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The Pulse #2

Posted: Monday, April 12, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Mark Bagley (p), Scott Hanna (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Plot:
As Daily Bugle reporter Terri Kidder mulls over the idea that she's been with the paper two weeks and she's yet to offer up a story, we see her attachment to the super-hero element of the city isn't exactly making her a favorite of J. Jonah Jameson. Determined to come up with a story that will see print, we see her reporter instincts perk up when a friend tells her of an unsettling situation at her work place. As Terri looks into this mystery, we see she makes a discovery that results in her death.

The Good:
On one hand this issue is a bit disappointing as we learn we could've gotten a clear look at the identity card that the police were looking at in that final panel, and we still would've had no idea who the victim was, though I guess based on the officer's comments the card would've identified her as a reporter for the Daily Bugle. Still while the mystery of her identity is revealed to be a nonstarter in this issue, and we also learn who killed her, my enjoyment of the subsequent issues looks like it's going to stem from the idea that Ben Urich and Jessica Jones are likely going to be called upon to investigate this murder, and hopefully this will bring the two up against woman's killer and the secret that he killed her to protect. One is also left to wonder why the woman's killer is acting in such a reckless manner, as one has to imagine there's a reason why those three employees have vanished, and while I can see this character suddenly snapping and killing our curious reporter, I am curious why he decide to kill her outright before even taking the time to learn how much she knew, and if there were any others looking into the situation. The idea that this character is going to serve as this book's first villain also has me quite enthused as he's a pretty formidable opponent, and while Jessica has some powers in her corner, this villain is a bit out of her league, at least when one takes a look at how she faired against other super-powered opponents in her previous series. Plus, it should be fun to see if Ben and Jessica are able to expose this villain's secret to the world, as this would make for a pretty large change in the status quo.

Mark Bagley does a solid job keeping this issue visual interesting, as there's some high impact shots in this issue, from the high energy battle between Spider-Man and the Vulture, to the final pages as the art perfectly captures the unreasoning fury that emerges when our villain decides to kill Terri Kidder. The talking heads moments of this issue are also well done, as I loved the way that the art managed to capture the deflated quality of Ben Urich when the character is pointed out in the Daily Bugle. I also enjoyed J. Jonah Jameson's expression as he holds up the Avengers story, as one can almost see the rant seething below the surface, simply by taking a look at his face. The art also turns in some nice work when it comes to its delivery of the Daily Bugle, as the double page spread that opens the issue nicely captures the chaos of the place. I also enjoyed the floating Jameson rant montage as it made for a cute visual, and the art does a wonderful job on the scene where we see the villain comes to realize the true intentions of the reporter in his presence.

The Bad:
Aside from allowing them to deliver a cover that is likely to catch the eye of the passing Spider-Man fan, the encounter between Spider-Man and the Vulture really didn't feel like it was serving much of a role in this issue, as we're not even introduced to the person whose call to the Daily Bugle drew Terri to the scene. Still given the mystery villain who kills our reporter in this issue is a major player in Spider-Man's corner of the Marvel Universe, perhaps it's for the best that some fans were pulled into picking up this issue by this book's continued practice of putting Spider-Man on it's covers. I do have to say I was a bit disappointing by the rather limited characterization that Terri Kidder received in this issue as while her role in the overall story in to play the murder victim, Brian Michael Bendis had the entire issue to flesh out the character, and make me identify with her so that when she meets her end I would be able to evoke a level of sympathy. However, when I discovered that she was the woman that ended up floating face down in a Central Park pond I was surprised by how unmoved I was by this revelation. Of course we never really get a look at the character outside her work environment, but given she is subjected to the unkind attentions of J. Jonah Jameson and one of his super-hero tirades I really should've been able to latch onto some element of the character that made me feel sorry for the sad end that she meets with, but the only really element that this issue's final page accomplished was the realization of where the character fit into the story.

Next Question Please:
The idea that the cliffhanger that the previous issue offered up wasn't important was a bit off-putting, and this issue doesn't really make the murder victim into an interesting character so this issue was a bit of a let down on that side of the equation. However the identity of her killer is a very exciting idea, and I'm eagerly looking forward to the climax of this opening arc where presumably Ben Urich and Jessica Jones come to realize who the villain is, and I'm curious to see what they do with this insight. I'm also curious to discover what was the secret that this villain was willing to kill to protect, as instead of deflecting the question or sending her after a false lead, our villain decides to kill the woman outright, which is a seemingly uncharacteristic reckless move on his part. Still this issue would benefited from a couple moments that served to make Terri Kidder into a more engaging character, as we don't really get a look at the character away from her job. Even the scene where she's enjoying some downtime with her friend the book is all business in its treatment of the character.



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