Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review - Part 1

The Amazing Spider-Man 604

by Fred Van Lente and Barry Kitson

Spider-Man gets out of the death-trap from last issue pretty much the way we all thought, but the Chameleon blows up his safehouse upon learning it has been compromised. During the few seconds Chameleon was in the safehouse, Spidey planted a tracer on the crook’s gun, but he’s using a manual tracker. Here’s where the complaint comes in: his spider-sense goes off, and he just stands there looking at his manual tracker?!? If I have spider-sense and it goes off, I’m jumping to be at a different place and checking my six.

That small quibble aside, the rest of the issue is a typical villain plot to detonate a bomb, and Spidey uses his scientist brain to have some Mandroids contain the explosion. The more interesting part is what happens to Parker’s private life. Jameson is forced to dial down his anti-Spider rhetoric, Harry is feeling no pain being entertained by Peter’s cousins, and MJ is surprisingly calm. Back at his apartment, Michelle has gone into overdrive on their relationship, planning for him to meet the parents and dominating his every move.

Contrary to the big fiasco we thought Chameleon would make of Parker’s private life during his impersonation of Peter, events have played out relatively well so far. Meanwhile, thanks to the legacy of Kraven, we will get to see a Chameleon/Kraven team-up soon. Kitson is solid on the art, making this a very readable comic.

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus

by Matt Fraction, Mike Deodato and Terry Dodson

We start with a re-run, as they show us the Beast intruding upon Scott and Emma again. We are basically getting an ad for Dark X-Men: The Confession, and it feels cheap. Deodato’s art is much crisper on the next page, showing the new mutant island. Osborn’s forces invade, kicking off a massive slugfest. While the art is great, the story direction is lacking.

Moonstar has cut a deal with Hela for part of her power, so she can tackle Ares. What’s the catch? How often have we seen Hela actually par with her power? Why do we not learn about the potential consequences of this pact? It’s a big gap in the story. Why is Colossus having such trouble with Venom? Colossus is easily twice as strong as the other guy.

One interesting occurrence is that a “piece” of the Void is still inside Emma when she goes inside the Sentry’s head. Both sides claim victory in the end, with Cyclops’ strategy holding off Osborn and company until the cameras arrive. Cyclops declares a free island for mutants, and Osborn promptly announces it is their new prison, and they can’t come back to American soil. The few pages Dodson gets to do pale greatly after seeing Deodato at work.

The overall effect is not that bad, but it’s also very predictable. The Sentry was defeated by messing with his mind again, and the whole deal with him seems to be making sure they show us he is out of the picture so the fight can be fair. It’s repetitious and boring, and the character needs more to be done with him. The island nation thing is still too much like an old G.I. Joe plot, and too reminiscent of Genosha, only much closer to American shores. It feels to me like the X-family is losing its way, just after some great strides by Carey and Brubaker to bring them back to glory. Marvel is locked into their current direction, so we seem to be destined for some rather average X-books for a long while.

Incredible Hercules 134

by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, and Reilly Brown

The intro page alone is worth the price of the comic. Hercules continues to make fun of Thor and his outfit, all while dressing up in said outfit for an impersonation. The trolls actually team up with Herc to battle Alflyse, but Herc knocks them out and claims he has saved the Elf queen.

What follows is a test to prove that this mysterious stranger before Alflyse is indeed the legendary Thor. In a sequence ripped straight from a classic movie, The Court Jester with Danny Kaye and Angela Lansbury, Hercules performs great feats and passes every time. Actually, the contest is rigged, and Alflyse declares that he has succeeded even when he fails. Despite its derivative nature, it’s still very funny. The Olympian wakes up married to Alflyse, and plans for him to lead all of her forces in an invasion of Midgard. Oops indeed!

The Warriors Three have been keeping tabs on the developments, and have arranged their ownstand-in for Hercules, the exiled Thor! Pick up this issue and find out why one character feels the need to say, “I feel a draft.” This is a much-needed respite from all of the never-ending Dark Reign subject matter.

Thunderbolts 135

by Andy Diggle and Miguel Sepulveda

Okay, the new Black Widow was really the old Black Widow in disguise, Natasha Romanov. Her cover is now blown, so she has sent a signal to Nick Fury for pickup, so both she and Sognbird can be rescued. Fur answers said signal to pull her out, but the Thunderbolts team follows them and knocks them all out, taking them prisoner.

Okay, follow all that? Now Diggle throws in the twist that Osborn impersonated a digital Fury the entire time, and gave Natasha the job to infiltrate the Thunderbolts, all to help Norman determine the loyalties of his team members. Here’s the part where I get lost: if Osborn was the man behind the digital screen, then how did Natasha’s signal get to the real Nick Fury? Assuming it’s not an LMD, since Osborn puts a bullet through his head at the end of the issue.

The series is kind of floundering at this point. The new cast isn’t getting much time worth anything, so there isn’t much being developed. They are mostly background filler for Osborn. What good does it do for him to spend six issues testing their loyalty if they don’t really get into any action for months? There is room for more conflict, but I’m just not feeling the tension.

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