Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review - Part 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 613

by Mark Waid and Paul Azaceta

The story continues, but with not much appeal. This does not seem like anything close to a gauntlet yet. Azaceta may be fast, but his style is not to my taste. The characters look very different from the more unique, distinctive looks they usually have. The story is very basic, with Mad Thinker super-charging Electro, and Spidey bumbling in to break things. Spidey gets knocked out and nobody stops to finish him off. This is not anywhere near the level I tend to see from Mark Waid. I am disappointed.

Fantastic Four 573

by Jonathan Hickman and Neal Edwards

I miss Dale Eaglesham, but Edwards does a good job, and his pages are appealing. Thing and Human Torch have gone on vacation to Nu-World. The mini-series involving these characters was very poor, but leave it to Hickman to explore a good idea and pull out some cool things from other poorly-executed stuff. The planet is being pulled into a black hole, time flows faster, and it has been eight years since the FF visited! Reed’s kids have hitchhiked their way into this trip, and Valeria spends a lot of time trying to get a word in so Ted Castle can realize she’s at least as smart as her dad.

The former Fantastic Force has split up and are fighting each other. Trying not to spoil everything, there is some fighting and some death, and a nice, self-contained story that has a good ending. Oh, and Franklin and Valeria have a good letter column. Nice and solid effort from Hickman.

Guardians of the Galaxy 20

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Brad Walker

Moondragon is mourning over the loss of Martyr, and the survivors of the team are trying to explore the Fault. They encounter some weird stuff, but their method is different from Quasar’s in the recent Realm of Kings one-shot, and they find different things. Star-Lord has to attend a bureaucratic meeting where all the inhabitants of Knowhere assemble to try to have their voice heard, which re-introduces the Luminals, who send their own exploratory team into the Fault, only to meet with disaster.

Walker’s art is good, with enough interesting things happening to hold your attention. There are a couple of minor mysteries concerning Moondragon and the Fault, but I find myself missing their old mission with Adam Warlock already. They didn’t have much time to work on those things. The feel of the title is that it is in a holding pattern, just beginning to ramp up again. They have their work cut out for them if they want to create some momentum, but honestly, this issue alone was more fun than a lot of stuff that’s higher on the sales charts.

Incredible Hercules 138

by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, and Rodney Buchemi

Hercules is asking his friends to help him attack New Olympus, and they put together a variation on the old Trojan horse tactic, with some amusement. One of the more interesting parts, though, is where Athena reveals to Cho that he is to be her next champion of the ages, which means Hercules is gonna die at some point. and you know Pak and van Lente are just crazy enough to do it, maybe!

The writers do a good job of introducing all of the Olympians and Titans, and Buchemi tries hard to make for some dramatic action shots and group poses. Aphrodite distracts Ares, keeping him from the battle in a fun scene.

Agents of Atlas are now in their new home, written by Jeff Parker. Gabriel Hardman gives us the art, and Venus is able to break the control of Phorcys. Phorcys finally realizes that the ages have changed, and the mere fact that Venus can disobey even a little sort of makes him depressed. He slinks off into the ocean, all his fun ruined.

The group tries to locate the Olympian Venus, and burrows underground to use a cave tunnel, but there are legions of underworld opponents guarding the entrance. This story makes a great complement to the main Hercules tale, and the art is great. The story is paced well for the reduced number of pages, and I find myself wishing they had their own title still, if they’re going to be written this well.

Ultimate Avengers 4

by Mark Millar and Carlos Pacheco

This is a fun romp, mostly action as Cap faces off against War Machine, and gets angry that they took away the Hulk’s edge. The group does finally manage to knock out Cap, and plan to go after the bad guys next. The Red Skull betrays his own employers, going after the cube for himself.

Pacheco does well, using what he is given to mix big poses with smaller action shots. Millar tends to write in trade paperback format, and this is better than a lot of other stuff he’s done lately. It’s a solid middle of a story, but the ending is where he usually falls down. Hopefully, this one will end better than the “Millar average.”

Uncanny X Men 517

by Matt Fraction and Greg Land

Fraction is clueless, butchering the X-Men’s characters. Cyclops is lame by page two, saying, “Then I better not miss.” He better not miss a big airplane heading straight for him. The guy who practiced banking his optic blast five or six times at the perfect angle. They eat up a ton of space with Land drawing an entire page of the airplane getting destroyed. They do get to use some teamwork for a change, so the fight choreography is kinda fun.

Rogue has a cool part where she absorbs the powers from the seven younger mutants, and uses them in combination to take out a Predator X. Everyone is making good use of Rogue’s new control over her own powers to show the potential of someone with her power set.

Cyclops acts weird later, insisting that “psychics aren’t my forte…” What?!? He has more experience with psychics than almost anyone else on the planet! Then he insists that trying to do anything without a psychic is like being handcuffed. Didn’t know he was so co-dependent these days. This issue was not as bad as I tend to think they are. Land’s art is still cool to look at on occasion, and the fighting made sense for a change. Unfortunately, that was all there was.

Web of Spider-Man 2

by Fred Van Lente, Barry Kitson, Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, Tom Peyer, and Javier Rodriguez

The nature of this series has revealed itself to us now, and the small side-stories are tiny complements to the main Spidey title. They aren’t all that gripping, though. A flashback that shows Magneto trying to recruit Electro has Magneto turning his back, but leaving Electro alive. That doesn’t match well with Magneto’s personality from that era of time.

We then switch to DeFalco’s Spider-Girl. Others may be a fan, but after reading two stories in a row, I am not. In fact, her entire adventure is so derivative of earlier Peter Parker adventures, it felt like a poor attempt at a re-run. May wakes up healed from her injuries, and does a back-flip that I remember Peter doing years ago, in much the same situation. We end with her buried under some rubble, and haven’t we seen enough of that with Peter over the years?

The final story has a good plot by Tom Peyer, but I dislike the art. J. Jonah Jameson is kidnapped by a deranged fan, and JJJ immediately turns the tables on the guy, but decides to hire him. It’s amusing, and fun to read, but I wouldn’t buy it for the art. I don’t think I need to review this title again. Canceled. (From my pull list, not from Marvel’s publication!)

Wolverine: First Class 21

by Peter David and Scott Koblish

Peter David has taken one scene from Kitty’s first Danger Room trial and blown it up into an entire issue. Thankfully, we have Scott Koblish giving us some cool art, to include a giant floating Magneto head! Kitty’s danger is part of a puzzle, which she cracks. It is actually one of the better stories since David has taken over the title, but I wish he would find original stories that fit within continuity, rather than expanding on things that we have already seen. I know it’s hard to do that on occasion, but the previous creative team did much better. Still, it’s nice to see an improvement.

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