February 2014 Marvel Comics Diamond Previews Review
Marvel’s current wave of All-New titles have me even more excited than the first wave did. I cannot heap enough praise on certain key titles and I want to highlight those first.
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson (W) and Adrian Alphona (A) grabbed me with the first issue. The large supporting cast was surprisingly fleshed out for a first issue intro, and Kamala has a big family so that is no small feat. The artwork is beautiful, and an example of the way Marvel is trusting the creators with their characters and allowing them to create superhero books that have a good chance of appealing to those that have stayed away from superheroes. Ms. Marvel needs to be left in its own corner of the Marvel Universe while it finds its audience and voice, which it seemed to already do with the sold out Ms. Marvel #1. The third issue is out in April it should be going home with you, yes you, the one reading this, get this book. If the first issue is sold out be on the lookout for a second printing scheduled to hit some time in March. I have a firm belief that this book will do well in collected form as well. With the female hero sadly under represented by the big two this book deserves the attention needed to make it a hit. I hope a year from now I am still talking about this title.
Speaking of female heroes, another title I cannot get enough of, especially after the unexpected twist involving Natasha’s handler, is Black Widow. Nathan Edmondson is a great writer when it comes to pacing and Phil Noto truly has made this book his own within the first couple of issues. His style adds to the big screen espionage feel of this book. It also clearly illustrates how Natasha should be handled on the big screen, tight action scenes, worldwide espionage, and a body count that would make the Punisher cringe. Natasha has never come across more bad ass, or deadly as she has in the hands of this creative team. I rarely mention colouring in this article but that is another fist bump I have to give Noto, he nails the colouring with aplomb. The transitions between scenes is often handled by a change of the colour palette, indicative of the action of the scene or perhaps the mood of the main heroine of the series. If you like spy action where one woman can make the difference between our survival or extinction, this is the book for you.
All-New X-Factor is everything I hoped it would be and more. It seems to blend the best aspects of both iterations of X-Factor that have previously struck a chord with readers. On one hand we have a superhero team that is corporately sponsored, which really isn’t that far off from a government sanctioned team, and on the other hand we have the character interactions that Peter David had in spades in his previous Madrox led title. Issue #6 of the series brings us Warlock, but Serval Industries wants him taken down and sends in X-Factor, including Cypher, who was at one time a teammate of Warlocks. This is another book that is worth picking up. With the sixth issue in April, the first trade should be out soon. If you don’t mind a second printing of the first issue, which should be coming soon, go out and find the back issues. You will not be disappointed.
The fourth title I have quickly fallen in love with is Loki: Agent of Asgard. Al Ewing (W) and Lee Garbett (A) continue to tell the story of the trickster of the Marvel Universe who is now under the guidance of the All-Mother. Issue 1 had an amazing last page reveal that I was not expecting, and I do not want to ruin it for anyone but boy the story possibilities are endless! The third issue is out in April, so it is not too late to catch up. Note though that the first issue is sold out at the distributor level so keep an eye out for a second printing as it is going back to press.
The Marvel summer event kicks off in April with Original Sin #0. This issue looks at who the Watcher is and what is coming for the Marvel Universe, and ultimately what his life means, all through the eyes of one of the newest heroes, Nova. This will lead into the death of the Watcher which will be rocking the foundation of the Marvel Universe this summer. This tale is brought to you by Mark Waid (W) and artist extraordinaire, Jim Cheung.
Amazing Spider-Man returns, as we all knew he would, in Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Dan Slott (W), and Humberto Ramos (A). I am not personally a fan of Peter Parker but understand his importance in the Marvel Universe. I am hoping that somehow we get more Doc Ock because his time as the web-slinger has been one of the most entertaining and risky moves that Marvel has made. Perhaps Marvel could treat us to an omnibus of the Superior Spider-Man’s reign?
While I have not always warmed up to Kaare Andrews writing, I have loved his art and he handles all of the creative duties in Iron Fist: Living Weapon. The first issue is out in April and the story of his return to his roots as K’un-Lun beckons for help and Danny answers. This is worth checking out, and with Marvel’s recent success with their All-New initiative I have expectations that are high, and will undoubtedly be met.
Sigh….Hulk is launching again with a new #1. Bruce Banner is shot, Hulk has to figure it out. No offence to Mark Waid (W) or Mark Bagley (A) who are coming onto this book but when is Hulk going to be allowed to just exist without being drawn into cross-overs and being relaunched again, and again. At least we aren’t getting a different colour Hulk with this relaunch.
X-Men Legacy #1 by Chris Claremont (W) and Todd Nauck (A) hits in April and focuses on Nightcrawler. It is a smart move keeping this in the X-Men Legacy book since a Nightcrawler solo book would not attract too much attention, plus throw in Chris Claremont, and you have a questionable title at best. Before Claremont fans attack I will say that I have appreciated what he has done to help build the foundation of the X-Verse we have today but his modern day work from the past 10 years has done nothing but led to me dropping titles. I find his writing style is for such a niche audience that it will be tough to see this title survive. I expect a creator team switch within the first year.
Peter Milligan gets to write a character that is so perfect for him, so perfect he co-created the character with Mike Allred, and a character that could, at least in my opinion, actually support a monthly. Doop. All-New Doop #1 is the first of a five issue mini-series that looks at the Avengers Vs. X-Men saga through the eyes of who may potentially be the most powerful X-Man ever.
Deadpool gets married in April. Deadpool #27 is a 100 page extravaganza with a hefty $9.99 price tag. I would list the writers and artists but it is easier to say that pretty well anyone who has written the Merc with a Mouth breaking the 4th wall will bring their words to Wade’s mouth in this issue. I will admit to a curiosity about who the bride is. I will be peeking at this one on the shelf, and depending on the bride I may pick this up.
The What If series is back with 5 issues in April. This one looks at Age of Ultron and what would have happened if a key Avenger was removed from the time-line. We see the Age of Ultron without Wasp in issue 1, Iron Man in issue 2, Thor in issue 3, Captain America in issue 4, and even one without Hank Pym in issue 5. The last What If focusing on Avengers Vs. X-Men seemed like a snuff film, reminiscent of the wholesale slaughter of the Ultimate Universe in Ultimatum, and seemed like an old What If tale where everyone dies. This What If needs to regain some of the loss of interest that the previous volume created but the premise is strong enough that it may just get back in my good books.
Speaking of the Ultimate Universe, what I expect is the latest attempt to breathe life into that sagging line is about to hit in April as we get the monumental 200th issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, plus All-New Ultimates #1 by Michel Fiffe (W) and Amilcar Pinna (A), and Ultimate FF #1 by Joshua Hale Fialkov (W) and Mario Guevera (A). Judging from who made it onto the rosters of this team does not bode well for many of the existing characters that are fending off Galactus in the current Cataclysm cross-over. Lets hope this iteration of the Ultimate Universe does well because there are only a certain number of times that they can relaunch the line.
While a lot of Marvel has been wowing my I do have to point out a disappointing read, Avengers A.I.. Sam Humphries is a writer I have enjoyed in previous books but the 8th issue of the series, which was one of Marvel’s .Now books, meant as a good jumping on point for readers, did nothing more than confuse me as to it’s true purpose. Marvel should revisit it’s Avengers line because this book and Mighty have both left me scratching my head wondering what their purpose is in the grander scheme.
Possibly the last collaboration with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning appears in the pages of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude #1 (of 2) which introduces us to Nebula before her big screen debut. Fans of DnA should pick this up because who knows when, or even if ever, these two will work together again.
That is my look at Marvel for April 2014.