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Category: Comics

Marvel NOW Reviews [Some Spoilers]

Marvel NOW started a while ago, but I’ve only just caught up with nine of its titles, so I thought I might write a brief review for those wondering if it’s still worth it or not. There will be some spoilers going down.

1. Brilliant

I think only the New Avengers title has really impressed so far. Not a surprise for those who have followed the Hickman/Epting pairing through their excellent Fantastic Four/FF run, and this continues in a similar cosmic-epic vein. The Illuminati reforms, this time with Black Panther (who refused the last time), Captain America (who is now no longer on the roster) and Beast (in place of the dead Xavier). While the story is gripping, the really well-done part is the careful character shading: for example, Beast remaining in his seat after Strange mind-wipes Captain America, Reed’s strange chemistry with the Black Swan and Captain America’s principled but hopeful stance pit against everyone else’s prioritisation of survival. If there’s one title to pull in this bunch, the New Avengers is a prime choice.

New Avengers

2. Good

All-New X-Men is a pretty good X-men comic, partly because of the strength of the status quo AvX left us, and because of the rather insane idea of the original five being time-shifted into the present. That said, the writing and art is nothing to write home about, and I’d rather it hurry up with the Cyclops Rebellion storyline (or perhaps give them another book).

2707852-allnewxmencombinedx_02

The other three X-men books (Cable and X-Force, Uncanny X-Force, and X-men Legacy) are all the sort of team book that Marvel churns out regularly. They’re not bad at all (although Uncanny X-Force is still at #1), and they centre on interesting characters (Legion in X-Men Legacy, and the whole team in Cable and X-Force, Hope, Cable, Doctor Nemesis, Domino, Colossus and Forge, are pretty fun characters). Get them if you’re a big enough fan of the X-Men like I am.

The two Fantastic Four titles are a toss-up. They’re less ambitious than the Hickman titles, which is great for those who just want the sort of sci-fi adventure story that the Fantastic Four does so well. The FF is much slower (too slow in my opinion), but the art is good and the story is starting to get interesting, so I’ll recommend staying on it for now.

FF_1_Cover-1

3. Meh

Hickman’s Avengers is him at his worst in my opinion. He comes up with a distinctly unimpressive concept (an expandable Avengers roster), wraps it with a fancy graphic chart, and sends cosmic villains at them with no real purpose. It’s a book that is going nowhere, and it relies too much on some sort of mystical Avengers worship to work (I mean it is just some superhero team. Rogers needs to stop making it sound like some unbeatable bastion of humanity because it isn’t.) #5 that came out just this week is a rather run of the mill origin story, and next week Captain Universe gets her issue in the spotlight. Not worth the 4 dollars a fortnight.

4. Avoid

The Uncanny Avengers title is apparently the flagship title of Marvel NOW!, which I suppose explains why it is so terrible. Three X-Men and three Avengers are randomly tossed into a team, and then set to fight a ridiculous villain: Red Skull who becomes the world’s most potent telepath by having Xavier’s brain implanted into his. Lame. Thor especially. They need to stop randomly tossing Thor into titles just to have him beaten up by random villains.

New (comic review) blog!

Guys, I have a new blog. In it, I’ll be reviewing anything to do with comics, web-comic recommendations, issues, trade paperbacks, everything.

I have been reading comics for over a year now. At first, I was drawn to buying comics by my local library which had a pretty well-stocked comic book section. So, my first picks were flagship titles by DC and Marvel, stuff like Defenders #1, Avenging Spider-Man and the New 52 Batman and Wonder Woman.

Over time however, my tastes grew more eclectic, and I started pulling titles that fewer people at my store read, stuff put out by Image, Dark Horse, IDW, the smaller publishers. I noticed that these comics don’t really receive as much attention on comic book review sites like Comic Book Resources or Weekly Comic Book Reviews. That’s a shame because really, some of these titles are pretty incredible, while DC and Marvel often struggles to maintain a standard on all but a few titles. The comic book medium deserves more than to be monopolised by a few companies making money off male fantasy and fan service.

You can pop over here, and it will be updated more often than I do here. After all, nothing is happening in my life right now, so I occupy myself by being concerned about what happens in others’ (fictional ones).

Comics and Ballet

[What do the two have in common? Muscular men in tights.]

After a rather productive period of reading earlier this month, I have again become incredibly lazy, barely making it past a few chapters of Feyerabend everyday. I have mainly kept myself alive with comic books, which now takes up a fair bit of my monthly budget.

Below are some brief thoughts on some things I have read/heard/seen:

1. The State of the Art by Iain M. Banks
Banks is one of those authors I like, but can’t really finish. His writing is exciting, humorous and he is really good at thrilling sex scenes, but sometimes, like in Complicity, his plot becomes too obvious and hence a little draggy. All in all, a better writer than storyteller.
The State of the Art is also like that. It has a few good pieces, the eponymous novella being the best of them all, and some rather bewildering experimental ones, especially Scratch. My favourite short story is definitely Cleaning Up, possibly because I love stories with misanthropic undertones.

2. Hickman’s Fantastic Four and FF run

Hickman’s Fantastic Four run has stretched across three years and brought us many great ideas: the Council of Reeds, the return of Nathaniel Richards, the Future Foundation, Johnny Storm’s death, the rebirth of the Kree Supreme Intelligence, the Universal Inhumans, the Mad Celestials… Well, his work has simply been outstanding and any fan of Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben (also Franklin and Valeria and Nathaniel) should pick up his stuff. But start at the beginning because it’s all very confusing.

One of the really cool Doom covers.

Franklin Richards battles a Celestial

Right before "I have been a prideful and foolish man."

3. Wolverine and the X-Men and other X-Men titles

I’m picking up four X-Men titles-Wolverine and the X-Men, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men and Generation Hope (and the limited series Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha and Omega)- because I really like the X-men. Something, probably, about being born with power, which makes it all more deliciously existentialist than the Captain America bit.

Wolverine and the X-men has great artwork and good characters, but it hasn’t hit its stride with a really good arc. X-men and Uncanny X-men are good old-fashioned action titles, and I really love the vampiric Jubilee. Generation Hope started out pretty strong, but it plods along and can’t seem to get off the ground, but maybe the confrontation with Zero will speed things up.

5. The Manhattan Projects

My latest purchase has been the Manhattan Projects, also by Hickman and it features a badass robot-killing Einstein (Japanese death robots designed by Soichiro Honda and attacks through a portal powered by Buddhist monks). Extremely promising.

7. Swan Lake

I watched the SDT’s Swan Lake yesterday, mostly because I felt that I really needed to get back to wasting my money on plays and such. I remember being rather sleepy for bits, but once I got home, I couldn’t stop youtubing the dances again and again. I still think the most striking dance is the Cygnets’ Dance, but I enjoyed the Black Swan Pas de Deux.