Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part 1

The Amazing Spider-Man 632

by Zeb Wells, Chris Bachalo and Emma Rios

Bachalo’s style is well suited to this new appearance of the Lizard, as he is able to add a sense of danger and animalism. The new abilities he has, able to “speak” to the lizard part of everyone’s brain, is a little weird, but the cool part is the hints that the Connors persona may not be fully destroyed inside. The issue is a relatively straightforward and simple one, dealing entirely with the Lizard’s threat, so there are no subplots covered this issue. You get the sense that Emma Rios was only brought in to help keep the book on schedule, but she does manage to fulfill that function.

The flow of the Spider-verse may feel slowed to a stop for people who have been reading for a while, but there are probably just as many people welcome for this type of break, allowing one major story element to come to the center and let us focus on it. Still, the overall theme is wearing thin: introduce one of the rogues’ gallery, give them a revamp or power-up, and sic ‘em on the Spider. It’s something that has been done in almost every title by every writer, so why does it take such a big number of writers in the brain trust to come up with this?

Fantastic Four 579

by Jonathan Hickman and Neil Edwards

Reed Richards addresses a Singularity Conference, with small things that might remind people of the growth of the San Diego Comicon. His keynote address to these smart elite scientists is a diatribe against them as he tenders his resignation. For all that the speech is pretty good, it sounds like he’s ranting against the more recent political problems. For instance, our space budget was cut recently, and one of the essays Reed attacks is about suspending manned missions during the recession. Next, he attacks the essay of a guy who posited that one billion people is the best population size for Earth. Oh, and lest we forget, that “going green” essay that calls for people to live an “energy neutral” life. All of these ideas were hatched from the political left, some as much as 40 years ago, but they are all reflections of some current thought. Reed denies them all, and insists that our brightest days are ahead of us, and that our destiny lay in the stars. Granted, this is a comic book, but he reminds me of a physicist I know who believes much the same thing for humanity in real life.

Hickman has the entire team recruit a bunch of the kids from all of the recent adventures they have been having, and he also sneaks a two-page interlude covering much of the cast from Nu-World. Dale Eaglesham is gone this issue, but Neil Edwards does a great job in using his art to set the mood. His positioning of Reed at the conference emphasizes that these are the actions of a man who is disappointed, who feels compassion for his audience, but nevertheless, feels even more the need to chastise them. The few action scenes are cool, but the clincher is the Future Foundation that Reed establishes. You can’t help but feel the hope and optimism leaping off the page, in both words and art.

This title probably does more to embody the idea of ‘The Heroic Age’ than any other titles on the stands today.

Secret Avengers 1

by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato

In this day and age, if you just mention that Deodato is on the art chores, I’m pretty much there no matter what the subject is. Still I did not expect the first pages to show us Valkyrie and Black Widow under cover and being groped by a fat executive! Steve Rogers looks cool in his new costume, although the lines do make me remember Team America a little bit. He really needs a new code name now.

The cover gives away the cast, but the reveals of each member are delicious anyway. For those who remember when the Beast was an Avenger, and feel sympathy for the problems that made him leave the X-Men recently, you can’t help but cheer when you see him together with Steve. Brubaker brings along Sharon Carter for the ride as well, finally allowing us to see Steve have a chance to be happy. Heroic Age, indeed!

Moon Knight and Ant-Man are great choices for a black ops kind of team, and the way Brubaker writes the invitation from Steve to Ant-Man is beautifully perfect. War Machine is the final member, and I am so glad someone found a use for him, since his recent series was cancelled. Nova was kind of a surprise, but perhaps this focus is just what he needs to have more people grow interested him and check out his own worthwhile series.

The whole “proactive” thing has been tried before with Force Works, and recently with X-Force, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes this proactive force to being jerked around every other week by the menace du jour. But with characterization and art like this, that will be a small matter. This will potentially be the best Avengers title out there.

Secret Warriors 16

by Jonathan Hickman and Gianluca Gugliotta

Gugliotta is an interesting change to the previous artist, with a decent effort put into the backgrounds. It helps to make the story feel more substantial. The writing could use a little better direction, as the small flashbacks are not gripping enough to really make you care much for them. The story itself has slowed down too much, with too many sequences to date of Nick Fury sitting around telling everyone to get ready. This will be it, honest! The last break you get! That’s felt like three or four issues of those warnings. Dugan says he feels like he’s gotten old waiting… and I’m with him.

Leviathan and Hydra have gone to war with each other, and Fury plans to stick his forces in the middle The reveal at the end is that there is a traitor in the midst of the heroes. It seems like no mater how many plots Fury breaks up and smells out, he just can’t stop a threat from within his ranks. So much for his super-spy reputation…

Thor 610

by Kieron Gillen and Doug Braithwaite

Braithwaite’s pencils are used to great effect in the opening recap of Siege. The main issue dealt with is Thor’s exile, as Balder forgives all and welcomes Thor back. Thor’s revelation is that he cannot be the warrior guardian and king at the same time, so Balder remains king, and Thor agrees to be an advisor.

The reuniting is interrupted when the warriors Three uncover the clone Thor, Clor, in the rubble. The fighting is fun, but the outcome never really in doubt. Is it too much to hope this is the last we’ve seen of Clor? If they’re smart, they will melt down whatever remains are left.

Thunderbolts 144

by Jeff Parker and Kev Walker

Luke Cage makes his grand entrance as the new pooba in charge of the team. In a sequence slightly reminiscent of Secret Avengers, Cage goes through the formation of his team, and we get to see the reasons for and against certain people. It might have been just as interesting to see people that he had rejected, but basically we get to see everybody who has a slot on this new attempt to make the Thunderbolts mean something good.

One of the more interesting things to see is Hank Pym handing over a unique form of transportation to Cage: Using the properties of the Man-Thing to teleport them around, while giving the government a reason not to execute the beast. Just as interesting, Baron Zemo shows up at the end to toss his own hat in the ring. Not to join the team, but to usurp it and take off with all of them, leaving Cage with nothing. Not a bad way to start the revamped team with a bang. Walker’s art is good, although he does slack off for several pages on backgrounds. Based on this first issue, it’s too soon to tell how good things will be, but it’s a good enough start to keep me coming back next month.

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