Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part One

The Amazing Spider-Man 588

by Marc Guggenheim and John Romita Jr.

The long-running political saga reaches a conclusion, with Spidey springing both himself and Vin from the joint. I wish events in my real life could be orchestrated to wrap up simultaneously, as they have for the threat of Menace and the Spider-Tracer killings. Something doesn’t sit well with me, as the brand-new Menace takes down Spidey for the second time in a row. It’s not like Peter to give up, and some of our best scenes have been of him overcoming the odds.

Here, he seems ready to give up, and for someone who still remembers his time with Mary Jane, he’s still thinking of Gwen Stacy when he’s about to die, which is very interesting. Harry gives him the needed respite to get his second wind, though, and all ends well. And as busy as Norman is in almost every other Marvel title, he still finds time for family! Romita’s art seems to have been drawn even grittier than usual, I’m not sure if that was to reflect how badly some of the characters have been beaten up recently, or partially to reflect how dirty politics can be.

Anyway, the editorial note shows that this has wrapped up many of the major plots that were launched with the Mephisto reboot. The same minds are regrouping for the next marathon session, along with a few more helpers. Maybe this means Mr. Negative will be coming back soon.

Dark Avengers 3

by Brian Bendis and Mike Deodato

Okay, I really liked the opening scenes of this comic. We learn how the Sentry has transferred his loyalty to Norman Osborn. If only somebody smart, like Tony Stark, maybe, could have thought of trying to do some intense therapy with Bob. The only question at the end is this: has the Sentry traded his normal neurosis and attempts at dealing with it into a new dependency relying entirely on the positive reinforcement of Osborn?

Deodato continues to impress with the art, including a nice two-page spread of the fight with Morganna’s mystically conjured demons. The trick for Osborn is how to get at Morgana where it counts, and that means getting Dr. Doom to play ball. The ending is cool, but it does raise the question of whether this new team will even remember their experience. If not, will they have to start learning to gel from scratch, with only Osborn (and Doom) remembering what happened/didn’t happen?

Ultimatum 3

by Jeph Loeb and David Finch

The death toll is rising as the Ultimate universe undergoes some long-needed Spring cleaning. A dozen or so mutants are gone already, and the series isn’t over yet. Finch’s artwork is stellar, and I like his backgrounds as much as his people. Finch knows which characters he can make with veins bulging all over the place, and which ones to make more subdued, AND he can still draw a good-looking wrecked car.

I must confess that I don’t understand how all of these Madrox suicide-bombers can be killed without activating the deadman’s switch each one holds in his respective hand. Are we supposed to believe every time one of them gets killed, his thumb doesn’t come off the button? Anyway, I won’t spoil all the rest of the deaths, but I am very interested to see how Marvel will use this event to crawl from the ashes, and utilize the remaining characters of this universe in a different way than the regular universe. Each issue brings them closer to this goal, but they can still fall back into cliché if they’re not careful.

Uncanny X Men 507

by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson

Talk about going from bad to worse. In the world of film, there is a technique for cutting from one scene to another in rapid succession, usually used to establish a counterpoint between the two things going on at the same time. The normal thing to do is to show a character involved in one activity while the friend/lover gets brutalized in the other, or to intermix a scene of intimacy with a scene of violence. Here, they flip back and forth between… two action scenes. They flip so rapidly that the cut goes from one panel to the next, instead of a full page spent in one place. The effect is terrible, and there is no pacing except for bad pacing.

Despite Warren running around in Secret Invasion: X-Men in his blue skin, the Beast acts like this is the first time anyone outside of X-Force has seen him in action as Archangel again. It’s rotten continuity, and on a team of telepaths and such, not very believable.

The newer problem is the hysteria over mutants that is building. How many are supposed to be left in the entire world again? Around 200? And most of them are in the U.S. already. The most that can be assembled in one place is 200, then. There simply cannot be the same level of tension there used to be when anyone might be a mutant, and there were more than a million of them on the planet. Between the Genosha massacre, M Day, and the various calamities that have happened to mutants over the past few years, do they seriously expect us to believe that there are enough mutants left to cause this big of a media stir? It simply does not compute.

In short, the art is not stunning, and the story elements are a scattered wreck. Dodson is only half-decent when he gets to draw a female form; the guys do not get equal treatment under his pencils. The whole book needs a creative team change. There are exciting things all over the mutant books right now, and Uncanny has to be one of the most boring places to be.

Wolverine 71

by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven

Now here is little more excitement, at least in the art department. A Venom dinosaur is a cool concept, as is the way it was defeated. The story continues to use the art as much as possible to convey its cinematic style, and we finally get to advance the plot further. The heroes are double-crossed, which makes you wonder how the whole thing could be set up when Emma was helping them out. For all the telepathy the good guys always have at their disposal, they certainly do get surprised a lot!

Without spoiling the details, let me just say that the twist has a chance to make things more interesting, and this is the best issue in the story arc so far. I’m just now starting to wonder if Marvel will let the various writers work towards this Old Man Logan future much as they used to hint at the Days of Future Past scenario, or if this will just end up as a nice What If tale.
Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.