Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rant-Reviews--A What-If smorgasbord of decent, bad, and just plain horrible.

A big post today. Last month Marvel released a bunch of what-ifs over the 5 Wednesday's that occurred in December 2010. I shall now review them and the terrible Deadpool back-up that ran in four of the books.

Iron Man: Demon in an Armor
What if Tony Stark were Doctor Doom? That has potential, too bad this wastes that concept with the cliche' of minds switching bodies that I was sick of by the time Lindsay Lohan made "Freaky Friday". There is that convoluted concept of a Von Doom Tony Stark facing off against a Tony Stark Von Doom, and if that doesn't confuse you you also have Doom (as Tony Stark) making an Iron Man suit and Stark (as Doom) making the Doom metal-outfit. By the time they fight I couldn't keep track of who was supposed to be who. The art is decent, the story is confusing. Just not that great. At least the cover looks snazzy.
2 out of 5 stars.

Wolverine: Father
It seems the point to this comic is that even if Wolverine's son Daken had been raised well by Logan, he still would have turned out to be the violent monster we know in the normal Marvel universe. I guess that's a point for Nature in the Nature VS Nurture debate. The story is okay enough, but by God did I not like the art at all. This is a purely passable comic.
2.5 out of 5 stars.

Spider-Man Grim Hunt
I haven't been following Spider-Man but the first page fills those of us who have no clue about the story in. I liked the art, and the story was juuussst good enough to keep my interest piqued. There was some nice dialogue, and some things didn't quite make sense, but enough did that this squeaks past being average.
3 out of 5 stars.

Dark Reign
This is very talky, but has some good action, and I like the art. The only things that bugs me are two characters I do not recall having ever existed suddenly playing a big role in the story, with one having some sort of list that reveals where all the super-heroes are. Um...why haven't we ever heard of this list in normal Marvel comics? I think this would be a pretty big deal. Anyway, minor logic issues aside I enjoyed this comic enough.
3 out of 5 stars.

What If #200
A Siege tie-in with some quite pretty art, even if certain characters that appear weren't in Siege itself so their presence is a bit odd, if needed for this story (I'm talking about Doctor Doom, the X-Men, etc.). That complaint aside I liked the story, even if it was a bit over-the-top--Osborn taking down the President, really? There was also a perfectly serviceable back-up written by Stan Lee where he re imagines his famous Fantastic Four tale where they fight Galactus, with The Watcher actually killing him. It suffers from Stan Lee's style of characters stating what is happening when the art is showing it perfectly clearly, but otherwise is fun. Then, so Marvel can tack on an extra dollar to charge you $4.99, there is a retrospective, a spread where various people who work for Marvel talk about their favorite What-If, and a re-print of the classic tale, "What If Elektra Had Lived?" The extra content is nice and all, but I could have done without it and enjoyed keeping an extra dollar. This was overall a solid package of entertainment, if not a great one.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

What If The Venom Symbiote Possessed Deadpool?
That was painful. Rick Remender normally writes such good stuff, but his attempt to make a humorous back-up strip for the What-If comics just fails terribly. Whether it is trying to make 80s Boy George Jokes, having a street-talking Watcher, or making countless comments about Jehri Curls, this is just plain bad. There are maybe one or two jokes I laughed at, with one being a character channeling fan-hate towards how street-heroes should only face street-heroes instead of galactic events. Other than that, this is just constant groaner after groaner of jokes falling flat. I mean, a spoof of "Jerry Springer"? Really? Apparently this back-up is being collected as its own comic. Don't buy it, stay far, far, away. At least the art is okay, so it isn't a complete and utter abject failure, but just barely.
.5 out of 5 stars.

Overall this What-If series has been a bit of a disappointment, with nothing really standing out (except the Deadpool story, which stood out as one of the worst comics I've read). Past What-If installments have been better, and overall this was just average. Oh well, better luck next time.

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