-Men 500, and your review is completely dead on. I'm one of those guys who read X-Men for a long, long time in the 80's, and I had a passing thought that maybe I could jump back in with #500. But every single one of those complaints you pointed out is keeping me out.

Honestly, this issue wasn't just a mess of technical gaffes (and Greg Land's incomprehensible art), but for a jump on, there wasn't anything of interest. Which is nuts. This is Brubaker. I DO think X-Men works best when its about mutants as minority, so I'm not sure why this went wrong. But its a pretty good indicator of what goes wrong when you try to wrap up your "jump on issue" in continuity with no explanation.

And I have to beg to differ on the Magneto fight. I had absolutely no idea what was going on through the entire fight. I had no idea Magneto had lost his powers, and when i found that out, I was even more confused.

Anyhow, maybe I'll check in with them again at issue #600.

-- Posted by: Ryan at August 2, 2008 12:36 PM