Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Agents of Atlas 10

by Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman, and Paul Rivoche

The war is on between Suwan and Jimmy. The issue is divided into small chapters that flow well, starting off with an observation of Bob’s ship being repaired, a taste of in-story continuity that is fun to see, since so few people tend to track small details lie that in comics these days. Hale continues to make his sarcastic comments while everyone else is silent, watching a couple of their supply ships get blown out of the water.

An interesting plot opens up the fact that Venus has caught the notice of Hercules’ family, in the form of the Olympus Group, and specifically Aphrodite. Sparks should fly from that in the future! Another cool part is the upgrading journey of M-11, as Hale helps him to find one of the original designers and take a tour through past prototypes. M-11 comes out looking like War Machine, but held together with a bunch of strap-on weapon attachments. The art style works well for this motley collection, and this was a thoroughly enjoyable issue. I’m really rooting for its success.

Exiles 6

by Jeff Parker and Salva Espin

Alas, this series has met a speeded-up end. Jeff Parker is forced to fold up his tent and put away the toys much earlier than originally planned. The team returns to the first alternate world where their mission was left undone, and cause some friction which splits the mutants into two opposing camps. They split up, leaving the one central location that was about to be nuked to hell by humans, thus saving the overall mutant population, and proving to be the real goal for the team the whole time.

The rest of the team has caught on that Blink plays a greater role than she is telling, and they fake out both her and Morph and backtrack to the Crystal Palace. We go through all of the variations on the previous people running the show, the Timebroker, the insects, the two celestial old people… man, it really did become a mess, didn’t it? The new showmaster is a female Kang, who realized she was creating alternate worlds and never changing the original timeline. To stop the divergent Kangs that were created from increasing the chaos in an ever-expanding stream of disaster, she put together teams to “fix” things and get conditions on the alternate worlds closer to what she felt was the “norm.”

The palace slowly absorbs members of the team, part of the reason no Exile ever is supposed to go back to the home reality, and become part of the collective consciousness, and finally everyone on the new team sort-of understands the stakes, and agrees to stay on and help. Phew!

Okay, in the middle of all of this, they use the Proteus possession of Morph in a clever way without stopping to explain the whole mess, they reveal the Beast has been miraculously cleared of his stupidity disease, and is gay, which doesn’t seem to matter, so I can only assume there were plans to explore that facet of his personality later. We are also shown that the Witch was killed on the first planet, and the Scarlet Witch of that dimension has seamlessly taken her place. Also to not much effect, since the series is over.

One interesting concept that the Beast ends with explains why the source of the Crystal palace setup changes all the time, and will change again. The nature of the adventures of the Exiles has effects on the entire structure, so that when they change conditions throughout time and space to maintain the structure they want, they also change the beginning point of their structure. It’s a fascinating concept in time-travel physics that not too many people explore, and it allows for a constantly shifting originating source, and helps to explain the entire structure of the series better than anything before it.

It’s actually a very good wrap-up to a series that wasn’t given much chance to catch its stride, but to be honest, this forced it to have that manic pace of the early years of Lee and Kirby, having a lot more happen in a normal comic than we usually get today. It was great fun, and I’d like to see it happen more often. The increase in pace and action and plot movement, not the early cancellation of a series, that is.

Although Salva Espin has some good qualities as an artist, the style lends itself to younger audiences, and that was the wrong call for this series. Hopefully Marvel will let it rest for a few years and then revisit it with some good ideas and a different art style.

House of M: Masters of Evil 2

by Christos N. Gage and Manuel Garcia

Garcia continues to impress me with his art as the Red Guard led by Logan is brought into the picture. It leads to a showdown with the Masters of Evil, but they get sloppy. The creative team, that is. Rogue removes a glove from her right hand to touch the Absorbing Man, but she actually touches him on the next page with her left hand, and both gloves are still on! For every panel afterward, the gloves are both still on. This is a small mistake with other characters, but for Rogue in particular, it’s one of the biggest mistakes to make in depicting her in action, as flesh-to-flesh contact is the only way her powers work. Equal amounts of shame go out to the writer, artist, editor, etc. The usual crew that messes up on these things.

That’s actually my only complaint. Everything else is great. Simple name captions identify every character once, which helps out new readers, and helps us old fogies identify a villain with a slightly different look due to the House of M alterations. The Hood shows he can bust his crew members out of jail, and he also makes a more ambitious leap than before, aiming to start his own country! That guy has come a long way from street thug, hasn’t he?

Invincible Iron Man 17

by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

We’re back. Actually, this storyline has gone on forever, and shows no sign of ending ever. It’s a great little trick that will kill the series before too much longer. Tony has data in his head the bad guys want, and to wipe his brain appropriately, he has to use “extraordinarily powerful technology” at his “hidden armories.” That’s really all the explanation you’ll ever get, which should be a clue to put the book down and run away.

They don’t even give you good locations! In the ultimate Alliance video game, you get to go to Atlantis, Latveria, Asgard, a SHIELD helicarrier, Hell, etc. where do we get to go? Russia. And the desert. Yay.

Meanwhile, Maria Hill has lost her marbles and attacks the easily-recognizable Black Widow, pretending not to know who she was. If I were the Widow, I would stop giving this lady chances and turn her over to the enemy. Maybe she can sabotage them. It’s pointless.

Meanwhile, Pepper is dead, killed by Madame Masque. Yeah, I don’t believe that either. What a waste of time.

Meanwhile, Tony is asleep, on auto-pilot, and a random desert-dweller walking around with an RPG on his shoulder successfully hits the armor and knocks Tony out of the sky. From hundreds of yards away. With only a line of sight. I got news for you, if you can hit a moving target from that far out with only your own eyes, you belong in the upper elite of one of the best militaries on the planet, not tooling around on foot

Everything was bad about this issue. Not bad art, but everything else.

Strange Tales 1

by various

You have got to get this issue! Lockjaw saves the world as an incidental means to getting fed! The She-Hulk blows another wedding! Spider-Ma doesn’t fit in a spider world! Doctor Strange wins awesome victories! Wolverine has an accident while picking a wedgie! There is so much more. Packed with zany stories and zanily enjoyable art, the laughs don’t stop. This was my only impulse buy at the rack, and I’m getting the other two in this series for sure.

The Torch 1

by Alex Ross, Mike Carey, and Patrick Berkenkotter

Alex Ross picks up from the outcome of the Avengers/Invaders series: Toro is alive, and trying to find his purpose. Whatever deal he cut still allows Dynamite to have their company name on the credits, just as it did for the Avengers/Invaders series. Patrick Berkenkotter has a style that sets a good mood, giving an old feel that is sympathetic with this character out of time, but still set in the present.

After getting a newsfeed on how messed up the world is, Toro decides he can still pitch in, and he asks the (Golden Age) vision to take him to the Mad Thinker, which is the villain who killed Toro waaay back before I was born. But I did read that issue eventually. The mad thinker is currently employed by AIM, and has a gleefully irritating assistant who has the delicious effect of irking the Mad Thinker endlessly.

Toro goes after the villain, but gets defeated. Upon examination, the Mad Thinker finds out that Toro is not only a mutant, but also has some Horton cells based on the original Human Torch’s configuration. It’s an interesting concept, and makes for a great first issue.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 2

by Brian Bendis and David Lafuente

Mysterio is the villain who killed Kingpin, and he wants the whole enchilada now. The rest of the issue actually focuses on school life and such, and is very entertaining. The antics of the school kids against Kitty Pryde is hilarious, and her confrontation with MJ is great . Peter has to suit up and fight a mother-daughter Fenris type of enemy, and they mess up on simple grammar: “ that kind of power and your robbing jewelry stores? ‘Your’ should be ‘you’re,’ but why do we worry about it? It’s not like we want kids to know how to spell anymore, right? They’ve got Twitter short-hand, so spelling is obsolete. EDITORS! Please do your (censored) job.

Other than that nitpick, a fun issue. We’re just waiting to hear why Johnny showed up and crashed on Peter’s doorstep.

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