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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Summer-Movie Comic Spectacular

    The summer movie season is in full swing, and along with it is the inevitable slew of adaptations of mainstream comics. That’s exciting and all, but what about the neglected comic books? Well, have no fear; here are a few reviews of the comic book counterparts to some of these summer blockbusters. So when you’re making your way to Fox Studios to burn it to the ground after seeing “”Fantasic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,”” maybe the pages will give you some kindling.

    “”Marvel Civil War: Amazing Spider-Man””

    3 1/2 stars.

    This side story from the recent “”Marvel Civil War”” saga chronicles Spider-Man’s allegiance with Tony Stark’s (aka Iron Man) pro-mutant registration battle and following Spidey’s sedition to Captain America’s rebellion.

    The big seller here is that the story involves Spider-Man’s unmasking at the recommendation of Tony Stark. As expected, after discovering his identity, Spidey’s villains team up and go after his friends and family. Like the “”Civil War”” book it parallels, the graphic novel is littered with political undertones. It becomes a little preachy at times, especially during two straight pages of Captain America lamenting on what it means to be an American.

    Although the story isn’t entirely solid, the artwork is amazing. Ron Garney, Bill Reinhold and Matt Milla combine to produce some of the best illustrations to hit the pages of a Spider-Man comic to date.

    The graphic novel is a great compliment to the “”Civil War”” saga, but really has nothing to do with the movie “”Spider-Man 3″” (and that’s probably a good thing). This edition is worth a purchase for Spidey fans or anyone who’s been consumed by the series.

    “”The Fantastic Five”” (short-run series)

    1 star.

    What’s lamer than The Fantastic Four? Well, nothing, but The Fantastic Five may give it a run for its money. The Fantastic Five came out a few years ago and is one of those comics that slipped through the cracks, and rightfully so.

    The self-proclaimed “”Millennium’s Greatest Comic Magazine”” is a five-part series that begins after a horrible accident kills the Invisible Woman and turns Mr. Fantastic into a flying robot brain thing reminiscent of Krang from the 1987 Ninja Turtles cartoon. The Human Torch and the Thing are also back, and the rest of the group is filled out by Lyja Storm, the shape-shifting alien wife of Johnny Storm (with wings) and Psilord, the son of the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic who brings new meaning to the term “”useless chode.”” He is also about the only redeeming part of Fantastic Five, however; his blonde hair and rockin’ California attitude can’t help but force laughter.

    The comic’s villains are just as lame as the heroes, and in some cases worse. The first issue involves the team fighting (and losing to) a giant green cloud monster. Other baddies in the series include Hyperstorm, who wields the vast power of hyperspace (whatever that means), and Diablo, the master of alchemy.

    While The Fantastic Four wore black, the new Fantastic Five sport a rainbow of multicolored costumes – at least, I think they were costumes. The illustrations are pretty bad.

    The sketchy art, coupled with the horrendously dull story, helps The Fantastic Five series bring comics to a new low in terms of quality. Reading the comics becomes a struggle to keep your eyes on the page and avoid being distracted by more interesting things, like the back of your hand or the wall.

    If you happen to stumble upon this series, however, you may want to grab it, and do the world a favor by burning it.

    “”Transformers: Official Movie Prequel”” (short-run series)

    1 star.

    Ever wonder what the Transformers have been up to over the past few decades? Well, other than a series of short-lived attempts to rehash the cartoon – like “”Transformers: Beast Wars”” – they’ve been incubating in the pages of comics, and any die-hard fan who walks into a comic store will be happy to find an abundance of Transformers trade-paperbacks and manga waiting.

    With the Michael Bay-directed, live-action movie coming out this summer, IDW Publishing has taken it upon itself to release a new series of comics serving as a prequel to the movie.

    The plot has the Autobots and Decepticons gearing up for their war on earth, but to put it bluntly, the story kind of sucks and the illustrations look like ass. This four-part series reads more like a forced offshoot of the movie’s screenplay than any sort of suitable prequel. The uninventive title and weak artwork also give into the notion that the series is more a marketing scheme than anything else. Ironically, the Michael Bay movie may end up having more artistic credibility than the comic.

    Transformers fans and comic readers alike should avoid this series. If you want to get excited for this summer’s movie, there are plenty of other Transformer comics to buy that will do a far better job of satisfying your Autobot fixation.

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