Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part Two

The Age of the Sentry 5

by Paul Tobin, Bill Galvan, Jordan White, Jeff Parker, Nick Dragotta, and Ramon Rosanas

This wacky world of slightly-off past stories of Sentry written and drawn in intentionally old style comes out looking like an episode from the Super Friends cartoon show. Right in the middle, we get a sight of the modern Sentry we know, as he momentarily shakes off his artifical surroundings. It only lasts for a second before the urgency of his situation pulls him back into this fictitious life.

Jordan White and Ramon Rosanas get to do a one-off ad of the old Hostess fruit pies ads, using Cranio, who is playing a major role in this series. The really funny stuff, though, is the amusing Sentry Robot story written by Jeff Parker. At the end, the kid who keeps demanding stories from his dad is revealed to be Franklin Richards, pestering his father. This series has always been on the edge for me, but there are some laughs and some good nostalgia here, and hopefully we’ll get a good explanation for the big mystery next issue, as to what has been going on with the Sentry.

Agents of Atlas 1

by Jeff Parker and Carlo Pagulayan

The first page is concise and funny, and Gorilla Man does a continuity catch-up for the last four years or so of Marvel, that rings true in the identification of a pattern. In the Dark Reign one-shot, the Agents of Atlas realized Osborn was evil, and decided to act evil themselves in public, since Norman has convinced the public at large that he, himself, is a good guy. They spoiled his plans by stealing some gold he was going to use, and this first issue picks up directly in the path of this feud, with Osborn bombing an Atlas base.

What follows is just great reading. There is a nice scene showing Osborn’s mind at work, as he comes up with a better idea than the one he had and issues a new order, followed by him revealing his total knowledge of the background of Jimmy Woo and company, if not a true understanding of their real motives. Osborn is good enough that they don’t manage to gain control of the Sentry, which is what they wanted, but they do start a truce between two organizations that can supposedly accomplish some dastardly things if they cooperate instead of fight.

Carlo Pagulayan’s art is impressive here. Pagulayan is a Filipino artist, so it is no coincidence that when we are first shown the Sentry, he is saving people from an erupting volcano in the Philippines. If you look at the background, you might notice a motorcycle-looking thing with a half-cab attached to it. This is a common mode of transportation for people there, called a tricycle or a pedicab. From the link you can see what they look like in real life. They don’t go very fast, but you can fit a lot of people on them at once.

I mention little details like this because this is the sign of a good artist. He is putting what he knows into his work, and making an effort to give the reader more than just a flashy super-hero to look at on the page. So many artists concentrate on one thing in a picture these days, and do not do justice to the scene or give the reader a full picture. This guy is making an honest effort, and for people who take the time to notice the details, offers an insight into places different from what the average comic reader knows.

In short, the creative team has a home run, and if the entire run is like this, we’ve got a real winner of a new series on our hands.

War of Kings: Darkhawk 1

by C.B. Cebulski, Harvey Tolibao, and Bong Dazo

Cebulski does a good job of introducing the main character to the audience, flowing right into Darkhawk’s job at Project: Pegasus, and then melding a current event with Chris’ more recent control problems. He heads back to the last place we saw him really play a role in the Marvel universe (back in the Runaways series), to a sort-of former hero support group. He turns to Mickey (the latest former Turbo) for help, and has a good time with her, it turns out.

It all falls apart when his amulet acts up, and a different Darkhawk comes crashing down from the skies, with a deadly threat following right on his heels. It’s a good start, and it’s only a two-issue series. Perhaps that is all Marvel thought this third-tier character deserved.

They include a reprint of Darkhawk #1, making us pay $3.99 for the issue, when it might have been better for us if they just left that out and melded the two issues into a good one-shot, but maybe they’re trying to milk us for money again. I’m not sure how much longer my budget will hold out, but even though I liked the issue, I don’t like having to constantly pay for reprinted material. I it too much to hope the second issue will be just $2.99?

X-Men: First Class Finals 1

by Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz

First Class is back, with a slightly changed name for the series. Parker and company basically take us on a tour via the Danger Room through some of the X-Men’s classic villains like the Living Diamond and Grotesk. They are bringing back Frederick, from a solo-Cyclops story that I didn’t like that much the first time around, so it’s a little disappointing to see that they are opening with a subject from my least-favorite issue of the first series. I’ll try to give it a chance, though, and hope for a little gold.

Cruz’s art is not as crisp as it could be, either. If you have loose change, get it, but it’s an easy one to cross off your list at this point, I’m afraid. Wolverine: First Class is so much better, this series needs to work harder to merit the same love.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

Just a clarification:
WOK: DH will be followed by
War of Kings: Ascension, a 4-issue Darkhawk miniseries.

So, in total, he's got 6 issues of miniseries plus a part in the main book!

-- Posted by: Darkhawk at February 9, 2009 5:55 PM

Interesting, thanks for the update. That's a little new, isn't it, for them to do a two-parter and then a "regular" four-part series. I wonder why they decided to do it that way.


-- Posted by: tpull at February 9, 2009 8:42 PM