Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part One

Agents of Atlas 4

by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman

The recap page is not as humorous this time around, but it’s still more original than all the regular, bland recap pages. This issue has closure for the skeleton pilot mystery, plus there’s a linkage involving the current Captain America, in addition to him showing up in the present. It also happens that this tale from the past shows us the technology that allowed Temugin to teleport onto the Uranian’s ship.

Hardman alters the art so the flashbacks reflect an older illustrated style. I think I like the older style art better. There’s only one pet peeve really, and that’s Wolverine posing with his claws out on the final page. I understand so many artists like to do that for effect, but considering the only thing happening is Cap is talking to him, it’s nonsensical. People should really only show Logan’s claws out when it’s time for business. That aside, the Uranian has planted some mental memories in Cap’s head that will bring them into a confrontation with Atlas next issue. This is all according to Atlas’ plan, of course, so we’ll see if they can control the situation they are setting up.

Definitely holding my interest.

The Amazing Spider-Man 593

by Mark Waid and Mike McKone

The witty rejoinders fly every which way under Mark Waid’s able guidance, along with McCone’s pencils. The proportions seem off on quite a few panels, with Spidey sporting an abnormally large head when compared to his body too often. Spider-Man spends most of his time evading the special squad out to get him, and he actually gets some help from local citizens for a change. Talk about abnormal! Luckily, the setup for this is that Spidey has been running around for at least three days straight rescuing cats out of trees and other Boy Scout assignments, so there’s a genuine reason for the change in attitude towards him.

The new Vulture also makes Spidey’s acquaintance, and this one looks a little more intimidating. To be honest, the action wasn’t nearly as interesting as the developments between Aunt May and Jameson Sr. But it’s all good fun.

Cable 14

by Duane Swierczynski and Ariel Olivetti

Did I mention it makes no sense half the time for Wolverine to be standing around with his claws hanging out? Because he does it again here, and two panels later, his claws are nowhere to be seen. That’s poor storytelling, and it means that Marvel is no longer teaching their artists the simple, small hints to increase the ability of the pictures to complement the story. If artists would think more about the story and spend half as much time trying to create cool poses for the heroes (that are artificial and don’t fit the mood of the moment), a lot of these stories would read better. Meanwhile, the Vanisher looks much more physically filled out than he should.

Olivetti’s art gives you a sensation of grit and grime, especially when Warpath gets his face twisted by Stryfe’s torture machine. Bishop’s thought processes are a mess. He basically takes us through the whole plot, and somehow he has been able to take his one focus, his one main goal, and hide it from the telepath next to him for twelve years. It’s a little hard to believe, but I try to just roll with it.

The scenes with Archangel and Apocalypse are over quick and mostly meaningless, and it means Warren is away from the action while lives are at stake. It’s sloppy and wasteful, and added almost nothing to the story. Deadpool is still the best thing here. Some of Olivetti’s action sequences are pretty cool too. I can’t wait for this title to wrap things up and get to something new, instead of recycling every old mutant villain.

Exiles 2

by Jeff Parker and Salva Espin

Okay, the manga covers are starting to get to me; there isn’t much to them so far that makes me want to pick it up off the stands, if I was going by the cover itself. The insides are not too much better. As much as the concept of the Exiles holds potential, they are missing the point when it comes to the worlds they can explore. While Blink is always a good choice, characters like the Panther, son of the Black Panther, are too close to being “one-offs” to have much impact. Polaris and the Witch, who is simply the Scarlet Witch, are too well-known and used in Marvel Universe proper. Here you have the chance to tell any kind of story you want, with almost no limit to worrying about the effects of continuity, and here we are trapped in another “Magneto takes over” story. Really?

This series has already had a couple of chances to grip us and take hold. This reboot has already failed. The idea of having it be a light-hearted romp belies the cosmic potential of the threats, and renders it a little too close to the old Voyagers TV series. The art style and the quickly-adapting heroes lends nothing to making us believe or care about what they do. There’s also no real reason to consider these people “exiles” in any way that holds significance. The fact that they were all a split-second from death actually deprives us of a ton of drama and angst over their concerns for the worlds they have left behind. I can only hope that Morph/Timebroker was lying to them about that.

I may try a third issue, but my general sense is to skip this title.

Invincible Iron Man 13

by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

Stark’s on the run and getting dumber, and I’ve seen that plot a lot in comics, just not recently. They split the story between him outfoxing a D-list villain and Pepper refusing to let Osborn dismantle her new armor. The third part shows how Maria Cross can repulse the Controller’s control, which is better than a lot of super-heroes could manage. The stage direction that shows her easily escaping the rest of the environment is laughably bad, and you get the sense that the Controller is too big and fat to grab her. As he stands there pointing at the end, you figure the guy is just too frickin’ lazy to do much else, and where Maria was caught by a trap before, she just runs on out, easy as you please. It’s pretty bad, folks.

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

I agree about the claws being out; I mean that looks stupid.

-- Posted by: dishnetwork at May 10, 2009 2:12 PM

I agree. The dialog is clunky, and pedestrian on Iron Man. Also, like X-Men, Fraction tries to be hip and cool but it just comes off as phoney. The plot ok, if drawn out for more issues than necessary, but "ok" plot coupled with iffy script does not a good comic make. Maybe the target market for Fraction's books are teens.

-- Posted by: Living Tribunal at May 10, 2009 9:49 PM