Reviewer: Paul Sebert
Story Title: Brothers & Keepers part 4: I, M.O.D.O.K
Written by: (Christopher) Priest & Joe Bennett
Penciled by: Omar Otieku
Inked by: Jack Jadson
Colored by: Transparency Digital
Lettered by: Virtual Calligraphy’s Dave Sharpe
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Christopher Priest is one of the smartest writers in comics crafting tales that not only dig deep from the wells of Marvel history, but also sink in layer after layer of twists and turns in which each panel holds something important. His style was particularly ill suited for Bart Sears excessively splashy, anatomically dubious art style that rendered the first arc “Two Americas” borderline incoherent. Omar Otieku does a much better job here with a clean yet bold style that suit’s the titular characters well.
Even with the right artist however it’s easy to get lost and confused with Priest’s work. This issue opens up with an action sequence inter-spliced with multiple hallucinations further confusing the matter. As we’ve got two Captain Americas, two M.O.D.O.Ks and Falcon acting like two different people. Oh and did I mention there’s also a genetically engineered M.O.D.O.K virus, and some previously unseen revelations stemming from Avengers Disassembled. Yeah this is a very, very complicated little story arc.
The complexity is both this book’s greatest virtue and it’s biggest problem. While I usually love digging into the deep multifaceted works of Priest, this month completely threw me for a loop as I had forgotten several key points from last month. From my own experiences with Priest’s work, his stuff tends to work best when read all in one sitting rather than as a monthly serial. Which is perhaps why I was rather lukewarm on this issue. Confusion aside, I was keen on his utterly amoral characterization of M.O.D.O.K and the clever use of the hallucinatory scenes.