Garth Ennis probably missed his calling as a history professor or at least the writer of history books. He has an amazing small section where Fury explains what’s wrong with the French military approach to fighting in Vietnam. It’s short, concise and completely digestible.
He also has a great device–the visiting senator–for allowing Nick to do expository dialogue.
The first half of the issue deals with the overall plot, at least how it concerns all the supporting players. There’s the girl, who Nick’s shacked up with, there’s the senator (her boss), there’s the sidekick, there’s the former Nazi soldier.
Even at his most inventive, the first half is what one would expect. It’s excellent, but nothing surprises. The second half, when a French base is attacked, is astounding. Ennis and Parlov brilliantly choreograph the sequence–the sidekick being the reader’s point of view.
Ennis has ambitions for Fury.
Number One Fucky; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Goran Parlov; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Sebastian Girner and Nick Lowe; publisher, MAX.
Fury MAX gives Garth Ennis the opportunity to do one of his favorite things–historical war stories–with one of the things he does really well, world-weary protagonists. Well, I suppose he takes the opportunity to use the series to do those things, not so much it gives him the chance.
This first issue is set in Indochina in the mid-fifties, while America’s involvement in Vietnam is just to monitor the French’s progress.
Ennis gives Fury a mismatched sidekick, he introduces a knowing dame–Ennis and artist Goran Parlov don’t turn the espionage genre on its head, they just tilt it quite a bit–and some hints at the supporting cast.
Reading Fury isn’t so much to see what happens next–he’s narrating from present day, so he lives and the reader hopefully knows how Vietnam turned out–but enjoying Ennis’s excellent storytelling abilities.
He’s in his element.
While All the Planet’s Little Wars Start Joining Hands; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Goran Parlov; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Sebastian Girner and Nick Lowe; publisher, MAX.
Very interesting issue. With Otto freed of Ghost Peter, he makes some different choices–first is prioritizing responses to crimes and crises (which Slott addressed earlier in the series but not as directly) and, second, how he’s going to spend his Parker time.
Without the old Peter Parker memories, Otto’s scenes with Aunt May completely different. He’s not trying to fit in as much as enjoy the company of his new family. The same goes for his pursuing the tutor, Anna. Slott writes them a couple good scenes together this issue.
There are a couple action scenes, of course, one at the open and a disaster one at the close. There’s also the introduction of two new villains; the first comes in dialogue, the second gets the final page reveal.
One of them appears smarter than Otto, which should give him a fine adversary, as Otto’s intellect makes him invincible.
Independence Day; writer, Dan Slott; penciller, Ryan Stegman; inkers, Stegman and Cam Smith; colorist, Edgar Delgado; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Whew. There I was, having to take back some negative comments about Slott’s pacing last issue and how well he sold the story overall… and now I’m validated.
This issue reads in something like two minutes, maybe three if you take a bathroom break.
Otto zooms down into his own mind to fight the collected memories of Peter Parker–Ghost Peter isn’t a ghost as much as congealed memories–and there’s a big street fight out of Superman II.
Lots of guest stars. Pretty much every supporting cast member, friend and foe. Ryan Stegman must have had a great time drawing it, but there’s no story. It’s a scene out of a bad Matrix knock-off. Slott gets in one moment at the end where Ghost Peter is revealed as selfish (just like Otto) but he doesn’t do anything with the duality.
The issue’s pointless. Slott wastes the reader’s time.
Troubled Mind, Part Three: Gray Matters; writer, Dan Slott; artist, Ryan Stegman; colorist, Edgar Delgado; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Well, Slott recovers this issue. Big time.
He must have watched “ER” too–all you need to make something touching is a sick child, add a megalomaniac like Otto being touched by said sick child? One’s sympathies for the story and its characters go through the roof.
There’s also the big Avengers fight, which is funny afterwards because all Otto’s ramblings of them being morons are accurate. Ramos proves the right artist for it too. He draws everyone like a giant baboon.
The resolution with Cardiac is outstanding too, though Slott still isn’t addressing all his ongoing subplots. He also addresses the Ghost Peter thing–which is a big surprise this early–and uses it for his hard cliffhanger.
And so I have to eat a little crow. Slott does know what he’s doing, though this issue and last would’ve been better as a giant-size instead of two issues,
Troubled Mind, Part Two: Proof Positive; writer, Dan Slott; penciller, Humberto Ramos; inker, Victor Olazaba; colorist, Edgar Delgado; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
This issue Ghost Peter discovers he can influence his old body and also make enough noise to distract Otto. Sadly, Slott uses that trick three times at least this issue to save someone from Otto’s wraith. Well, maybe twice with the third just being a little wink.
But it’s not a particularly good issue. In fact, it’s the first one where Slott doesn’t deliver a worthwhile narrative. Otto beats up some superhero who steals medical equipment to save poor people and then the Avengers confront him.
There’s nothing else to the issue. It’s a short opening, a long, poorly illustrated fight scene with Otto’s megalomania taking over, and the Avengers finale. And that finale’s just the cliffhanger.
Subplots aren’t just absent, Slott doesn’t even acknowledge the series has any.
It’s a rather upsetting turn of events. I sort of thought Slott could do no wrong on Otto’s adventures; he can.
Troubled Mind, Part One: Right-Hand Man; writer, Dan Slott; penciller, Humberto Ramos; inker, Victor Olazaba; colorist, Edgar Delgado; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Been a while since I read an Humberto Ramos comic. Between steel fortitude and Slott’s writing, I didn’t get sick.
The issue continues the “Spidey is going too far” theme, with Mayor Jameson setting Otto loose on some superpowered Internet pranksters. There’s also the stuff with Otto and his tutor, which is wonderful.
The Jameson stuff plays to the reader’s expectation of him being a boob and deserving getting pranked. The Spidey too far stuff–the Avengers cameo–plays to the storyline in general, but the stuff with Otto and his tutor is where Slott is doing something different.
Whatever his end game is for Superior Spider-Man, one hopes Slott has a good resolution for the tutor romance in mind.
It’s a fast read; Otto doesn’t show up for a little while and Ghost Peter spends his time watching flashbacks of young Otto being bullied.
Ramos aside, good stuff.
Joking Hazard; writer, Dan Slott; penciller, Humberto Ramos; inker, Victor Olazaba; colorist, Edgar Delgado; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Pulido has a great panel of Clint getting shot. He splits it into three slivers and has the movement sort of turn in on itself. It’s very confusing, sure, but it’s also great artwork.
The wrap-up to the series’s first two parter isn’t as good as it should be. Fraction finally has a reveal, something he’s avoided until now, and it doesn’t pay off. The reader doesn’t have enough information for it to mean anything. However, thanks to Kate’s presence, it still works out.
Of course, since I don’t enough about Hawkeye I didn’t realize Kate’s supposed to be so young (like twenty). Does the age make Clint a big brother or father figure? It’s not clear and it doesn’t have to be clear… but her age does need clarifying.
And I’ve now read a comic with Black Nick Fury. He’s mad at his dad.
Good, not great, issue.
The Tape, 2 of 2; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Javier Pulido; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
I love the way Javier Pulido does superheroes. The issue’s mostly supervillains and not many costumes for them (except Madame Masque); Captain America does show up for a bit. Pulido somehow retains his style, which isn’t particularly realistic (at all), but makes the superheroes seem to be realistically visualized.
It’s very interesting to see.
The issue’s great, though Fraction assumes the reader is a lot more familiar with Hawkeye history than I am. Apparently he assassinated someone for SHIELD and there’s a tape of it. Pretty sure modern Marvel continuity starts after the death of VHS–especially for camcorders–but whatever. Fraction’s doing it retro. It’s a fine touch.
Clint keeps getting himself in trouble. Fraction delights at having a not too smart protagonist too. It’s not masochistic because Pulido’s art isn’t grim enough… but it’s close.
The soft cliffhanger is wonderful too. Fraction’s doing great work on this one.
The Tape, 1 of 2; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Javier Pulido; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Wow. This issue is simply wonderful.
Fraction’s not worrying about setting up the characters, he’s not worried about coming up with an interesting hook, he’s just trying to have fun. And Hawkeye is fun. Lots of fun.
It’s kind of like a TV show. Clint and Kate bicker while they fight crime. Kind of like he and Mockingbird used to do, only without baggage.
The issue consists of Clint going out to buy tape to label his trick arrows, meeting a girl, hooking up, getting involved with some Mini car-driving bad guys, saving the girl, all while bickering with Kate and showing why trick arrows are really important.
Aja’s probably essential. I can’t imagine the issue being so much for–or so rewarding with so little content–without Aja. He’s already stylized but the action just takes it to another level. He never sacrifices anything.
It’s a fantastic comic.
Cherry; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
The second issue isn’t what I was expecting. Fraction doesn’t exactly give Clint a lot more personality–he’s from Iowa, to answer my question from last issue and he’s not playing protector of the downtrodden here. Actually, even though he hires an assistant, it’s unclear what Clint’s doing.
If he’s just playing good guy to the people who don’t usually get helped–he has a crime board after all, like a consulting superhero or something–it’s fine. Fraction and Aja have done something similar before (Iron Fist) and the character works for the niche; why not run with it?
And it continues to be a lot of fun. Fraction doesn’t go overboard with the quips, peppering them in mostly, until a big quip-filled conversation between Clint and his assistant (the female Hawkeye). Aja comes up with a checkerboard for their conversation and it all works great.
Hawkeye’s good fun.
Vagabond Code; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
I realized, finishing the first issue of Hawkeye, is how little the comic has to do with Hawkeye. It’s about Clint Barton, New Yorker. For some reason I always assumed Clint was a West Coast kind of guy, but Matt Fraction writes him as a empathetic New Yorker. And David Aja draws a great New York City. It’s not seventies gritty, but eighties grimy. It’s a great setting.
Wait, I lost track. The comic not being about Hawkeye. I guess it isn’t much about Clint either, at least the reader’s expectation of the character. It’s practically a superhero “Seinfeld.” Clint tries to do the right thing, without resorting to the costume, and has a number of misadventures involving his Russian mafia landlord.
It’s funny, touching, everything one would want from an inexpensive Marvel Studios Hawkeye movie. And Fraction and Aja do a great job doing a soft relaunch slash pilot.
Lucky; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
And here’s the rewarding turn of events. It’s entirely depressing–maybe even beyond depressing–as Peter confronts his greatest fear… he’s going to get everyone killed.
Bendis doesn’t even try to end the comic on an okay note. Peter’s consumed with despondence; it’s palpable and Mary showing up to complete the bookend from the last issue just makes it worse. Bendis has all of a sudden turned the book into a look at the (super) human condition and he doesn’t have anything nice to say.
The Ultimate Dr. Strange stuff, which probably takes up half the issue, is great. Bendis practically hands the comic over to him; it works quite well. The character’s amusingly vain but still likable and sympathetic.
Bagley and Hanna change up the art occasionally, for Peter’s nightmare panels, and it’s rather effective.
For Peter, the whole thing is, quite literally, hellacious; Bendis drags the reader along.
Strange, Part Two of Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Jonathan D. Smith; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Nick Lowe and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.
I guess I didn’t realize it before, but “Brand New Day” Peter Parker is supposed to be unbelievably good looking. Otto lucked out in the bod department, apparently.
This issue features a really nice scene where Otto has dinner with his “tutor,” a very charming woman who happens to be a little person. Ghost Peter never says it, but there’s a definitely implication he’d never give her the time of day whereas Otto’s able to see past it.
Otto’s also able to see the benefit of coordinating with others (shouldn’t Peter have learned a little of that practice in The Avengers). Slott’s definitely developing Otto’s character in unexpected, thoughtful ways. Even the ending, which implies Otto’s megalomania hasn’t gone away he’s just using it for the greater good.
And who’s Otto to determine the greater good? Slott’s establishes him as the ideal choice as it’s a conscious effort.
Emotional Triggers; writer, Dan Slott; penciller, Giuseppe Camuncoli; inkers, John Dell and Camuncoli; colorists, Edgar Delgado and Antonio Fabella; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.