Marvel Spinner Rack: Wolverine 5.1, X-Factor 215, Spider-Girl 4, Captain America: Man Out of Time #3

Captain America: Man Out of Time #3

Captain America: Man Out of Time #3

written by Mark Waid
breakdowns by Jorge Molina
finishes by Karl Kesel & Scott Hanna
$3.99 US

This is the perfect Captain America story for me. It’s all about the culture clash Steve Rogers would experience waking up today after being frozen during World War II. There are incredibly touching moments here, as when Rogers points out that the technology isn’t what impresses him most — instead, it’s “the freedom of the people. All people, regardless of their race or their gender.”

Captain America just wants to go back home so he can rescue his best friend, Bucky, while the other Avengers try to show him how risky that would be for the time stream. In the meantime, Tony Stark is showing Steve how to hang out by hiring Radiohead for the night. It’s all the throwaway bits that get me, as Waid points out how Steve’s never heard an electric guitar or tried sushi or heard of the Berlin Wall, let alone how he’s missed major sociopolitical changes like which nations are now world powers.

They take a trip to the National Air and Space Museum and it’s all very powerful. The classically styled art is easy to read and well-suited for the material. This will make an excellent stand-alone collection for those interested in the movie, showing what makes the character unique. I wish more Captain America stories remembered how Steve should be a bit “man out of time”. It makes him even more inspiring to me.

The series isn’t all “it’s so much better now”, by the way — issue #4 tackles modern problems, from athletes on steroids to militia terrorism to governmental failures to unemployment.

Spider-Girl #4

Spider-Girl #4

written by Paul Tobin
art by Matthew Southworth with Paul Azaceta
$2.99 US

I was looking forward to this new teen girl superhero series, until they killed her father. (This isn’t a spoiler, because it happened two issues ago.) What I found refreshing about both this and the no-longer-running Blue Beetle comic was that these kids, as a matter of course, shared their activities with their parents. That seemed realistic to me, that they’d want help and wouldn’t keep such an important secret from people who meant so much to them. (It’s also a lovely modern metaphor for acceptance of whatever secret identity a child might have.)

Now, it seems that that approach is out of fashion, and I can’t think of any teen heroes (who aren’t part of superhero families) with normal parents who know their calling. There’s always been too many orphans among sidekicks. I’m disappointed to see one more. At least I like Rocky, Spider-Girl’s new roommate, and her friends.

I was also disappointed in the fake-foreign dialog used by Kraven and his daughter. It was a struggle to get through, and the daughter, yet another emotionless killer legacy, wasn’t anything special. That this is part one of the story, to be continued later, seems like padding.

X-Factor #215

X-Factor #215

written by Peter David
pencils by Valentine de Landro
inks by Pat Davidson
$2.99 US

I can’t see that horrid electric lime color used on the cover any more without thinking of the long-ago Underworld Unleashed event, when comic companies created entire storylines to show off a new print technology.

I find anything involving a vampire, even a different folklore one, terribly boring these days. (This one is a vandella, a North African vampiric demon spirit.) It seems like such an adolescent impulse, a need to explore from those uncomfortable with sex directly and more interested in the penetration metaphors of fangs. However, I did want to say, if you miss the recently ended Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic, you’ll want this issue, since David is using the tough blonde Layla Miller in very similar ways. Almost interchangeably, in fact.

I miss seeing the other team members, which I like more. A little all-knowing Layla goes a very long way. She’s entertaining when appearing in small doses, but I didn’t want a whole issue with her. The images of the possessing spirit are nicely scary, though.

Wolverine #5.1

Wolverine #5.1

written by Jason Aaron
art by Jefte Palo
$2.99 US

I think the Marvel point one idea is dumb, but darned if this entry didn’t work for me as a jumping-on point. That’s because it’s all about humanizing Wolverine. My favorite version is the one from the movies, and this seemed very similar to me.

The major reason I liked this story was the presence of Melita. I don’t know who she is or where she came from, but she’s Wolverine’s girlfriend, and she’s terrific. She’s invited a lot of his friends and Avenger co-workers to a surprise party for his birthday, a ridiculous gesture that everyone recognizes is silly but still plays along with. And as they all wait for him, that’s an effective framing structure to introduce the character and his history to new readers.

Meanwhile, Wolverine is being pursued through the snowy wilderness by rural stereotype cannibals, for some very funny but disgusting black comedy.

I am disappointed to see that, as I predicted, Wolverine #6 is a dollar more for the same amount of content. I gave it a browse and saw that it was continuing some storyline from somewhere else about Logan being possessed, so that’s a big failure on Marvel’s part. I was interested in following up on what we saw in this issue, and the next issue was something else entirely.

16 Responses to “Marvel Spinner Rack: Wolverine 5.1, X-Factor 215, Spider-Girl 4, Captain America: Man Out of Time #3”

  1. Caroline Says:

    I am so with you on Spider-Girl. Unfortunately it seems that ‘liking a superhero character for the ways they are unusual/unique’ is a recipe for disappointment, because whatever factors cause *most* teen heroes to be orphans (for instance) will eventually come to bear on the outliers too. Other than that, I rather like the book but it’s a frustrating choice on somebody’s part (I suspect editorial rather than the series writer, but I may be wrong).

    I also thought that Cap mini (and that issue in particular) was excellent and I hope some of the spirit of that gets into the movie franchise. I somehow totally missed this ‘Wolverine’s birthday party’ issue but now I’ve heard of it in several places and want to go back and pick it up.

    Great reviews!

  2. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for the feedback! I only like unusual superhero takes these days, which means I need to get used to frequent disappointment, since it seems that the superhero companies only want very similar books in their line. (Once upon a time, it was thought to be a good thing to have variety to attract different customers, but now, everything seems to have to suit the same few traditional buyers.) Any series I enjoy reading is likely to see an early cancellation, sadly.

    I can’t quite recommend the Wolverine issue — it’s enjoyable, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. I had hoped for more like that, but I don’t know where those issues are.

  3. Caroline Says:

    Yeah, it’s too bad. You’d think there would be more value on things that are a little bit different, but the nature of the market seems to be very risk-averse.

  4. David Oakes Says:

    Is Richard Nixon checking out Cap’s posterior?

  5. James Schee Says:

    I think teen heroes with parents, are sort of like TV shows with young adults that have kids. Neat at first, but eventually you get tired of explaining where they are at.

    I actually picked up the first two issues of the Captain America series the other day, and as with you I love it. (still enjoy the regular series too) The man out of time bit is something that gets downplayed way too quickly.

    Odd though that you mention Steve would never have heard an electric guitar… weren’t they invented in the 1930s? WWII didn’t end until the 1940s. Though I guess the types, and ways of use would have been vastly different.

    I wonder how its doing commercially? Its another one of those series that doesn’t fit the continuity bubble after all.

  6. Paul O'Brien Says:

    Melita is a new supporting character that Jason Aaron introduced in his first arc (before the recent relaunch). She’s a journalist, but it’s basically an “ordinary person dates superhero” set-up, so there’s no back story or continuity baggage to know about. What you see is pretty much what you get.

    I agree that the decision to run the “Point One” jump-on issue smack in the middle of an unrelated ongoing storyline is utterly baffling. Several other books are doing the same thing – the THOR Point One issue is a fill-in, to boot! – and it looks like they’re losing the plot pretty quickly where this promotion is concerned.

  7. JennyN Says:

    The Captain American book sounds interesting, but it does indeed seem to be about a MAN out of time – I can’t spot a single female face on that cover. (Thought: given that the faces presumably had to be A. instantly recognisable and B. of Serious People, does that say more about the creators, or about the culture / history of the US at this time?)

  8. Kevin Lighton Says:

    JennyN: The faces are all the presidents from FDR to Obama, presumably to give a sense of just how long he’s been frozen in this story.

  9. Rob Says:


    People had been experimenting with amplified guitars since the ’30s, but the solid-bodied electric guitar as we know it was a post-war invention. (The first commercially successful model, Fender’s Telecaster, came out in 1950.)

  10. Grant Says:

    Wow! Four marvel superhero comics reviewed?! Am I on the right site? heh heh.

    I’m with you on Captain America. Waid’s last run on Cap was one of the best runs ever, so I was quick to get this. I hope it’s collected in a trade. It would make a nice companion to the Roger Stern/John Byrne era Cap stories that are now in trade that focus a lot on caps personal life, his origin and his run for president.

    I liked the first SpiderGirl series because it was seperate from the rest of Marvels continuity. Don’t care for this new one at all.

    As far as the others, I could pretty much go the rest of my life and not read another Wolverine story. And I’m not a fan of any of the X-Books lately.

    Enjoyed the reviews!

  11. Johanna Says:

    And I’ve got two DC on tap, if I can get to them. Glad you liked them!

    I appreciate everyone filling in the details I wasn’t aware of, especially Paul telling me more about Melita. It’s a shame Point One is going off the rails so quickly, because it’s an idea I can get behind, although the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

  12. JennyN Says:

    Kevin: thanks for the nudge about the background faces being the presidents from 1945 till now – I’d just taken them to be well-known Americans. Though the fact that they’re all men….probably does say something about the culture.

  13. JennyN Says:

    Eh, perhaps I should say “US political culture”. To me as a furriner, that aspect of American life quite often seems much more conservative and resistant to change than the culture in general – though that’s probably true of many countries.

  14. JaysBlog Says:

    Hmmm… After reading your review, I may pick up the Cap series. Just to get in the proper mood before the movie comes out.

  15. KC Explains the Sliding Timeline » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] why it’s necessary, and the problems of World War II. He also recommends, along the way, Captain America: Man Out of Time, an opinion I share. […]

  16. Good Comics Out May 25: Manga and Trondheim » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] should check out Captain America: Man Out of Time (Marvel, $19.99) by Mark Waid and Jorge Molina. I liked it for its approachable take on the character. […]




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