Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review - Part 2

Dark Avengers 11

by Brian Bendis, Mike Deodato, and Greg Horn

Bendis delivers some cool back-story on Victoria Hand, highlighting her original criticisms of Nick Fury, and her current understanding as Deputy Director of just how hard it is to make the world do what you want it to. The cast of impressive villains turn out to be the Molecule Man and his creations, making for a nice, brimstone-like environment that makes you question his mental state. I think Norman Osborn holds it together better than I would have, in his place. I could probably keep my cool with just that, but he’s naked to boot. Actually, there’s not even a boot…

The Molecule Man visits each of the Dark Avengers, and rips them apart. The Sentry is defeated with ease, again. For those who are keeping track of how bored I am repeating that “the Sentry was defeated in two seconds or less," see here, here, here, here, and here. -Yawn!- Hey, it’s believable, I’m just saying it would be nice to see one of the most powerful heroes in the universe win one sometime. No wonder the guy’s a basket-case, he should change his name to The Loser.

The sudden use of Greg Horn art is not bad on a couple of pages, and the manic environment helps to make it fit. Deodato’s breakdowns are cool, and it’s funny to see Owen Reese try to talk to the psychiatrist, and the woman who is supposed to listen is the person least willing to stop and listen. Bullseye, reduced to water, is still angry and manages movement, which is also funny and cool. Finally, Victoria Hand decides to surrender on behalf of the United States of America. This might just be my favorite issue of this title to date. Still not as good as Mighty Avengers in my opinion, but this issue made it really close for a change.

Dark Reign: The List – Amazing Spider-Man 1

by Dan Slott and Adam Kubert

Hey folks, it’s time for another installment of the mini-series disguised as one-shots, with a colon AND a hyphen in the title! Over-priced, and stuffed in the back with a reprint of another comic that’s only five years old! How can we not pick this winner up? What might have been a good concept has been executed very poorly. The first page of art has ye olde “period outside the quotation marks” problem that I just complained about in the second feature for the regular Spider-Man title, which tells me the entire company at Marvel does not know, and does not care about proper grammar. Maybe Mark Waid, but that’s about it. At least they’re consistent here, and get it wrong all three times.

Rather than having Peter be the object of Osborn’s assassination attempt, which is what this series was supposed to be, Peter goes to Osborn. He gets into the tower as easily as a dozen other people have lately, which makes me think they should just quit bothering with the $500 billion they spend on security. If you can’t keep out Clint Barton, Spider-Man, or Nick Fury after all the other infiltrations, the head security chief really should lose his job.

They waste our time with a two-page spread of Spidey getting shot by Osborn’s uni-beam, and no trace of his spider-sense, even though they showed us his spider-sense two pages earlier.

Then we switch to onlookers, and the Front Line declares themselves to be a “lefty rag” and root for Spider-Man. I have no idea why the conservative side is supposed to be with Osborn, and how being on Spidey’s side makes you “lefty,” because as far as I know, we’re all rooting for Spidey. The awkward political commentary should be left out whenever possible. These comics are supposed to entertain us, not remind us of the drivel spouted by talking heads non-stop on TV and talk radio.

All this for a video of Osborn posted on the internet. Like he can’t come out with an official press release that says it was tampered with, a video Photoshop job. We’re supposed to believe that brilliant Osborn just left incriminating files lying around in the tower where anybody could hack into them. That this genius who orchestrated events so that the keys to the kingdom were given to him is unable to anticipate and counteract something like this, when we’ve already seen him spin something much worse ten times before (and currently spinning a doozy over in War Machine).

This was a waste. You get some snappy patter from Slott, and some cool art from Adam Kubert, but it ain’t worth the jacked-up price.

Thunderbolts 138

by Jeff Parker and Miguel Sepulveda

The Ghost continues his little manipulations here and there, putting Osborn in the back seat from his original role as master planner. But then, Osborn’s busy a lot these days, isn’t he? Mr. X gets dropped into a nice place where he can satisfy his bloodlust, but a repaired Scourge takes the team to recapture him.

The Mr. X character needs to be developed further. He can “read” his opponents and see what they will do, and he uses that to win his fights. However, he has been treated like the Sentry recently and defeated every issue. He must have some fighting skills of his own, but he is being handled as if he can’t do anything without his “extra” ability. It would be nice to know exactly what his training is, and what his normal status is without his power.

Sepulveda’s art is cool, but when the Colombian army shows up, one of them is magically in range of a flamethrower all of a sudden. Osborn shows up via communications satellite and has a private conversation at the Ghost. Did the Ghost arrange all this to trim the group’s size, or to make them bond closer as a fighting unit? Either way, the next item on Osborn’s list for the group is one we should have known, since Jeff parker is the writer. The next targets are the Agents of Atlas. Yay! If their series couldn’t be maintained, I admire how they are hopping, skipping, and jumping around the Marvel universe to maintain their exposure.

War Machine 11

by Greg Pak and Wellington Alves

A massive scandal is unleashed courtesy of War Machine, but Osborn magically buries it on page four, while over in the List, Spidey has a successful release of one little viral video that ruins Osborn’s day. Yeah, one way or the other, this sucks, you can’t have it both ways. Beth Cabe vetoes the rescue op by Rhodey’s support team, thinking he would want things to play out the way they have. Enter: Matt Murdock.

Rhodey breaks through the massive security in his prison to contact Suzi Endo and arrange for a hidden mission. Osborn uses Ares’ perception that War Machine is a champion of his to create more distracting headlines to hide the scandal of the Bainseville Ten, and is gloating just when he learns that the War Machine’s support group has just taken control of the cloned human body of Jim Rhodes.

The threads are finally coming together for this story, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The execution leading up to it has been lackluster, and contrary to the adrenalin surge used in the previous Iron Man title to set this magazine up for its debut. While I like the way this is playing out, I believe the title is ending with issue #12. Just when it starts to get good!

Have no fear, fans! The title will most likely get a reboot soon. Between the Siege event and the second Iron Man movie, I am guessing Jim will get his human body back just in time to launch a new series in less than a year. I’m in a weird place, having not liked the build-up to this story ending, but appreciating the end result, and the attempt that was made here. I have definite ideas for the potential of this character, and hopefully Marvel will really concentrate on a good team to bring this guy into the forefront where he belongs.

X-Men: Legacy 229

by Mike Carey and Daniel Acuña

Ah, a minor victory for me to get that tilde into Acuña’s name finally! As much as his art style is not my personal preference for superheroes, I can definitely appreciate it. I can’t help but feel that he would be better used for propaganda-style covers and alien settings, fantasy stories and the like, but there is some real talent here.

Gambit becomes enraged at his helplessness over Rogue’s current plight, and the effects of Apocalypse come back into play. Whether intentional or not, the fact that both Archangel and Gambit are experiencing a resurgence of Apocalypses’ handiwork makes for a good complementary reinforcement. Hopefully they will be able to explain it to us in greater detail some day. Mike Carey’s direction to show the manipulation of time and space within the confines of a comic book are genius, and it’s awesome to see him do something like that here.

Rogue finds a talking navigation system as Emplate decides to kill Bling and move his HQ. Rogue tries to fight back, but the team still hasn’t found a way to get to her yet, and Emplate’s reaching out with his mouth-hands at the end. I can’t find anything particularly impressive about the story, it has the feel of a filler three-parter, but sometimes you have to have smaller, self-contained stories as you set up for the next big thing. This is solid, and worth getting, but not spectacular.

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