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.
If anything, February has been a bigger month for Marvel and its All-New Marvel NOW! launch than January was. More titles, a bit more oomph in general, and just as interesting in the final tally. And given that January was a pretty damn good month for the publisher in terms of unit sales and market share, I’m thinking that February is going to be equally good. I mean, when you launch these many new #1s and with many of them getting their sequel issues in the same month, that’s going to add a lot of padding to your wallet. Like a lot.
But that’s fine, as long as the titles being released are decent. And New Warriors #1 is kind of entertaining I suppose. There’s an overload of characters and everything is basically frontloaded at the reader as far as the team’s makeup is concerned, but that’s fine. This is not a group that I’ve really read about before (I hardly remember what I read in Civil War), so there’s that charm about them that I drew me to the title. Beyond that though, I can easily see this as being a good replacement for Young Avengers, following the cancellation of that title recently. Art is good, story is decent. All good.
On account of traveling to and from India this past week, my comics reading took a back-seat, as did my novel reading incidentally. Very few comics read, but most of them were good at least, a saving grace.
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.
For whatever reason, Marvel decided to put out a 5-issue mini-series set something during The Amazing Spider-Man but numbered after the final issue of the now-discontinued titled with Dan Slott’s #700. The first issue of the mini-series was released earlier this month and it was a nice simple issue that dealt with a relatively small scale problem in some ways, but was still pretty important for Spider-Mana aka Peter Parker. It was a touching story that promised a lot of cool, neat things and focused on the character being a hero.
The second issue, which followed the week after the first issue, is more of the same, but with the tension ramped up significantly. The message in this review is simple: a hero is a hero whether he or she is saving someone from a burning building or going up against a crazy supervillain. David Morrell’s script is very simple in its execution but the message is quite important, and the artwork by Klaus Janson and Steve Buccellato helps significantly in delivering that particular message.
If you are following my comics reviews since last year, then you know that I’ve read very few Spider-Man comics and that they’ve been all over the place. Bendis’ second run on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man with Peter Parker, his 5-issue mini-series involving Peter and Mike Morales, Dan Slott’s The Amazing Spider-Man #648-651 and then his Superior Spider-Man Volume 1. Extremely limited reading by all accounts. As such, as far as the comics are concerned, I don’t really have that much of an attachment to Peter Parker as the Spider-Man.
And yet, reading this new issue for the discontinued The Amazing Spider-Man series made me feel really nostalgic. Perhaps its because I watched The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield in the lead role just last week or that I saw the trailer for the sequel last night. Or maybe its because reading Slott’s Superior Spider-Man Volume 1 made me feel really emotional for Peter. Could be any of those I suppose, but this story was quite touching despite its very simplistic nature. And that, most of all, is the strength of it.
Event tie-in comics are often hobbled by the fact that at some point, no matter how separated their story is from the main narrative, they do have to refer to that, and this can be a challenge in how well it is executed. A lot of things in fiction come down to the execution and comics are no different. Infinity: Heist is a 4-issue mini-series that ties into the ongoing Infinity event, where the galaxy is faced with a really big threat and the great majority of Earth’s heroes have left the planet to deal with that threat, leaving behind the villains and the supervillains. And these guys aren’t sitting quiet.
The first issue of this mini-series was really good. Despite being a tie-in, it felt like its own self-contained story and it focused on characters that I’d never read of or knew of before, so it all felt really fresh, especially since I’ve avoided reading the main event after the second issue, preferring to read it all collectively. The second issue however has a few significant connections with the main story, and since I’m not reading the main story, I felt a bit cut off from what’s going on.
Infinity: Heist #1 makes a 3/3 for Frank Tieri, in terms of how good his three latest releases are. While this one is a tie-in mini-series for an ongoing Marvel event, his other two issues, Batman #23.3: Penguin and Detective Comics #23.4: Man-Bat, are tie-ins to DC’s ongoing Forever Evil event. All three comics are really good, so good in fact that they’ve made Frank a new favourite writer of mine. And if this issue is any indication, then Frank has lots of great things in store for future issues.
The larger story of the Infinity event is that there’s a huge cosmic threat and pretty much most of Earth’s heroes have gone on to battle that threat, leaving Earth largely defenseless. With Thanos also threatening the planet and the Mighty Avengers busy with him there really is no one around to keep all the crooks in line. And this is exactly where Infinity: Heist comes in.