Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #17

A comic review article by: Ray Tate
Frankly, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes would be a two bullet comic book if not for the illustrators and Paul Tobin's characterization of Iron Man, as well as the stars on the cover. The truth of the matter is that Marvel Super Heroes represents a downturn in overall quality, and that's because this issue is a naked cash-in for the upcoming Avengers film.

Although Black Widow is indeed an Avenger, Hawkeye isn't a member in Tobin's revamped group. That team consists of the aforementioned Black Widow, Iron Man, Invisible Woman, Captain America, Vision, Nova and Thor. Suddenly, Hawkeye is and always has been an Avenger in this issue. Fine, whatever.



Hawkeye's dialogue at least sounds about right. The plot, however, is a little hoary. The Mad Thinker hidden in plain sight in this issue breaks Iron Man's security codes to his armor and sends said armor on a tour of destruction. Hawkeye must use his wits, his arrows and his "Avengers Internal Communications Line" contactng Tony Stark to deal with the unstoppable empty suit.

I've never been a fan of empty suits of armor fighting heroes. See my reviews of the pitiful Our World at War miniseries from DC for a sampler of my overall opinion. It's difficult for me to accept a suit of armor that doesn't fall apart when hit with sufficient force. Iron Man's armor, the Cadillac of exoskeletons, is a little easier to swallow, but Tobin really asks me to stretch my disbelief a lot.



Fortunately, Tobin provides a lot of humorous constrast between Hawkeye's deadly situation and Tony Stark's playboy lifestyle. At the moment Hawkeye is trying to survive, Tony is partying with super-models. Mind you, some might find their preening over him degrading. One even appears to be on her knees changing Tony's shoes .

The first story is a mere time-waster. The second story is much worse. While Black Widow rings true. Nick Fury is a complete scotch. Fury is a Howling Commando first and a SHIELD agent second. In other words, Fury never went in for the secretive need-to-know nature of espionage, but that's exactly what he pulls on the Black Widow.



One also wonders why Fury isn't bald and black in the Marvel Adventureverse to reflect the Samuel L. Jackson portrayal. I mean The Avengers movie is the only reason why Hawkeye and Black Widow happen to star in this issue of Super Heroes. So, why isn't Fury more in line with the Fury that the non comic book reading civilian knows? My understanding is that the Adventureverse is meant to attract all ages and all levels of readership. So, why isn't Fury black?

Regardless, Fury's obfuscation of the mission is a sloppy contrivance to keep the Big Bad's identity secret, and it's not necessary. There were other ways that would have let Widow in the know but keep readers in the dark. She could have simply referred to the villain as The Big Bad. Too Buffy? She could have called him the star of the show or the head actor.



A friendly agent saw "something," a lazy McGuffin, and Fury tasks the Widow to bodyguard her. Mirroring the reader's sentiment, the Widow finally fed up with the mindless chase and the total lack of support from Nick Fury decides to smoke out the Big Bad in a clever ploy that guarantees her charge's safety. Again, Tobin characterizes the Big Bad quickly, accurately and economically. It's too bad that he disposed of Nick Fury's historical persona just to serve the plot. This could have been a decent little short.



Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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