Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review - Part 1

Dark Avengers 10

by Brian Bendis and Mike Deodato

Whatever failings this issue might have, the one-page splash of Ares cutting the Man-Thing in half is worth the price of admission alone. The cover is a little weird, because every member is present and looking scared, but Noh-Varr has been MIA for a while now. Inside, Karla makes flirting gestures with Bullseye, but why is Ares looking scandalized? He’s an immortal who has probably had more booty than anyone this side of Hercules.

Most of the issue is this team bickering with each other, and a lame spot about Gargan reacting badly to his new medications, which leads to him being sidelined. The sentry goes in to investigate some mysterious disappearances in a dinosaur-themed town, but he overloads or something and appears to blow up. So we have the most powerful hero sidelined yet again. Is anybody else as bored as I am with how little they can think to do with the Sentry?

Seriously, he’s child’s-play to mess with mentally, and every issue he can be taken out of play. They don’t treat Superman nearly as lame over at DC, but it has become a running joke that the first step in a new Bendis plot is to take the Sentry off the board. Except for Deodato’s wonderful art, the issue is almost boring.

The final page is cool, with Osborn at least blacking out, and getting a vision of Enchantress, the recently-banished Dormammu, the Molecule Man, and I think a giant-sized Beyonder. Is that the Dragon from Moondragon on the left? And why is Osborn naked? This is a hard issue to judge on its own, so we’ll just have to tune in next issue.

If they can just figure out how to write a title with the Sentry effectively, this entire series would be a lot better.

Invincible Iron Man 19

by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

Pepper breaks the Black Widow and Maria Hill out of custody, but the art is lazy for most of it. Blank walls with no decoration. The fight with Iron Patriot and Iron Man is similarly lazy, with the colorist trying to make up for the fact that they are in a desert, again with nothing substantial for backgrounds. Even when the scene switches to a newsroom, a glance at a cubicle shows one lonesome desk plant amidst monitors that are too small, and the same cup of pencils is moved from the left side of a newsman to behind his right shoulder. It’s almost as if they paid the artist half-rate, and so that’s all he’s giving us.

The plot is simple: Osborn takes out a mentally-retarded (no offense, that’s literally his equivalent mental state right now) Tony Stark, and is about to kill him, but he is informed that they have live coverage, so Osborn orders him arrested instead. Pepper and the others get away easy, setting us up for the entrance of Thor, since any end-of-life decision has to be made by Donald Blake, as Tony’s physician. All I can say is: IT’S ABOUT TIME THIS STORY WAS OVER!!!! I was SO bored, and the ending was entirely predictable. The art has gotten progressively more boring as well, so there hasn’t been much to recommend. Hopefully the next issue will signal an about-face for the title, giving us somewhere new to go and new subjects to cover. The entire setup was so unlikely, made up of a Rube Goldberg contraption of multiple locations for something that anyone else would have set up to take care of in one place in one issue.

I feel like someone wrote a decompressed story and then shoved me into a malfunctioning time machine that froze for a year, and I still have to wait a month to see if everything has been properly thawed out.

The Mighty Avengers 30

by Dan Slott, Christos N. Gage and seanChen

Henry Pym steps outside the universe, and meets Eternity. Eternity then declares him to be earth’s Scientist Supreme. We are use to magical items and large abstract ideas being anthropomorphized, so the idea of Eternity we can buy. But treating science the same way? It’s a little weird. I’m not sure if Dan slot is just pulling our leg or not, but I’m going to give the idea some time to grow on me. It could be fun.

The Young, Initiative, New and Mighty Avengers team up to attack the Unspoken, but they aren’t doing too well. Chen’s art is slowly getting better, but for people like us who are used to seeing mass gatherings of heroes depicted by masters of the page such as George Perez, Chen’s mass scenes leave a little to be desired. There are no little side conversations, no particularly meaningful match-ups in the people standing together, etc. I’ll give him this, though, he does appear to be trying a little to give each person an individualized face.

The series continues to hold humor and adventure, and the best line this month in comics comes from Osborn to the Sentry, as Hercules steps through a door from Avengers’ Tower back to the Mighty Avengers’ HQ: “Bob, I want that door thrown into the sun.” Slott seems obsessed with retro-fitting Hank Pym so he comes out as the grand savior. It may be an example of the pendulum swinging to far from one side to the other, as Bendis and company took great strides to paint him only as a loser wife-beater who deserved to rot in prison for the past few years. I’d prefer something in-between, but Pym is due for some redemption or justice on the page by now.

The one thing that could make this story a little better is to accurately quantify exactly what the Unspoken can do. “Everything” is a little too convenient and sparse, as far as explanations go.

Thunderbolts 137

by Rick Remender and Mahmud Asrar

A new creative team comes in, showing Iron Fist captured by Osborn, and brainwashed into opposing any enemies of the current regime. They flash back to showing how he was captured, and then cut to an attempt to capture Luke Cage. The rest of the Thunderbolts team is sent in first to soften him up, but Iron Fist has to step in.

Pay attention next, because Osborn is spending an awful lot of time setting up some dominos to cover a Luke Cage project folder, while the Ghost arranges for both Cage and Iron Fist to escape. Osborn tries to use the folder to convince the traitors to step forward, but it appears that when nobody steps up to take claim, Osborn has nothing to hold over anyone. It is strangely amateur of him to pull a bluff like that, and lessens the impact of the story.

The Ghost reveals that if the brainwashing had been successful, the current team of Thunderbolts would have been killed and replaced. Asrar does well with the art. I wouldn’t put him in my top ten list, but he does reasonably well with what he’s been given. Not nearly as good as the cool Francesco Mattina cover, though. The bit with the folder setup by Osborn felt unnatural, so this isn't a home run, but it's close to the quality of the past few issues.

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