So I’m walking through Comicopia, the kick ass comic shop I mentioned in my Echo #1 review a couple days ago, when I happen to go to the back and see some nice Quarter bins. I’m poking through, not really seeing anything except a couple random issues of the Sean McKeever all ages book Sentinel. Then I notice that they’ve got these oversized poly bags with multiple issues for a flat price. The first one I see has the first issue of Super-Villain Team-Up: M.O.D.O.K.’s 11 staring out at me, with the four other issues in the series behind it. And this whole package would be available for purchase for only $8. Pretty good for a recent miniseries where the $14 trade just recently hit stores. So, as if this were even a question, I bought the issues and cracked them open to read when I go back home on Sunday.
This series was written by Fred Van Lente, the person I gushed all over on the Action Philosophers review (and will soon to be gushing over further when I review Comic Book Comics #1) and penciled by Francis Portella. The whole series has some seriously badass Marko Djurdjevic covers too. So what we’re basically dealing with here is a heist comic. It’s heavily borrowing (and parodying) the Ocean’s 11 series of films, based around an unnecessarily overcomplicated sequence of events designed to steal some huge object or giant sum of cash. But here’s the thing: Most of the important villains have a tendency to be busy, so M.O.D.O.K. has to aim a bit lower. You get such evil and dangerous villains like The Spot, Chameleon, Mentallo, Rocket Racer, Puma and Armadillo. One would assume that if Fraction hadn’t gone and blown up Stilt Man in the first issue of Punisher War Journal, he’d be involved too.
The five issue mini features subtitles that cover the five major steps of the heist. The Team, The Plan, The Job, The Getaway, and The Payoff. This is some crazy, high octane stuff. You’ve got double agents, double crosses, triple agents, triple crosses, undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives, and all kinds of crazy shit going down. The Job itself is big and complicated and very well designed by Van Lente, and it pays off in a way that is quite impressive. I’d never heard of Francis Portella before reading these issues, and he really hasn’t done much outside of some Black Panther and Heroes for Hire issues, but some of this stuff, especially in the later issues with Chameleon, is really impressive. M.O.D.O.K. has always been a fun character, and Van Lente does a very good job not only giving you a back story on his origin, but also his issues fighting between being M.O.D.O.K. and M.O.D.O.C. (just read it, trust me).
This was a miniseries that no one seemed to notice or give care to when it came out in late 2007. But good lord was this thing fun. Van Lente’s always been a funny guy with a nice sense of story beyond the humor, and this series is no different. The trade is nice and cheap, and you can find it on Amazon for $11. I don’t really see a reason not to give this one a try, especially if you’re a far of the also ran lame characters that you saw in The Legion of Substitute Heroes or the Legion of Losers. Check it out, folks.