Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part 2

The Age of Heroes 1

by multiple teams

Short stories can be hard to pull off, but all of these manage to do quite well.

We start with J. Jonah Jameson walking through the town, plotting his next manipulative speech against the heroes. Kurt Busiek and Marko Djurdjevic team up to take us on a trip through JJJ’s… interesting thought process. However, the citizenry surprise him with their adulation for the newly-reformed Avengers team as they save people from a natural disaster. Perhaps he would have had a chance if it was just another slugfest, but there can be no spin against their brave acts. So he rewrites his speech to welcome the Avengers and pretend to be their new best friend. Never let it be said that JJJ is too fanatical to be pragmatic!

Rick Remender revisits Doctor Voodoo, who foolishly tries to go out on an actual date. Chris Samnee depicts the action as he ventures out twice to take care of some things. He only impresses the woman by pretending to have brought her a flower. It’s nice to see the good Voodoo has not been forgotten entirely already.

Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk get to have more fun with their cancelled team, Captain Britain and MI:13. A quick two-pager that has Steve Rogers poaching Brian for the Avengers, and Pete Wisdom insisting at first that Britain needs the guy all to itself. He relents and mutters something about a time-share arrangement. Finally, a somewhat amusing one-pager by Dan Slott and Ty Templeton that encapsulates the never-ending ability of New Yorkers to show their unique version of gratitude, no matter how many times the web-crawler tries to help.

Atlas 1

by Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman

The team is finally all together! Sharp minds will remember that the very first assemblage of this group of heroes also featured the 3-D Man. This re-launch brings him into the fold, as Hardman shows a nice sense of pacing and angles. Jeff Parker brings us up to speed on the original history of the 3-D Man, and also brings us current with the modern version, Delroy, and his status after the Secret Invasion. It’s all done in a good way, in that they give us all this history without it being boring. I’m excited to see him join the rest of the team, and I hope it’s permanent.

There’s a bonus story by Parker and Ramon Rosanas about a past mission of the team that involves zombies, shedding light on Master Plan’s aims for Jimmy Woo. It’s a little clunky, as it cuts off due to space considerations. Some bonus text, a Marvel Universe entry on the 3-D Man in the back, plus a letter column. Not too shabby for their first issue.

Avengers 1

by Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.

Every title in this Part 2 review has that danged “The Heroic Age” banner plastered across the top, and I’m already tired of it. What if this age lasts a decade, will they keep it up there? Or is this just for the first year? Regardless, this series starts off well.

Romita frames the action dramatically, showing some future young Avengers, and did they just kill Immortus, or did he teleport out? Back in the present day, America’s top new cop, Steve Rogers, has been thinking about the best way to organize the teams to help the world the best, and he starts with choosing BuckyCap, Thor, andiron Man to lead Clint (back as Hawkeye), spider-Man, Wolverine, and Spider-Woman as the core of the reformed Avengers.

No sooner have they settled the details than Kang shows up with a warning. In a nice bit, Thor doesn’t wait for any talk, he just trashes Kang immediately. Wouldn’t you know it, this is the ONE time Kang actually wanted to just talk! Kang tells about Ultron ruining the future and killing all the Avengers, and the children of the Avengers have run rampant, destroying Ultron and on a path to destroy the rest of the known universe somehow.

They fall for it, of course, and we end on seeing Kang flash into the presence of the Hulk. Is the hulk part of the resistance? Is it the original Hulk or a descendant? Is this a trap after all by Kang? Some good initial mystery, with some bonus text in the back starting an oral history of the team.

Enter the Heroic Age 1

by multiple teams

This one-shot introduces the new series that are part of the heroic Age push. We start with a feature on Reptil, who escapes a harrowing encounter at the end of Osborn’s Dark Reign, to be offered a chance to join Avengers Academy. Christos N. Gage writes, and Mike McKone has some good sequences in here that do sustain my interest in this follow-on to the Initiative series.

Jeff parker, together with Gabriel Hardman and Giamcarlo Caracuzzo, give us a nice little tale that covers an adventure from the past that has a return date, so to speak. They show up 50 years later to take care of a renegade robot, and it is here that 3-D Man catches them on the news, and gets the inspiration to pick up in Atlas #1 and try to find them. It’s a very good story for being so short.

Kelly Sue Deconnick writes a Black Widow story with Jamie McKelvie as the artist, but with no separate inker, the art suffers. The light sources are incorrect a lot of the time, such that even someone who isn’t looking for it might notice that something seems “off.” The story does nothing to make me interested in seeing more of Natasha’s adventures. The same goes for Hawkeye’s story, but it’s borderline. Jim McCann takes another shot at the archer, but David Lopez’s art is a little bland. The inker and colorist do try to make the most of it where they can, but they can’t disguise the rookie feel to the rest of the art. McCann does fairly well with the story, trying to catch us up on the history of both Hawkeye and Mockingbird, and their little agency-for-good that was set up in the recent mini-series, but it’s just too much background that is told in a non-captivating way. McCann’s voice is not quite gripping enough for comics, and he needs to find a better vocabulary to represent these characters, who always sound a little too stiff, especially for a colorful character like Clint Barton. I’ll probably pass on the series.

Jeff Parker writes again for the last short story, this one with Luke Cage going undercover at the Raft, a prison for super-villains. Kevin Walker has relatively good art, albeit after the first couple pages he doesn’t give much more effort on his backgrounds. The new concept for the Thunderbolts has potential, and I’ll keep up with that series to check it out. The reason for this team’s existence has changed more than it did for the original Defenders, and not always for the good. This new concept is good enough, but we’ll need to see if the execution is worthy as well.

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