Host Derek Coward returns to talk about the 2011 Marvel event Fear Itself, and gives an update on Marvel’s Avengers Alliance.
NOTE: You should have the issue in front of you or you should have already have read it. There will be some spoilers, but not a lot of detail about the story or the artwork. This post is a collection of my thoughts as I read the issue for the first time. There may be some tangents, but if you are a listener of the Comic Book Noise podcast, then you already know what to expect.
Cover: I had to get the only copy they had, which was the blank variant cover. I have always thought these things were a scam of some sort, but if I ever go to a convention (or hang around someone like Ryan Stegman, who is from this area) then I might get a sketch. Might.
Page One: I usually don’t like pages that don’t move the story along in some way and this isn’t an exception. I get that they want to establish that the story takes place in New York City, but this is Marvel, 99% of their stories take place in New York City. I was a bit surprised to see Matt Fraction writing this. I haven’t been following a lot of Marvel’s behind the scenes stuff, but this is the first major event that didn’t involve Bendis, Millar, Romita Jr, or Yu in quite a while. However, Laura Martin and Chris Eliopoulos are involved and one or the other always seems to be in the credits of the major events.
Pages Two and Three: Already with the double page spreads? This is a trend from the 00s that I wish both major companies would get away from. Yeah it looks nice, but they also make the reading experience a little shorter. That said, the art team establishes from the beginning that they all brought their A+ game.
I’m not sure what’s going on in the story yet, but it looks like the “WTC Mosque” protests. However, since this is the Marvel U, it could have something to do with a bunch of other things. My first thought was it was where World War Hulk started, but then I remember that WWH started in that intersection with all the billboards (Times Square?) and ads for the US Army.
One thing’s for certain, Steve Rogers starts out like an insufferable prick already.
Page Four: Pay close attention to the coloring on this page. There’s a reason why Laura Martin usually gets called for the big events and this is a good example why.
Page Five: OK, let me gets this straight. Sharon (I’m assuming this is Sharon Carter) says the whole situation feels like a riot. Rogers says “No”, then waits until a riot starts before he says “There’s your riot.” Like he was right all along. Damn, he still bugs me after all these years.
I also want to point out how good the horse images look on these two pages.
Page Six: Probably my favorite page of a Marvel book since early 2006. Rogers is being an asshole, as usual, and ends up getting clocked with a brick. I laughed out loud. And his line about being “Anti-Riot” is a bit hypocritical when you actually pay attention to what happened. A dude threw a water bottle, which missed a mounted policeman, and the police responded by firing tear gas into the crowd. The officer barely missed a guy. So what does Rogers do? He starts grabbing civilians by the collar and hoisting them into the air. IF he was truly Anti-Riot, wouldn’t he have done something besides make the matter worse?
Page Seven: How does the leader of all the super-heroes respond to getting hit in the head with a brick during a riot in of the largest cities in the world? He stands there, saying nothing. Nice leadership, jackass. He is standing right near an unarmed woman who is punching a police officer who is helmeted and in riot gear. She knocks the police officer backwards with one punch. Why the hell isn’t he trying to put her in tights and signing her up to Avengers Academy? Nice talent evaluation, jackass.
Page Eight: I don’t know how the bad guys of the Marvel Universe ever lose. They always seem to be able to do things like build large secret fortresses in places like Antarctica or the Amazon Rainforest. I mean, wouldn’t somebody have been able to figure out that the Nazis (in this case) were moving a lot of materials and personnel to the middle of nowhere? I understand why comic book writers do stuff like this, because large secret fortresses in the middle of nowhere are actually pretty cool, but c’mon…
Page Nine: Really cool invasion page. Funny line about librarians. Made even funnier by the fact that I originally read it as libertarians.
Page Ten: Oh damn, all this time I thought that was the Son of The Red Skull, but it was actually his daughter. I’m beginning to think they should have used caption boxes to tell us who the important characters are in this story.
Page Eleven: Another magic hammer? Like Thor’s and Beta Ray Bill’s? Since no one could lift it, did they build the fortress around the hammer? If so, how did they put the floor down?
Page Twelve: Skadi? Is this a new character or is this someone who has been connected to Thor in the past? Also, I like the vanishing dialog.
Page Thirteen: Cool image, but the way she’s holding the hammer looks a little awkward. Maybe it’s because she’s left handed.
Page Fourteen and Fifteen: Another double page spread. More douchebaggery from Rogers, who just wants to punch something. When it turns out that people are mad, he’s disappointed that they were taken over by some external force. At least Tony Stark comes up with a plan. Although I have to wonder how building a new Asgardian city is going to help the economy. Construction jobs in the Marvel Universe should be pretty stable.
Superhero civil wars, alien invasions and regular old superhero/supervillain battles should keep the construction industry pretty flush. Lots of collateral damage to cars should keep the auto repair business going. A lot of people would rather have new cars when their old ones get trashed, so the auto industry would be good. The only ones who MIGHT have a problem would be the insurance industry, but I wouldn’t worry about them, it has been my experience that insurance companies always make their money.
By the way, who is the dude in the black and white original Captain Mar-Vell looking suit? And why is The Hulk hanging out with Wolverine? Don’t they hate each other?
Page Sixteen: Hey, does that dude have a THOOM hat? I want one.
Page Seventeen: OK I see how being a part of the Marvel Universe hasn’t worked out for this one dude, but are we supposed to believe that the events of Siege have affected the entire nation? Also, for an issue with a riot, an invasion and the introduction of a new villain, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of action in it. Maybe that’s what I get for stopping at the end of each page to type out my thoughts.
Page Eighteen and Nineteen: Another double page spread. Look, they either need to give Jessica Jones a recognizable costume or have her wear a nametag, it makes no sense for her to ALWAYS be dragging her baby with her everywhere she goes. And why is J Jonah Jameson on the stage with the superheroes?
Page Twenty: Just great, The Watcher has shown up. That either means there will be a cosmos shattering event that will shake the very foundations of reality. OR, Uatu has nothing better to do than hang out on Earth. He showed up during Civil War and that wasn’t really a major event-universe wise. Sure it was major in the Marvel line up comic books, but inside of the Marvel Universe itself, there have been bigger cosmic events and Uatu wasn’t around.
Page Twenty One: If Odin really wanted to get a rise out of Uatu, he shouldn’t have called him a coward, he should have asked how his jaw felt after Red Hulk made him his bitch. That’s what I would have done.
Page Twenty Two: I love how Odin has called The Avengers ‘The Dead’ (I am assuming due to their short life span) and ‘ridiculously attired apes’. Odin has died more times than all of the Avengers combined. Hell, I’m actually surprised he isn’t dead now. AND he should look in the mirror some times, he’s wearing shiny pants, a torn loincloth., a huge belt buckle with his initial on it, and a fur collared cape that drags on the ground. Thor was right to call him a jealous hater.
Page Twenty Three: As ridiculous as he dresses, Odin is still pretty bad ass. He broke Thor’s grip on his wrist and gave him a one handed choke slam, in one fluid motion. However when he walked away, Odin should have called Thor a little bitch.
Page Twenty Four and Twenty Five: Another double page spread. I read this sequence twice before it occurred to me that Skadi looks like a female Monitor (from DC). Pretty cool dragons in the last panel. I assume that Immonen made this a double pager so that he could draw the dragons as this huge deal. I’m no artist, but I think it would have worked better if the the approach to the area was one regular page and the dragons were on a full page panel. I couldn’t do anything close to what he did, but I think the full page panel would have given the dragons a much more majestic feel.
Page Twenty Five: Cool sequence. It gives a sense of how powerful Skadi is. This is a lot more effective than her saying how powerful she is, or showing how scared of her Odin seems to be. Even without knowing how tough the dragons really are, you know she has to be powerful because they are dragons and dragons are very infrequently shown to be pushovers.
Page Twenty Six: The thing with the hammer is bugging me. She’s left handed, but she keeps wielding it like a righty. I find it hard to believe that Immonen didn’t catch that, but then again he keeps doing this weird thing with Iron Man’s faceplate.
Page Twenty Seven: I don’t really have any comments about this page. I feel bad about that. I’m sure it took the art team a while to do and I just look over it in a matter of seconds and don’t say anything about it.
Page Twenty Eight: Which All-Father is this? He dresses like Taskmaster without the mask. Is this the real Odin?
Page Twenty Nine: This page has a lot less going on than Page 27, but for some reason I like it a little better. The ruins of Asgard look pretty cool and that green thing doesn’t look like billows of smoke, like it did earlier in the book. So Taskmaster All-Father is The Serpent?
Page Thirty and Thirty One: Another double page spread. The rest of the Asgardian characters we know and love make cameos, with the exception of Volstagg and Heimdall, who get speaking roles. And I don’t think that was JJJ I had seen earlier, I’m pretty sure it was Doctor Strange, former (?) Sorcerer Supreme.
Page Thirty Two: Now THAT’S how you pimp smack an Asgardian.
Page Thirty Three: Two page spread. Again. Loved how Odin handled his son. However, when they had their run-in earlier, I got a Cosby Show vibe: I brought you into this world, and I’ll take you out. However, I’m not really surprised at this development, because if you think back to why Thor was on Earth in the first place, it was because he kept butting heads with the old man. I get the feeling that Matt Fraction’s son might be getting to the age where he isn’t listening as much as he used to. Been there.
Page Thirty Four and Thirty Five: Yet another two page spread. Have you ever been to another family’s place for a gathering and a bunch of family shit pops up, making everybody who doesn’t live there feel awkward? That’s what this was like. I have a question though: What the hell did Rogers think he was going to do, besides sit his ass back down and have a tall glass of Shut Up Juice?
Page Thirty Six: I like the way Fandral summed it all up for Rogers. And I thought it was appropriate that Volstagg and Hogun were the ones to drag Thor off.
Page Thirty Seven: Why did it take Odin so long to fix Asgard? Appreciation for the hospitality for Earth who took them in is one thing, but he didn’t want to be there and obviously didn’t have to be there. So why did he hang out until the Serpent All-Father showed up? It actually makes him look like a little bitch for running away when he did. But, beautiful page.
Page Thirty Eight: This page is really understated and subtle. You get the walking on water images, but in addition to that, you get a father and daughter (and dragon) taking a leisurely walk. I can’t really explain it, but what the art team did here is really cool.
Page Thirty Nine: This is one of those pages that I read and think “Things are about to pick up.”
Page Forty: I was pretty happy when I saw that Fraction was going to use locations outside of the US, but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I saw that one of the bogeys was headed towards Manhattan.
Page Forty One: A much different father-son scene. I was a bit surprised to see that out of the two seemingly throwaway characters from earlier, they chose to bring back the fat guy. That’s almost a refreshing change of pace. There was a line back on page 18 about making sure doors were locked that seemed a bit tacked on, but there is a callback to it on this page.
Page Forty Two: Why is Spider-Man portrayed like a complete and utter idiot some times? I know it was a set up line so that Rogers could look pensive, but really now. I expect more from you, Mr. Fraction.
Overall thoughts: I don’t know what it has to do with fear, but it was a pretty good issue. It was good enough so that I didn’t feel like I wasted my money, but it wasn’t close to good enough for me to go out and buy any more single issues or look for any crossover pieces. It was jus good enough for me to want to get the trade when it eventually comes out. Since this is a major event, I know it will be collected and I don’t have the urge to do anything but wait.
I read the first article which was a brief history of Marvelman’s origins and sort of skimmed the rest of the articles and the interview with Mick Anglo. The selling point of this book for me was the artwork. I liked them all, the new and old stuff, but for me “Young Nastyman and Gargunza” by Mike Perkins & Laura Martin and “Young Nastyman” by Khoi Pham & Brian Reber are my favorites.
When Marvel gets around to making original Marvelman stories, I can only hope they don’t make Young Nastyman into their equivalent of Eclipse Comics’ Johnny Bates and he has an entirely different personality.
Recommendation: This has gotten me more psyched for Marvel’s version of Marvelman than anything else so far. Take that for what it is worth.
Like a lot of people, I’m not that fond of the name, but since I don’t judge a book by its cover (Unless the cover says “Anybody Who Buys This Is A Pedophile And An Asshole”, then I would probably think twice about picking it up), I picked it up off the shelf.
It is an anthology, so it was up and down in terms of my likes and dislikes, but overall I liked it:
I liked the intro by Colleen Coover.
I didn’t like ‘Moritat’ by G. Willow Wilson/Ming Doyle/Cris Peter/Kathleen Marinaccio, but that’s because I don’t like comic book stories that heavily utilize musical performances. The artwork was very Paul Pope-ish, though.
I liked the Venus story by Trina Robbins/Stephanie Buscema/Kristyn Ferretti because I think stories about people from the past fitting into current times are usually funny.
I liked the spotlight on Flo Steinberg, who I remembered from What If #11, but had no idea who she really was.
I liked ‘A Brief Rendezvous’ by Valerie d’Orazio/Nikki Cook/Elizabeth Breitweiser/Kristyn Ferretti because it is always nice to see what The Punisher does with his off time.
I didn’t like the She-Hulk pin-up by Sana Takeda because her hand-foot was distracting and I think if a male artist had drawn this particular picture he would have been raked over the coals for it.
I liked ‘Shop Doc’ by Lucy Knisley, I thought it was cute.
I liked the spotlight on Marie Severin. She’s Marie Severin, who wouldn’t?
I skipped over ‘Clockwork Nightmare’ by Robin Furth/Agnes Garbowska/Kristyn Ferretti for the same reason I didn’t like ‘Moritat’, only instead of a musical performance, this seemed like it was poetry.
I liked ‘Head Space’ by Devin Grayson/Emma Rios/Barbara Ciardo/Kathleen Marinaccio. I have always thought she spent too much time exploring relationships between characters rather than the characters themselves and as a result, I haven’t been a big fan of her work. She does the same thing in this story, but it makes sense since it was a story about a relationship. Of course, she makes my favorite X-Man look like a little bitch, but then again, almost all writers make him look like a little bitch.
I know a lot of people will pass on this book because of the “high price tag” and I’m not sure what kind of business it will do in trade, but I don’t feel like I got ripped off and I’m looking forward to the other two issues in the miniseries.
We’re talkin’ Thunder God this week with thoughts on Thor #12 and #600. Pat has the new releases and Steve impresses us with the first part in his series on the DeFalco and Ryan Fantastic Four. Plus, not one, but two messsages from Chris Chavez, aka Equinox!
Titles mentioned this week include Thor and Captain Britain and MI:13.
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Marvel items shipping 2/25/09:
Avengers The Initiative #22 (Dark Reign Tie-In) $2.99
Captain America Vol 5 #47 $2.99
Dark Avengers #1 2nd Ptg Mike Deodato Jr Variant Cover (Dark Reign Tie-In) $3.99
Dark Reign Files $4.99
Dark Tower Treachery #6 Regular Jae Lee Cover $3.99
Dr Doom And The Masters Of Evil #2 $2.99
Enders Shadow Battle School #3 $3.99
Fantastic Four Vol 3 #554 Top Cow Marc Silverstri Variant Cover – [PI]
Fantastic Four Vol 3 #564 $2.99
Ghost Rider Danny Ketch #5 $3.99
Hulk Vol 2 #10 Incentive Art Adams Variant Cover – [PI]
Hulk Vol 2 #10 Regular Left Side Defenders Cover $3.99
Hulk Vol 2 #10 Regular Right Side Offenders Cover $3.99
Incredible Hercules #126 $3.99
Kick-Ass #1 Umpteenth Ptg $2.99
Kick-Ass #2 Umpteenth Ptg $2.99
Kick-Ass #3 Umpteenth Ptg $2.99
Kick-Ass #4 Umpteenth Ptg $2.99
Lords Of Avalon Knight Of Darkness #4 $3.99
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #45 $2.99
Marvels Eye Of The Camera #4 Black & White Version $3.99
Marvels Eye Of The Camera #4 Regular Version $3.99
Marvel Illustrated Treasure Island TP $14.99
Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Strange Tales Vol 2 HC Regular Dust Jacket $59.99
Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Strange Tales Vol 2 HC Variant Dust Jacket $59.99
Marvel Masterworks Mighty Thor Vol 8 HC Regular Dust Jacket $54.99
Marvel Masterworks Mighty Thor Vol 8 HC Variant Dust Jacket $54.99
Mighty Avengers #22 (Dark Reign Tie-In) $2.99
Ms Marvel Vol 2 #36 (Dark Reign Tie-In) $2.99
New Avengers #50 Regular Billy Tan Cover (Dark Reign Tie-In) $4.99
New Avengers #50 Variant Kubert Cover (Dark Reign Tie-In) $4.99
Nova Vol 4 #22 $2.99
Runaways Vol 3 #7 $2.99
Scourge Of The Gods #2 $5.99
Secret Invasion Black Panther TP $12.99
Secret Invasion Runaways Young Avengers TP $12.99
She-Hulk 2 #38 $3.99
Skaar Son Of Hulk #8 Incentive Ron Lim Variant Cover – [PI]
Skaar Son Of Hulk #8 Regular David Yardin Cover $2.99
Skrulls vs Power Pack TP Digest $9.99
Thunderbolts #129 Incentive Clint Langley Variant Cover (Dark Reign Tie-In) – [PI]
Thunderbolts #129 Regular Francesco Mattina Cover (Dark Reign Tie-In) $2.99
Ultimate Spider-Man #131 (Ultimatum Tie-In) $2.99
War Machine Vol 2 #3 (Dark Reign Tie-In) $2.99
Wolverine First Class #12 $2.99
Wolverine Origins #33 (Dark Reign Tie-In) $2.99
Wonderful Wizard Of Oz #2 2nd Ptg Skottie Young Variant Cover $3.99
X-Force Vol 3 #12 $2.99
Ythaq Forsaken World #3 $5.99
- Captain America #47 (DEC082361D, $2.99; FOC 01/29/09) will have art by Butch Guice, not Steve Epting.
- The previously unannounced cover artist for The Dark Tower: Treachery #6 Variant (DEC082331D, $3.99; FOC 02/05/09) will be Dennis Calero.
- Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil #2 (DEC082365D, $2.99; FOC 02/05/09) will have art by Jon Buran, in addition to the previously solicited Patrick Scherberger.
- Incredible Hercules #126 (DEC082374D, $3.99, FOC 02/05/09) will be rated T+, not A.
- Ms. Marvel #36 DKR (DEC082316D, $2.99; FOC 02/05/09) will have a new cover by Phil Jimenez that was previously solicited as the cover to Ms. Marvel #37 DKR (JAN092485D, $2.99; FOC 03/05/09), which will now have a new, previously unseen Phil Jimenez cover.
- Nova #22 (DEC082385D, $2.99; FOC 02/05/09) will have art by Andrea Di Vito, not Wellinton Alves.
- She-Hulk 2 #38 (DEC082390D, $3.99) will be 40 pages, not 48 pages. No content has been changed.
- Skaar, Son of Hulk #8 (DEC082391D, $2.99; FOC 02/05/09) & #9 (JAN092525D, $2.99; FOC 03/05/09) will have art by Ron Lim, not Jackson Guice.
- War Machine #3 DKR (DEC08 2318, $2.99) is now Rated T+, not A.
- Wolverine: First Class #12 (DEC082409D, $2.99; FOC 02/05/09) will have art by Scott Koblish, not Wil Quintana
I review The Stand Captain Trips 1 of 5. It may seem like I am going off on tangents, but trust me it all makes sense.
At first I thought that this miniseries was going to be a set of new stories set in the universe of The Stand. I am a big fan of The Stand and I was really amped for this. I have read the paperback, the unabridged paperback, the TV miniseries, the TV miniseries on VHS and the TV miniseries on DVD. I read a Stephen King short story that showed what happened to a small group of friends when the Captain Trips outbreak first started being known. I wish I remembered what it was called. I thought that the miniseries was going to be like that short story, original stories expanding the universe.
I was wrong. This project seems to be an adaptation of abridged The Stand novel told over several miniserieses. This first mini is the first “book” of the novel called Captain Trips. It deals with introducing most of the cast of characters and how they all deal with the original breakout. The Captain Trips part of the story is my favorite. I have a fondness for stories about the disintegration of society and this is one of the best.
The writing is excellent, but then again the source material is one of my favorite stories, so I might be a little biased. The only thing that I remember reading from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was 4, a Fantastic Four series (Marvel Knights?) that also featured artwork by Steve McNiven. I remember liking the dialogue and I think some of the promotional material said that he was a playwright.
The artwork on the faces was a little hinky in the prologue, but once the story got out of the Campion household, Mike Perkins seemed to settle into a nice groove. Although the image of Mrs Campion and the baby later in the issue also seemed a little off, so maybe he just doesn’t like to draw those characters.
Chris Eliopoulos does a great job with the lettering, but then again he usually does. I really like the pages with Larry in the car in front of his mother’s house.
However, the star of the issue is Laura Martin. I have been paying closer attention to her color artwork and I can’t remember ever being disappointed. She continues her streak with this issue.
The cover by Lee Bermejo is beautiful and sinister at the same time. I can’t wait to see the rest of the series.
The only thing that slightly pissed me off was the fact that the last few pages were from The Stand sketchbook that I got from my LCS a while back. Not a big deal because I don’t think that a lot of people picked it up, but then again, not a lot of people are crazy for The Stand like I am.
I am definitely picking up the rest of this miniseries. And probably the one after that. And the one after that. And the trade/hardcover. Yeah, I guess that makes me a sucker, but when the story is The Stand, I don’t mind being a sucker.
Since people like grades, I will give this issue 9 out of 10.