Sunday, 23 August 2009

Marvel Team Up: The Golden Child Review

Firstly, an apology. In the last couple of months I have not been able to write nearly as much on this blog as I would have liked. The reasons for this are many, exams and holidays being at the forefront. However, I am hoping that normal service will be resumed from now and I will be able to start churning out articles and reviews faster than ever before!

Marvel Team Up (V3) #1-6 By Kirkman / Kolins

Now that that is out of the way, onto the review, of Marvel's most recent attempt to relaunch the Marvel Team Up brand. Unlike with past series, which tended to focus on Spider-Man, Marvel promised that this time round the series would be centred on a wider variety of heroes.
The main story arc running through the opening six issues centres around a young boy with mutant abilities, and the attempts of a not-so-familiar antagonist to control his abilities for his own ends. Despite Marvel's assurances to the contrary Spider-Man is a chief protagonist in the story, along with Wolverine, The Fantastic Four,
Doctor Strange and Captain America among others.
Robert Kirkman is one of my favourite writers, and I think it's a shame that he no longer works for Marvel. As this arc shows, he clearly has a good grasp on the Marvel Universe. His use of continuity is wonderful - in an age where many writers seem at loathe to mention other writers work Kirkman is never afraid of referencing goings on in other titles. His characterisation and dialogue are both generally excellent, with his Spider-Man and the banter between the Fantastic Four being particularly enjoyable.
The pacing of the story is ok. Decompression is generally seen as a bad thing in modern comics, but Kirkman packs so much plot into these six issues that sometimes its difficult to keep track. The use of subplots is good, and it is pleasing to see some often neglected Marvel characters, but I would have preffered Kirkman to scale it down a little. As it is, the story often feels a little messy.
Kirkman's love for the Silver Age and Silver Age methods of storytelling is something that is made clear in most of his works, especially these six issues. As with his frantic pacing, sometimes it works well and sometimes less well. Much of the plot is brilliantly zany, in a clearly silver age way. However, the villainous dialogue certainly needs work and feels very dated.
Scott Kolin's artwork is also a mixed bag. His cartoony style is very dynamic and pleasing to look at, but is sadly often rushed.
Overall this story arc is not Kirkman's best work. while still being a good read. He is clearly a good writer, and the ideas in 'The Golden Child' are excellent, if sometimes not as well executed as they could be. It seems to me as if Kirkman was possibly trying a little too hard with this arc. With so many ideas, characters and subplots thrown into the ring it is just a bit, well...messy.