Yesterday, Marvel/Disney released a set of three photos from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy (check here), the first movie in the Marvel Cinematics Universe that will take place entirely in space and will feature the wider (science) fantastical world of Marvel comics. Its going to feature the team often dubbed as the Cosmic Avengers and has some interesting star power behind it in the form of Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana in two of the lead roles with WWE wrestler Dave Bautista in a third and the other two CGI-animated characters being voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.
We also got a 15-second teaser trailer at the same time, which was kind of nice, but far too brief. Personally, I don’t like teaser trailers. They are far too short to do anything really, even if I end up liking them. But then, but then just this morning, I saw a tweet by actress Karen Gillan in which she shared the FIRST FULL TRAILER of the movie! And I was hooked. Man, if the movie holds up to what this trailer is showing, this movie is going to be great.
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!
As the larger cosmic event Infinity begins winding down, so do the various tie-ins and current arcs going on in the related books. Mighty Avengers, a book which launched in synchronicity with the event in September, ended its first arc this week, and it has been doing quite decently from what I’ve heard of the sales for the first two issues. Of course, there’s also the matter of the exact make-up of the team, which has generated no small amount of buzz itself.
This is a book that showcases the minority characters, and characters that are seemingly overlooked by the rest of the Marvel universe considering that most of the books the publisher is putting out right now are X-Men books with largely similar teams, and Avengers books that are all about the high-profile heroes. Al Ewing has done great in bringing together all these characters and telling a really fun story involving them, partnered up with some decent artwork,
This week was filled with reading a lot more than just the regular DC books. I read a fair amount of Marvel stuff this time, and also other titles from other publishers, particularly Vertigo, which is a DC imprint. A lot of these comics were really good, some not so much, and that’s pretty much normal really. Never a full week of solid comics. An impossibility I think.
I wasn’t able to get around to reading any graphic novels this time around, sadly, mostly because I was caught up reading a really big fat military space opera novel. It was written by a favourite author so that helped get over that a little bit but the book still took too much time. Not to mention that I was generally short on time so had to make do with reading single issues.
Perhaps this week I can get a couple graphic novels down!
Despite my initial hesitations and concerns, mostly to do with the artist, Mighty Avengers #1 proved to be a rather satisfying read. It maintained a good balance between action and story progression and characterisation. It wasn’t the best first issue I’ve read, but given that I had no idea who any of these characters were, outside of the cameo by Thanos himself, it was still a pretty good comic. Plus it tied into the whole Infinity ongoing crossover event and provided a nice side-story, much like Frank Tieri’s Infinity: Heist (review) is doing.
With the new issue however, Al Ewing has to face a bit of an uphill battle for the precise reason that this series launched in the middle of a crossover and its premise depends on that very crossover. So there are some sacrifices being made here that work against the comic, rather than for. That’s really the big negative point of this series so far.
Its no secret that Marvel, ever since its universe relaunch last year under the Marvel NOW! banner, has released Avengers titles, with all sorts of team make-ups, whether featuring all the older and recognisable heroes or some of the younger generation heroes, many of whom are directly tied to the older heroes. I’ve had a rough time getting into any of Avengers comics because of this and only recently have I made any inroads on that front, having read the first two issues of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and Kieron Gillen’s run on Young Avengers so far. Given how Mighty Avengers shaped up with its first issue, it looks like I just might be adding it as well to my regular pull-list alongside Young Avengers.
When it was announced a few months ago, I was kind of really excited for the title. It seemed to feature heroes that I know next to nothing about such as Monica Rambeau and Luke Cage, or heroes whose current incarnation I have no experience with, such as Otto Octavius in Peter Parker’s body and calling himself the Superior Spider-Man. My excitement was slightly tempered by the fact that Greg Land was drawing this comic, an artist who seems to be quite reviled among many fans to an almost Rob Liefeld level. So I was hesitant going into this title. But I got to say, I kind of really enjoyed this book, on almost all levels.
And the second installment of this brand-new feature is now up. The last one was fairly popular, and I certainly had fun picking out my top titles.
One of the nice things about this week was that pretty much all the comics were excellent comics, and that I managed to review some more comics than I did previously.
So once again, in no particular order, here are the comics I read this week, the reviews I put up for them, and my top picks. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.
Jason Aaron is, without a doubt, one of the best comics writers in the industry right now. He’s taken Thor: God of Thunder to stratospheric levels with his excellent writing and with the recent launch of the Thanos Rising mini-series, he was all set to continue that trend. He’s done some other work for Marvel before, and continues to do so, but really, its only his space opera styled stuff that I’ve read and he’s made me into enough of a fan that I’d follow him from book to book, no questions asked.
Which reminds me, I need to get a start on his Wolverine and the X-Men run at some point
Either way, with Thanos being such a central character to Marvel’s cosmic setting, I had some initial reservations on how Jason would deliver. And that’s nothing on his skills as a writer. Its just that Thanos is so much larger than life that there undoubtedly will be reservations. But an in-form Jason makes all these worries go away.
Note: This is a review for the Thanos Rising mini-series, which is 5-issues long. I’ve read the issues individually, rather than reading the graphic novel, which won’t be out for a few months yet.