One of the latest new series to join Marvel’s All-New Marvel NOW! launch-phase is Elektra by W. Haden Blackman and Michael Del Mundo. The new series joins Black Widow and Ms. Marvel as the three big new relaunches that exclusively feature some of Marvel’s most well-known leading ladies, although Ms. Marvel is quite a twist in that respect. Both these previous launches have been excellent thus far and if the first issue of the new series is any indication then Elektra is right up there with them as one of the best comics that Marvel has to offer right now, by quite a good margin.
Elektra Natchios is a character I know of only through the Ben Afflect/Jennifer Garner movie Daredevil (a really good one!) and the follow-up Elektra which was a rather disappointing installment. So I don’t know much about her other than what I’ve picked up here and there over the years. But with this new series Blackman gives a great accounting for the character as he introduces her and sets up her first antagonist, even as Del Mundo and the other artists turn out one of Marvel’s best-looking #1s to date.
Recently the Ultimate Universe was invaded by the 616-universe Galactus in a cataclysmic event that was first told in the pages of the mini-series Hunger and then in a big crossover event called Cataclysm that ran through several Ultimate Universe books. The end result is that the mainline alternate universe of Marvel’s comics underwent some serious changes and in the wake of that event we have had a relaunch of several books as the Ultimate Universe line-up gets simplified and renumbered in keeping with Marvel’s current All-New Marvel Now! phase.
Ultimate FF is among these new books and it presents a new vision for the Ultimate Universe version of the Future Foundation. I haven’t read any Fantastic Four/Future Foundations books in the Ultimate Universe, so I have zero idea what the teams have been like previously, but in this new book things seem very haphazard. It is nothing more than a “new” version of the Ultimates, which is the UU’s Avengers team. And the art is very disappointing as well. It lacks polish and appears half-finished. Ultimate FF is definitely not off to a good start with this issue.
If you’ve been wanting to read the adventures of a new superhero in a world filled with said hero’s idols and what not, then Ms. Marvel absolutely has to be the book you should be reading. If you want to read a book about a teenage superhero struggling with the first steps in a world of heroics and the resultant headaches, Ms. Marvel is the book for you. If you want to read a book about a female teen superhero, Ms. Marvel has to be your first stop. And if you want to read a book about a female teen superhero of colour AND a faith not Christian or atheist or whatever, then Ms. Marvel has to be at the top of you reading pile.
In their first two issues, the creative team of G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring have done something incredible. They’ve managed to write a female teen superhero, who is Muslim and the daughter of first-generation Pakistani immigrants, without any grandiosity or pomposity. This is a book that connects with the average reader and gives them something unique and yet familiar. The new issue, out yesterday, is the best issue yet and it solidifies what kind of a character Kamala Khan is going to be and how she is going to tackle her superhero identity of Ms. Marvel.
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!