CAPSULE REVIEWS: Marvel Week 13 2008

Oh, really behind now! After this we’ll be jumping ahead a few weeks to current shipping!

Let’s move on to the reviews:


(Fred Van Lente / Scott Koblish)

The fools!

Iron-Man flies to Canada this issue, featuring the fan-favourite original Alpha Flight. I wish someone would have indicated that on the cover somehow, instead of yet another poseur-istic Iron-Man shot. Anyhoo. This follows the traditional team-up recipe. Iron-Man meets Alpha Flight, there’s a misunderstanding leading to a big fight scene, everything is cleared and they team-up against a common threat. It’s a hoot seeing my childhood favourite team again ,even if Van Lente overplays their quarrellings for comic relief and doesn’t convince me on the voices of Snowbird or even Iron-Man himself.



(Brian Bendis/ Mark Bagley & Marko Djurdjevic)

Another Mighty Avengers story arc wraps up in typical Mighty Avengers fashion. The Avengers prove absolutely worthless against the villain, they get captured, the quip incessantly, then something random happens to release them, and the Sentry shows up to defeat the villain. Rinse and Repeat.

The sight of the Avengers in stasis reminded me of the even more dull JLA issue last week, where again the heroes are captured in energy stasis and released by a fluke energy disruption. Quick plot solutions are the new hot thing, eh?

As far as Doom storylines go, this one ranks below the time Doom fought against Squirrel Girl and was overtaken by an army of rodents. At least he didn’t take up the whole page with thought balloons replacing the usual maniacal monologues. Someone forward Bendis the memo: noone’s still impressed with his radical reinvention of the thought bubble. Give it a rest, dude.

One admirable quality in this issue: Doom in fact time-traveling back and forth from Morgana’s Camelot to score a demon army in return for sexual favors! Thanks to my friend Ilias Kyriazis (Vote for him now at Zuda!) for pointing it out.



(Brian Bendis / David Mack)

That Echo girl sure gets around. Daredevil, Wolverine, Hawkeye… Hey, isn’t Spidey single again as well? 😉 Echo dukes it out with a Super-Skrull out to replace her on the team. Cue in big fight scene, a barbequed X-Men, lots of flirting, and at least one sex scene! Why am I still bored silly? I actually enjoyed Mighty Avengers more this month. Like Echo says near the end of the issue ‘This isn’t the Avengers’. Despite Hawkeye/Ronin’s claims otherwise I’m still unconvinced as this book reads and feels like the aborted ‘Marvel Knights’ team-up book, a collection of Marvel’s edgy and street-smart heroes.



No, wait, forget it. I can’t even stand to read the scans of this book anymore.



(Fred Van Lente / Gurihiru)

Cute kids’ book. Not enough funny/witty to attract older readers, so it has to simply rely on the cuteness factor of Gurihiru’s art. The Fantastic Four drop off their son Franklin for the Power family to babysit (although the mr and mrs Power don’t know their kids are super-heroes, so there’s a big leap of logic here to believe the parents aren’t curious why the FF would choose an average family to take care of their son). Anyhoo. Franklin asks the kids how they got their powers and te flashback sequence kicks in, showing the younger normal Power brothers and sisters stumbling upon an alien ‘parent-napping’ (love that term mr Van Lente), and interfering in the battle between the alien Snark kidnappers (who I would take more seriously if not for the ridiculously goofy design from the 80s) and the heroic pony-man warrior.



(Brian Bendis / Stuart Immonnen)

Ok, why can’t Bendis write like this on all his titles?

Liz Thompson has learned she’s a mutant, (although not named as such here) Ultimate Firestar. Fittingly Iceman also drops in to reunite the best Saturday morning cartoon team-up of all ages. Magneto drops in on the Amazing Friends with a proposition for Firestar to join her estranged father in his Brotherhood, as do the X-Men.

Despite the huge array of guest-stars, this is the most intimate story Bendis has done on the title, and by far my favourite. Here he’s examining the strong bonds of friendship that have formed between the kids of Midtown High, taking into account all the weirdness that’s swamped their lives since issue 1, and exploring the very strange reality a normal girl faces when she discovers she’s special -viewing the mutant struggle through an original lens.

It’s weird how neither Bendis nor Immonnen were this good at doing a mutant book when they were ctually working on Ultimate X-Men.The reveal of her father’s identity is a huge shocker moment in the final page, and something that Bendis has teased about and laid out clues for since the very second year of Ultimate universe’s existence ( I remember oft clues about her mutant Uncle Frank and her loathing of muties from the very early issues of this title and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up). Kudos.



(Paul Tobin / David Hahn)

Cosby and Paniccia don’t just treat their editorial corner of the Marvel U as the ‘kids comics line’. Instead of restraining themselves by the content rating, hey revel in their freedom to create the funnest comics around without concerns on continuity or interference from higher-ups.
This issue: the Fantastic Four are attending a country fair for charity. Reed gets too much into fixing doohickeys to notice the Mad Thinker among the audience and inadvertently fixes his Awesome Android to an even awesom-er setting (the rest of the team being too busy to notice, what with fighting fake apes, paint-on fake Hulks, or manning a kissing booth- I’m looking at you Johnny Storm!). Thankfully Reed still has brains enough to outsmart even his own accomplishments with a tricked-up pair of… toasters? You gotta read it to believe it.

Nice little niche story, made more special with David Hahn’s art style. (Add him on the long list of ‘artists to look out for’ from this week. He’s the next Takeshi Miyazawa).



(Brian Reed / Adriana Melo & Ron Frenz)

Ever since cross-dressing Machine Man has been taken off the spotlight of the book, I simply can’t get behind it anymore. Steeped deep in Secret Invasion nonsense, Ms Marvel faces off against the X-Men-powered Super-Skrull, while Iron-Man discovers there’s more than one Ms Marvels running around, and we get a healthy dose of flashback to still-human Carol Danvers teaming up with Captain Marvel against some more Skrulls (only worth reading for Ron Frenz’s retro art). Plus a ‘shocking’ ending where Ms Marvel’s boyfriend (whom I don’t remember seeing since I started reading the title) tips the scales on the ‘Girls in Refrigerators’ gender war scales. I really want to care for this book, but I still can’t find my footing. Adriana Melo’s debut as regular penciller could certainly help tip the scales.



(Jeff Parker / Craig Rousseau)

Cyclops gets a solo mission while the other young X-Men recover from water poisoning (huh). It’s a paint-by-numbers plot as Cyke travels to a small suburban town tracking down a newly-manifested mutant teen, who has kidnapped the townspeople who teased and mocked him. Cyclops isn’t the easiest cookie to write a solo story on, unless you’re Whedon of course. Heck, even Vaughan failed to make him interesting in his limited series a while ago. Pretty average predictable yarn with one brief shining (heh) moment with Cyclops standing up to the small-town bigots.



(Fred Van Lente / Andrea Di Vito)

A third monthly Wolvie title! This time, it’s Claremont/Byrne era Wolvie, hot on the heels of the Dark Phoenix Saga. Kitty has just joined the team; Prof X sends her as a tag-along with Wolvie to investigate a newly-manifested mutant teen in a small suburban town. Oh, sweet deja vu! This is much better handled than X-Men First Class above, with some neat twists and great fun back-and-forth between Wolvie and Kitty- his first and best sidekick. Unlike X-FC, this title also appears to adhere more closely to continuity, featuring the accurate X-Men roster of the time. A solid old-school debut title, with a misguiding title.


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