So I’ve had some time to process the ending of Avengers Vs X-Men and all this Marvel NOW! stuff. I’ve also picked up the first issue of Uncanny Avengers and the Marvel NOW! Point One issue that came out this week. I’ve seen most of the teasers and read about all the stuff that happend during New York Comic Con. Overall I am excited which is a really, really, REALLY good thing because I haven’t been super excited about Marvel Comics for a long time. Marvel is how I got into comics and I am immensely happy to see the publisher collectively back on top creative form again after a couple of years of messing around and with only a few books shining in the darkness of event after event and crossover after crossover.
So these are my picks of the crop for the first batch of Marvel NOW! titles.
- Uncanny Avengers
- All-New X-Men
- Captain America
- Iron Man
- New Avengers
- Superior Spider-Man
- Guardians of the Galaxy
There is Superior Spider-Man which I will be buying without question because I trust Dan Slott. His time on Amazing Spider-Man has been…well…amazing so while I am worried for what #700 and the future holds I’m sure Slott will make it one heck of an entertaining ride. Spidey is my favourite superhero and Slott is my favourite Spidey writer so it cannot go wrong! Right?
Moving on, I am a longtime Avengers and Bendis fan. So while I am devastated that he is leaving behind his epic run on the various Avengers books I’m looking forward to the changes. Jonathan Hickman is a great mind bending epic type writer. I love his S.H.I.E.L.D book (which I am still waiting for the next issue to come out for!) and if anyone can take the Avengers in a broad new direction that will knock my socks off it is him. It is going to be very different from Bendis’ work but Hickman is in it for the long term and Hickman is at his best when he can plan things out years in advance.
You will also see that I’m going to be picking up Iron Man and Captain America which are two more books that will be seeing big changes and new writers. Fraction and Brubaker’s runs on Iron Man and Cap have been legendary and have helped redefine those heroes for the modern age. Seriously there was a time I could not give a crap about Tony Stark but I took a chance on Invincible Iron Man when Fraction took over and it has become one of my favourite comics. Then Brubaker’s Captain America is argueably the best single run for that character, it is going to be really hard to top it.
Rick Remender on Cap and Kieron Gillen on Iron Man have big shoes to fill but they are up to the task I think. The first issue of Uncanny Avengers has me hooked so I am ready for Remender’s take on Cap. Then Kieron Gillen is one of those writers I have always enjoyed but never stuck with due to lack of funds. I really wanted to buy Journey Into Mystery each month the past few years but I had to settle for only buying it when I had the cash to spare. So I’m now excited that I will be getting in at the start of his run on Iron Man.
Finally we come to the two books I would not have pictured myself buying a year ago, All-New X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy. This is part me following Bendis onto what he is doing next because he is one of my favourite writers and the rest is me actually being really interested in both books.
All-New X-Men has the delightful hook of the original X-Men team being brought into the present day to basically see Xavier’s dream be turned to shit. Cyclops is going to be confronted with his future “he’s basically the new Magneto” self, Jean will find out all the crazy stuff that will happen to her and the others will also see their future selves and most likely look on in a mixture of confusion and horror. I’ve long since been out of touch and favour with the X-Men books, the last runs I read were Joss Whedon’s Astonishing and Grant Morrison’s New X-Men. So I’m hoping now that the X-Men are back to being on the up and up that this book will be a nice re-introduction for me.
Guardians of the Galaxy serves as another perfect jumping on point for me, in this case for the cosmic side of the Marvel U. I think I’m ready to give that aspect of Marvel’s output a shot now (the upcoming movie may be playing a small part in decision to read it too) after years of indifference towards the cosmic characters. I enjoyed the team dynamic of the Guardians in Bendis’ recently wrapped storyline in Avengers Assemble which let’s be honest here, was basically an advert for this new Guardians of the Galaxy book! You also have the addition of Iron Man to the team which is a really interesting move that fits really well. Why hasn’t this happened already? You’d think Tony Stark would be in space all the time!
Will try out a few issues:
- Avengers Assemble
- Young Avengers
These are books that I like the look of but I’m not ready to make a full commitment to, yet. Avengers Assemble has been enjoyable so far but it looks like it is moving into a secondary tier book in Marvel NOW! I am hoping that I am wrong in thinking that but for now it just does not look as exciting as the the rest of the Avengers books coming out. A+X is mainly being bought because I really enjoyed the lighthearted and fun tone of AvX Vs. This is meant to be in a similar vain so I’ll at least be grabbing the first couple of issues.
Then we come to Young Avengers and Nova. Two books I wasn’t interested in until I read the Marvel NOW! Point One issue. Which shows that when Point One books are done right they can actually work!
For Nova, I love it when Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness team up on a book because Ed’s art fits Loeb’s big fun stories so well. Also the Nova part of the Point One felt like it was Loeb in good and exciting Loeb Mode rather than Loeb in trite and confusing Loeb Mode. Young Avengers is getting a look in because like with Iron Man I really want to get in at the start of Kieron Gillen’s new books. Also the handing over of the flyer and the flyer itself in the Point One issue totally sold me on the book. It is one of the best ways I have ever seen of getting me to buy a comic. So that’s what I am doing, responding to Loki’s flyer!
On the fence:
- Fantastic Four
- Thor: God of Thunder
- Avengers Arena
- Secret Avengers
- Winter Soldier
This group of books are ones I like the look of but I cannot really justify buying. I will end up buying one or two of these but even then I’m not to sure. I’ve never really gotten into the Fantastic Four and while FF looks interesting I think I will be better served waiting for the first batch of reviews on it before taking the plunge or buying it when it is in a sale or in trade form. The same goes for Avengers Arena because while I like a good Battle Royale rip-off they can range wildly in quality so I think I will wait for the reviews on that one too.
Thor: God of Thunder has a really, really interesting looking story. Thor facing the same threat at three distinct points in his life, the past, the present and the future. It just oozes possibility but on the flip side I’ve always struggled with liking Thor comics. They are accessible to a certain degree but then they quickly get very dense with referring to past events and high concept mythological ideals. Hopefully the Marvel NOW! relaunch is being used as a way to clean the slate for Thor a bit. Out of all the books on the fence this is the one that interests me the most.
Then we come to Secret Avengers and Winter Soldier. I have enjoyed Winter Soldier so far and that is mainly because of Brubaker’s love for the character. Saying that though I am feeling a bit burnt out on Bucky Barnes. I can only read and see so much of a character constantly having the worst luck and his sordid past dragged up all the time before I get bored. I think I have reached my Bucky saturation point for now and I need a break from him and his tortured soul. Secret Avengers is a tough one too because I like the idea of Nick Fury Jr. and Agent Coulson (especially Coulson) running around the Marvel U. But the whole Nick Fury Jr. and Agent Coulson being in the main 616 Universe still feels very forced to me. They’ve been crowbarred into the comics to bring an element of the movies in which is fine but they could have done it in a much better way! Battle Scars was a fun read until the last issue were everything happend so fast and suddenly these two characters were high ranking members of S.H.I.E.L.D. I like the idea of it being loosely affiliated with the film versions of the characters but it looks like it really could go either way.
- Red She-Hulk
- The Indestructible Hulk
- Journey Into Mystery
- Morbius: The Living Vampire
- X-Men Legacy
- Cable & the X-Force
- Uncanny X-Force
All you need to know about the skipping list is that I only really buy Hulk books in trade and then it is a case of them only being the highly acclaimed ones. Journey Into Mystery just does not do anything for me. Thunderbolts bores me, as does the idea of Morbius getting his own book (he’s not my favourite Spidey villain!). Then you have all the X-Men books. I am willing to give the X-Men another shot but I will be taking baby steps with All-New X-Men. I don’t want to dive in and buy them all just to be disappointed Slow and steady is how they will grab me, I can always catch up later.
So that is my pull list for Marvel NOW! I will also continue buying a couple of the books still going despite the big relaunch. Books like Captain Marvel and Scarlett Spider still excite me so there is no point in dropping them just as they are getting going! In the end I am going to be pretty much doubling the amount of Marvel comics I buy regularly. I am even having to cull a few DC books from my pull list to accomodate which is shocking!