Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part 1

Back in the saddle and ready to resume reviews! Too bad this first batch isn’t that impressive.

Invincible Iron Man 26

by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

The focus is still on characters, as Larroca leaves most of the backgrounds drab and unimaginative. There is so much grey, I find myself fairly bored. The story is also recycled. How many times are we going to have a writer bankrupt Tony stark and make him rebuild his company from scratch? Also, how many times are we going to have to see him assemble all of his previous armors (most of which should be utterly destroyed or irretrievable at this point), and plan to use them all for something.

For such a “young” series, the story is stuck in a rut, repeating little bits of stuff we’ve all seen before. The only new thing is the one thing that doesn’t make any sense at all: stark is going to use his repulsor technology and share it with the world. The entire point of the last couple years was all about how important it was to keep that specific technology out of the hands of Osborn and anyone else, and now suddenly it’s okay to spread it to everybody and their dog? Ptheh! Wake me up when they start making sense.

Ultimate Avengers 2 #2

by Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu

I’m starting to wonder if there is an unconscious, desperate attempt to try reverse-racism at play among Marvel writers. By that I mean that they are so eager to inset what they see as diversity that they actually think they are cool. Their ret-cons have given us a “first” Captain America who was black in the regular universe, a Samuel Jackson template for Nick Fury in the Ultimate universe, and now a black Hulk. I didn’t mind the first tow, but this new development seems repetitive and uninspired. How many months until we have a black hero along with a female hero for every white male in the Marvel universes? Just waiting for a black Spider-Man at this point, at the rate they’re going. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate strong characters like storm and War Machine, but you just know that Millar was lounging around in a chair pitching “Black Hulk,” and everyone told him it was an awesome idea. He needs a real friend who will be willing to tell him about every other idea he has that it’s not pure genius.

So this issue is basically War Machine fighting Black Hulk, and revealing at the end that the team’s next target is Ghost Rider. Yu is getting better with his art, and the sequences are fun, but it’s limited by the fact that they took up an entire issue for a fight that didn’t need to take place. Fury could have threatened the dude in the first five seconds with a cell phone. I understand they want to be dramatic and introduce a new character and all that, but this feels so… lazy. I’m not sure what shelf life this series will have at this rate.

X-Factor 205

by Peter David and Valentine de Landro

Peter David has his own little area carved out for the Second Coming storyline, with Bolivar Trasks’ Mutant Response Division (MRD) being the resident army of faceless goons to beat. David drops some nice elements into the story, with Rictor going undercover in a fun way, and Shatterstar and Layla coming to Siryn’s rescue. Darwin’s power actually teleports him out of danger when the MRD brings up a huge aerial battle-wagon, which is supposed to be an indicator of just how tough it is, if the dude can’t even evolve a defense to it.

Guido and Baron Mordu come to an understanding, and you might think that the issue would feel cluttered, with all of the team so scattered, but it reads well and de Landro is solid on art for the entire issue.

X-Men: Legacy 236

by Mike Carey and Greg Land

Chapter Eight of Second Coming, and the big old platform that the X-scientists went to investigate turned out to be nothing but an exotic way of luring them onto a big explosive. In a somewhat lame climax, there is enough time for them all to run out and jump into the water, so the only thing lost is Dr. Nemesis’ hat. How the villains could build such a monstrously huge diversion but still make it so easy to just out0run the blast is a little beyond believability, but it makes for a fun exciting action sequence, at least.

The overall strategy by Bastion I smart: he takes out Cerebra so they can’t see, he attacks their teleporter mutants and then Pierce detonated next to the Blackbirds, to reduce their mobility. Land’s art gets lazy at this point, with a bunch of red skies and static poses. It takes a couple pages for the reader to realize that a gigantic red sphere has been erected, further trapping the X-Men in a confined space. Although for some reason, that space gobbles up many miles and cases problems for a lot of the closer California region.

As the team tries to penetrate the walls of the sphere, we have to settle for nothing but that overwhelming red background, while they have wolverine get his only action sequence of the day: he rips up the rope holding a boat to the pier. Yay. Cyclops gets his own rocket pack, leaving us to wonder how his butt doesn’t get roasted from the exhaust (he doesn’t have an invulnerable body like Wonder Man did with his jet pack).

Finally, the Avengers show up to help, and Bastion sends a force of Nimrods through a portal to eliminate the pesky mutants. Overall it’s shaping up to be a slightly more readable story than before, but I notice I can only say that for the parts where someone like Peter David or Mike Carey gets a chance to write. The next chapter in X-Force might go back to the miserableness that has been re-run villains and more faceless goons.

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