Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 610

by Mark Guggenheim, Marco Checchetto, Luke Ross and Rick Magyar

Adi Granov has a great cover for us, and thankfully this is the last issue of clone nonsense we have to put up with for a while (I hope). This is all Guggenheim’s brainchild, this idea that Peter should be involved with a murder mystery. Ben Reilly is supposed to be more believable as a murderer because he’s a clone, according to the writer. Except we all pretty much knew Raptor was responsible for killing his own family. Kaine is inconsistent and a waste of time for the entire issue, and Peter comes to the same conclusion all of us did: Peter is no killer, and Ben couldn’t be either. Gee, that took two seconds to figure out, and how many issues did you spend on it?

The art is okay, but the ending of this story is lame. He is standing right over Raptor and then webs him up. The police arrive, and Kaine has slipped away… and webbed-up Raptor is gone too?!?! Even Screwball, who was supposed to be unconscious, has woken up and left in the space of two seconds. The story was lame enough to begin with, but this takes the cake. Wasting our time with a story where the conclusion was blatantly obvious and therefore not entertaining is one thing. Having no ending to your story so you just have all three villains magically disappear when we turn the page is amazingly lame. And if Kaine is degrading, why doesn’t he just die already?

Big waste of time. I want to take Granov’s cover, slap it on a different story, and get a do-over for this issue.

Astonishing X-Men 32

by Warren Ellis and Phil Jimenez

A nice exciting cover starts us off, and inside the Bio-Sentinel launches missiles out of its fingers that unfold to reveal themselves as Brood! Very neat visuals throughout the entire issue, and whenever Storm gets some screen time, she looks magnificent. The Beast snags the Sentinel with a grappler and actually makes it water-ski out of the harbor. We also get to see Wolvie go a little berserker, and it comes across better here than most other places I’ve seen it recently.

Armor has been changed under different writers, so gone is the polite girl who defers to her elders, and some of her original pattern of talking. She is mostly just another Kitty/Jubilee stand-in, without some of the uniqueness of her first appearances. Still, her power is cool and visually interesting.

There is a slight break in the story, because the rescue ship Beast and Brand are on is not supposed to have any weapons. A few panels later, some missiles are launched at the Sentinel’s head, and it causes a reaction that results in an explosion. I have to assume that the missiles are supposed to be some kind of fire retardant or anti-biological vaccine. I have to assume, because the writer doesn’t bother to tell you what they are. He also doesn’t take any time to explain how a rescue ship with no weapons still can have missiles.

While the dialogue is cool and the art is great, this title has a couple problems. Besides small slip-ups like the missiles-but-no-weapons things, the title is always late. That leads to another problem, in that Brand basically reveals the beginnings of Necrosha here. In the rest of the Marvel universe, Utopia has already happened, Emma can’t use her telepathy and the reanimated mutants have already attacked. So yet again, we’re stuck reading things out of order because creative teams can’t keep to a monthly schedule. Marvel should pace things out better ahead of time, or start firing people. It’s one thing for a self-contained story to be late, but when you’re working on a meta-story, timing is more important than it was in the old days.

And in the old days, many people who were late got fired.

Doctor Voodoo 2

by Rick Remender, Jefte Palo and Gabriel Hardman

Voodoo has been left stranded by Doctor Doom in a dimension with magically-immune man-size frogs. He suffers a mystical attack from Nightmare, but manages to get away. Upon his return, he is met by the Son of Satan, Daimon Hellstrom. I feel a little cheated later, because the cover with blood dripping out of the pentagram on Hellstrom’s chest is awesome, but it’s really just Nightmare in disguise, getting access to an area by duping Voodoo.

The simplistic rendering of Hellstrom also is underwhelming, but I want to give the story a chance to play out, because it’s reading well so far, generally speaking. The art is not a bad choice for this comic, but I must admit, I would be interested to see a rotating artistic team on this book, giving us a chance to see a few different ways of portraying the magical realms. Not my favorite comic this week, but good enough to buy.

Nova 31

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Andrea DiVito

Darkhawk is now a man on a mission, trying to hunt down the evil Raptors (and why didn’t an editor tell Guggenheim not to use the code-name Raptor when the storyline here was started such a long time ago? Lousy editors! But I digress…). As they spend way too many times telling us, the planet where Nova is chasing him down is about to be destroyed. Nova catches up to Darkhawk and tries to get him to open up, explain why or how there is a video of him killing Lilandra. Then we flash back a few hours.

This is one of my favorite scenes, with an experienced trainer showing the Nova Corps members how to better use their powers. We get to see Rich learn a thing or two just by watching, and it is hilarious. He is the leader, and acts like everything is going according to his plan. However, we see here that no matter how may wars he has fought in, no matter how many times he has vanquished an enemy, he still has a lot to learn about using his powers. Makes you wonder why the Worldmind was such a slacker in training him, but that’s a small issue.

DiVito’s art is great, giving us a nice flow and exciting action, as a Kree archaeologist finds a gemstone and is taken over by a Raptor, who then attacks Darkhawk and Nova. Then the planet breaks up. Whoopsie.

Ah, I’m sure they’ll be fine. Still, it’s good stuff.

Ultimate Spider-Man 4

by Brian Bendis and David Lafuente

I’m not sure what the deal is with naming this title, but as of issue #2, they changed the indicia to drop the “comics” out of “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man.” We are now just “Ultimate Spider-Man” again (same for their Avengers title). The story stinks, as MJ is hit on by her manager, and a gangster rides up flashing a gun, trying to pick up on MJ. It’s totally random, but the Hood shows up and saves her. Isn’t it nice that in the big city, this one guy was around at the exact time needed to save MJ? Hey, maybe he’s stalking her!

The hood is red, but MJ tells Peter it’s a black cloak. I have no idea why. Then we get into teenager angst, the whole why-did-you-break-up-with me, or a variant on it. The art goes completely south at this point, not even trying to show us any backgrounds. The faces are incredibly simplistic.

I want more than this. This is not “ultimate.” This is what you call “basic.” And it cost me $3.99?!?! Ouch.

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