Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part Two

The Age of the Sentry 1

by Jeff Parker, Nick Dragotta, Paul Tobin and Ramon Rosanas

Jeff Parker seems to enjoy these types of assignments. Instead of just doing a flashback a la X-Men: First Class, they have deliberately re-created the old-time look of comic books, to help maintain the special status that Sentry plays in the Marvel universe, as a character who was around back then, but nobody remembers.

The art style is intentionally suitably archaic, and the story is a fun romp with a monster, and also involves some time travel. Tobin and Rosanas give us a second story that’s just as good, but the real gem is the Marvel Bullpen Bulletin that they used to do, re-created here and used to showcase upcoming comics. Talk about a welcome blast of nostalgia. This is a fun little series; I remains to be seen if they will keep the same art style next time, or update it as they move through the decades to reflect different eras of comic art.

Captain Britain and MI:13 #5

by Paul Cornell and Pat Oliffe

Okay, I think this has morphed into an ongoing series, and Oliffe is a decent enough artist to bring on board, but the whole thing feels like it is missing motivation. Not that they didn’t fabricate one, but it just doesn’t feel like enough to draw these disparate characters together. However, the final page made me laugh. I can’t quite bring myself to recommend the title to anyone, but I’ll keep checking it out to see if there is any improvement.

Secret Invasion: Thor 2

by Matt Fraction and Doug Braithwaite

There’s a slight disconnect at the very beginning, as the first panels show a fully-engaged Skrull party against an Asgardian force, but the final panel shows the main Asgardian host standing grimly, awaiting a call to battle. A little different narration might have set the stage better. Don Blake stays behind to deliver a baby while leaving his forces in the care of Balder and Beta Ray Bill. There’s a nice moment where some of the townspeople try to help the Asgardians, and it is a scene that rings true for a tight community used to relying on each other during emergencies, but those guys are in a little over their heads on this!

The main event will come with the final issue, as Thor reappears. And how will Beta Ray get his hammer back? Good stuff!

Squadron Supreme 3

by Howard Chaykin and Marco Turini

Part 3 of a six-part waste of time. We get a reappearance of Blur and Nighthawk, but that’s it. The series is moving at a snail’s pace, trying to give us views at all of the rip-off characters in the book. And I do mean rip-off! A month or so ago, I mentioned that the patriotic hero they came out with looked like a cheap knock-off of Kurt Busiek’s Old Soldier from Astro City. Old Solider has an amazingly-deep fan base, complete with pages on the internet that chronicle his appearances throughout the timeline of the Astro City universe. Did a copyright lapse or something? I can’t even get the next issue after this, because on the surface, this looks like out-and-out theft.

The character didn’t even reveal his name to us until this third issue… and he calls himself by the exact same name as an established comic character?!? Someone needs to explain how Chaykin and company aren’t thieves. You’ve got a dozen people working on this book, and dozens more in the halls of Marvel, and you’re telling me nobody brought up the fact they were taking the name and substance of a character straight from someone else? I hate to speculate without any facts first-hand, but this stinks to high heaven, and I hope somebody can explain how this can happen.

X-Factor 35

by Peter David and Larry Stroman

I wish Larry Stroman would have learned something over the past 20 years. His characters look exactly the same, with too many bald people all over the place, ears tat stick out too far, minimized eyes for everyone… blech. The plot is cool enough, with the team learning that Darwin’s own father sold him out, but it’s a little weak how easily Darwin got taken, considering his powers.

Some of the Longshot stuff is funny, but even mind-wiped as he is, there is no way he would express support for the father getting killed. Peter David is distorting a good character to fill a blank in his story, and it doesn’t work very well. It feels like he is tarnishing the character. The series is losing what little direction it once had.

X-Men: First Class 16

by Jeff Parker and Patrick Scherberger

Cool: they explain to us on the first page that the series will have a giant-size book next month, followed by a mini-series next year. There was always a limit to how long a series like this could last, but the final issue is fun with the parallels between Iceman and the Human Torch, and the whole issue is a good read, better than the last couple have been, even. Good way to go out on their regular monthly schedule.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.