Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Avengers/Invaders 4

by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Steve Sadowski

You have to hand it to Alex Ross, he thinks through his art thoroughly before he gets to work. Luke Cage takes point with his hard skin against Iron Man, as Iron Fist gets his powers ready to find a chink in the armor. Spidey webs up black Widow, since the sneaky ones can sometimes do the most damage, and Wolverine tackles Ares, one natural killer tackling the deity of conflict, already with his helmet knocked off.

The insides are pretty cool too, with the Invaders acting almost like a Special Operations group, highly skilled commandos behind enemy lines. It is interesting that when Iron Man confronts Captain America, Cap calls him a Nazi, and Tony doesn’t even try to explain that he’s not a Nazi. He’s all too ready to resort to his repulsors, even though he is haunted by the possibility of Steve Rogers dying again.

We’re still in the middle of the fighting between heroes bit, but hopefully that will end next issue, because Dr. Strange is finding a mystical component to all of this, and other WWII-era heroes are going to be involved. The new Captain America, who just happens to be the old Bucky, also enters the scene, and the universe does not implode when they come into physical contact, so at least we don’t have to worry about that. Which way will the modern James Barnes fall, with the Mighty team or the New team?

Invincible Iron Man 4

by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

The opening scene is very cool, with Reed and Tony playing multiple games of chess. Fraction is trying to move Tony Stark back towards the futurist thing, the idea that Tony Stark is always several moves ahead of people. It works better with the Batman, and it comes off a little unbelievable against Reed Richards, but it was still a cool scene.

The story falls apart a little after that, with Maria Hill hounding Tony for some of his technology, and Tony claims he will not be giving even S.H.I.E.L.D. the technology that close to Iron Man. Um, excuse me? Look over in your other self-titled series, dude. You’ve got S.H.I.E.L.D. agents armored up in Iron clone armor the whole time! Maybe if you’re holding back some of the tech, that’s why they’re always getting blown away. Hmm, come to think of it, if I was Maria Hill, I might be a little mad too…

There are some cool bits with Pepper, although I have to admit, I’ve never seen her drawn this way before, and it hardly looks like the same character. This issue is mostly filler, meaning no action and small developments, just a calm in the middle of the storm as Tony and Obadiah try to out-maneuver each other. A pleasant enough read, it’s not anything to cheer about either.

New Exiles 9

by Chris Claremont and Tom Grummett

Another alternate world, another variation on an X-Men team. Claremont has a genuine problem of forecasting his own actions. By this I mean Peter Parker attacks Rogue and says, “One kick should finish you off!” Brilliant dialogue, as he explains exactly what he is already trying to do in the panel! This happened a lot in the older, exposition-heavy comics of yesteryear, say the 60’s, but Claremont still feels the need to describe things that do not need an explanation. A simple kicking the habit and letting fewer words go on the page would actually make for a better story in these cases.

Storm breaks up the useless fight, but things just transfer to Sage in a fight, talking up the normal thing that happens in any Claremont conflict, how they can’t afford to make a single mistake, how the heroes always need to be better, blah blah blah. Next verse, same as the first. Then the transition goes to Psylocke, who is being conditioned by alternate-reality Ogun, who uses not just magic anymore, but also science, and does what he already did to Kitty Pryde in the Wolverine/Kitty Pryde miniseries a couple decades ago. Nothing like recycling your old material to pay the bills, eh?

The third to last page takes the cake, as Storm seems to be able to hear (while on shore) the opposition commander announcing the queen’s surrender. Good ears! Emma Frost announces that the city will be destroyed if the super-powered parts of the armies have to fight, and in the very next breath, tells her students to start the fight… between the super-powered combatants. Lovely.

In a final bit of lameness, Sabretooth walks in on Cat Pryde in the Crystal Palace, where she sees entire universes blinking out. He gives her a pep talk, but does nothing to offer to help her save the omniverse. What a jerk! He walks out, leaving her like Oracle, in DC, in front of her computer to play around. Maybe she should have done a little something more, like stopped Sabretooth and explained that if the omniverse dies, he dies. Maybe he might have stayed and tried to actually do something about it. Instead, “The universe is in danger? Oh, all of them? Have fun with that. I’m gonna go watch the Three Stooges in alternate reality TV.” Does any of this even make sense anymore?

Secret Invasion: Front Line 2

by Brian Reed and CG Studios

The Skrulls never run out of soldiers with Nitro’s power. It must be their favorite. Any intentional connection to the suicide bombers we worry about these days? The Skrull detonates inside the hospital, wiping out civilians for no apparent reason. All the other Skrulls are out on the streets fighting the superheroes, but I’m sure they had some master strategy plan to destroy the hospitals as they take over the planet. That makes sense, the first thing any invaders do is destroy the hospitals… wait what? They don’t? Then… this makes no sense at all!

There’s a delay until they give us a break and show the recap page, introducing six characters that we are supposed to care about. What’s hilarious is that Doctor Young is one of them, and just got killed, and the text explains each of the other five, but not her! They must have known it wouldn’t make much sense to talk anymore about your sixth cast member if she just got blown up. Man, I’m glad they saved that sentence by moving the recap page to page six, so the recap happened after she died! How Marvel is ahead in sales these days is beyond me.

This mini-series seems pointless to me, a lame attempt to give us a “regular human” viewpoint to the invasion, and justify keeping the Front Line franchise alive. If this is all they have, I say let it die. Reading this one together with New Exiles put me in a bad mood. Somebody please give me a good story!

The Twelve 7

by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston

Hey look, it’s a good book! Is that all I had to do, was ask? There’s a lot going on, with a murder mystery that has at least three suspects of the Twelve, the Blue Blade finds a promising prospect in the Electro robot, and Master Mind Excello warns the Phantom Reporter that one of their number is going to die soon.

Half the issue is a spotlight on Captain Wonder and his sidekick, who is still alive, but bitter and desperate to rekindle the special feeling he had when he had powers and fought alongside his mentor. The words and pictures combine to convey the mood expertly, and make for a compelling read.

Ultimate Origins 3

by Brian Bendis and Butch Guice

The device that looks like it has an eye and is looking straight at you appears to have sprouted up all over the place. As the cover indicates, this issue shows us different points in time for Magneto, including his first encounters with Wolverine and Charles Xavier. The creepy thing is that the alien observation device appears to have been spying on Charles and Magnus a couple decades ago. How did it know to appear at the exact appropriate place? Who sent it? Is this just another prank by Nick Fury? Only two more issues to link everything together.

There isn’t much special about the story. They have not diverged significantly from the regular universe and history we know, so there is a little divergent flavor, but nothing much. The entire series seems to be a history lesson to prime us for something else. That something else will hopefully be better and more engaging.

Wolverine: Killing Made Simple 1

by Christopher Yost and Koi Turnbull

Okay, everyone who has missed Nanny and Peter, step up and be identified. This one-shot focuses on Wolverine and examines all the ways there might be to kill him. There might be more than you can think of, but remember a while back when he seemed burnt to the bone from Nitro, but came back from that at a record pace? Yeah, that kind of screwed the pooch. Most of Wolverine’s scary descriptions of death are his way of motivating Trance to get in the game, although she probably could have done without him cussing at her. Way to treat a kid, Logan.

The main story is reasonably good overall, and a backup story by Todd Dezago and Steve Kurth is slightly better in my opinion. After that is a plug for Wolverine: First Class, and since I am enjoying that series, let’s hope it works to interest some additional readers. These seem to be filler stories, things that they wanted to insert, but couldn’t find any place to put. Better to do one-shots like this than try for a whole series of filler stories, like the JLA and JSA Classified titles appeared to be. If this sells well, we might see more one-shots in other series, like the recent Daredevil one-shot with Tarantula.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.