Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part Two

1985 #4

by Mark Millar and Tommy Lee Edwards

It’s part four of six, but moving very slowly. They could have condensed this into five issues. The villains are running amuck, evidently not in full control of their actions. Toby figures out that he’s the only one with a clue, and runs to get the good guys. We have to wait until next issue before we visit the superheroes of the ‘80s. This is probably the worst issue so far, simply because so little happens in the way of the plot. I’ll reserve ultimate judgment until we reach the end, but if this was an Olympic performance, I’d say issue #4 is going to cost them some points.

Incredible Hercules 120

by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, and Rafa Sandoval

The first page introduces our cast in collector card format, complete with Skrull notations scribbled over them. Very clever and inventive, and I suspect the brainchild of van Lente. The writers flesh out the mythology of the Skrull deities quite well. Not only that, but the victory of Hercules and his group signal the turning point of the war. There might be a large number of people who miss out on this due to the old Hulk-switches-to-Hercules problem, but they are actually missing out on a treat. This Sacred Invasion has been superior to the regular Secret Invasion.

Moon Knight 21

by Mike Benson and Mark Texiera

Okay, I want Marvel to refund my money. I may actually return this comic to the comic store, because the Thunderbolts are on the cover, but not in the book. Ryan mentioned a little bit ago that people are not giving certain titles a chance. Maybe it’s because they bait and switch! Moon Knight is running afoul of the Registration laws, and the Thunderbolts are called in to take him down. Unfortunately, all we get is a shot of Norman Osborn on the final page. So, despite the misleading cover, no actual appearance by the Thunderbolts.

What we actually get is Tony Stark trying to play the man, hunting down yet another hero. Like we didn’t get enough of this during the actual Civil War. There is a page concerning a guy named Knowles that is significant, but there is no context to tell a new reader why, which means yours truly will not bother to tune in again, or buy any back issues, to find out. If you refuse to help new readers get up to speed on your sub-plots, you sacrifice any chance to grow your audience, unless you are happy with the same number of readers from the sales of your first issue, and have no plans for anything better than that.

The title started out selling almost 70,000 copies. It is now around 25,000 and dropping, soon to be cancelled, I would bet. Marvel, stop doing misleading covers. Tell your writers to give us some explanations of what is actually going on. Help out someone who might pick up your book for the first time. Or just stay trapped in the loop of re-launching a series for a third-tier character, only to watch it endlessly sputter and die out.

Squadron Supreme 2

by Howard Chaykin and Marco Turini

No redemption in this issue for the new series. We have the Iron Man clone rescue people from a burning house, the female Spider-Man clone use her new powers to take revenge on her high school enemies, and the main focus on the alternate version of this universe’s Fantastic Four. Fury gets blindsided and has zero control, which makes it seem like a misuse of his character. No reappearance of any of the other Squadron Supreme, which makes this title feel like a bait-and-switch too.

We know the Squadron Supreme. This is not them.

Ultimate Fantastic Four 57

by Mike Carey and Tyler Kirkham

Carey and Kirkham strike another good one, as Ultimate Harkness tries to breed and multiply. The interaction between the characters is great, and the dialogue maintains its snappy feel. I’m not sure what will happen next issue, but the one part I feel a little disappointed about is that they will not be pursuing the Susan/Namor matchmaking. One of the few meaningful ways they could dramatically shake up the Ultimate universe, and they are playing it safe. Ah, well, the current stories are still good, anyway.

X-Factor Special: Layla Miller 1

by Peter David and Valentine De Landro

Layla was left behind in a future (an alternate, hopefully?), and we pick up with her in this special one-shot. The opening sequence is clever, both the betting and the occurrence, and the comic maintains its momentum from there. David takes it slightly too far into the silly zone with his “what’s toilet paper” joke, but thankfully he stops there.

This one-shot focuses on Layla Miller and finally gives us an insight on how she views her own powers, her own nature, and what has happened to her. Only one comment does not make sense: she claims to be a piece on a chessboard, but can see the hands controlling the pieces; as a consequence, she can’t make her own moves. No offense, but if all of the other pieces can’t see the hands, then doesn’t that mean their moves are all chosen for them as well? The explanation does not actually clear anything up about her.

However, one aspect of the possible future history of the X-Men has been introduced here, and mentioned on the last page. Pick it up and see. Longtime fans will immediately spot what I am talking about and smile.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.