Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review - Part 1

Agents of Atlas 8

by Jeff Parker and Carlo Pagulayan

I’m not totally sold on the practice of putting website reviews on the cover of a comic book. Maybe it’s just me, but I want the cover to be able to grab me by itself. Reading a wanna-be New York Times endorsement trying to be the equivalent of a recommendation to go see a movie just doesn’t work in this type of format. If Marvel really wants to get people interested in a title, they should just put out a free issue, or do a twenty-five cent special or something, anything except mess up the cover with some web critic trying to boost your interest. What’s the point of the internet if you didn’t already read their same sentence on the net in their review of the same comic?

Okay, mini-rant over, and back to watching some of Jeff Parker’s delicious sense of humor at work. The recap page this month reads well if you know the tune of the “Brady Bunch,” complete with a nine-panel picture of the cast. If you are too young for that show, go do a search on their theme song and then read the recap page again. For those of us old enough, it’s awesome and funny. It’s funsome!

An Atlas branch has made a bad habit of tranquilizing bums and derelicts for experimentation, but this time they have landed themselves the Hulk. The majority of the team responds to the threat and fight hard, eventually calming the monster down. It wasn’t easy, the battle sequence does a good job of showing the sheer power at the Hulk’s disposal, while still giving us a reasonable way for the team to win in the end.

Pagulayan has some great pencil work here, and the final page, where Jimmy Woo and M-11 come face to face with the Jade Claw, is sexy, interesting, and full of menace, with what looks like M-11’s bully older brother standing behind her. It will be interesting to see if there are additional difficulties that result from the dent Hulk put in the Uranian’s ship, or if it is magically fixed next issue.

The Amazing Spider-Man 599

by Joe Kelly, Stephen Segovia, Marco Checchetto, Paulo Siqueira and Amilton Santos

It’s father versus son as the Osborn family duke it out in their respective Iron Man/Captain America suits. Spider-Man spends a little too much time complaining about himself being about to collapse, and I can’t help but spend the entire issue thinking Pete needs to change his hairstyle or something, because his secret ID should really be so much Swiss cheese at this point.

Peter talks Harry into walking away when he has a chance to kill Norman, and we end with Norah stalling her story because Osborn found out about her, Lily siding with Norman even though she seems to be shocked for some reason at how he talks to the child inside her belly, and Harry maybe not out of the woods yet, because who knows what will happen to his body after all of the drugs that have been put in his system. The artists are many, but they do manage to paint a solid picture in the entirety of the issue. Not a bad issue, or a bad way to knock off thing before we get to issue #600. Somehow, though, I wanted more from this story arc.

Captain America 601

by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan

We’re in for a treat this week, and I could care less if it’s a fill-in issue. Winter Soldier and Nick Fury go into flashback-mode as Bucky talks about some of the horrors he saw in WW II. We are treated to the work of Gene Colan, master of “painting with a pencil,” as they describe it. Mr. Colan is great at using light and shadow, and his panel compositions work wonders to give the atmosphere a ‘horror’ feel. Given Gene’s work on such darkly mysterious titles as Doctor Strange and such, we get ourselves a vampire story.

Gene’s good with making the monsters, but sometimes the dimensions seem off for Cap and Bucky. Many of the pages would strike you as right at home in the walls on an art gallery, many of them capable of conveying much of the story all in one frame. This issue was a very pleasant surprise.

Dark Avengers 7

by Matt Fraction and Luke Ross

Matt Fraction has taken over for this crossover, and Luke Ross does an excellent job on art chores. The only distracting thing is Fraction’s preference for introducing the characters with a caption by their side. If it only had their names, that would be okay, but Fraction adds in snarky summaries that are at odds with the supposed seriousness of the story.

The fighting trumps all, so there isn’t much chance to develop this new team of Dark X-Men much. I liked the confrontation Cyclops had with Osborn, but I fail to see why Osborn didn’t at least try to capture Scott when he walked right into his hands. Still, it should make for some fun when Cyke takes the gloves off and goes against both the Dark Avengers and the Dark X-Men.

The better part of the story is the tour that the white Queen gets to take. We get to witness Osborn’s blatant lies to her, and relish in the fact that Emma is actually in contact with Xavier, so she knows what’s really up. These little, individual nails in the coffin are adding up to the point where Osborn’s castle will fall, and it seems like most of the people involved in the events recognize it. Interesting, isn’t it, that they all still choose to go along for the ride, for as long as it lasts?

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