Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part Two

Incredible Hercules 123

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

When you’re reading this series, you just have to realize that the style is going to be tongue-in-cheek the entire way. Even Poseidon himself seems resigned to the fact that he is trapped in a Three Stooges movie. Pak and van Lente continue to revisit the legends of the Olympians, and Hercules’ tasks in particular, and make them relevant to the goings-on of today’s events. The flashbacks are beautifully rendered, and more fun to read than the art representing the present in the story.

The Olympians are in for a shake-up when Hera and Pluto finally make their move. I had not been following the series, so the idea of the Olympians spending all their time on Earth and forming a business company was news to me, but I’ll come back for the next couple issues and see how they execute the plot. For the bumbling Hercules, not much was expected of this series, but due to the low expectations, I have to say this is an entertaining diversion.

Secret Invasion: Inhumans 4

by Joe Pokaski and Tom Raney

Ooh, some people have put their thinking caps on over at Marvel these days. This could have been a rather average mini-series, with not much changing at the end. Most of these attempts due tend to veer back toward the status quo by issue 4. These guys do something different.

The various members of the royal family accomplish their separate tasks and succeed in rescuing Black Bolt. Although this takes up most of the issue, and it is wonderfully drawn, with some devastating actions in combat by Black Bolt and Medusa (do NOT piss off a woman with prehensile hair!), the real drama is the after-effects of this adventure.

Black Bolt asks his brother Maximus to co-rule, Crystal agrees to marry Ronan, and the Inhumans are going to ally themselves with the Kree. This will all lead into the new mini-series, War of Kings, for which I have high hopes, as they go after the Skrulls to pay them back for the invasion. This was one of the best SI tie-ins out of all of them!

Secret Invasion: X-Men 4

by Mike Carey, Cary Nord and Ma Sepulveda

Meh. The art makes me think of cartoons I watched as a kid; I don’t like to watch them anymore. The x-Men basically spread a Skrull-specific Legacy virus all over themselves and surrender, and the Skrull in charge destroys all of the ships to eliminate the infection. I hope he sent a report first detailing what the mutants did, or they could repeat the experience over the rest of the invasion force across the world. There’s nothing really outstanding here. Like the police say, move along, nothing to see here…

Thor: Man of War 1

by Matt Fraction, Clay Mann, and Patrick Zircher

It’s the final part of the saga, and Odin is none too pleased with his son. Thor is running rampage across every world, trying to spur Odin into a confrontation. Odin sends the Valkyrie instead, with orders to basically seduce him. Valkyrie decides to put a spear through his back instead. Man, you gotta appreciate a girl with initiative…

A bigger threat forces them and other Asgard warriors to unite, ending the first part of this special with a raucous party of celebration. Odin finally decides to step in for part two, encased in the Destroyer’s armor. The outcome was never in doubt, and Odin decides to cast out his son, consigning him to a mortal life on Earth. However, it’s not in the form of Don Blake as most of us would have expected, but an earlier version. We know the purpose is to teach the Odinson humility and humanity. This was an epic in word and art, and I think I’m going to re-read this whole series again soon, so you know it’s good!

Ultimate Spider-Man 128

by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen

It’s Gwen Stacy as Carnage, and Brock tricks Spidey into getting his hands on her, so he can reabsorb some of the gunk to help him become Venom again. This leaves us with, essentially, a Gwen Stacy clone to be Peter’s de facto sister, while the Beetle captures Venom for Doctor Doom. Not a bad issue, but it feels slightly boring. This title seriously needs to shake something up, it is still too close to the regular universe. Immonen is good on the art, but changing out artists might actually be good for this title, just to see what different direction they could take this.

Wolverine: First Class 9

by Fred Van Lente and Francis Portela

Like Hercules, my expectations were not very high for this title. I am repeatedly surprised by how readable it is, and would recommend this over poorer titles like Ms. Marvel or X-Force in a second. Sabretooth has captured Kitty, and wants only to whup Logan’s butt again. Logan has realized that he is destined to lose yet again, and has sought out Shang-Chi on the off chance there might be a different way to go about things.

For a man who claims he has given up the martial arts, Shang Chi certainly keeps a ton of weapons buried in his rock garden! The lessons are rough for Logan, but necessary, and ring true. He takes the lesson to heart, and triumphs. It’s simple yet profound, with cool art, and I think Fred van Lente is climbing up my list of preferred writers.

X-Force 9

by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, and Mike Choi

Mike Choi tries to make the most of the drab grey that is X-Force, but it still feels like a waste of his talent. Warpath acts like a stupid man, trying to go out in a blaze of glory rather than use his head and run away, but Ghost Rider shows up to resuce him from the Demon Bear. Can anyone point out where Warpath ever even came across the Demon Bear before? He wasn’t on the original New Mutants team when they fought it, so I have no clue why it has resurfaced against Warpath, aside from the Indian connection.

We have a page showing Rahne sitting by the window (lone, despite her attempts to kill Warren), and then gasping at some glowing eyes in the window. That’s it. That’s all they give us for that part.

The rest of the team is bullying Vanisher into showing them where he dropped the Legacy Virus, and comes face-to-face with a bunch of cloned Marauders. I can’t remember Sinister ever releasing more than one of each before, but that doesn’t stop the writers from throwing a bunch of stupid clones at X-Force. Of all the meaningless cliché excuses for a fight. Unlike their deadly nature from previous encounters, X-Force tears through this super-clone army like so much tissue paper, it’s disgusting. I’ve been ranting about cliché super-armies for months now, but the comic writers keep throwing endless thousands of super-humans around until they have lost all believability, even for fiction.

Please give Mike Choi a good title. And if we have to have an X-Force title, can we put these writers out to pasture and give the reigns to someone who can do something interesting? We already saw the Legacy Virus used in SI: X-Men, so the impact is pretty much gone already.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.