Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review � Part Two

Dark Reign: Hawkeye 4

by Andy Diggle and Tom Raney

Things start off with a little ridiculous. A room full of guns pointed right at Bullseye, but they all wait way too long to pull the trigger. And by then, of course, it�s too late. One of the stand-ins for Bullseye turns out to be teleporting hero Solo, who is being manipulated. Meantime, Ben Urich isn�t making much progress on the whole black ops angle, so his source helps him out at the point of a gun. Something tells me they won�t be getting a beer together when this is all over. The source drops the name Kingmaker on Urich. Kingpin, Kingmaker� you think Urich is tried of hearing the word �king� for a couple lifetimes?

The mastermind behind Bullseye�s recent dementia is unveiled, and it�s dear old daddy. I have to confess, this is a let-down for me. I�m getting a little tired of both heroes and villains always having family issues. Can�t we have a single bad guy that doesn�t have his father/mother/daughter/son/brother/sister trying to kill him? That said, it works as well as it can for the current plot, and it ends on a fun note. This is another one of those mini-series that would probably be more fun read as a trade.

Dark X-Men: The Beginning 2

by various

Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk give us a quick vignette of Osborn approaching Cloak and Dagger, offering the same deal he does with everyone else: he shows them their common goal, and offers to help them in exchange for obedience, for toting the party line. Tandy agrees, despite Tyrone�s objections. The prospect of having that kind of ammo in their war on drugs is too big to pass up.

Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman write the drafting of Weapon Omega. Why it takes two people is beyond me, it�s only eleven pages. Michel Lacombe draws us the picture of Michael Pointer at a construction site, trying to build instead of destroy. Osborn knows the guy�s history of course, so he has leaked some MGH (that�s mutant growth hormone, to occasional readers) to make poor old Mike think he�s endangering his coworkers. Osborn promises to help find a �cure,� if only he�ll agree to join the team.

Finally, Rob Williams and Paco Diaz are the team for Daken�s story. Osborn and Daken have a little t�te � t�te, fencing with words. Osborn tries to show Daken the advantages of power, but loses his temper and tries to order Daken around like a dog. Daken, in turn, displays his own intelligence and succeeds in making Osborn angrier still. However, in the end Osborn still gets what he wants, and Daken joins the team.

Diaz shines in a couple of pages, but the overall art teams are not the best in the business, making this side-trip still non-essential reading. The reason for Cloak and Dagger joining could have been condensed into one or two panels, and the same for Weapon Omega for that matter. The Daken story was a little more interesting than the other two.

Ultimatum 5

by Jeph Loeb and David Finch

Finished at last! For a five-issue mini-series, I didn�t expect it to take quite this long. After this dust-up, I hope the creative teams for the re-launched Ultimate titles get enough under their belt to handle any possible delays in the schedule from here on out. What can I say, I�m a hopeless optimist.

One thing that bothers me when Magneto takes control of events: when Cyclops found his visor opening, why couldn�t he just shut his stupid eyes? Did he want Wolverine dead? Because it looked like he used all the power he had in that blast. Magneto crawls away, broken and bleeding, only to catch up with Fury�s crew, fresh from the Squadron Supreme universe. Fury uses Jean Grey to unveil his dirty little secret, that mutants were created by humans in the first place, which kind of puts a crimp in Magneto�s master philosophy (which also confuses me, because didn�t Magneto already know this? Somebody help me out here). They rely on this reality check to convince Magneto to fix the planet�s dire straights. This could have been a big scene, but he does it in three small panel insets.

Then, Magneto basically goes to meet his maker, letting Cyclops blast his skull into pieces. In turn, Cyclops is assassinated in public by Quicksilver (moving too fast for anyone else to see, of course), and the brilliant government forces decide to arrest Storm and Colossus, who were innocently standing behind Cyclops. So yeah, your best friend gets murdered and the cops pull their guns on you instead of looking for whoever did the killing, that makes a lot of sense. The Ultimate universe is about as mutant-crazy as the regular Marvel universe was in the �80s. The whole shot is almost identical to the Heroes TV show when Nathan got shot at the podium.

The damage doesn�t end there. Doctor Doom is holding Namor hostage, but Ben Grimm waltzes in and crushes Doom�s skull, presumably killing him. No word on if he lets Namor free. WE end without a real ending, because this �event� shows us yet another conspiracy, involving Quicksilver, Mystique, Sabretooth, and another shadowed female. Whatever complications there are between events going down precisely as the new female �planned,� and Doctor Doom�s responsibility for setting off the events in the first place, is not covered.

The additional deaths, if they stick, of Wolverine, Magneto, Cyclops, and Doctor Doom, were not very original, especially since the Wolvie death was a repeat of the old let�s-strip-the-adamantium-from-his-bones trick. Still, for all the mess of a story this gave us, it was cool to see David Finch�s pencils cover it all. If you treat this less like a seamless story, and instead consider it to be a David Finch pin-up magazine, taking small slices out of a much bigger event, and showing you only the parts where people die, you might enjoy this a lot more. There is simply no time to let one death be digested before the next one is thrown out in front of you. It feels a lot like one of those old What If stories that involved cosmic cataclysm, and you had to show a half dozen big heroes dying to get across a �big� import in a single issue. This one was just dragged out for five issues so Finch could display things in their goriest, finest detail.

So what are we left with? A neat-looking series that was meant to burn the forest between the two universes, so we could get the Ultimate one back to doing what it was supposed to originally: let anything happen. Anything EXCEPT a duplicate of what has already happened in the regular universe. The clone story in Ultimate Spidey: a mistake. Because Spidey has already had a massive clone story, and there wasn�t a big divergence in the Ultimate universe, except for the fact that it was mercifully shorter in duration. Almost any of these �deaths� can be ret-conned. Wolverine can easily be brought back if they want, so it will be interesting to see how big of a gut people have to leave Logan out from now on. Can we have a fresh, new Ultimate universe without Doom, Magneto, and Wolverine? I�d like to at least see them try. If not, then their reasons for this miserable mini-series will render it an even bigger failure in the future.

War of Kings: Ascension 4

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Wellington Alves

Chris has control of his armor back, but now everybody thinks he killed Lilandra. Greaaat. We get some great action scenes that are mostly Chris trying to get away from everyone, when Talon makes contact and tries to bring Razor back into prominence and control of the Darkhawk suit. Talon explains the current status of the entire War of Kings in less than three pages, and lays out his plan for coming out on top. Unfortunately for him, Chris was playing opossum, pretending to have lost control to Razor.

Chris manages to banish Talon and bring out the Skrull host, who then kills himself to prevent Talon from coming back. This leaves Chris with the reputation of a murderer, and probably a ton of cosmic �wanted� posters being pinned up in seedy bars with his picture on them, but he has a new purpose. The one remaining Darkhawk has just set off on his own crusade to hunt down any remaining amulets to stop the evil Raptors from surfacing again to do evil. It is a fitting end to a good mini-series, giving a good quest for a frequently-ignored character.

I�m not sure when we will see Darkhawk again, if he will play any more of a part in the rest of the War of Kings, but the parts we did see of him were great. Wellington Alves with Scott Hanna on inks proved to be a great combination as always. If a new Darkhawk series were this well-drawn and only a tad more exciting, I�d buy a new monthly title.

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

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