Another great week this time. Lots of fun new tiles and old ones returning for new installments. The highlight of the week had to be the upcoming graphic novel by Paul Dini and Joe Quinones Jr. for which I managed to get a review copy. Long live NetGalley! And the graphic novel definitely delivered on its promise too, although there were a few things that I didn’t like so much.
With all the new series coming out, its definitely a good time to be in comics, and most of all if you have been a fan of certain series like Daredevil and Unity. I’m still behind on certain series though and there are a lot of comics that I am behind on, as I was painfully made aware this past week. And the pile is mounting every week. Just too many things to stay current with.
It has been barely a year since I read my first Daredevil comic, the first arc of Mark Waid’s series on the title that recently ended and was relaunched for All-New Marvel NOW!. I read it for an online course on gender in comics that I did last year and it proved to be quite a bit of fun. I’m familiar with the character through some of his animated appearances, and the Ben Affleck-starrer movie of course, but I still don’t know a whole lot about him. He’s a very interesting character though, one of the very first disabled superhero characters I believe (I could be wrong on this), and that’s a big part of his charm as well.
Daredevil #1.50 is an anniversary issue commemorating 50 years of the Man Without Fear. It seems like a lot of characters are celebrating anniversaries recently, and just as with all the others, Marvel has done something special. Although this issue is extremely oddly numbered (in keeping up with Marvel’s trend of other such weird numberings of late), the stories inside are truly something else. The first one is a Matt Murdock of the future, another features Mike Murdock, and then we have a tease for the upcoming Elektra. The art in all of them is pretty damn good, and so are the stories.
Last month Marvel relaunched its Captain Marvel series following the cancellation of the previous series and it marked an important change in direction for Carol Danvers, who had left her identity as Ms. Marvel behind to step into the shoes of the alien hero she had taken her name from, Captain Marvel. While the series enjoyed great success among fans, sales weren’t up to the mark and Marvel had to axe the series. But relaunch it soon after they did, and now the series is here, and it is here to stay I think.
The first issue last month proved to be quite a good read, and I was certainly impressed, given that I had not enjoyed Kelly Sue DeConnick’s first arc on the series when it was launched as part of Marvel Now back in 2012. It offered up some nice characterisation of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers and it told a really interesting story as well, which was all fine with me. And the art was up to the mark as well, which was a relief, although it was problematic. The new issue takes things even further and now since Captain Marvel is an Avenger-in-space, things are really heating up, and in a good way.
Last year Marvel launched Amazing X-Men, which brought back Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler back to life from years of being dead. The first arc of the new series pretty much dealt with the blue elf coming back to the world of the living after fighting with his demonic father Azazel, and now the character is back again and starring in another series. Nightcrawler has been among my favourite X-Men for a long time and it was great to see him get to star in Amazing X-Men, and now with his own title, I think it is a great time to be a Nightcrawler fan.
The new series is written by X-Men veteran Chris Claremont, who has written some stellar X-Men stories over the years and has a long, long history with these characters and with the entire franchise as well. His return to writing X-Men comics is off to a really good start I’d say, as he begins to acclimate Kurt to being alive again and returning to the Xavier school as a teacher this time, on Ororo’s recommendation. Todd Nauck, who does the pencils, turns in a fairly good as well, although there were some aspects of it that I didn’t quite like.
In contrast to the previous week, I didn’t get to read as many comics as I wanted to because my iPad wasn’t working properly and I had to resort to reading comics on my computer, which didn’t work out so well. Especially when I have to travel, and I was rather counting on getting through at least 3-4 more comics.
Still, I did manage to read a fair few, and I am now done with my read-through of Forever Evil: Blight which proved to be a very interesting event indeed, far better than the main event or two of the tie-ins ARGUS and Arkham War and just on par with Rogues Rebellion. The ending was definitely unexpected and awesome too, I think, so that is something there. No other graphic novels, which is a shame, but since I’m landlocked for the next two weeks, I’m hoping to move through a few, so we shall see.
When you bring together a bunch of people with different attitudes and beliefs, there is bound to be some conflict. You add in superpowered teenagers into that mix, and you have a bigger conflict. One of the reasons I liked Kieron Gillen’s run on Young Avengers for Marvel Now was because the team pretty much started out as formed, or at least they didn’t take forever to get together. And their adventures were totally madcap and not-serious-but-still-serious. It was a far better mix than the newly launched New Warriors has been, that’s for sure. The first issue was just about decent enough, but the second issue was a big drop in quality.
The third issue now, well, I think that it dips even lower. Thing is, my main issue is that the team is taking ages to get together. In issue #1 they didn’t know each other. In issue #2 they started to get together in small groups. Now, they are in two camps but there is so much damn nonsensical bickering between them and the characters just act totally stupid. It is a big turn-off. The art is decent in this issue but that’s really the best that I can say about it.
They say that the early bird gets the prize. In the case of Black Widow, that is certainly true. It was one of the first titles launched as part of All-New Marvel NOW! and partly because of that, and partly because it is so damn good, it has stood out of the rest of Marvel’s new launches. And it is already on its 5th issue, which is great to see. Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto have been doing some incredible things with the title and they continue that with this issue, which is completely in keeping with the previous four issues.
Recently, Black Widow has gone up against a crazy religious fanatic who has been causing significant mayhem all over the place. And now she is on the hunt for him, which means that we get to see some Natasha do a lot of legwork in order to bring him down. This is where the series really starts to go into exciting espionage territory and gets really fun. Of course, the art isn’t too behind either because Phil Noto turns out another absolutely stunning issue. He’s been pulling out all stops and there’s no stopping him, which is just fine with this reader!
If last week was an incredible week, then I don’t know what this week was! Probably the most comics I’ve read in a single week, to date. And pretty much across all genres too, so that’s something. I love a good reading week like this, especially when I manage to review as much as I did as well. Which is pretty freaking great.
At the moment, I’m working on catching up to Star Wars: Legacy II by Corinna Bechko and Garbriel Hardman while also finishing up my read-through of the entire Forever Evil: Blight event, which should be sometime tonight. And then after that, still lots of comics to catch up on, a hell of a lot. The lists keep getting longer and longer each week!
When Marvel announced that one of the solo books they were launching for All-New Marvel NOW! was Iron Patriot featuring James Rhodes, formerly War Machine, I was pretty damn excited. POC superheroes with their own books are very, very few in the Marvel universe, and with Rhodey getting such a big launch, things were looking promising, and I said as much in a feature I did last year about the racial and gender diversity of various All-New Marvel NOW! books. And this week, the character finally got his new book.
Being familiar with the character through the Iron Man movies, I was expecting something different here. The movies didn’t really go into Rhodey being War Machine, but pretty much established him straight up as Iron Patriot and then fudged that up with a really stupid plotline in Iron Man 3. So I was looking to see how Ales Kot would handle things different. Suffice to say, I’m very disappointed and Iron Patriot #1 is one of Marvel’s weakest new launches. The art by Garry Brown and Jim Charalampidis leaves a lot to be desired as well, being very confusing all the way through.
The first time I ever encountered Ghost Rider was with the Nicholas Cage-starrer movie of the same name. It was… interesting. Unlike other Marvel movies to date, it seemed stuck in an age of storytelling that had long passed. Which is a very round-about way of saying that the movie was barely good. It was cliche after cliche. But all the same, I loved the character. There’s something about a leather-wearing superhero with a burning skill, chains all over his body, riding a bike and cackling like a madman.
And that’s stuck with me. But, the Ghost Rider in All-New Ghost Rider #1 isn’t Nicholas Cage, it is a teenaged mechanic named Robbie Reyes. That was a surprise. Given how much I avoided reading up on all the new series coming out from Marvel this year, this has been the biggest surprise so far, I think. But still, it was an interesting story since Felipe Smith is tasked with setting up the character’s origins. And Tradd Moore’s art, though very stylised, is also appealing to a degree.
Silver Surfer. Another Marvel superhero I first met through an animated series. In this particular case, we are talking about a very short-lived series, which also happened to feature the Mad Titan Thanos and Lady Death. Quite an awesome mix there, although of course I didn’t know it at the time. Still, for an inexplicable reason, I totally fell in love with the character. Norin Radd’s adventures, his rebellion against Galactus, it all really spoke to me I suppose, and the character has stayed with me ever since, more than a decade now, perhaps more. I’ve read some Silver Surfer comics over the years, but none have really captured me.
Until Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s Silver Surfer #1 came across that is. And now, I’m pretty damn excited. This tale that Dan and Mike weave together is very silly on a number of levels. And if I had to make a guess, I’d say that this issue is very Silver Age-y. I’m not all that knowledgeable about comics eras, but the writing and art speak to that particular time, I think. And if I’m fully honest, that is to the advantage of the series, since this is a unique feature not in other Marvel titles, as far as I can tell. Maybe one or two, like FF.
This was a pretty incredible week, I must say. In addition to all the usual new releases I ended up reading, I also began my re-read/catch-up of DC’s Forever Evil: Blight event. Since I wasn’t reading the Constantine and Pandora titles for this event, I ended up missing out on a fair bit of story, and this catch-up is intended to fix that. Consequently, I read more than I usually do, except when I manage to read trades, if you count it like that. Still, the overall experience was pretty incredible, so there is that.
Thankfully, most of the comics I read this week were excellent, as evidenced by the fact that I picked a top 7 instead of a top 6 this time, on account of all that I read. If you read any of these, let me know!