Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part One

I think I’ve got 18 reviews for Marvel before I’m done this weekend, so I hope you fans appreciate all the readin’ and writin’!

The Amazing Spider-Man 575

by Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo

Joe Kelly comes on board as the new writer, with Bachalo back on pencils. Bachalo continues with the weird angles and the excessive use of white space, which is not my preference for Spider-Man, but there are some good panels and pages where you can tell he spent some extra time to make them excellent.

Some of the old sub-plots are finally getting attention, with Mr. Negative showing up again, and Hammerhead trying to force gangs to join up with Mr. Negative, and Spidey caught in the middle. Yet another possible love interest enters the picture in the form of Norah Winters, and the letters page is gushing with praise for the current direction. There’s no way to know if people are still writing in to protest the whole Mephisto debacle, or if the editors just want to leave it in the dustbin with the Clone Saga.

Will they ever get around to visiting more of the Spider-Tracer/Killer storyline?

Avengers: The Initiative 18

by Dan Slott, Christos N. Gage, and Steve Kurth

Momentum builds as the Kill Krew visits more teams, uncovers more hidden Skrulls, and we are exposed to more heroes, some known, some never seen until now. Cloud 9 takes out a Skrull who has Spider-sense, but let’s assume that she was out of range so that his mental warning couldn’t go off. That’s the only way I can figure that he didn’t know Cloud 9 was there aiming for him.

The art and pacing are excellent, and if there is any part of Secret Invasion that I am looking forward to reading again, it is this title. Reading it all in one sitting will drive home how well put-together the whole thing is. I don’t know what will happen once SI is over, but I’m hoping they keep this title and use it as a way to explore the fifty state teams, and other obscure corners of the Marvel universe. This is better than the SI mini-series itself.

The Immortal Iron Fist 19

by Duane Swierczynski, Travel Foreman, and Russ Heath

We only get three pages of Russ Heath art, but they’re at the beginning, and they’re good. This is a rather straight-forward issue with the villain who kills each Iron Fist trying to get Danny again. The Immortal Weapons are used to help Danny out this time, but Foreman’s art does not do them justice. These particular fighters scream for tight lines and detail.

We learn how Orson survived this creature’s attacks, and Danny gets betrayed! Next issue is the conclusion. This was a middle issue, with the conclusion next month. I will hold my rating until I read the end of the story, but I will say this has not been as good as the original creative team. Middle to good stories overall here.

Incredible Hercules 122

by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, Clayton Henry, and Salva Espin

We start with a classic fight between two heroes, ye olde misunderstanding, but considering it’s Herc and Namor, it makes perfect sense that they would fight first, almost no matter what! While the flashback art is good, there is very little to recommend the simple art throughout the rest of the book. The inker and the colorist try their best to fill in details while the artist mostly drew in people only.

The tone of the book is a slight mismatch, because Hercules is bumbling through with his normal brash humor, and the first page starts us off in a humorous vein, but seeing Hippolyta’s head on a pike and Poseidon later shakes up the mood and calls for a more somber setting. We’ll see if they will alter the general tone of the book after this, or if it will go back to the tongue-in-cheek style. It might be better to go more serious, just to shake up the book a little. It doesn’t have quite the same style of whimsy that She-Hulk often has.

Nova 18

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Geraldo Borges, and Wellington Alves

Ooh, I finally get my favored art style, with tons of things for my eyes to devour on every page. Plus, Quasar’s back. Well, not his fleshly body, but he’s back, nonetheless. The team gives us some nice splash pages, all while moving the story forward. Darkhawk notices the big change in Nova’s attitude since the last time they teamed up, and it’s touches like that I appreciate, and that make this one of Marvel’s best books right now.

We still have a small problem in that unending hordes of super-Skrulls are attacking the entire planet. They should have used some normal Skrull shock troops, and show fewer super-Skrulls overall, because they tend to fade in importance, and you start to think that they are all rookies, and that despite their power, they can’t fight worth two cents. Even with that, the scenes here are better than in most other books, because you get the sense that the good guys are harried, as opposed to just punching through everything effortlessly.

The power levels also make a difference. We’re dealing with Quasar and Nova, and if anyone should have an easier time taking out an army of super-Skrulls, it should be these two. There’s a cool surprise at the end of this issue, and I’m loving it!

Thor 11

by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel

Balder sits on a throne is Asgard, and falls for Loki’s every word. It helps that most of what Loki is saying is true, but you just know she’s up to no good, and you just know it’s gonna sting when the trap falls shut. Don Blake is off having a reasonably good reunion with Jane Foster, but I’m not sure why Straczynski bothers; with is luck, editorial will demand she die or get memory-wiped, or have to deal with Mephisto or something by the time he manages to fully unite Don and Jane.

The other major part of the story deals with Thor paying his respects to Steve Rogers. There is a very interesting encounter he has, and it makes for a nice, touching end-cap to the memory of Steve Rogers. It is slightly similar to the spirit in Project Superpowers, but the visage is cool anyway. Great story overall, and still building suspense with Loki’s machinations.

Wolverine: First Class 8

by Fred Van Lente and Steve Cummings

There is some unnecessary fighting going on here, but the cool thing is that you can still do this here and with Hercules, and as long as there is a good explanation, it never gets old. There have been poor fights before, and I remember one in the Black Panther title, when Panther attacked Captain America for no good reason, but here it works.

The plot of the story is not the most memorable, but it fits in well with the time period in which this series takes place, and grows Kitty’s character more, giving us some insight into her crush of Peter. There’s also a cute cartoon at the end which has a good punch line. Still a solid read.

Wolverine: Origins 29

by Daniel Way and Mike Deodato

This is kind of a twist on the cover to X-Men #100 (first series), and it works, if you keep in mind the first time Wolverine joined the X-Men. Deodato is a visual pleasure to read, and the story moves seamlessly from the present to the past, to mirror current events by a relevant re-visiting of the time Wolverine joined the team. Sebastian Shaw maneuvers Wolverine into taking out his competition, and Logan seems to realize this, but doesn’t really care much anyway, so he slices and dices.

This issue reads strangely, because Daniel Way’s name is still in the credits as the writer, but the whole thing reads like one of Mike Carey’s stories over in X-Men: Legacy, the book this series is tying in with right now. It is one of the best issues of the Origins series to date, and I can only guess that it will last only so far as this crossover lasts.

X-Force 8

by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, and Mike Choi

I have no idea why people like this series so much. Maybe it works if you turn your brain off and don’t ask a single question.

The wretchedness of this series just won’t stop. On page two, the front part of Warpath’s truck is sliced off, but the rest of the truck goes up in a big explosion when it crashes anyway. Why bother with common sense when you can just make everything explode, right? For all of the other things Kyle and Yost have written, they do tend to not think things through by the time they start writing their X-Force issue.

Mike Choi is on art chores, and it seems like a waste of his talent. Out of all of the series you could have put such a stellar artist, you have him on a title that couldn’t even stay in the top ten long enough for someone to spell “nostalgia?” With all of the books Wolverine is already in, I don’t see how he has enough time to switch into his dark fighting togs, or why it matters all that much. The idea of a “secret” mutant strike force that has Wolverine keeping a “low profile” by the magic of changing his uniform is… what’s a nicer word for “stupid?”

With almost zero explanation, we have to get used to Warren being able to trigger his transformation to Archangel any time he feels like now. It made no sense before, and then the transformation was involuntary. Now he can do it whenever he wants? Way to not explain, guys. Also, Warpath automatically knows Gotal has attacked his truck. Who is Gotal? Nobody knows, except Warpath, and the writers don’t tell us. You know, any one of a thousand enemies of the X-Men could have attacked him. How much you want to bet they do not explain this either?

Wait, it gets worse. The team has staked out the various safehouses of the Vanisher, and when he appears at one, Wolverine attacks him, drawing blood. Vanisher conveniently teleports to his next safehouse, where he is ambushed again. Now, you would think by this time he would get a clue and not teleport to yet another compromised safehouse, but he does it twice more! Didn’t Vanisher used to be in charge of thugs, and sometimes other mutants? Granted he wasn’t a genius, but he was never this stupid. Are we to believe he can’t think to teleport anywhere else in the world?

Great art, but the worst read of this bunch.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.