Writer(s): Marc Guggenheim, Kathryn Immonen, M. Zachary Sherman, Rich Koslowski
Artist(s): Dave Wilkins, Stuart Immonen, Khoi Pham, Andrea Di Vito
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: A cop tries to find a lead on the big bald guy in a toga. Patsy learns what not to wear. The Taskmaster takes a hellicarrier to task. Michael Pointer sits around and whines.
Commentary: Four separate stories so, four separate reviews:
1) “Vanguard” – I like the overall feel of this storyline. A police procedural mixed with a mystery involving cosmic and superheroic characters. Wilkin’s photorealistic art lends the appropriate grittiness and noir feel to the proceedings and Guggenheim’s dialogue is pretty good except when he resorts to cute banter between Miss Dolan and Mister Fantastic. Uggg. You have to read their small talk over Mister Fantastic’s superhero name to understand. Another area where Guggenheim’s writing stumbles in the use of current pop culture references. These two aspects take away from the tension and suspense in a jarring way. The way Marvel Comics Presents is designed the episodic nature of the multi-chapter stories doesn’t lend itself to needing a constant influx of comedy relief in an otherwise grim story. We get enough lightness for the entire issue in the Hellcat entry. Mr. Guggenheim, stick to the story at hand and ratchet up the tension. Don’t take us out of the story with whimsical rabbit trails.
2) “Hellcat” – Even though I don’t care much about the character the great thing about this story is that you can absolutely tell it’s a labor of love and fondness for the material that the Immonen’s bring to it. It’s a novel way to pay homage to a D list character. The art and writing have a fun energy to it reminiscent of Dan Slott’s writing on the Thing and She Hulk titles. So, if you like a tongue in cheek story told from a woman’s perspective then ladies and gentleman this is the vignette for you.
3) “Taskmaster” – Taskmaster is just a cool villain. Even in a so-so throw away story like this one he’s a welcome sight. The contents page boasts, ‘From the pages of Moon Knight…” That’s the last place we saw Taskmaster in the Marvel Universe and I hope this means he’ll be a constant nemesis for Marc Spector. It seems both are destined to join the Initiative so it’s a foregone conclusion they’ll cross paths again. Apparently that’s all this clip of a story was meant to do. Clear Taskmaster and use him in the context of the current Marvel U. Still, watching Taskmaster kick SHIELD butt is right up there with any scene of Wolverine or Daredevil fighting ninjas or Captain America fighting HYDRA or AIM agents. Good fun in any form.
4) “Weapon Omega” – My least favorite entry in Marvel Comics Presents thus far. I just don’t care about Michael Pointer or his problems. He just seems like a far too contrived character to me. Marvel apparently needed a place for all of those lost mutant energies after M Day to go and gave us Michael Pointer. He’s too much like Sentry for my tastes. In that character we already have an emotionally scarred dynamo of power who seems in constant need of therapy. To me this makes Michael Pointer a poor man’s Sentry. USAgent is even more interesting to me than Weapon Omega. Unfortunately we have to sit through ten more issues of this super-whiner.
Final Word: Three fun distractions and one ever present blah story make me wish this book was at least a dollar less but, I still look forward to what Marvel will present to us next issue.
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