Monthly Archives: July 2007

Quick Critiques – July 3, 2007

Fantastic Four #547 (Marvel Comics)
by Dwayne McDuffie, Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar

McDuffie is in the midst of one of the most fun Fantastic Four stints I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and he manages to pull off the impossible. He handles the Torch/Thing interplay incredibly well, but he also manages to make the Black Panther and Storm funny as well. The science-fiction elements he brings to the mix are as inventive as anything one would find in a Warren Ellis script, and McDuffie manages to offer a nice blend of wholesome, playful super-hero fun with some compelling moments of drama and tension as well. McDuffie brings a classic sensibility to the title team despite the unconventional nature of the lineup, and the sense of wonder is infectious. The writer acknowledges other developments in Marvel continuity as of late (such as Civil War and the Marvel Zombies story arc from Black Panther), but knowledge of those minor footnotes aren’t required to appreciate this story. I was surprised that he decided to bring the new FF together with Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman so soon after the team was rearranged, but I love that Reed doesn’t actually interfere with the new leadership dynamic. Pelletier’s art is a perfect match to the enthusiasm and bright, flashy super-hero action upon which the plot is constructed. The cosmic sequences look great and show the artist’s imagination, but he manages to catch the reader’s eye with the characters’ personalities in the everyday sequences. I’m at a loss, however, why Marvel has decided to adorn these comics with covers by Michael Turner. His sleek style (which is thankfully not as sexed here for this cover as it usually is) emphasizes intensity and a certain Kewl factor that just isn’t in keeping with what readers can find beyond the cover art. 8/10

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Poison Pens

Poison: The Cure #1
“Chapter One”
Writer: Jad Ziade
Artist/Cover artist: Alex Cahill
Publisher: New Radio Comics
Price: $9 US

The last time I came across Alex Cahill’s sequential storytelling was in the odd and frustrating graphic novella The Last Island. It was something of a storytelling experiment, as it explored the notion of a silent parable in comic-book form. It was intriguing but ultimately didn’t appeal to me. With this latest project, Cahill steps aside and lets someone else do the writing, and the wordless approach is cast aside as well. Poison the Cure seems on the surface to be something of a take on an environmental cautionary tale, but in reality, it’s more about the ethics of legitimate rebellion. Writer Jad Ziade explores pits the concept of non-violent protest against protection of self and others by any means necessary. What makes the story interesting are the more grounded moments the characters share, but interfering with the effectiveness of that side of the story are the science-fiction elements. It’s not at all clear why the framing sequence, set in the future, is necessary, and the sci-fi side of the main story is so subtle that I wonder why it was included as well. Poison the Cure is certainly an ambitious project with plenty of potential, but the execution feels a bit off.

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