Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly Marvel Comics Review – Part 2

Heroic Age: Prince of Power 2

by Greg Pak, Fred van Lente, and Reilly Brown

Vali Halfling was disguised as one of his own goons from last issue, and he capitalizes on that to take Athena hostage. He wants to be a deity himself, and is trying to obtain all the ingredients he will need to reach that end. Meanwhile, Cho has let himself be distracted into an actual battle with Thor! His weapon, his shield, and his advanced knowledge allow him to hold his own for a while, but it serves to remind us that for all his intelligence, Cho is still a kid, and his immaturity provides a good reason to romp around in the old cliché of heroes fighting each other before they team up.

This series is doing a good job of keeping the memory of Hercules alive, and still fitting in small doses of humor. It’s slightly different humor without Hercules himself being present, but Reilly Brown has been part of the team long enough to se his art to complement the scene to add to the humorous intent. The series still carries the tone that it’s not too serious, but the plot does still have serious consequences if the bad guys win. It’s nice to have this series as a counter-point to the plethora of too-serious books out there.

Ultimate Avengers 2 #3

by Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu

Flash over substance still rules the Ultimate universe, as they eat up panel space showing that Punisher has a booby-trap in his suit to keep him in line. The rest of the issue is standing around talking, and maneuvering the team into position to confront the Ghost Rider. By the end of the issue, they’ve barely done more than knock him off his bike. The plot is almost glacial, with little done to invigorate interest in any of the characters. Even Hawkeye’s attempt to talk to the Punisher seems out of place and at odds with his recent experiences. I’m not sure what direction this book is taking, but the concept needs to be revisited.

Ultimate Spider-Man 11

by Brian Bendis and David Lafuente

Nothing like a good cover depicting child abuse to kick things off. The dialogue covers mostly the recent developments with Kitty going on the run, and MJ revealing that she taped the entire incident. Peter takes her to Ben Urich, who makes MJ part of the story. In the middle of all of this, Peter’s spider-sense goes off when he see JJJ. Following, he gets ambushed and taken out by Ultimate Chameleon, who realizes Peter has powers, and takes his place.

The art is atrocious as always, and the plot just barely interesting enough to make me want to check in next month. I find myself arguing whether or not to purchase the next issue. Hmm, that is really poor art. I think I’ll drop this.

Uncanny X Men 525

by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson

It’s the usual husband/wife team of Dodson art, which means cartoonish backgrounds, and little effort to adequately draw the Thing’s rocky form. Fraction makes the same mistake tons of writers do: he presents us with an unstoppable opponent in the form of a Nimrod sentinel, and then he ups the ante by shoving five of them into the mix. But the X-Men appear to be able to hold their own quite well overall, which ruins the idea of the Sentinels providing a serious challenge. Instead of faceless goons, they are faceless robots, just another step in the inexorable battle.

Wait, it gets worse. We have to put up with an ode to Days of Future Past with the X-Force contingent, with the emblematic brick wall holding the pictures of all mutants slain. Just one problem: in the future, when everything is digital and the Sentinels are all networked, why would anyone bother to post old pictures on a wall. Not wanted posters either, but pictures that tell you each person is dead. There is no human reason for that wall to exist. At the very least, it should have been dismantled by the government in an official celebration!

Fraction compounds his nonsense by having the Thing and Thor attack the red sphere from the outside. Remember the impenetrable sphere? Well, Reed is somehow magically able to take readings and calls them off after they have depleted its strength by 15%. Why have them stop? I would be calling in ten more guys with super strength to finish the job. How hard would it be to steer all the Hulks running around Marvel, and drop them on the dome? Meanwhile, Dr. Nemesis automatically knows that mutantkind will be extinct in a few hours, even though NOBODY CAN SEE INTO THE DOME!!!!

Sigh. At least we get cool covers by Adi Granov. The second-least appealing X-title, after the miserable X-Force.

X-Men: Hellbound 2

by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, and Mike Choi

Yost starts us off with a visual recap that shows Illyana getting banished to Limbo and the first mistake is the narration captions in dark red that introduce the code names of each character. You can’t see them well, and it gives you a headache. One interesting thing, Gambit has come out in this environment in his Apocalypse-inspired persona, and his energy cards are converting the other heroes into similar type. Was this always possible, or made possible by Limbo? Either way, the demons bow down to him, recognizing that he is the resident alpha dog in the area.

The art does not inspire much of the chaotic sense that Limbo should instill visually; everything is a little too “pretty.” Still, the art isn’t bad, it’s just not gritty and oppressive enough to form a visual narrative to make the reader feel like they are in an exotic environment. Trance gets knocked into her physical body while N’astirh offers Pixie a deal: kill Magik, and get the piece of her stolen soul back. It’s a nice problem for the remaining heroes, and more entertaining than Uncanny by a mile.

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