Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part One

The Amazing Spider-Man 572

by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr.

The haters may finally have to step aside. No matter how much protest there has been over Spider-Man’s reboot, the creative team has focused more on actual stories, and they are finally good. Osborn uses the Thunderbolts, plus a captive Freak, to cure Venom, make a weapon against Anti-Venom, and track down Spider-Man… and that’s before he puts on the funny green-and-purple clothing! The fight with Bullseye is cool, and Brock’s new x-factor as Anti-Venom makes things more interesting.

The only thing that could sidetrack them now is if they get distracted trying to “fix” their retcons. Better to just continue with these cool stories and never look back. So why do I have this dreaded feeling that they’re going to step in it after a few more issues?

Guardians of the Galaxy 5

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Paul Pelletier

Pelletier and Magyar continue to make a great art team, and Clint Langley is consistently doing eye-catching covers. The characters inside are growing by leaps and bounds, especially the supporting cast. DnA introduce us to more members of the Luminals, the most exciting new team I have seen since the introduction of the Imperial Guard (and everyone who read the Legion knows they weren’t actually “new,” per se). Within a few short pages, the art and narration combine to give us a cool fight sequence, introduce the new characters, and tell us a little about who they are and what powers they have. This is Marvel the way Marvel used to be! There are way too many writers who throw new characters at us without a satisfactory introduction.

Between the “manipulation” bombshell Drax overheard last issue, the conflicting agendas on board the space station, the appearance/threat of Starhawk, and the rife between the team members, we already had a full plate. Now we also have a Skrull problem. It all falls apart at exactly the same moment, providing us with a bunch of action. Cosmo is also involved in the Secret Invasion Skrull problem, but in a different way than you might think. Again, DnA do something a little different than the rest of the mega-crossover writers have done. You’ll have to wait until next issue to see what it is, but it is the most well-done twist in this whole meta-event, better than anything Bendis has tried to do in three different titles.

This is one of the best comics on the stands today.

Incredible Hercules 121

by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, and Clayton Henry

Sacred Invasion is over for Hercules, so what’s next? Why, Marvel’s own take on Hippolyta, her daughter, and the Amazons. Pak and van Lente continue to mix in little flashbacks that elaborate on the ancient trials and adventures of Hercules, adding more insight into his character than most previous writers have even attempted.

Herc has ditched the awkward “deity” speech patterns, and now seems to be wandering around the planet like a big huggable doof, not taking things too seriously. It is slightly off-center from his classic overbearing but big-hearted attitude, which suited him better. Still, the variance is not too far off, and the writers are taking us to corners of the Marvel universe that we don’t get to see too often in other comics. I’m not sure how long the title will hold my interest, but it was solid enough for me to buy, and Arthur Suydam did a great cover.

Plus, there’s a hilarious Mini Marvels cartoon in the back.

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. 33

by Christos N. Gage and Sean Chen

Stuart Moore is gone, yay! The new creative team is already awesome. Adi Granov does the cover, and he does some of his best work with nice shiny surfaces like armor, so it’s a perfect fit. They stamped ‘War Machine” on the cover, and they might as well change the indicia too, because this would be a great vehicle to re-introduce War Machine in a meaningful way to the Marvel universe. His backseat role in the Initiative has been uninteresting.

Sean Chen did Iron Man back in the day, after the failed Heroes Reborn story. Chen re-launched the series with Kurt Busiek as the writer, and it was great. Here, Chen’s style has fallen slightly, and I can’t tell if it’s because his newly-defined way of drawing faces has become permanent, or if his inker is doing him a disservice. Either way, it’s not as good as it used to be. That said, it’s still pretty good!

The final pages are awesome. This title is finally worth checking out. Do yourself a favor and get it.

The Mighty Avengers 18

by Brian Bendis and Stefano Caselli

Homage cover to Strange Tales (1951) #135.

This is the best thing I have read by Bendis in so long, I can’t even remember. Nick Fury is undercover, training a bunch of new heroes, and breaking them down first only to build them back up in a covert ops version of boot camp. The dialogue is witty, the modern teenagers toss around some great banter, and Fury lies to them almost all the time just to get them properly trained. When he gets called on it, he tells them, “You’re a soldier!! If I tell you red is green, red is green.”

This is about the only jewel in all of Bendis’ part of Secret Invasion so far, and it stands out from all the others by miles in terms of its humor and storytelling. If only he could give us something this awesome more than once a year.

Uncanny X Men 502

by Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and Greg Land

Was this a coloring error or a lettering problem? Because I can’t make out half the words on the strike files roster on the second page. Bad choice for colored words against a pure black background, guys. Everything after that is pretty good, though. The solid writing gives us some good narration panels that add depth to the story, while the art works proficiently to show how experienced the X-Men are, especially at taking down regular chumps.

Greg Land has one problem on art, though. He has Cyclops, ol’ grim Slim himself, smiling way too freaking much. It look like he’s smiling twice in a row, when all he’s doing is laying out the ops plan for their imminent battle. Someone should tell Land to stop doing the half-way open porn-smile crap on all of his characters. Bad enough he did it to all of the women, now we get Scott Summers doing it? Gross. Logan’s teeth on the cover look like you could just take them out if you wanted to. Small gripes for a good issue.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.