Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review � Part One

Astonishing X-Men 30

by Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi

This story started slow and ends fast, and usually that means trouble. In this case, my opinion is that is does mean trouble, as Forge is the bogeyman for this tale, and it�s a little distressing to see such a radical alteration in his demeanor since the last time we saw him. DC�s Hush storyline had a similar problem when it was revealed the Riddler was behind everything, since the reader did not get a chance to see the change in circumstances.

As a result, the Forge we see is in stark contrast to the Forge we know, and it�s hard to make the connection. We do some get sharp Ellis dialogue, including a couple nice zingers, and Bianchi has some good art. I particularly like the spread of Forge�s creations. Abigail Brand steps in as the dues ex machine, having tracked the X-Men, and conveniently having a mega-laser handy to fire through a ghost box and obliterate the alternate world�s command post.

The original idea was great, this concept of an alternate world invading with mutants, while someone designed artificial mutants to fight them in a secret war. The execution is all-too convenient, and slightly unbelievable. It�s as if they had to wrap up a two-hour movie instead of having the time to explore some of these concepts further. The slowness with which we arrived to this point makes me wonder at the creative team�s sense of pacing, that they had to rush through to conclude everything in this one issue and wrap it up for us in a nice, neat bow.

While better than the Uncanny title, this could have been better.

Avengers/Invaders 12

by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, Steve Sadowski, and Jack Herbert

The final chapter begins awkwardly, with Bucky in a similarly awkward manner picking up his diary while repeating something we have already read. I know some people are of the belief every comic should be written as if a new reader is picking it up, and in general that�s a good rule. However, in issue #12 of a 12-issue series, they should at least use different words than a previous issue. For those unfamiliar with why Thor might be fighting on the side of the Axis, see the original Marvel Invaders series.

The show plays out much like other Cap/Skull Cosmic Cube stories, with the two enemies grasping the Cube and fighting for possession, and the role of the golden age Vision is revealed to be a guide in helping the Cube determine its philosophy. Bucky makes an interesting choice, even with his warning about the future, and he stays on the rocket that is destined to throw him out of action, leading to the events that turn him into the Winter Soldier. Even though he had some information, he had to ask about the bigger picture, and what might happen if he let the rocket go. The possible result was something he could not avoid, with his deep sense of responsibility.

However, he did manage to cheat a little, asking the Cube to bring Toro back to life in the present, where the Vision travels. Does this mean part of the Cube is within the newly-revived Toro? Or just that Toro is back via the Cube�s power? The Red Skull seems to grasp the idea of using time as a weapon in his war against Cap, and he feels confident even in defeat that he will gain the upper hand in the future. Are they hinting that the seeds of Steve Rogers� current problems were grown here, with something the Red Skull set in motion? Interesting questions which might receive answers, but in the regular Marvel universe in ongoing titles.

Overall an excellent series, although the Ultron section felt too much like a sideshow, and I found it hard to reconcile his presence there in-between the events of Bendis� Mighty Avengers Ultron appearance and going immediately into the Annihilation story.

Daredevil 119

by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano

Foggy and Dakota can�t reach Matt, and the whole time, Kingpin is using events to his advantage, springing the Owl from prison and wiping out rival crime figures. Tarantula and White Tiger are sent to assassinate Foggy, but that tips the Kingpin�s hand too far, prompting Lady Bullseye to ask for an audience with him.

The atmosphere is kept darkened with the choice of background colors the whole time, maintaining the seedy underbelly feel of the story. Murdock is similarly in the dark the whole time, as events unfold fast, and entirely beyond his control. Daredevil is almost a side-character at this point, with all of the other players in full motion with their own agendas. Dakota tries to help, bless her heart, but she really shouldn�t be playing around with the superhumans.

The original numbering of the title returns next issue, and we get #500, with Dakota in the hands of the enemy. This issue was solid, a middle part episode that steadily leads into the main event.

Guardians of the Galaxy 15

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Brad Walker

Everything has hit the fan and the Guardians find themselves in the middle of a Kree-Shi�ar sandwich! They have just enough time to convince Crystal of the damage to space/time that is being done by the war before Black Bolt recovers her, and the Inhumans teleport out, leaving the Guardians facing the Shi�ar alone. Just their luck, Crystal is the one voice that the other Inhumans seem least disposed to listen to about anything these days.

Starhawk mentally compels Moondragon to pay her a visit, and the Magus seems to come out to play from Adam Warlock, which could make things very interesting in the future. Brad Walker�s pencils are excellent, rendering all of the characters to be distinctive, and giving us a great shot of Rocket Raccoon taking on Mentor. It�s a good touch to see Rocket react so strongly to the news of Lilandra�s death.

In a conclusion that gives us a neat cliffhanger, the Knowhere station itself comes to life, reminding us their HQ is the head of a Celestial! Just when you start taking an incredible concept for granted, they kick you in the head with it. Nice stuff.

The Immortal Iron Fist 27

by Duane Swierczynski, Travel Foreman, and David Lapham

Remember when Danny Rand set up his company and declared it would take decades to give away all his money? Somehow all of his wealth is tied up into his building, which gets blown up in yet another attack by Hyrda. Half the issue is a flashback letting us see his father make the decision to bring his family with him to K�un L�un, and it�s okay. The other half, I don�t like the art. The inks are awkward and inconsistent, and some pages have almost nothing for us to look at.

We end with Misty being pregnant, and Iron Fist proposing marriage before he figures that factoid out, and being mostly broke, but pouring the last of his wealth into his kid�s studio. It�s a clumsy attempt to write an end to the series, and they could have done better. The fight scene with Hydra was particularly uninspiring and worthless, and the attempt to reconcile his financial situation was pathetic. A poor end to a series that started off so well, just like most attempts to do something with Iron Fist.

Nova 26

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Andrea DiVito

The Nova Corps members are cut off from Worldmind, and getting cut to pieces. Richard Rider shows up to save the day. What I can�t figure out is why they give the credits twice, once on the recap page, and again on the title introduction splash page. They have done this before, but it�s unnecessary. Is someone in the production process forgetting they put it on the recap page in the first place?

Anyway, Andrea Divito is the artist, and even though I tend to wish for a separate inker, Divito knows what he�s doing, and for the most part everything still looks excellent. There are a couple of places where the inks could have been better, but compared to all the others that are doing their own inking, Divito fares better than most.

The Worldmind�s new personality subroutine is a welcome break from the constant stiffness we used to have to read. Richard completes most of his mission to rescue the rest of the corps, but he still has to track down his brother Robbie. Much like the wartime situation during the Annihilation War, Richard assumes command quite naturally, and we still get to see some of the colorful supporting characters. I really loved Qubit, so my heart breaks when I see his condition later on.

Strontian shows up to kill Ravenous, but is stopped by� Robbie? Interesting choice, and compelling reading with great art. This is one of those rare series that I have yet to read a bad issue.

Wolverine: First Class 16

by Peter David and Gurihiru

The art is more kiddie-like than ever before, and it�s starting to feel closer to an Archie comic than anything else. Logan gets a few funny shots in at Dazzler�s expense, but I�m stuck on the art with a ton of plain green and blue backgrounds. It�s a simple story with Kittie�s jealousy getting in the way of her judgment, but with a not-very-serious threat, almost non-existent in fact. I prefer an older artistic team, and Peter David�s stuff has regressed, so I�d prefer van Lente back writing as well.

That said, for a younger audience, this might fare very well. For me, it�s one of those series that as soon as you have a dip in quality, it goes on the radar for personal cancellation.

Wolverine: Weapon X #3

by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney

Meh. This series has turned into a walking rerun, with the head of a company having a military contract at stake, and of course the business and the CEO are corrupt. And of course they have the politicians in the pocket. And of course the bad guys are stupid enough to let Logan split them up and pick them off one by one.

Ron Garney does what he can for the art, but truth to be told, the story doesn�t give him a whole lot to do. Logan conveniently has a tracking device with him, just to fit the plot. I just can�t see anything important happening here, or any reason why I should care about the last two issues. Maybe if the cover price was only $2.99, I might get the remainder, but as it is, I have to cut my losses and cancel.

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


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