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This Week In Marvel – 2/3/8

Welcome to the "Who Cares, it’s the Superbowl" edition of This Week in Marvel! Heh, not really. But, in the spirit of the biggest sporting event in North America, this week’s books have a sporting theme tying the reviews together. Play ball!marvel.gif

The Cricket Test Match series: Fantastic Four #553. Ah, cricket. The sport that can last 5 days, and yet still end in a draw. Intriguing, but occasionally unsatisfying. And that’s how much of McDuffie’s run has felt to me. This is his final issue of the series, before Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch take over. After running around in the world of the Marvel Zombies, and including Black Panther & Storm for temporary memberships, FF has returned to a straight story about Marvel’s First Family. Dr Doom has come back from the future to warn against Reed implementing his greatest idea: "Fix Everything". Seriously, that’s Reed’s greatest idea. Anyway, the FF of Doom’s future return with him, and there is, of course, a fight based on mistrust between heroes. Because, of course, if you were ever confronted with your future self, you’d want to give him a good pummelling. When the dust clears, the issue goes all meta, letting McDuffie explain to us what he believes the core of the FF are. This issue reminded me a bit of when Mark Waid had the team meet their "creator’ a while back, but I hope this pattern of writers explaining what the FF mean to them doesn’t continue. It comes off as a little trite. A mediocre issue to end McDuffie’s mildly satisfying run, clearing some decks for what everyone assumes will be some kind of XTreme run by Millar and Hitch.


The Pro Golf series: Spider-Man: With Great Power… #1. Why Pro Golf for this new series? Well, if you’ve seen a pro golf tournament, you probably don’t need to watch another one. It’s all the same. And, personally, that’s what this mini feels like to me. David Lapham writes and Tony Harris draws this series under the Marvel Knights banner, focussing on an untold tale of Peter Parker just after he’d been bitten by the spider. But, really, how many "untold" stories of Peter do we need that delve into his inner psychology back then? Almost 50 years later, his psyche has been pretty heavily dissected, and I don’t really know what this series can add. That said, it’s a really well executed book, stylistically interesting if nothing else. If you like the subject material, this might be a nice one to pick up as a trade.

The NBA Blow-Out-Result series: X-Men – Emperor Vulcan #5. You know when there’s a massive blowout in basketball? A team wins by 40 points or so, and there’s a lot of flashy play early on, until the stars are benched with result out of doubt by the end. Emperor Vulcan reminds me of that. This is the final issue of what is basically a Starjammers mini…but it doesn’t end. The crux is a knock down, drag out fight between Havok and his brother, Vulcan, with the rest of the Starjammers crew doing stuff that isn’t particularly clear without having read the rest of the series. By the end, Vulcan is entrenched firmly as a villain, and the stars are, well, effectively benched. It’s a shame, because there was potential here, but again the VUlcan storyline is left incomplete. I want to get some kind of dramatic payoff at some point here, but obviously Marvel has other plans. Maybe a Vulcan Omnibus is on the cards?

The old-school ECW series: Daredevil #104. ECW…maybe this isn’t quite right, but I don’t think any performer in the old incarnation came away without some scars. DD is no different. Brubaker has continued Bendis’ form and really put the cast through the wringer. But the drama is all kinds of awesome. Mr Fear is really hammering Matt Murdock, and it works, because we as readers are left aching for Matt to come out on top. If you fondly recall the Errol Flynn type of DD from his earliest days, this book isn’t for you. Heck, even Miller’s seminal run was lighter than this. Howevver, What works is seeing the soul crushing pain Matt feels as this fight is completely personal. Matt is devastated as everything he tries to protect his wife Milla is ultimately fruitless. And as the penultimate issue of this arc comes to a close, there’s a profound sense of hope that things will turn out ok for Matt and his extended family. A great, great run.

The franchise book capsules – Avengers Central.
Cap #34.
The new Cap steps up. We know who it is, but, again, Brubaker is right on target, giving us a great portrait of someone trying to live up to something they’re not. Again, the supporting cast is top notch, both in the characters used and the way in which they operate. Cap is always on top of my read pile.
House of M – Avengers #4. A Luke Cage What If…? story, giving us another glimpse into one of the noblest characters Marvel has going around right now. If anything, this book is working at cementing Luke as one of the A-List players in the MU, despite being set in an alternate reality. Good stuff.
Mighty Avengers #8. The symbiote story touched on in New Avengers is finally being dealt with. Iron Man does stuff, the team is left behind pretty much. Good, but it all feels like this storyline is missing something because Cho’s arc was so late.
New Avengers Annual #2. Bendis and all out action. Not two ides you normally associate together, but the battle between the New Avengers and the Hood’s Masters of Evil is great, with a nice reference to the Mansion Siege of years ago thrown in. Dr Deus Ex Strangeina is quietly shuffled away, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and the New Avengers need a new status quo. Now, if I can just work out how all of the Wreckign Crew’s appearances fit in continuity wise, I’ll be happy.

Not reviewed but also out in the 616 universe this week, were The Zombie #3, and the Initiative #9. Thanks for reading!

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