Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

Four #1 issues this week, let’s see how they are!

The Amazing Spider-Man 611

by Mark Joe Kelly and Eric Canete

Joe Kelly can handle Deadpool well, and the cover alone by Skottie Young is amusing (Skottie didn’t get a credit inside the issue itself until a last-minute add-on at the end of the letter’s page in the back, but if you’ve come across his stuff before, you should recognize his style). There’s all sorts of goofy going on, including a Lady Stilt-Man. That’s right, she calls herself a lady, but still has “man” in her villain name.

The cover story for this insanity is that Deadpool has been hired to keep Spidey busy for a while, as it leaves the bad guys free to kidnap Mattie Franklin, the third woman to use the name Spider-Woman. While the art is not my cup of tea, it fits in with the “normal insanity” that Deadpool has been turned into, and makes for a fun read this week.


Daredevil 502

by Andy Diggle and Robert De La Torre

Matt is having a dream, and the recent women in his life appear to warn him. No room for Natasha or Karen Page: just Elektra, Milla, and Dakota North. When he wakes, he reveals to the other two heroes that Master Izo is not truly dead. Thankfully, Andy Diggle took us in this direction, because there was no way I would believe Matt would actually kill the guy. Tarantula, proving that too many people in Marvel have a healing factor these days, revives Izo, who promptly asks for a drink, and gets irritated when the drink offered is water instead of booze.

La Torre’s shadow-heavy art is appropriate for the underworld setting, and I enjoy the different “blacked-out” renditions he does of Daredevil himself. The scene where Kingpin reinforces his claim to be the big cheese is also well done. There is a little confusion, as it is hard to figure out which criminals belong to Osborn and/or Kingpin, but Matt orders the Hand to wipe them all out, so it probably doesn’t matter too much. Still mandatory reading, and for yet another creative team to pull this off, this is pretty good.


Dark X-Men 1

by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk

Osborn’s team gets their own series, but it is awkward. Dark Beast is not properly introduced, and even long-term readers might think for a minute he is our regular 616 Dr. McCoy. Leonard Kirk gives us an awful lot of bland grey backgrounds in the first few pages, and the dysfunction of Mimic and Omega is just too much for one group. The panel layouts are uninventive, and the “action” is boring. Omega has gone into a new kind of loony that is not well explained. This is all just background noise for the return of Nathan Grey, the alternate Cable from Dark Beast’s Age of Apocalypse universe.

The second feature is pat two of “A Girl Called Hope.” It has the lazy art of Steve Dillon, who uses the same generic faces, and drab backgrounds, making for a very uninteresting visual. His style has not changed at all in the last year since I saw it, meaning zero growth. If I have the feeling that I could practice for a month and do better, that means your art is not good enough for my money. The story is a six-page piece by Duane Swierczynski that shows us Hope realizes Cable is proud of her, but won’t tell her to her face. The first part of this story was in Psylocke #1, which I did not buy. The third part will be in X-Men: Legacy 229.

Both stories were poor. Unless you’re a fan of Nate Grey, I wouldn’t get this. Even as fond of Nate as I was, I can’t stomach all of the re-run nostalgia they’re aiming for with the mutant titles these days. Every new series only recycles old garbage.


Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard 1

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Kevin Walker

The cover is almost there by Brian Haberlin, but I have mentioned that groups like the Imperial Guard need a really impressive artist for an effective showcase. Kevin Walker does reasonably well, but not the ‘awesome’ needed to knock this one out of the park. The writing team of DnA gives us a slow, lackluster story, at least in comparison to everything else they have written lately.

I might not mind if this was another group. The story is actually okay, with Gladiator adjusting to his new role as Majestor. The Guard puts down an insurrection, and Gladiator can’t help but to join in and help end things quickly. The writers do well to introduce most members of the Guard, and to show divided opinions among the Guard regarding Gladiator’s new position. We also get to see Talon, the evil Darkhawk, at play in trying to manipulate events to his advantage.

We end with the Starjammers being revealed as the Guard’s transportation into the Fault, the rift in space/time, so Gladiator can judge how big a threat it is to the Shi’ar. I smell some interaction with the Guardians of the Galaxy. While the art and story are reasonably well done, I have misgivings. I think in order for the future of the Imperial Guard to improve, they really need something stronger in both story and art to really grab a following that might support something more than a limited series every ten years.


Strange 1

by Mark Waid and Emma Rios

Stephen Strange has trembling hands, and is no longer sorcerer supreme, but that does not stop him from trying to stop a demon’s plan. Strange inserts himself into the conflict, aligning himself with Casey Kinmont, someone who is a natural at following Stephen’s instructions to use some magical motions and words to break free of mystical confinement. In a weird way, Stephen cannot hold a scalpel, but he manages to hit a baseball just when needed to foil the demon (yeah, the story is a little strange too).

The art is a little too close to manga for my taste, but the otherworldly depictions are good, and the colorist does well. Strange teleports out, leaving us with little idea of what he can do these days, and just what his limitations are. Is Casey going to be his new protégé, or was this her only appearance?

I can’t help but feel this is the wrong direction for this character. Strange has myriad possibilities, many different roads that he can travel. The mystical part of the Marvel universe has had few explorations, but the cosmic area has done great, between Nova, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the many mini-series in the past few years. The magical world needs someone who travels to these places, and Strange is now the perfect person to do so. Despite the presence of Hellstrom, Ghost Rider, Doctor Voodoo, etc., there is nothing to really flesh out the magical dimensions for us. While this may be an adequate read, the remaining three issues aren’t enough, in the right direction, to give us what we really need, for which Stephen Strange was the perfect vehicle.


SWORD 1

by Kieron Gillen and Steven Sanders

Every face is elongated, making you think we are visiting a horse dimension. The art is bad to the point of caricature. The way the Best’s head is portrayed is just awful. I have no idea what people were thinking. The backgrounds are mostly corridors and walls, and Abigail Brand could just as easily be Viper for all they bother to distinguish her face.

The dialogue is fun for the most part, and we get to see Lockheed, who steals the show. Gillen introduces a robot who seems to be able to sense the truth behind every situation, and he has me intrigued. They also give us what they call a “bonus” story, but for $3.99 and bad art, I kind of think they owe me more pages at this stage. We learn that Kitty Pryde is still alive and phasing the planet-sized bullet she can’t get away from, dating back to Joss Whedon’s run in Astonishing X-Men. How long has it been? How is Pryde eating? Whatever. It needs to get better fast if we are not to consider this a stupid story. Is this really supposed to be a regular monthly series, and not a min-series? Ugh.


X-Force 21

by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, and Clayton Crain

After two #1’s that weren’t good enough, and two that were bad, I was in the mood for something to pick me up. Too bad this is the last comic this week. But then, I had a hunch it would be horrible, so I read it first to get it out of the way.

Necrosha is in full swing, with miserable CGI art from Crain, whose backgrounds are too dark and irritating, and it gets hard to distinguish all the characters, since things are too dark. This is not a good use of dark and light, nor appropriate shading. See Daredevil to see how it’s done right. He doesn’t even bother to draw faces on the Hellions for an entire page, he’s so lazy. They don’t even rate eyeballs!

The resurrected zombie stuff got stale with the regular Marvel zombies series a long time ago, but these guys are inconsistent. We are told they can’t be hurt, but why does Stonewall bother grunting when Colossus hits him, then? We are told they are under the control of Selene, but then why does Risque feel free to warn off Warpath? And how does Banshee manage to momentarily struggle against her control, when nobody else can? The rules are never explained to the reader, and there are way too many contradictions in one issue to bother treating this seriously.

The recap page alone that explains how the T-O virus is used by two different villains to reanimate dead mutants is convoluted enough to highlight the poorness of this story, especially when you stop to think about how easy it is to explain Blackest Night. Everything is a repeat: instead of Xanshi being resurrected, it’s Genosha. It’s the exact same thing as has already happened at DC, with resurrected heroes and villains attacking, only it’s restricted to mutants. The resurrected ones look normal at first, too, and only Banshee shows us the T-O infection well after he has been attacked. It is poorly done, and the success that DC is having only highlights how lousy this attempt is being executed. No points for second place, guys.


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