Avengers vs X-men concludes in September, and the buzz is that Marvel is using the opportunity to shift around creators on their comics. I’m currently a big Marvel buyer, so I thought I’d do a post about what I think of the current ‘rumours’.
Firstly, I should point out, that the creator/s on a title is more important to me than the character. Sure, I love Captain America and Iron Man, but creator voices and runs on those characters are more interesting then just another Cap story. There are many examples of this, from Walter Simonson on Thor, to Brian Bendis on Avengers. I don’t mind a creator telling a long-term story, so long as its good.
It seems that Marvel is taking this into account. Giving creators chances on characters they haven’t worked on much previously in the past. So here we go:
I also think they should do away with FF and New Avengers. If Jonathan Hickman isn’t writing FF, what’s the point? The same with Bendis on New Avengers.
This week saw the release of Marvel Point One, a $6 64 page one shot which is intended to be a preview of the coming year in the Marvel Universe.
Firstly, I got the issue at almost half the cover price, which, I have to be honest, was pretty awesome. My comic book shot (World’s Apart, Liverpool) had a sign in the window saying “Marvel Point One only £2.49” and I smiled. If I’d have paid the full price (which in £ would probably be around £5?) I think I would have felt a little ripped off.
Like I said earlier, it is just a preview comic. And ‘ad’ for what’s to come, if you will. $6 is a lot to pay for that, considering this is also intended to attract new readers.
But it is 64 pages, and it does have work in it by the top talent at Marvel. And, for the most part, I loved it.
The story that runs throughout the issue is two cosmonauts looking at what The Watcher has been seeing. Every three years, The Watcher slips into a “fugue” state. They then proceed to look at what The Watcher has been watching.
When I got to the end of the issue, I learnt that this part of the comic (title ‘Behold The Watcher’) was written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Javier Pulido. It’s actually the best part of the issue. Pulido’s artwork is similar to Marcos Martin’s, in how it’s Ditko-esque with his panel layouts and storytelling. But at the same time, there’s a hint of Jack Kirby in there, with the clunkiness of machinery and the cosmonauts costumes. He’s done a lot of work on Amazing Spider-man. I love looking at his art. It’s like classic 60’s Marvel, but feels modern at the same time.
We then cut to ‘Harbinger’, a Nova story by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness. For the most part, it’s pretty weak. The artwork looks great and McGuiness’s style suits cosmic stories, but Loeb’s dialogue ruins it completely. Even if this (new?) Nova does look about 12 years old, would he really say something like “epic fail” when a planet is destroyed? But it does look great. Loeb may not be much of a writer, but he’s always put with great artists, so at least his books look good.
We then cut to the Age of Apocalypse universe for ‘The Myth of Man’ for a fantastic and kinda creepy story by David Lapham and Roberto De La Torre. When I first started this, I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I went with it because it was well written. I also loved Age of Apocalypse as a kid, so it was nice to check back into the universe for a short while. In this universe, the humans are uprising against the mutants, which seems like an obvious twist on how the 616 universe is, but Lapham makes it interesting. I think this story is going to continue in the Uncanny X-force title, which isn’t actually a title I buy, so I’m not sure if I’ll follow it up or not. But I enjoyed this short in the Point One issue.
And then we get to another story which, like Age of Apocalypse, riff’s on stuff I loved as a kid in the 90’s: The Scarlet Spider. The Scarlet Spider was awesome, and had a killer costume. Thanks to Spider-Island, Marvel have found a way to work him back into current Marvel continuity, and they’re even giving his own ongoing. ‘The Scarlet Thread’ works as a bridge, from were we left Kaine at the end of Spider-Island, to were he’ll be in Scarlet Spider #1 next year. It’s written by Chris Yost, with art by Ryan Stegman. Kaine was always my favourite clone during The Clone Saga. It looks like he’s going to be torn between being his own person, and being Peter Parker, which should be great to read. Scarlet Spider ongoing, I know I probably shouldn’t be, but I’m excited.
The next story is another I’m a little torn on. Titled ‘Yin & Yang’, written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Salvador Larroca, it introduces us to two new characters: Dragonfire and Coldmoon. They’re brother and sister (hence the Yin & Yang title) but they were separated at birth, and do not know the other sibling exists until a development in the story. What I found most interesting about this story is that Larroca’s art resembles Frank Quitely’s at times, and doesn’t really look that much like the work he produces in Invincible Iron Man each month. It looks great until we get to a scene were other Marvel heroes are involved, and then the panels seem to become over crowded, and the sleek elegantness of previous pages is lost. Much like the ‘Myth of Man’ short, I’m not sure if this is enough to make me care about these new characters. Sure, it was interesting, but I don’t really care enough to follow it up in the future.
Next up is another preview of Fraction and Dodson’s Defenders series. It focuses on Dr Strange and gives us a brief insight to what the series may be like, but that’s pretty much it. There’s a few panels in which Doctor Strange is seeing into the future, which is odd when you think about the fact that this is what the two cosmonauts are looking it, but it’s best not to over think it too much. It is just comics, after all. The Defenders series is going to be done in the classic ‘Marvel style’, so I’m curious as to whether or not what’s in Point One is done ‘Marvel style’. It seems to work pretty well. Sometimes Fractions dialogue can be a bit out of character, but here it’s fine. At first I was going to trade wait on The Defenders, but after stuff I’ve seen, and the previews in Point One and Fear Itself #7, I can’t wait that long. I’m actually looking forward to the series. But sometimes Fraction can be a bit hit and miss, I’m not overly keen on his Thor, so I’m trying to withhold my judgement until I’ve read a few issues.
And then cometh The Age of Ultron, the slow burning storyline that Bendis has been setting up for a while. Avengers #12.1 worked as a prologue for the storyline, and it looks like Moon Knight will also tie into what’s to come. And it’s being drawn by Bryan Hitch, so it should look great. The preview in Point One seems to give us a look into what The Age of Ultron will be like, rather then how it will begin. Similar to The Next Avengers animated movie, it looks like Ultron has taken over the planet and killed most of the heroes, the only two left being Hawkeye and (surprise surprise, Bendis) Spider-man. This wasn’t much, but it was good. I’m a huge Bendis fan, so slight biased towards his work, so it’s hard for me to criticise it.
The intention of Point One is to give a preview and insight into what’s coming up in the next 12 months for Marvel, and it succeeds in doing that. The only problem is, like I said earlier, is $6 is a lot for what’s basically an issue of previews. But I enjoyed it, and I think most Marvel fans will enjoy it. It’s not very new reader friendly though. If that was one of the intentions, Marvel failed in that respect. It seems to me that the more immersed in the Marvel Universe you are, the more you’re likely to enjoy and care about it.
And none of you have got this far anyway, so I can basically type whatever the hell I want right now. Boobs.