Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part Two

Is it just me, or are all these comic titles getting longer and more convoluted?

Spider-Man: Brand New Day – Extra!! #1

by Joe Kelly, Chris Bachalo, Zeb Wells, Patrick Olliffe, Marc Guggenheim and Marcos Martin

Marvel is so inconsistent on what they want to do these days, they can’t even match their own indicia. The cover tries to be a newspaper story, with “Extra!” emblazoned across the top, and on the inside, the indicia actually has two exclamation points!(!) What’s the matter, by the time you guys went to print, you only felt it was worth one for the cover? As if Busiek wasn't being freaky enough at DC to have his characters act a certain way after I wrote about them, now there’s a comment in red at the bottom of the first page, finally remarking on the fact that they keep running the same story all the time, never changing the text. I’m glad they’re having fun with it.

They give us three stories, the first of which shows us how Hammerhead has survived getting shot, while the second reminds us of the complicated relationship between Peter and Harry. The third story is the most interesting, and deals with legal issues. We have some great guest appearances, and an unanswered question that will have to wait a few issues before we can see what led to these events.

This “extra” issue was almost mandatory just because there are so many plot threads running through the single Spider-Man series, there is no way to tackle all of them, even coming out three times a month. Between supporting characters, new villains, the Spider-killer plot that seems to have gone on forever, and various other subplots that have been started by the roster of writers, these short stories help to give some good screen time to help build up a good yarn.

New Universal: 1959 #1

by Kieron Gillen, Greg Scott, and Kody Chamberlain

Did you think this was a non-Marvel universe? Take a trip to the past and catch an appearance by Tony Stark! The surprises start in the first couple pages, and the tale that follows has some nice elements of film noir to it, as the government tries to understand what effect the “fireworks” have had on their planet. The theme is a familiar one, with humans fearing what they don’t understand, and much like mutants, seeing a threat to their dominance on the planet.

Cloaked within the secrecy of a classified government conspiracy, the story works; it fits in with some of the dirty little deeds certain government agencies used to do back in the day, and the cold-bloodedness of it is a little spooky. Although many of the themes are familiar, the presentation is great, as both writing and art work well together to give us a nice backstory to this particular universe.

Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four 3

by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Barry Kitson

This was my favorite Secret Invasion tie-in, to the point I almost wish it could have been a four-parter. From the way Franklin initially misspells “Fantasticar” and then scribbles the mistake out (and the fact that he didn’t catch his mistake on “invisible”), to Kitson’s great art, to the excellent coloring, we’ve got a winner on our hands. We get a resolution of sorts with Lyja, as well as how she was recruited into the war effort; we get to see a touching example of injustice at the Prison Alpha; and we get to see Johnny and Ben return to Earth.

The thing that makes this series different from all of the other invasion nonsense is two-fold. One, stuff actually happens, and we get a beginning, a middle, and an end, as opposed to what feels like a very drawn-out middle in most other series. Two, this read actually made me feel something. When the two got back with plans to find the other half of their foursome, I felt a sense of accomplishment that they were able to get back without the aid of Reed as their “brains.” I also felt their anger at what had happened, and I felt their success and their determination to set things right again. That’s more feeling than every issue of the various Avengers titles put together for the last month (well, more good feelings, anyway).

If you don’t normally collect tie-ins, and there is one series you might be tempted to check out in this entire mess, try this one.

Ultimate Spider-Man 124

by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen

It’s Ultimate Beetle! He’s a little more advanced than the regular one, and has at least a couple of extra capabilities. Added in is some kind of headache Peter got a while ago, and as usual, a lot of chit-chat between Peter and MJ. Are Peter’s headaches related to the appearance of Beetle somehow? Immonen does his usual good job on the art. While not giving us any big surprises, Ultimate Spidey continues to be a fairly solid read each time.

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