Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review - Part 1

Agents of Atlas 9

by Jeff Parker and Dan Panosian

Jimmy Woo learns that his past relationship with Su did not fare well in the ‘fond remembrances’ column, and with him crossing over to her location, he has given her an excuse for war. I started wondering why Dan Panosian’s art was such a let-down and then went back to look at the credits: yup, he’s trying to ink his own work, and it’s a mistake. As to many artists do, he spends way too much time on the noses and not nearly enough on the rest of the facial muscles. Most other stuff looks good, monsters, apes, dragons, but the people are not that great.

Bill swings out to save a couple hiking, but he’s on a rope that appears to drop straight out of the sky. Supposedly there’s a tree or a rock nearby, but the visual context is incomplete and jarring. Back at the Jade Claw’s cave, M-11 gets overpowered by M-21, but the rest of the team comes to Jimmy’s rescue. There are some clever bits, such as the Jade claw taking out the most dangerous “threat,” which turns out to be Venus. Also, the continuity of the ship’s damage by the Hulk is compounded by further damage, which was fun to see that there are consequences for the damage, and not simply ignored because it happened last issue. It actually contributes to their current dilemma. The group maybe isn’t in the greatest shape, but at least M-11 showed up again, and functional. I keep thinking he should reflect a dent or two in his body from the punishment he took.

This is a good book, but I keep getting put off by the blurbs on the cover from comic review sites. A cover should stand on its own, the review is out of place and distracting. Plus, does anyone stop to pick up a comic because a website recommends it? Most of my adventures are from word of mouth of my friends, not some site I never go to in the first place. I wish Marvel would stop doing this, it smacks of desperation, and I want to see this book succeed on its own.


The Amazing Spider-Man 602

by Fred Van Lente and Barry Kitson

The cover doesn’t have much to do with the story, but it’s a fun cover at least. Inside, the Chameleon is back, and he is disposing his victims a la Sweeney Todd, with a chair contraption that falls through the floor, but this one goes into a bubbling pit of acid that destroys even the skeletal remains. Kitson depicts it perfectly, and it’s funny to see Spider-Man escape a government (Jameson) trap of outdated Mandroids on a bus, with Spidey sticking to a Mayor Jameson poster!

The letterer’s use of red as a place to show emphasis instead of black is still very off-putting to me, but I suppose it’s here to stay fro the entire Spidey Brain Trust operation. The plot gets a little confusing, because it seems like the Chameleon is inside the Mayor’s place, but then he manages to switch out with the ‘living statue’ in the courtyard to kidnap Peter, who just got a cool photo job taking place at a secret government bunker. Not knowing he has Spider-Man, he straps him into the same chair as the rest of his victims and steals his face, so he can steal his place. He also happens to accept a date with Mary Jane, who called just at that moment. The viewpoint makes it seem as if peter has already been devoured by the acid trap, but of course we know that can’t be. It’s still a good visual, and Van Lente as the Parker spirit of wit firmly in hand for the entire issue.


Incredible Hercules 132

by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, and Reilly Brown

The intro page gives us Hercules’ viewpoint of Thor’s origin, and it’s hilarious. Zeus as a child rescued from the underworld is deliciously incestuous, as the amnesiac kid learns Athena is his daughter, and he still wants to leer at her and make dirty comments. Guess those kinky Greek deities just can’t shake their millennia-old habits! Brown gives us some great action shots while Pak and Van Lente show us why Hercules is a great warrior, but he should stop trying to pretend he’s smart.

Balder the Brave has come asking for help since Thor has been banished from Asgard. With Zeus to hurl the lightning and create storms, Herc can just barely pull off an impersonation, allegedly to stop Alflyse the queen of the Dark Elves from taking over the nine worlds. The writers do their job and drop in a reference to the real villain early in the story, so readers who pay attention won’t be surprised by the illusion that is cast off at the end, to reveal the duplicitous nature of the plan that has cast Hercules as a pawn. It’s already a fun story arc, and this is just the beginning.

This is quite possibly one of the most humorous but well-drawn comics Marvel puts out, and it really deserves a wider readership. Who’d have thunk that Hercules could carry his own series so well?


Ms. Marvel 43

by Brian Reed and Sergio Arino

At last, an issue of Ms. Marvel that wasn’t a pain just to read. It helps that Sergio Arino comes in to do the art, casting a serious tinge on the proceedings. Brian Reed involves Osborn and ties into the events of Spider-Man’s title with people like Lily to good effect. Spidey himself tries to talk to Ms. Marvel, but he doesn’t quite pick up yet on the fact that the Ms. Marvel he is talking to is not the real McCoy.

The real Carol Danvers has the personality of Catherine Donovan, and has a whole ‘nother life in Los Angeles. It may be problematic that the issue reads more like an overall episode of Dark Reign than Ms. Marvel. The Dark Avengers and Osborn overshadow the ‘who-is-who’ shenanigans that are taking too long to be addressed. For the alleged main plot, it certainly is being dragged out when it should be the main focus. With the constant alien interruptions with the main character, it’s not even all that interesting a plot. I am so thankful for the new artist.


Uncanny X Men 514

by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson

The Utopia crossover continues, and the word ‘Utopia’ takes much too big a chunk out of the cover, but the cover isn’t that impressive anyway. Out of the ten Marvel comics I bought this week, this cover was probably the least impressive, and the least memorable.

Cyclops brings his strategy together and issues marching orders, and what a coincidence, since Terry Dodson is back doing the art, all four of the people Cyclops gathers are women. Who would have guessed? The backgrounds are abysmal and the choreography between panels is lacking. Mimic could easily be mistaken as Angel, since they don’t introduce him as the Dark X-Men team is sent out to dispatch Trask’s biosentinels. At which point Emma says there’s nothing human remaining about them, which sort of contradicts the idea of a biosentinel in the first place, but let’s not get too picky for a title that quickly became a pale shadow of Brubaker’s run. I mean, Daken gets overcome by a dogpile of machines, how lame can we get?

Illyana’s nervous chatter with another group is out of place for a demon sorceress. She’s not a normal teenager, and she’s not someone who would be spooked by Warpath, Domino, or silence. I can’t wait for this to be over, and to have a new creative team come in. It’s starting to show is the monthly sales. The Uncanny title has the most momentum out of all the fanboy titles to keep it in the top ten, even when the book is a mess, but it’s falling out of the top ten as often as not the past few months. There are enough quality books that Marvel can’t count on a sub-par Uncanny book to keep racking up the best sales from collector fanboy inertia. This is the title most in need of a change-up, even if it is still relatively high on the sales charts.


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

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