Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part One

Captain America 44

by Ed Brubaker and Luke Ross

This story is melding events from World War II, the time when Bucky was the Winter Soldier, and the present day to give us a beautifully rendered tale. I’m not certain if the blond guy with a beard named Ollie is supposed to be Brubaker having some fun with allusions to DC characters or not, but Ollie tells Cap and the Widow that the U.N. is trying to hide something from them.

There’s a small mystery here in a scientist that James rescued when he was Bucky, but was sent to assassinate when he was Winter Soldier. The details will be revealed in good time, but suffice it to say they are introducing a new adversary, while showing us the point in time where he was first encountered. In the meantime, this Cap is just as daring as the previous one, launching his motorcycle off the front of a car to land on an armored transport. The depiction of the acrobatics and the subsequent fight are fun to watch, although I do think the colorist is going overboard with the reflectivity of the white on Cap’s costume.

It took me this many issues to refer to James Barnes as “Cap.” Think that means I’m finally trying to move on?

Daredevil 113

by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano

The Hand is launching a full offensive on Matt and his friends, and Lady Bullseye seems to have inherited the male Bullseye’s penchant for wanting Daredevil dead. Is that all we are going to see of her past? Because it seems a little flimsy without additional details. Stick may be dead, but we now have a Master Izo in his place, mostly for comedy relief at the moment. Danny Rand has read about him in the book of the Iron Fist a few hundred years ago.

Brubaker successfully juggles all of these characters, including the Black Tarantula, and tosses in the emotional awkwardness of his recent affair with Dakota, brought forward by a possible threat to Mila. Finally, Lady B. takes out the White tiger, who was mostly a bit player with potential, but had been ignored for a long time. Okay, we have now had the obligatory death of a C-list hero to let us know the bad guys mean business.

While most of this follows standard superhero formula, the packaging makes it seem fresh. The art is consistently a pleasure to look at, and as long as Brubaker can avoid inserting too many clichés, this should be a fun storyline.

Guardians of the Galaxy 7

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Paul Pelletier

It’s a treat to see the original (‘future’) Guardians team in action, masterfully drawn as part of an explanation Starhawk gives to Cosmo about why he/she has come back in time. Rocket has picked up the pieces of the ruins of the team, and put together a force to tackle the newly-emerging Badoon, whom Vance Astro knows (kind of) will enslave the galaxy in the future. Vance has a few gaps in his memory. Pelletier gives us a great drawing of a humungous war tank, then switches to Adam Warlock dropping a bomb on Gamorra that he plans to lead the Universal Church of Truth! Say what ou want about the writers, but they don’t leave you sitting bored!

Drax and Quasar are searching for Drax’s friend Cammi, but a truth-sayer drops a hint about a quest to find Moondragon. I had just been thinking about her and wondering when they were going to bring her back. Writers used to take longer, but heck, the original Quasar, Wendell Vaughn, is back already in the Nova title, so I’ve been waiting for Moondragon to rear her head again.

Finally, Starlord shows up in chains, in the Negative Zone… in front of Blastaar! I am really looking forward to next issue.

Ms. Marvel 33

by Brian Reed and Adriana Melo

For necessary foreshadowing, the story opens up with Carol standing over the grave of Michael Rossi, an old lover. Then we go back to the old days when Carol had escaped from the terrorists and was rewarded with a transfer to Air Force Special Operations. We spend a little too much time having them try to track down the terrorist’s connection, but they lose him. Then we go forward to the present and… ta da! Rossi is alive!

Color me unimpressed. Rossi claims the CIA has shoot-to-kill orders placed on the spy they wanted to catch back in the day, and Rossi himself. Also today, for no apparent reason, there is now a price on Carol’s head. It is entirely unbelievable, government agencies do not act this way, and will they PLEASE involve Osborn more so we can finally understand why Carol wants to kill him?!? This is a winding, tortuous comic that is taking it’s own sweet time to get to the point, and I’ve already lost interest. Average art.

Nova 19

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

Now this is a comic! Two writers, two pencilers, and two inkers! The result is pure magic. The Nova Corps is back, with five new members. Granted, the Nova Corps is reminiscent of the Green Lantern Corps, but their costumes are just as cool. Nova and company are showing up at hot spots and taking out the villain trash in a spectacular way, impressing everybody who sees them. It would be nice to see what the powers-that-be think of these interlopers, but it’s funny to watch Justice watching TV, and realize the dude is such a fanboy he never takes off his own costume.

Robbie’s jealousy and comment about his own fantasies are funny, and anyone with an older brother who overachieves should be able to relate. The more interesting and tense part of the story involves Richard’s confrontation with Worldmind. It turns out when Richard was sleeping, the Worldmind interviewed and activated new candidates. The argument is relatively mild in that there isn’t any shouting, but it is heavy from the tension you get from Worldmind, proving that the artists are in masterful form to be able to communicate that so well with just a couple pictures.

The situation makes for great reading, because as much as Nova has grown as a person and a warrior, we get to see the viewpoint from someone who views his actions as impetuous and overly-risky. In turn, Worldmind almost comes off like a pouting four-year-old, and when Richard asks him not to give Nova-status to anyone else without a discussion first, he returns to Project Pegasus to find his brother Richie… and almost everyone else (!) has been made a member of the Nova Corps.

Pure awesome.

She-Hulk 35

by Peter David and Pasquale Qualano

I don’t like CG Studio’s method of coloring, and the art looks like they learned it from tracing one of those “So You Want to Draw Super-Heroes” books ten or twenty times, and then went out thinking they could do a good job. The story feels like a re-run, as the Winter Guard is on the wrong side of things and have to enforce pain for the hero, just as they did over in Iron Man for the Secret Invasion crossover. The only redeeming thing about this issue is the cool cover by Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo. This series desperately needs a real direction.

Wolverine: Origins 30

by Daniel Way and Mike Deodato

Concluding the “Original Sin” storyline, in which Wolverine confronts his son Daken. Logan decides he won’t fight Daken, but the twist is that when he goes to his “happy place,” the dream always plays out badly, and Logan instinctively lashes out to try to maintain the peaceful state of his dreamland. In reality, he lashes out at Daken, adding fuel to the fire. Professor X takes the opportunity to show Daken the truth, which allows Daken to fight the people lying to him, i.e., Shaw and company.

We end with Logan and Daken walking out to confront Romulus, despite Xavier’s pleas. Deodato is at his regular top form for art, and the story is the best I have read in this title since its inception. I’ll hang out for a few more issues to see if it can keep up its current high readability.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

I sought your Nova review, as I thought Marvel had made a timing mistake---but you didn't reference it.

Didn't this Nova comic reveal the end of Secret Invasion prematurely (due to the delays of the SI releases)?

I know the conclusion shouldn't be a surprise, but I am amused that they tried to hide it in the recent Diamond catalog---yet they revealed it here.

Am I getting this wrong somehow?

-- Posted by: TonyJazz at December 1, 2008 12:35 PM

Hey Tony. They did make a few references, but just in the sense that the invasion was over, and a couple comments about things that had happened directly in the past couple of Nova issues.


-- Posted by: tpull at December 1, 2008 8:48 PM