Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part One

The Amazing Spider-Man 578

by Mark Waid and Marcos Martin

I have officially decided that it is better to read Spider-Man three times a month with a continuing story rather than read three different monthly Spidey tales, all of which follow a different storyline. Granted, it calls for better coordination to make sure everyone meets the deadline, but I like the fact that there is added pressure to maintain a proper shipping schedule. In fact, they may have a little slush time with the extra week in the month; as long as I get three Spidey stories a month, I won’t be nearly as put off by a one-week delay as I would be on a regular once-a-month title delay.

Mark Waid is in the driver’s seat this week, and a nice coincidence lands Peter on the subway, where trouble breaks out, ‘natch. Martin’s artwork has an old-time feel to it, and some panels remind me of the little cartoon characters I see often in Mad Magazine. It establishes a good mood for the slightly whimsical Parker style. They also bring back the Shocker for a long overdue appearance, and introduce us to a very interesting character whose identity we learn on the final page. It’s good, get it!

Fantastic Four 561

by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch

The truth is out, the nanny was future-Susan, and the world’s population from the future needs a place to go to survive, since they can’t live on Earth any more. Reed pulls a little “Bill and Ted” time logic to inject present-Susan with a tracer that instantly pops up on the tracker, having “always” been inside future-Susan; you can start a fun mindbender time argument with yourself here, proposing that since then-Susan was there when the tracer was inserted, future-Susan had plenty of time to figure out how to remove it, and that’s always a great debate to have with yourself. Or, uh, with friends, if you have any. But methinks future-Sue wanted to be found anyway.

Reed conveniently transports all of future-Earth’s population to the new planet the conspirators had been building, so that planet is “taken” now, and will probably be ignored for the rest of history. Plus, they show us a dead Galactus; while cool, it most likely means another creative team will come in eventually to address the consequences of this, and/or bring him back. If they had spent a little more time on showing us the details, it might have been more fun to see the future-team take him down in the first place.

The final result is usual Millar-style: everything is big brush strokes, long on movie-style splash, but short on details. The style works well with Hitch’s artistic style, and at the end of the day, it was a fun read. There’s a little of the famed British habit of introducing big concepts and just asking the reader to go with it, so you could nit-pick the details apart if you wanted to. I know I tend to do that with issues that fail to please me, but in this case, I had fun reading it. And what happens to future-Sue? Hmm, I think I’ll check out next issue to find out. They hold my interest still. Good job!

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. 35

by Christos N. Gage and Sean Chen

As many issues as Iron Man has been absent, it feels awkward to refer to it as the above title; part of me thinks they should have just used these past couple issues as the new start of a War Machine title, which is what it is, after all. This is the final issue of this series, and it wraps up the involvement in Secret Invasion (finally!). Good artwork shows us Rhodey getting out of captivity and heading back to help out the Russians, and this time the Winter Guard plays nice with him. About time! I complained about the slight incredulity last issue of someone bailing you out, and you still leave him for the wolves, but this story completes and makes up for the initial reaction of the Crimson Dynamo. It also made me feel for him, because I know what it’s like to have an authority figure promising to go after you for refusal to obey, and it transforms the Dynamo from a loyal follow-orders template into a character with more dimensions, worthy of attention.

That’s it for this series, but you can bet I’ll be giving the War Machine series a try. If it’s anything as good as these last few issues have been, I can guarantee it will be worthwhile.

Thunderbolts 126

by Andy Diggle and Roberto de la Torre

It’s time to clean house! Norman Osborn has been getting his ducks in a row, and he is able to count on the aid of Moonstone and Venom, and at least the passive agreement of Swordsman, to get rid of Radioactive Man, Penance, and Songbird! Osborn also stunningly declares on national television that he is resigning from his position and disbanding the Thunderbolts. Roberto de la Torre’s art fits in well with the dark atmosphere, and this is better writing from Andy Diggle than I can ever remember. If they can maintain this level, it will be a successful transition to yet another good creative team.

The only possible problem is the look of a potential repeat. We already had to put up with President Luthor over at DC, and it’s a little soon to have to put up with a President Osborn for Marvel; I hope they give him a different position. There is simply too much political stuff seeping into comics these days, and do we really want to read yet another year of an evil business super-villain getting to run the country?

On the other hand, maybe Osborn has realized he can’t kill spider-Man alone, and becoming president is really just the only way he can think of to catch and kill the Spider…

Uncanny X Men 504

by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson

All of the momentum that had been with this title just got derailed to suit Terry Dodson. There’s a little bit of Colossus mourning Kitty, a tiny appearance by Madelyne Pryor, but mostly the issue is here for Dodson to draw his cheesecake women figures. The White Queen goes into Scott’s head, and much like we have seen inside Blue Beetle’s head, there is nothing but beautiful women everywhere. Check out the rest of the comic and notice there are very few details anywhere; it feels like we were ripped off.

The only other thing of significance is that the Beast begins recruiting his first genius to help bring back mutants. Meanwhile, Rachel Dodson is inking Terry Dodson’s work, and she shouldn’t. Now I know that the Dodsons have been teaming up for quite some time, so this is not quite the same pattern as I have brought up recently, but it does reinforce the bad idea that it is. Rachel’s inks barely give any enhancement to the initial art by Mr. Dodson, leaving a final effect that makes you almost think he did his own inking; the end result is the same, the inking job does not add enough to the final product to increase its appeal. Just as most artists cannot ink their own work well, the inker here is not adding enough of her own style to improve things, which means we are not getting the full value that we could be seeing. Please switch up the inker and let us see what happens.

Meanwhile, please bring back Brubaker and Choi!

X-Men: Legacy 218

by Mike Carey and Scot Eaton

While this issue continues the excellent run, there is one thing that throws me off: the conversion of Mr. Sinister to Miss Sinister. It’s creepy. If that was the intention of the writer, he succeeded. Professor X and Wolverine assault the Hellfire Club, and Shaw continues to display that he is a couple steps ahead of Charlie, and has orchestrated all of this. They use Charles to trigger the booby trap inside Daken’s head.

The one drawback, and fatal flaw to Shaw’s plan, is that Daken is able to resist Miss Sinister’s attempt at mentally overwriting his memories. This story concludes in Wolverine: Origins, where we will learn if Daken is finally in his right mind enough to join with Logan, if he will choose to go with the bad guys, or just walk his own path. Deodato Jr. did the cover, Scot Eaton did the pencils, and it all looks and reads well. Much better than Uncanny this week.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

I haven't really been able to keep up with much of the latest Marvel story lines but, I do kind of miss reading them. I guess my Iron Man DVD will have to due for now, great review though.

-- Posted by: Marvel t shirt at December 4, 2008 5:55 PM