Writers: Guggenheim, K. Immonen, Moore, Koslowski, Nelson
Artists: Wilkins, S. Immonen, Henry, DiVito, Nelson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Comments: The cover by Campbell and Delgado makes not so much sense, but it looks cool. Our above-the-title heroes (minus Vanguard, who arenít supers at all) are being chased by demonic versions of their allies with Magneto, a T-Rex and Captain America thrown in for good measure? Reviewer says wha--?
Inside, we get a mix of decent and confounding stories, none glaringly awful but some a bit odd in execution and conception. Iíll confess upfront: if Hellcat hadnít been one of the leads, I wouldnít have picked up this book. I havenít been following Patsy Walker since her romance comic days, but Iíve been following her since she demanded that Beast make her an Avenger. I lost track of her with the Defenders and was horrified to learn that marriage to the devilís son had led her to suicide. I cheered like mad when the Avengers resurrected her, more or less, and enjoyed what I could of her solo series (mostly the sublime art by Breyfogle).
Here the Immonens treat her to a light-hearted mix of superheroics and her romance roots, throwing in a very old-school (but charming) fashion spread as she goes out for a night. The tone they capture, with Stuartís slightly stylized art and Kathrynís evident penchant for the surreal (making the everyday seem odd) is just about right for a Patsy Walker story today. I especially appreciate the deft way they summarize her bizarre past (they distract us with all her pretty clothes, keeping the dark stuff mercifully light and fluffy Ė none of it matters anymore if the character is to be happy-go-lucky again). Judd Winick should take lessons if he ever attempts a similar summary of several decades of character highs and lows, to improve upon his jarring attempt in this weekís Black Canary/Green Arrow special.
Equally light is Nelsonís litany of the reasons Alicia Masters loves Ben Grimm. Itís not so much a story as a character portrait, improved immeasurably by Nelsonís more than competent art, which has a clarity and lightness somewhere between Bagley and Byrne. Good company indeed.
The Spider-Man story is a cute but dismissible piffle, worth a laugh or two. Itís the other two tales that do some actual work related to the Marvel Universe. Vanguard is apparently a detective duo. On the beat at a murder scene, captures of bit of that Hargitay/Meloni Law and Order chemistry. The female is the only named character (Stacy Dolan), but thereís clear potential here in their no-nonsense approach and in the possible perpetrator of the crime: a Watcher. Iím intrigued by the idea of a police procedural aimed at supers, and if Guggenheim keeps it deadpan serious and a little noir, it just might work. The art is quite well done, though painted: Not too flashy, with solid storytelling dynamics and facial features that donít look too cut-and-pasted.
Also interesting is the ďWeapon OmegaĒ story, which reads like the next installment of Oemingís abruptly truncated Omega Flight series. Someone seems to realize that thereís an unfinished story in Michael Pointer, the mutant who was used by the Collective to kill Alpha Flight. It galls me to have to explain that awful non-story, but I liked Oemingís series and in this tale Koslowski tries to build something out of the non-entity that Michael has been ever since Bendis dropped a bomb on him. USAgent is excellently used as a pro disappointed to be in the midst of such amateurs, and Andrea Di Vitoís art achieves a lovely Tom Grummet feel, the highest of compliments from me. I canít remember if the last Marvel Comics Presents produced anything lasting (didnít it debut with the original BWS Weapon X story, come to think of it?), but Iím willing to stick around for more of this one.
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