Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 617

by Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara

I always wonder if it’s a mistake or not when the creative team gets their collective names printed twice. They get listed on the recap page, and then again on the splash page. Regardless, Joe Kelly picks up on Norah and the fallout from the American Son storyline. The entire issue is flowing with great characterization, with Pete in rare form, Norah providing some “oomph” to what could have been boring, and a new Rhino busting in on the old one.

Fiumara’s art is interesting, with an ability to infuse the scene with emotion, although his sharp angles on people can take getting used to. Kelly also writes a second feature focusing on the original Rhino, drawn by Javier Pulido. It tells us the story of how the Rhino did his time and met his wife. Although it might remind people of a similar story around the Kingpin over in Daredevil, this one has a happy ending by comparison. It’s nice to see some development after all these years. Even if Marvel insists on introducing a brand new Rhino immediately, it’s still a step up from the static, never-changing world Rhino had been part of for so long.


Invincible Iron Man 22

by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

Tony Stark is a genius. But his plan to revive him didn’t work, and everyone is scratching their heads wondering why. We’re still bouncing back and forth between the “real” world and Tony’s subconscious, and the subconscious is pretty boring and predictable. Larocca does okay with what he’s given, but there’s just nothing really exciting going on. Ghost gets closer, and that part is written and drawn well, and then they bring in Stephen Strange, to further undermine the fact that Doctor Voodoo is now the sorcerer supreme. Why make the change if Stephen is still going to be the go-to guy for everything?

The issue is yet another plodding step down the predictable path of bringing Tony back. Stan lee and Jack Kirby would have deconstructed him and had him fixed in two or three issues, but in the modern day, we have to put up with 22 issues and counting. Maybe I’ll just go away for six issues and come back to see if he’s back by then. Talk about a snoozer…


The Marvels Project 5

by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting

In an interesting case, seeing Epting’s pencils show us Steve Rogers origin for the millionth time is not boring. Ye olde standard training montage is well-drawn, and a good commentary accompanies it, that tells us the world did not become immediately perfect just because Rogers was automatically physically fit all of a sudden. The pieces draw closer as the Angel does a little detective work, and they show us a scene with the Red Skull designed to drive home just how evil he is.

We end with the Angel’s first encounter with the new Captain America. The series is still on a slow burn, but it’s weird to see how trying Iron Man is with its formula, while the execution of the Marvels Project is entertaining, despite much of its familiar content, if you’re a fan of Marvel history. They have three more issues to tie things together and hit an exclamation point.


Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard 3

by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Kevin Walker

Kevin Walker’s art disappoints as his heavy lines combine with a lack of detail to hint at a rushed job without any real love for the characters. The Starjammers and the Imperial Guard escape a dead ship and their small dilemma to run into Quasar, whom we last saw in a one-shot special running away from the “cancerverse” at the other end of the Fault. Maybe we’ll find out next issue if it’s the real Quasar, if he’s been taken over, or what.

Meanwhile, Gladiator is getting pretty fed up with being in charge, falling asleep at important meetings from boredom and frustration, and daydreaming about killing anyone who is an irritant. He reminds me of Conan the barbarian for a moment. For someone who feels the bonds of duty as strongly as he does, I think he should make a bigger attempt at meeting his responsibility, but the way it’s going right now, Gladiator will be trying to ditch his authority the first chance he gets. It’s a solid read, but I maintain still that they need to have a more “solid” artist draw the book.


Strange 3

by Mark Waid and Emma Rios

Gone is the stuffy doctor, and instead we have a Stephen Strange who is acting more like he has the personality of Peter Parker. The introduction is humorous, as the “retired” wish-granting demon Laroximous Boneflayer asks for help with a demon who has made deals with people at a grotesque event… a baby pageant!

There are great moments in this book, such as Stephen having to travel to Hell, and for the first time, experiencing the full sounds and smell associated with it, as opposed to his experience in his astral form. Casey is a brave person, even though she is inexperienced. The fact that Stephen refers to her as his new apprentice is a fun little bomb-drop. She ends up offering her soul in a deal for Boneflayer to step in and save the day, and he just might be trying to keep that contract, retirement or no. But the environment is in chaos right now due to the big bad villain going against the rules for demons. Next issue wraps it up. Will we get a new direction for Stephen Strange out of this? Because Marvel seems a little undecided about how to treat their magical characters these days.


SWORD 3

by Kieron Gillen and Steven Sanders

Gyrich is convinced he’s correct to remove any and all aliens from Earth, but Lockheed isn’t going to go along quietly. Gillen writes a scene that is supposed to be funny, but the idea that crack units of SWORD can stumble over themselves so easily strikes a discordant note with their efficiency at capturing very powerful opponents last issue. The Beast is still drawn with a horse-face, and makes me want to cringe every time I see it.

Beast goes to see the robot and learns his origin, and the robot reveals his creators are “big picture” people, who plan to take over the universe so it can be run properly. The robot is the “last chance” for their plan to work, and he plans to bring heaven to the universe, but is being incredibly patient about doing it. The art is so atrocious from the way Beast is drawn, I just can’t stomach it any longer. The series is not quite drifting, but seems like a sub-plot to bring in the robot, who turns out to be the old cliché of “we’ll create heaven, if we have to kill you to do it.”

Add to that, this fact: instead of fighting alien threats, their biggest challenge is their own bureaucracy, and fighting off Gyrich. We aren’t getting exposed to the true scale that the agency covers, and it’s taking too long to have them focus more on the cooler characters like Brand and Lockheed. I think I am through with this series.

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