Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

The Amazing Spider-Man Annual 36

by Marc Guggenheim and Pat Oliffe

The best part of the recent Spidey stories has been the impending nuptials of Aunt May and Jay. Throwing Peter and JJJ together as step-brothers allows us to take part in Peter�s ability to take delicious enjoyment in throwing barbs at Jonah with every breath. Events get interrupted when Peter comes under attack from Velociraptor, a costumed goon that reminds me of Cottonmouth.

When Spider-Man finally gets the guy under control, this unfamiliar face claims he was trying to avenge his dead family by killing Ben Reilly. What I don�t understand is Marvel�s obsession with resurrecting old wounds. The Clone Saga ranks among the top ten for stories we wish we could scrub out of our collective brain, yet not only did Bendis drag it unnecessarily into the Ultimate universe, but we also have a mini-series coming up soon to revisit the sad saga. Christos Gage had a bearable appearance by Ben Reilly in the X-Men/Spider-Man mini-series recently, and that was decent. Now it has to interrupt our normal comic, too? Is Marvel so worried about Mephisto fallout that they are bringing back the only Spider-related thing that could arguably be worse, to make us forget their more recent shenanigans?

The writing goes south at the mere mention of a clone. To wit: Peter looks through some archives for the bad guy�s name, and comes across a story of arson. Somehow the police sketch of the arson suspect is online, and it looks exactly like Peter. Not like Peter as he was five years ago, mind you. The five-year-old picture looks like Peter looks today, down to the part in his hair.

Witty repertoire aside, this annual sucked eggs. Taking someone who should be dead and ret-conning him into a (suspected) murderer is a bad idea, and if this third-rate villain attack isn�t proof enough, I guess we�ll just have to hold our noses and bear it. Still, you might want to consider suspending your purchases of the regular comic for a while.


Dark X-Men: The Beginning 1

by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk

I have no idea why the indicia have this series include �The Beginning� as part of the title, it seems unnecessary. I also have no idea why they had to show a shower scene for Namor, with Osborn walking in on him. Doesn�t Namor spend all his time in saltwater? Isn�t he happy that way? Why would he ever hit a shower indoors?!? Nine pages this goes on, with Namor standing around naked. These are simple questions that should come from the editor. Unless Namor has a special �salted� spout, this scene makes no sense. The premise is to explain why Namor blew up at Osborn at first, but then agreed to join the Dark X-Men team. Aside from Osborn playing Namor�s towel boy, it reads okay.

by James Asmus and Jesse Delperdang

The second part has average art that does a poor job of recapping mimic�s history in the Marvel universe. Mimic used to be an awesome character, doomed to die. If you ever try to read his history, it doesn�t make sense. The guy goes from dead to living by some unexplained magic, and now he�s walking around in a hideous purple outfit. He should have stayed dead, especially if this is the best writers can do with him. His first appearances were the best, and all of his modern appearances have been sorely lacking. This is no exception.

by Shane McCarthy and Ibraim Roberson

Part three shows Osborn from Dark Reign approaching the Dark Beast to join the Dark X-Men. Do you think they have beaten us over the head enough yet with the �dark� references? Still, nobody has bothered to explain how Osborn could know of the existence of a cast-out from a no-longer existing parallel dimension, so I guess we�ll just have to assume it was in some government file somewhere. It might have made for a good story, but if they haven�t gotten around to it by this point, they probably never will. If you weren�t around for the Age of Apocalypse, I am unsure if a newer reader will completely understand that this is a different Beast than the real McCoy. Roberson does better art than the other two in this issue, I think, but this new pattern of X-Men mini-series that follow multiple stories have generally been average, and this is about the same. You won�t miss anything if you skip this.


Ms. Marvel 41

by Brian Reed and Sergio Arino

I think Brian Reed should take over the Deadpool series, because he�s the best thing in this issue, but only for a couple panels to wrap up last issue�s plotline. Everyone is still after the babies in jars to either protect them, turn them into new M.O.D.O.K.s, or I don�t know what-all. Osborn is mad because Deadpool killed 107 of his agents, but I must have missed those large numbers last issue.

The rest of the issue is an unexplained mess of the multiple colors of female forms coming to reassemble in the form of Carol Danvers. Frankly, I keep getting her symbol mixed up with the Sentry�s. Why does Moonstone want the babies? Why can�t the babies figure out Moonstone, wearing an older version of the Ms. Marvel costume, is not who they want? Why is Moonstone so desperate to keep Ms. Marvel from reincorporating her physical body?

Arino has some good art, but needs an inker. I can�t really care about any aspect of this story, if they�re not going to be bothered to inform us of anything substantial for four issues straight. Like I said, if the story doesn�t need to matter, send Reed over to Deadpool, where they can just have zany fun. Ms. Marvel has fast become irrelevant to the rest of the Marvel universe.


War of Kings: Warriors 1

by Christos N. Gage, Mahmud A. Asrar, and Carlos Magno

A nice, compact story that gives the origin of Gladiator, and explains his deep, unwavering loyalty towards whomever holds the throne of the Shi�ar. Except for the fact that he just switched his loyalty back to Lilandra, poor timing, because the story is mostly good, and would have made for a better impact a month or so before he turned traitor to the throne. It reduces the impact to have a story come out explaining his loyalty when for two issues he�s been� well, disloyal to the throne already.

The story does have some failings, although I like Asrar�s art. The backgrounds are a little sparse, which I have come to expect from many of these mini-series. Kallark and the rest of the top ten champions have been sent to the Shi�ar emperor for a test of their loyalty. Their mission is to kill the council of elders of their own homeworld, the ones who have been training them to be the champions this while time! A starcruiser stands poised to blow up the sun and destroy the whole planet if the elders are not killed. The elders stack the deck and choose Kallark to be their lead pony, telling only him o the true stakes. Their reason for not telling the other champions: in their assessment, the others would have tried a rebellion, dooming the planet. For whatever reason, and we have to assume it�s part of the alien culture, the elders accept their death as a legitimate test of loyalty, and refuse to resist.

While the various reasoning of the different players can be argued, if we are to take these other races and accept that their thought processes are different, it reads well. Gage end-caps the story with Gladiator coming out of his wandering down memory lane to save Vulcan from an assassination attempt, and it is this framing device that reads the best out of the whole story.

The second part has Magno�s art depicting Blastaar invading his own planet to take the reigns from his father. The whole thing has cast Blastaar as a kind of spaceworthy, unrepentant Sarah Palin, insisting he is not an elite scoundrel, but an average person, but worthy for others to follow. He takes out all opposition with relative ease, planning to take more control of events in the future. This is another story that should have come out earlier, because we have already seen Blastaar put in his place by the Darkhawks over in the Ascension and War of Kings mini-series. It�s hard to give any weight to Blastaar�s boast of coming out on top when we know his control rod has a magic ward that can be activated at any time and rob him of its possession. The tale would have had much greater impact if I had read it two months ago, and then witnessed his impotence. That said, this issue is much better than the Dark X-Men issue.


X-Men: Legacy 226

by Mike Carey and Dustin Weaver

The Legacy title links up with the current Utopia Dark Reign storyline, as Pixie brings Rogue, Gambit and Danger to San Francisco to join Cyclops� group. Scott is very short with Rogue for her previous departure from the group, but that�s all cut short by the necessity of the moment. Cyke needs all the help he can get. The three split up to take on assignments, and Mike Carey makes the most of it.

Rogue comes across the (temporarily) new Ms. Marvel impersonator, Moonstone, a confrontation laden with Rogue�s past history of stealing Carol Danvers� memories and powers. Danger gets a turn as a protector of innocents, and Gambit takes on Ares! Dustin Weaver�s frenetic pencils match the intensity of the flow of action, while Mr. Carey does well to tie everything into the larger meta-story. While this issue lacks the presence of Xavier, it does help bring the two main X-Men titles into a kind of confluence, which is good for as long as it can last.


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

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