Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Well, Jeff Parker dared me to review some of his comics (I think), so here we go!
(as always, click on images to enlarge)

Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #5
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Manuel Garcia

Hahaha! Check out that cover! Good juxtaposition, with Sue petting a cute baby dinosaur while the guys are being menaced by a big, ferocious one. So, the FF is at a public demonstration by a scientist who has invented the Geoportal, a device designed to instantaneously teleport people or cargo anywhere across the globe. The scientist has chosen a remote location in Antarctica as the destination of the portal's demonstration; unfortunately, he doesn't realize that the coordinates he's using lead to--

Uh oh! So of course dinosaurs start stampeding across New York City, and the FF have to clean up the mess. Reed goes to work fixing the Geoportal, which has become unstable due to the influx of dinos, so the others have to go do the roundup. There's some pretty good scenes, like Ben's continued attempts to haul a brachiosaurus in the direction it doesn't want to go:

Or Johnny doing a cowboy-style roundup:

Sue gets an idea to round up the carnivores:

She used the Fantasticard! I gotta get one of those. I'm also intrigued by how she uses her powers to sky-surf, Iceman-style. I don't know if I've ever seen that before. It's a cool (extreme!) idea for a book like this aimed at kids. So anyway, they round up the dinos and save the world. You know the drill. Fun! What's next?

Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Manuel Garcia

Sweet! I always dig an appearance by Lockjaw! As the story starts, the FF are attacked by a villain named Street while walking down the, um, street. He's a guy that got turned into a street, or something:

See? Reed manages to crumble him to pieces with a "cross-frequency modulator", but the device also ends up drawing the attention of--

Lockjaw! They explain who he is, so new readers (a.k.a. "kids") aren't too started by the appearance of a giant teleporting dog with a tuning fork on his forehead. Lockjaw, being a dog, chomps right down on the giant sandwich Ben just got from the deli (you can sort of see it in the above panel). Unfortunately, due to all the crazy ingredients Ben ordered, the sandwich gives him indigestion, causing him to teleport randomly, bringing the team along with him. They end up appearing in locations all over the world, including Egypt, the bottom of the ocean, and the top of the Himalayas. And we all know what you find in the Himalayas:

Yetis! Yikes! But eventually he manages to digest the sandwich, and they make it home, just in time to smash Street to pieces again. Again, a fun story. It's pretty slight, but a perfect little adventure comic that kids should enjoy. And I should mention that I love the way Garcia draws Lockjaw. He's big and weirdly-proportioned, but he still looks like a real dog, like in this shot of him right after eating the sandwich:

So, recommended! Next?

Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #9
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Carlo Pagulayan

This one features Klaw, the master of sound! He is introduced giving a good bit of exposition to nobody in particular about how he is a scientist who altered his molecular structure testing the military applications of sound waves. Also, how he used to be rivals with Reed Richards, and now, like any good supervillain, must destroy the Fantastic Four! He decides to divide and conquer, taking them on individually rather than as a team. First, he drops a building on the Thing:

Ah, now that's some good punnery! Then he shoots down the Human Torch while he's flying at an airshow with the Blue Angels. Continuing to work his way from strongest to weakest (in his opinion), he breaks into the Baxter Building and zaps Mr. Fantastic with sound waves. The Invisible Woman isn't as weak as he thinks though, as she uses her forcefields to smash him through the wall and out onto the street. Klaw then decides to create a creature made out of sound energy to attack her. She can handle that though:

Now that's pretty kickass. Girl power! Ben and Johnny show up, having survived their attacks (come on, you didn't think the Thing would be stopped by a building on his head, did you?), and the team works together to defeat Klaw. Another fun story, with a bit more action than the last two! You're 3-for-3, Parker. Can you keep up the streak?

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #9
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Juan Santacruz

Here it is, the comic that caught the blogosphere's fancy. You could say that this is the real comic to break the internet in half. Take that, Bendis! I've been seeing pictures of that cover on seemingly every comic-related website since last summer. Or it seems like it, at least. But is it any good? Well, check out this image from the third page:

The Avengers are fighting M.O.D.O.C., which stands for Mental Organism Designed Only for Conquest (In the regular Marvel universe, it's MODOK, with the K standing for "killing", but this is the kid-friendly Marvel Adventures line, so it was changed to "conquest"), and they get captured. MODOC's evil plan is to force them all to undergo the process that caused his transformation, so they will understand why he is the way he is. Or something. The process goes wrong due to the incompetence of Karl, one of MODOC's henchmen, and the whole thing explodes. But the Avengers survive, transformed into the MOD Avengers!

Heh, that's the new character lineup for the book. They continue to fight crime, but they do it differently, as Karl explains to MODOC after watching the news:

There are a lot of funny details, mostly in comments about the team's goofy appearance. And their speech patterns become much more MODOC-like, with lines like "You are village idiots when compared to my gargantuan brain!" or "Though altered, my armor still manifested a force field to protect us. So you should all praise me!" Funny stuff. Later, they go up against Hulk's villains The Leader and the Abomination, mocking Leader for his subpar intelligence:

Then Hulk (excuse me, HulkDOC)'s chair gets smashed, and he ends up wobbling around on his tiny body and using his giant head to butt Abomination:

At one point, Wolverine gets knocked out, and I was really afraid he was going to wake up and find that it was all a dream. Thankfully, Parker spared us that cliche. It would have been too silly. Even in a story like this one! Instead, he finds another way to wrap up the story, and it's pretty satisfying. I don't know how much somebody who isn't familiar with these characters would enjoy this comic, but I found it to be great fun. I think kids would still enjoy it for it's goofiness. The plot really isn't that far off from something that would be on shows like "Johnny Test" or "My Gym Partner Is a Monkey". Again, fun!

Well, Parker, that's it. You win. I'll have to pick up more of these Marvel Adventures comics when I get a chance. They're lots of fun. I think I'll have my wife take these into the school where she teaches so the kids can read them. I bet they'll be popular. See, I'm doing what I can to hook the next generation on comics!