Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part Two

Check it out, it's attack of the titles: we use colons in the names.

Secret Invasion: Front Line 3

by Brian Reed and CG Studios

Move along, nothing to see here. The same bad art, and CG Studios is given a company name credit, they don’t even bother to tell us the names of the group doing this. I might cower under an alias too, if my art was this bad. Come to think of it, my attempts at art are worse, but I never try to show them to anybody, let alone charge money for others to look at them!

There is a Skrull on the loose stalking a father-daughter couple, for no apparent reason. Ben Urich takes turns running to explosive sounds and away from them, for no real reason. A bus driver distracts three super-Skrulls, because a Skrull dressed up like Thor obviously can’t get into the bus. Oh, I would so like to be able to hide in a bus that could hold off someone near Thor’s level of power! They have a nice, quiet conversation strategizing inside the bus, then show the bus driver getting out and attacking those Skrulls… with them somehow between the driver and the bus!!!! Oh wow, is this series a train wreck. Hey, and the bus driver survives, too, how cool is that? At least two or three super-heroes have been killed in a flash by the Skrulls, but three of them can’t manage to kill a normal bus driver. What are bus drivers made of in New York? I want to hire one!

We end with some group of gang members who have used the chaos to stake out… the tunnels in a subway? Really? Get much traffic down there, do you fellas? How can I possibly buy one more issue of this dreck? I tell you, I better get a tax rebate for this. The things I read to help inform the fans…

Venom: Dark Origin 2

by Zeb Wells and Angel Medina

At first, I passed on this mini-series. A mini-series has stricter rules before purchase, tougher standards for writer and artist. Zeb Wells, while doing better lately, was not one of my personal top-ranked writers. Angel Medina, while somewhat gifted, does not seem to have grown much as an artist since the days I saw him drawing Spawn, years ago. I’m not sure what made me go back and flip through the pages when issue #2 came out, but I’m glad I did.

Wells paints a pretty good picture in the first issue that gives us some insight into what shaped Eddie Brock in his younger years. The second issue shows us a better idea of how Brock became such competition for Peter Parker during the Sin-Eater saga that cost Jean DeWolff her life. The writing is solid enough to make me want to continue reading, even though we all know how this story turns out. Medina’s art is okay, if you can get past the way he elongates all of his faces, and the obsession he has with noses.

X-Men: Manifest Destiny 1

by various

Another mini-series I almost passed on, with a bunch of little stories inside. Mystique has resurfaced already, making the “Kill Mystique” storyline in Wolverine even more ridiculous than it already was. Mike Carey and Michael Ryan do the writing and art on it, and it starts off well enough. Then we switch to another story.

James Asmus, a new person to me, writes as Chris Burnham draws. The art I can live without, but the dialogue was pretty good for this. This story is “to be continued” too? I think I would rather they gave us a solid, entire story for one character each issue than these drawn-out mixings of characters for four issues.

The final story is written by C.B. Cebulski and drawn (with heavy inks I don’t like) by David Yardin. The spotlight is on Karma. Karma has been out of the spotlight for a while, but the last time we saw her, she had been changed into a lesbian, and was trying to hit on Kitty Pryde, so here she is mourning the loss of her friend Kitty. The loss of control is a little reprehensible for her at the end, and this is more of a compelling story that deserves an additional commentary than the other two. Instead, it looks like this will be the end of the Karma story. Too bad; there is almost an entire mini-series that can be covered here following Karma as she tries to achieve a sense of balance and control in her life.

X-Men Origins: Beast 1

by Mike Carey and J.K. Woodward

Sean McKeever and Mike Mayhew move aside, Jean’s story is over. The Beast’s story is told by Mike Carey and J.K. Woodward. Hank is fully aware he is different from other kids, even though at present his condition is far less noticeable than any of his other future teammates. Much like most of us were like in high school, Hank plays down anything that might make him stand out, in an attempt to fit in and have friends in his peer group. The mutation-as-a-result-of parental exposure to radiation is totally false, but it is, by now, a decades-long conceit of Marvel-land, their unique magical way to explain the presence of so many super-humans in one fell swoop, without having to come up with an individual explanation each time.

The art has a in-the-past painted quality to it that fits in well with the era, and the dialogue is very natural, allowing the story to flow smoothly the entire way through. The creative team members really complement each other well, masterfully deciding when to have words, and when to just let the picture tell the story.

The last few pages are a little weird, because I do not recall Professor X mindwiping Hank’s parents back in the day. The casualness with which it happens actually helps to deliver a jolt to the reader. Was the Prof really this loose all the time back then with his powers? Every visit back to memory lane seems to showcase another example of Xavier abusing his powers. This is probably just Carey doing a slight retcon to add gravity to his current work in X-Men: Legacy. As the resident online judge and arbiter, I will allow it. Good read.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop. He is open to anyone who wants to dispute his judgments and arbitrations.