Where one leaves off, another picks up. That seems to be Marvel’s motto of late, especially with their All-New Marvel launch/relaunch of certain titles. Marvel doesn’t exactly have all that many teen superheroes, unless you count some of the X-kids from their various team books. With the recent cancellation of Young Avengers, Marvel launched a new teen superhero book, New Warriors, last month and it seems to be stylistically somewhat similar to the other series. But this brings back (apparently) an old team but with some new faces, so things are certainly interesting.
The first issue was a bit all over the place, and was just about good enough for me to recommend it to you, the readers of this blog. With the second issue however, I am starting to have some serious doubts because this too was all over the place but much more than the first issue. The pacing was odd and the story just didn’t quite click with me either. There were some nice moments here, but I confess that I felt lost most of the time. And the art is okay, no major complaints about it, not at the moment at least, I must say.
First new comics day of a new month, and since this is February 5th, 2014 that means that today is the day that sees the launch of Ms. Marvel #1. Long the identity of Carol Danvers after she got some powers from the first Captain Marvel aka Captain Mar-Vell (sp?), it was discontinued in the launch of Marvel Now since Carol was asked by Captain America to take up the mantle of the fallen Mar-Vell. Under Kelly Sue DeConnick and a rotating team of artists, Carol Danvers became the new Captain Marvel and went on for some great things. But now, with the launch of All-New Marvel NOW! and the upcoming Inhumans crossover, we have a new Ms. Marvel. And she is as different from the original as you could get.
Kamala Khan, daughter of Pakistani immigrants to the US, has been picked out by the Terrigen Mists to become a new superhero, a descendant of the offshoot of the Inhumans tribe that left their people thousands of years in Earth’s past. With the recent events of Infinity and the crash of Attilan, the city of the Inhumans, big changes are on the horizon and Kamala is at the center of them all. She is now the heir to a legacy that she has wished all her life, and under writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona, it looks like its going to be one hell of a ride.
Not as busy a week as the last but fairly busy nonetheless. The new creative teams on various ongoing titles continue to go strong, particularly Justice League Dark and Witchblade while some of the newer titles like Black Science continue to be exception, so that’s one thing that I really liked about this past week. January in particular has been a really excellent month of comics what with Marvel’s full-on All-New Marvel NOW! launch and some really good issues for DC’s Forever Evil event.
Just one graphic novel again this week, the Lee/Buscema magnificence that is Silver Surfer: Judgement. I was meaning to read at least one more, but time wasn’t on my side and I missed out. Hopefully the new month gets off to a good start.
Spinning out of the recent Infinity crossover event is Inhumans, which was originally supposed to be written by Matt Fraction but will now be written by Charles Soule. Consequently there has been a delay in the series being released, and in the wake of that there has been some rejuggling of issues. Most notably this past week’s Inhumanity #2 which was originally solicited as Inhumanity: Medusa #1, a one-shot. I liked Fraction and Coipel’s Inhumanity #1 well enough. It was a really interesting story, the art was good, and I had fun. I’d wondered if there’d be a follow-up, and now it is here.
Knowing next to nothing about the Inhumans, aside from what I read in Infinity and Inhumanity #1, I felt distinctly lost in several places here because there are callbacks to characters I have no knowledge of, and this issue pretty much gets into things from the get go. It also doesn’t help that there are two pencillers on this issue with no less than four inkers in all and two colourists as well. So the issue is a hotchpotch in terms of the art. I liked the story, but it was also disappointing at the same time.
In 2012 and, by extension, 2013 we had the greatest surprise in comics in recent years. Or so I believe. Doctor Otto Octavious essentially killed Peter Parker and transferred his consciousness to his body. Now, for more than a year, the “new” Peter Parker has been the Superior Spider-Man, marking a new age in comics where a villain became a hero in an attempt to genuinely do some good. I’ve certainly never read a story like this. Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman’s Superior Spider-Man Volume 1 proved to be an eye-opener in many ways for me, and through all his appearances in other comics, I’ve definitely come to enjoy Superior Spider-Man.
With Marvel’s latest event, Inhumanity, things are gearing up for the launch of the event’s premier series Inhumans in April and in the lead-up we are getting several titles each month which lay down the groundwork. Inhumanity: Superior Spider-Man #1 is one such title that, while it has only a passing connection to the event for now, helps to flesh out the ordinary lives of New Yorkers as they deal with the fallout of the Infinity event and the Terrigen Mists causing widespread mutations all over the world. One of my favourite writers by far, Christos Gage tells a really personal story in this issue and he is assisted most handsomely by Stephanie Hans who turns out one of the most gorgeous comics I’ve seen in a long time.
A few days ago I did my best of 2013 list for the books I had read in the second half of the year. In a departure from previous such lists I divided the books and the comics into separate posts so that I didn’t have one massive post up. Massive posts are a bit tough to handle, especially when you are promoting them on social media. And with the split posts, the directions are different and there’s no unnecessary crossover.
So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite graphic novels of the year. A post with the best single issues will follow on later.
You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
Looks like its going to be the month of busy weeks. The last two weeks I’ve read two graphic novels each along with all my regular monthlies and this past week proved to be no different. Both Detective Comics Volume 4 and The Flash Volume 4 proved to be exceedingly good and now I have two more series that I need to catch up on for the New 52. Tall order, but doable. And as regards the usual monthlies, there were comics across the board, in all sorts of ways: genres, publishers, characters, etc, etc. The year has slowly transformed over the months into a really solid year for comics overall.
I still haven’t made any dent in the pile of graphic novels I have to read, but I’m not too worried about any of it, to be honest. Already used to that phenomenon from my novel reading.
For better or for worse, Marvel’s next big event has kicked off and a lot of titles this month are suffixed by .INH to indicate that they are all tie-ins to this big event, that won’t actually start till April of next year. Its a fact that Marvel comics this year have been embroiled in one event after another almost non-stop, and that things aren’t looking to slow down either. Last month’s Uncanny X-Men #14 was an issue where one minor character got his time to shine, independent of any tie-in business. It was quite an average issue at best, and far too removed from previous events so I was looking to see if this month’s issue would be better.
Uncanny X-Men #15 is barely better, at least in terms of writing. The first half of the issue is really good, but once all the Inhumanity stuff gets started, the issue takes a big nose-dive and it is quite disappointing because of how incidental it all seems. So definitely a mixed issue at best, and I’m really lamenting that this issue is not as independent as the previous issue. However, one thing I can say with confidence is that the art is pretty damn good, aside from a few off things here and there. Kris Anka is the guest artist on the issue and his work is glorious.
If you’ve been reading your Marvel comics this year then you know that this was Marvel’s biggest year in quite a while, what with all the different events and major crossovers going on. I touched on this last night in my review of Jonathan Hickman’s 6-issue Infinity event. The next big phase for the Marvel universe involves the Inhumanity event, which is jumping off the events that happened in Infinity with the Terrigen bomb exploding at the moment that the Inhumans’ city Attilan was destroyed. The fallout of the bomb has spread all over the world, awakening powers and mutations in people everywhere. And that’s what the next big event is going to be about, all these newly-minted super-powered people adjusting and adapting to their powers.
Last week Marvel released a one-shot called Inhumanity which is a big tease leading up to the main event itself. There are going to be a lot of such one-shots until the event kicks off and Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel have been given charge of leading the brigade and getting the Marvel fanbase interested in what’s happening next. Since this event is a spin-off of Infinity, we see a fair bit of recap here, as well as some big truths are offered up about the Marvel universe, truths that have been kept a secret all this time. It was a fairly decent issue, definitely among Fraction and Coipel’s better issues, and I have to say that I’m very curious about it all.