Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part One

Avengers: The Initiative 17

by Dan Slott, Christos N. Gage, and Harvey Tolibao

Talk about a great turn of events. The cover, with Ant-Man walking amidst a bunch of super-hero chess pieces being handled by Spider-Woman Skrull, is eye-catching. The inside art by Tolibao is full of detail, and makes me want to keep him as the regular artist on this series. The story just plain kicks butt.

The Shadow Initiative is deployed to combat the Skrulls taking over Camp Hammond, and Ant-Man’s notorious cowardice is humorous and valuable. The Kill Krew is making their way state-by-state through the various initiative teams, identifying the alien infiltrators and gaining strength as they go. There is a real sense of mission and accomplishment, with a perfect blend of action and character development, and the final page is beautiful, full of color and great art, and implying wonderful things for next issue.

If you have been on the sidelines before, and not wanting to risk disappointment with an Avengers knock-off title, I recommend you pick this one up and take a look. It’s got adventure, humor, and mystery all in one little magazine.

Captain America 42

by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Luke Ross

Bucky is growing in confidence in his ability to assume Cap’s mantle, and it is an excellent story with maturity. For a change, we are not watching a young boy mysteriously get powers, or a relative newcomer get thrust into a position where he is the only hope. Instead, we have a skilled combatant who is learning how to handle the responsibility of stepping up to represent the best of an ideal. It’s a slight twist on things that removes clichés and makes for captivating reading (pun unintended).

This issue is what I call a “climax issue,” by which I mean multiple plot threads reach a crest at the same time, and all receive a certain kind of closure. The way that the Red Skull’s plans are beaten while Zola tries to salvage things is great. The Skull’s ferocity at kicking Sharon while she is down is appropriately hateful and violent. This storyline will go down in history as one of the best Captain America stories in the entire series. And to think, it moved us from Steve Rogers to James Buchanan Barnes, all with awesome art… I think I’ll just be quiet now before fanboy gushing takes me over completely. How long until we go back ad re-read this saga in its entirety? Tomorrow? Get this!

Daredevil 111

by Ed Brubaker and Clay Mann

Brubaker strikes again, involving Iron Fist in a nice short cameo that makes sense, and he also introduces Lady Bullseye. I am sure we will have a greater fleshing out of her backstory later, but the glimpse they have given us is good enough to get the ball rolling. Murdock’s developing relationship with Dakota has a natural flow to it, one desperately missing over in DC’s Batman story. The one flub is that Matt seems too often to be gazing in the exact, correct spot as if he was not blind.

The overall result helps to remind us that Daredevil is a flawed person, and makes you wonder if he will ever learn. No sooner does he get out of one jam than he puts himself in a personal struggle. I think a psychologist would have a field day with this guy. This is a good read, and makes for a relatively good jumping-on point for a new or returning reader. The new storyline looks exciting.

Fantastic Four 560

by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch

Millar ties in the “death of Earth” idea with the New Defenders, with marvelous art by Hitch. The issue is mostly a flashback fill-in, telling us how things came to be at the point they are now. You can see a little bit better how Millar’s run on Wolverine, and possibly 1985 now, might be tying in with the time travel aspect

The mystery of the nanny, Ms. Deneuve is revealed, and in typical cinema style that Hitch is famous for, you can almost visualize watching a movie version of this. After a less-than-stellar run by the previous creative team, this story is proving to be highly entertaining. Marvel is putting out some good stuff this week. How can this possibly continue? I mean, it’s already been four good reviews in a row here.

Ms. Marvel 31

by Brian Reed and Marcos Marz

Oh, never mind. Here’s a negative review now! An un-engaging cover that hints about nothing inside, we veer off from whatever new situation reed ended last issue with, and move to something entirely different. Is this a fill-in issue? Or did they just try to give us a sneak-peak into the future last issue to whet our appetites? Either way, it was confusing, and a let-down.

The art is too minimal, with not enough effort. Seriously, one page is nothing but six panels of looking at Carol’s face, with different narrative captions. Not even altering the angle or anything. No details behind her either. Talk about lazy. Was the issue going to be late if they didn’t finish, so they just copied and pasted one image a handful of times? Gross.

The story involves Ms. Marvel visiting her father on his deathbed, a fact complicated by the history. Rogue once swiped Carol’s powers, removing her memories too. Eventually, Professor X restored Carol’s memories, but there was no accompanying emotional attachment to those memories. Carol’s family are all strangers to her. The overall story is not so bad, but it’s a big re-run to most of us longtime readers, and used as a brief interlude for her to drop the bomb that she plans to kill Norman Osborn. And this is related to her family how?

Very awkward and clumsy. I give Brian Reed a couple of points for trying to revisit Carol’s family situation in a meaningful way, but he has a lot to learn about how to connect his storylines when moving from issue to issue. He has dropped every reference to anything that has gone before. What’s up with Wonder Man these days?

New Avengers 45

by Brian Bendis and Jim Cheung

Jim Cheung’s pencils are as great as ever, but this is really being drawn out to the nth degree. Not content with deviating from the main characters, Bendis has already wasted our time with showing us tons of Skrull clones and other minutia, as if he can’t resist picking his nose and describing it endlessly in glorious detail, but now he even veers off the highway to give us another House of M story.

It’s not just a Skrull imitation of Cap, now we have to see how the Skrulls kept their memories during Scarlet Witch’s crazytime. It is entirely unnecessary, and could have been encapsulated in the main mini-series, because he’s been wasting our time there, too. The only worthy event was showing how the annihilation storyline impacted the planned Skrull invasion. Almost everything else here? You already saw in House of M the first time.

Nova 17

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Wellington Alves

Note: If possible, try to read Nova 16 and 17 before you read She-Hulk 32 and 33. It reads better chronologically that way. Can I say anything new about this series without reverting back to gushing fanboy again? The art is consistently top-notch, the cover artists are always amazing, and DnA manage to reintroduce Darkhawk in a way that makes him more interesting than any time since he had his own series.

DnA also give a nice nod to Mark Gruenwald with a character in this book. Gruenwald wrote some of my favorite stories growing up, and it is nice for a change to see someone paying tribute to his memory, as opposed to the millionth mindless reference to Kane street or Adams-whatever they keep throwing around at DC. Seriously, DC writers keep name-dropping like they need to pay tribute or they’ll get docked pay. It is a change of pace over here, as we get an actual character with dimensions, as opposed to a throwaway line about a street or arena that won’t be mentioned ever again.

Bonus time! A Marvel character comes back from the dead. Guess who? No fair, you peeked at the spoiler site! We get to look forward to this character being portrayed in a more interesting manner by DnA than anyone else has done in a while. Unless it’s all a trick…
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.