Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part One

Agents of Atlas 3

by Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman, and Clayton Henry

Adi Granov gives us a great-looking cover, and Jeff Parker is our writer, but I can’t find his name on the credits except for his last name on the cover. We’re still splitting artist teams between present-day and the flashback tale, but one of the better elements is the recap page, which has a different character give you the update each time. Good way to mix things up! The cover was slightly misleading, because Cap doesn’t show up until the final pages, but you know, that cover is so cool I don’t care.

Namora shares some grief over the loss of Namorita with Venus, and in the past, the group enters a portal to find a field littered with corpses. There are also some version of 3-D glasses that make me think they might be having the original 3-D Man show up, which would be cool. The group has convinced Norman Osborn to meet with them, and the Sentry reacts nonchalantly to a sudden attack from Temujin by casually flinging him into the ocean! It’s nice to see some group making at least a little progress on tackling Osborn in one way or another; most of the rest of the Marvel heroes don’t seem to know what to do about him. It would be a real feather in their cap if Atlas could play a major role in bringing him down.

A good solid read. Not at the top of my read list, but worth getting.

The Amazing Spider-Man 590

by Dan Slott and Barry Kitson

Equal parts glee and trepidation await me in this comic. Kitson’s art never feels tired, but too often he leaves the details of people’s faces to be defined more by color shading than by inking, which does not suit my own personal preference. Still, almost every other element of Kitson’s art is good, and I suspect he enjoys drawing Spider-Man.

Dan Slott was born to write Spidey. Humorous without being overly-corny, but with still that small shadow of corny in there somewhere, Parker’s reaction to everything is spot-on, and the “dark” turn he takes when he realizes that his criminal opponent will be out on the streets again because of Osborn… is a wedgie! Slott’s characterization of the Fantastic Four is also great.

The trepidation comes from the fact that this is a story that was constructed to explain why nobody else remembers Peter Parker is Spider-Man. It’s obvious that certain people used to know, but something is wrong with their memories. So we’re back to dealing with the fallout form the Mephisto reboot. Again. Sigh.

I’ll give them credit, these guys are trying hard, and they really are giving us some good art and story. But I sincerely hope they finish with all of the ret-conning ASAP, because every time this happens, all it does is remind me of the biggest lemon in Spidey history (aside from the Clone story. And maybe the baby story.). It’s hard to enjoy this book as much when every month or two, I have to be reminded of a story that really should not have been able to happen. The fact that Marvel is still, after three issues a month for so long, STILL having to explain why things are the way they are just proves the point that it was all ridiculous.

Invincible Iron Man 12

by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

Pepper is enjoying her pacifist armor by savings civilians, but all it does is get her arrested for her public exploits. Maria Hill gets taken out like an amateur by the Controller, and all I can think is, “Nick fury wouldn’t have gotten caught…” But that’s okay, we don’t expect Hill to be quite as competent.

Larroca is one of the few “CGI” artists I can stand. There’s still a tinge of fakeness to the style, but he and the rest of the creative team put a lot of effort into making it look as good as they can. It works for metal parts, and lucky this is Iron Man, but the faces still have that machinima edge to them that’s hard to avoid. Iron Man incapacitates Namor in an inventive way, finally showing us that Tony can think a step or two ahead. The coolest thing, though, is how calmly Obsorn reacts. Instead of blowing up and acting all “villainy,” which has cost almost every super-villain team-up their possible success, he take sit all in stride. He’s happy Namor tried, he’s not upset that the Hood’s goons failed to get the new Avengers, he’s not mad that Namor didn’t kill Stark… I think he’s on drugs…

Secret Warriors 3

by Brian Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, and Stefano Caselli

The wash feel of the colors is off for this entire book. I’ve been trying to figure out why the art hasn’t been knocking my socks off, and it’s the color shading. Instead of giving it a spy noir atmosphere, it feels like it’s all a big flashback, and cartoony instead of dangerous. The characters are not familiar enough to me yet, and I would prefer they use each other’s name a little more often, so I can quickly remember who is who, because they don’t give a recap page. The fight scenes are not distinct, and that makes them virtually useless.

There’s more missing. Fury is after Hydra, for the long-time secret control over S.H.I.E.L.D., but what about Osborn? Fury is just letting it happen, and we don’t see any moves to counteract things. What happened to multi-tasking?

For all the problems, I still enjoy the book. A couple characters have good moments, and the lessons-learned by Daisy in committing her team to a fight they can’t win is good stuff. The cast of opponents is interesting, and the overall direction is good, including the prospect of some Howlin’ Commando action. I am leaning towards hoping they do an artist change before too long, though, for an underworld spy thriller, this title needs a different style.

War Machine 4

by Greg Pak and Leonardo Manco

Don’t let the Mattina cover fool you, the insides aren’t as good. The once-crisp and shiny War Machine is now a gritty, coarse romp into the grotesque that has become Jim Rhodes’ body. He certainly is getting torn up pretty fast into his new assignment. The story is so-so, a continuance that might be taking too long, but Pak loses me with the ripped-from-real-life politician walking in a flak jacket, surrounded by a military team, talking about how safe it is in the marketplace. I’m sure he’s just poking fun at the absurdity of it, but I wish he didn’t put such obvious references into the comics.

I’m hoping this storyline wraps up next issue and we move to something more interesting. Unless they’re doing that six-books-into-trade-format thing, then that means this will be stretched out more. Ugh.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

i like that they're attempting a politically charged story in War Machine... the character's first solo series did the same thing at the start and i thought that worked well. but at the same time, i'm having a harder time connecting to the political themes in the current War Machine book. Marvel has done this sort of book once every few years. anyone remember when Cable was revamped and thrust into political situations around the world? great idea and it worked here and there, but on the whole felt a bit awkward. i think that the political allegories in big actions books have more effectiveness (and a better chance of resonating with readers) when they lean towards a slight simplification applied with a subtle touch. giving the reader the ability to read things more than one way (big action and politically charged) opens up more possibilities for a book. i need to go back and re-read the whole War Machine storyline once it's collected. until then, i'm waiting to see what happens in the next arc.

-- Posted by: Nick Marino at April 6, 2009 1:50 PM