Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part Two

Ms. Marvel 32

by Brian Reed and Paulo Sigueira

Remember how Carol commented about needing to kill Norman Osborn? You think we’d get to see what’s up with that. Instead we are off in la-la land doing a flashback to the first time Tony Stark met Carol. Carol is testing a new Stark plane, which doesn’t work so well, which causes Carol to crash and be taken prisoner by terrorists.

What follows is torture, and we are supposed to believe that a normal woman, after a plane crash, with an injured leg and several hours of torture… can rip her arm free and tear out her captor’s jugular. Okay, it’s far-fetched, but not impossible. Where did Carol get this kind of reserve strength this early, before she even had powers?

Like all cheese-fest stories, the program Ascension is being run by the CIA, which means the evil American intelligence is behind some double-dealing mischief with terrorists. Boring! Here’s a hint to the writer: don’t tease us about needing to kill Spider-Man’s nemesis and then rip us off with a flashback that has no mention of said nemesis. Is the next issue supposed to introduce some ret-con offense Norman made against Carol to provide the present justification? Or is the plan for every Marvel title to act like a rudderless ship from now on?

The story itself is full of contradictions, as the terrorist leader tortures Carol when he later admits that he always knew she didn’t know anything. Confused yet? Then, when he declares he is about to kill her, he has made sure to break her arm first, but that lets her get her arm free. As if that wasn’t enough for this genius, he oh-so-coincidently leans forward so she can just reach his throat. Hack writing at its worst. Run, do not walk, away from this title.

New Avengers 46

by Brian Bendis and Jim Cheung

Homage cover to Bring on the Bad Guys.

Okay, we’ve had tons of flashbacks involving kidnapped heroes, clone Skrulls, so why not take a trip down memory lane with the villains? Essentially the Hood has brought a bunch of second-stringers together to form a new, what? Masters of Evil? I hope they don’t adopt the name.

The Hood breaks Madame Masque out of custody from S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Hood can’t help but kill some agents, who revert back to Skrulls, without disintegrating. They also kill the Slug, who is the only undercover Skrull in the villain group. Then the Hood goes alone to a mirror to find out Dormammu is the power behind his magical hood.

Yup, that’s all that happens. I just saved you three bucks plus tax.

Secret Invasion 7

by Brian Bendis and Leinil Yu

Get set for nothing but one massive battle, although it is hilarious to see what looks like Howard the Duck involved in the fighting a few pages in. The Watcher shows up while Stature takes out a Galactus-Skrull, and if that isn’t wrong, I don’t know what is. Bendis and company spent all these issues trying to convince us that these super-Skrulls were SO formidable, what with their four-superhumans-in-one power combination for each soldier, but the heroes mow them down like cheese.

After a full issue of almost nothing but fighting, Skrull-Hank triggers the advantage in Wasp that they hinted at an issue or two ago, and she magically emits an energy that affects everyone equally, whether you are a regular guy like Osborn, or a deity like Thor. No sign if the energy that flies everywhere magically avoids the Skrulls or not.

Pretty boring overall for me. Mileage for others may vary. What happened to the shocks and surprises that they were supposed to give us every issue? Hope it wasn’t the Wasp thing, because we saw that coming easy.

Nice cover, though.

Secret Invasion: The Amazing Spider-Man 3

by Brian Reed and Marco Santucci

Spider-Man appears again on the first page only, breaking the fourth wall to explain how idiotic it is that he’s already out of sequence with this series. I hope nobody else wasted their money on a title called Amazing Spider-Man when it was really Less-than-Stellar Jackpot the whole way through. Oops, Spidey shows up in the last couple pages.. when there’s nothing going on anymore.

I thought Brian Reed could write no worse than Ms. Marvel this week, but Bennett actually confuses the super-Skrull, who is willing to listen to humans talking for the first time in three issues… for no apparent reason. This was one of the lamest stories of the week.

Thor: Truth of History 1

by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer

Looks like the regular series couldn’t keep to its schedule I’m guessing, which is why we get a one-shot. It’s okay by me, this was a pleasant enough diversion, and better than the above four comics I read. Alan Davis does writing and art, with longtime collaborator Mike farmer doing the inking. The way Thor and his friends get into the situation is pure Volstagg, always true to form.

Thor and company try to recover their friend without breaking the truce of non-involvement Odin has made with the other pantheons. They don’t quite make it, but Thor does let it rain, leaving a fun archaeological mystery for people in the modern present. The style and feel of it make it read like a fill-in issue that you might have come across in the ‘80s in a general sense, and it accomplishes its mission as a fill-in for us while we wait for the regular series to get on the stands. I like this format of publishing slightly longer stories as one-shots, as opposed to the old way of making it a part of the regularly numbered series.

Thunderbolts 125

by Christos N. Gage and Fernando Blanco

Hey, a good Secret Invasion tie-in! Gage shows us succinctly how reporters can show us some video and present us with a picture entirely unlike what reality really is. Norman Osborn comes across as a hero, just a few minutes after hearing about Bullseye killing the sister Strucker clone. Osborn successfully manipulates the narrative with ease, which reminds me of how easily other reporters have been led along by the nose recently in real life.

Osborn maintains his manipulation even with the team, coming up with a convincing argument for side-lining the Radioactive man, whose true heroic aspirations interfere with the plans of Osborn and Moonstone. Osborn’s “brains” moment with Venom is priceless! Kudos to Osbron for keeping his target as the Skrulls in the presence of Spider-Man, too.

We get to see a lengthier scene that has Bullseye taking out the Skrull-Pym, but it’s depressing to realize that the missile wasn’t enough to kill him, because over in Secret Invasion, he is still awake to trigger the Wasp trap. It’s a shame there’s a creative team change so quickly, because I was just warming up to Gage after Ellis left. I always have to caveat that I can’t keep recommending the series until I’ve checked out how the new creative team does.

Ultimate Spider-Man 127

by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen

It is possible that there is a limit to how many let’s-sit-around-and-talk comics someone can read from Brian Bendis before they start to lose their freshness. To keep Immonen from getting bored drawing Spider-Man an endless number of times, the artist spends most of his effort making Peter small, and drawing large, impressive buildings in the rain.

The main interest is Carnage/Gwen Stacy getting free and running to Peter for help, but there are some nice moments where Peter gets a clue and finally uses the Bugle resources to do some research, trying to get a clue of what he may be involved in. Eddie has resurfaced too, and is trying to blackmail Peter in order to get Venom back. It’s an average issue. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s no real feel of excitement at anything that this Ultimate Spidey does right now. Perhaps there is a limited lifespan for the Ultimate titles, if they do not do enough things sufficiently different enough to distinguish themselves from the regular Marvel universe?
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.