Tag Archives: All-New Marvel Now

Review: All-New Ghost Rider #1

Written by Felipe Smith

Art by Tradd Moore

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In the 90s, I had a hard time searching for dark and gritty comics which recognized my teenage angst and pragmatic worldview yet still had the mother approving seal of the comic code on them. Since I was enamored predominantly by Marvel (I flirted with Superman and Batman, but my love was the 616) I leaned towards particular titles. These included Wolverine, Spider-Man (by Todd McFarlane), Punisher, and the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider. One of my main memories was picking up issue 25 with the gore filled covered of Danny’s transformation to Ghost Rider. I thought I had picked up something I wasn’t supposed to, but the seal in the top left corner meant it was okay. I say all that to say that I have a great fondness towards Ghost Rider, mainly due to him being one of my earliest forms of teenage rebellion. I’ve always looked at Ghost Rider comics as somewhere some kid’s first rebellion towards authority. He’s a spirit of vengeance that is basically a demon and has no issues killing those that deserve it, and those who are inhabited by him usually have to wrestle with this possession by basically a fire breathing Punisher. I think as the hormones start to course through a young man or woman’s body there is some aspect of this which translates to them. In certain ways I can see this idea being continued forward in the latest volume of Ghost Rider as Robbie Reyes takes the mantle passed from Alejandra (and Danny Ketch and Johnny Blaze).

ImageThis series starts with the basic introduction of the character as he is doing his best to both take care of his crippled brother and sow his wild oats in a sketchy part of Los Angeles. Robbie cares for his brother and seems like a good guy, but is also shown to be reckless and quick to use violence. Felipe Smith does a great job handling the introduction of the character and helping us understand who Robbie Reyes is and what are his priorities. The sequencing and passing of the script make for a fairly quick but a solid read. I think my many problem with this book is the same problem I have with so many books: the quickness of the read. As is with many comics, there is a chance you have just dropped $4 to read something for ten minutes with very little left to give reason for a second read. I read this issue three times and gained nothing extra that I didn’t get from the first read. Maybe that is to say the writer did an extremely skilled job in telling the story (which I think he did), but the length of the book seems like what would have been covered in several pages, not a complete issue, in the 80s or 90s. That’s a grip I have with most books though, and that does include this one. Other than that it is well written and I was fairly engaged with the character.

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The art by Tradd Moore may take some getting use to. The cover art is the art in the book, so if that greatly turns you off then you know you most likely will not enjoy the interior as well. There is a frenetic energy he brings with his style that I think is perfect for Ghost Rider, but his characters have a cartoony or anime feel which pulls away from the darkness I felt I should be feeling towards the end of the book. He is a talented artist, and I could see enjoying his work on Deadpool or even Spider-Man, but I’m not buying his Ghost Rider or the weight and scariness of the character. Instead of a flaming skull striking fear into the hearts of evildoers, it just feels like a guy in a mask and a cool car. The transformation he give Robbie into the Rider does harken back to the 90s cover of issue 25 that I loved so much though. The drag racing is where he really shines and the energy he brings through his style works perfectly. But overall in terms of the darkness and supernatural elements he has a lot of work in the next issue to sell me that he is the correct artist for this title.

ImageThis is a fairly well done introduction to the character and the story is left open to intrigue me to want to the read the next issue. With the quickness of the read and the frivolity of the artwork, if you are sitting on the fence for this title I can’t help but recommend you wait until the trade to check it out.

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Rating 3 out of 5

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Review: Daredevil #1 (All-New Marvel Now)

Written by Mark Waid
Art by Chris Samnee

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The renumbering of this series starts as Hell’s Kitchen’s very own hero has moved out West for some sun and sourdough. If you haven’t read the digital Daredevil series yet you will see the trip taking place, because Matt Murdock cannot have a simple road trip. The first episode of that series also explains quickly why Daredevil is moving out west. The all-new Daredevil series starts with him acting as a private consultant on a kidnapping case in San Francisco, to then attempting a rescue of the girl kidnapped, to him trying to settle in to the new city and joining a friend’s legal firm. I have not read many issues in Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil up until now, so this review is from the perspective of this issue being a jumping on point.

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If you are a staunch purist of the Daredevil during and post Frank Miller (also as written by Smith, Bendis, and Brubaker) then Waid’s take on Daredevil may bother. For those who read and enjoyed Bill Everett’s original work on Daredevil (yes, the Bill Everett that also created both the Sub Mariner and what we consider the 616 Universe in 1939), Waid’s take on Marvel’s crimson knight is a strong reflection of that original character and a fresh take after years of a dark and brooding character. The main aspect I love about Waid’s take (and what Everett created) is that Matt Murdock loves being Daredevil. There is true joy when he puts on the mask and does what he does best. He is a daredevil and is thrilled in the daring deeds and fantastic feats he expertly executes. Sorry, I think I was just embodied by Stan Lee. But in all seriousness, the slightly more light-hearted approach in certain aspects that Waid takes with the character is a welcomed take after approximately thirty years of sadistic (but skilled) writers putting Daredevil through the ringer. I found this a welcomed change.

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This issue, beyond just his take on the character, feels like a great welcome to readers looking to jump onboard to a new series. This issue doesn’t get muddled down in trying to explain why Daredevil is in San Francisco. It assumes if you want to know that you will read or have read the previous volume, but it starts fresh the same way the character is in a new town. At the same time, Waid doesn’t ignore the past actions and scenery of the character, adding hints and subtle references and jokes for those readers who have been on board for years. And as too Waid’s skill as a writer, well, that should never be questioned.

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Chris Samnee has stunning artwork in this issue. He plays around on a few splash pages with some innovative paneling, but does not get bogged down in trying to recreate how comics look as to create something that is difficult to read. His storytelling and paneling stays traditional when the action and story requires, and he ends up creating an expertly drawn issue. His artwork has a nostalgic edge in this issue harkening back to the origins of the Marvel universe in the silver age of comics. It is similar to Ditko and Kirby, yet still its own.

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If you haven’t read any of Mark Waid’s work on Daredevil yet, I strongly recommend starting here. This book is a perfect jumping on point. If you have been reading the series then I’m sure you already know whether or not you enjoy Waid’s take and Samnee’s art, but if you don’t like them, I’d still encourage you to give it another shot with this issue.

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Rating 4 out of 5

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Review: Captain Marvel #1

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by David Lopez

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First, I am not an avid Captain Marvel reader, nor am I a Carol Corps member. I generally understand the appeal, especially to female comic readers, of a strong and de-sensualized female superhero, and I think it is something that the mainstream comic industry is working hard to correct. What I feel the comic book industry is not working hard to correct is the constant renumbering which falsely portrays this issue as an easy jumping on point for new readers.

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DeConnick is not a bad writer, and I don’t think is at the place she is in the industry due to some affirmative action type scenario or her husband’s clout. She is a very skilled writer in her element with dialogue and character relationships. By character relationships, I do not necessarily mean romance, but the inner workings of personal connections between characters. I think this, potentially above anything else, is what has made her extremely popular. That work is shown skillfully in this issue as Carroll both talks with a young child whom is living with her and as she deals with her desire to expand her superhero career in a conversation with James Rhodes, with whom she is having a romantic relationship. Both of those scenes play out well, and bring forward sides to the character which generally do not appear in the pages of Avengers where she is much more of a stoic soldier. The largest problem with this issue and its writing it that I came in thinking it was a jumping on point. While it is the start of a new arc for Captain Marvel, the finishing touches of her interpersonal relationships which DeConnick has been building since she took over the series left me feeling slightly lost at points. Who are these people living with Carol and why do they all live in the head of the Statue of Liberty? Who is the old lady who is dying and who are all these people at her party? While it would not be difficult to go back and get caught up on previous issues, honestly the issue was not so amazing that I really wanted to go back and do that. I’m still interested to see where the comic is going because it looks to potentially shift tones dramatically to an outer space adventure, but I think there may be some people who pick this up for the first time and are turned away due to the trickery of Marvel’s constant renumbering. The one piece which I do not understand at all and do not enjoy about this series (and this again may be due to the fact that I have not read much of the series at all) is the overwhelming sorrow and isolation that Captain Marvel appears to feel and place on herself. This may be something that I am generally missing, and potentially may make sense, but from jumping on this issue after only reading three to four previous issues, there is a strong pensive under current to the character which at times is somewhat of an annoyance. The final line of the issue has to do with the character no being able to find her place in the world, and while I’m sure this may have a connection to some of the younger readers, I have a difficult time imagining an air force ace pilot and one of the most powerful Avengers dealing with this problem, especially if Captain America isn’t even dealing with this anymore.

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The art by Lopez is great. While it isn’t the greatest work at Marvel, Lopez does do a fantastic job of drawing expressions and making the silence in the script matter. Being that this is a comic built very much on relationships, having an artist that is capable of handling more than just action is vital, and Lopez shows that he is extremely capable of handling a dramatic story. Yet when it turns to the few moments of action in an otherwise dialogue driven issue, Lopez show he isn’t a slouch at showing those moments either. His characters do not feel static or stiff. His work helps lift a script that I may have otherwise not enjoyed as much.

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All-in-all, I think some people will be turned away by the large amount of relationships addressed and the lack of action in the issue. I don’t necessarily think that the drama is bad, and enjoyed the issue over-all apart from the feeling that I was missing something when it came to certain character relationships and the inner struggle of the main character. This was not a book that made me want to go back and get caught up, but was one that makes me interested to see where the story is going. I’m not ready to jump on board and become a member of the Carol Corps yet, but I can see why others are so enthusiastic about this character and her story.

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Review: Moon Knight 1

Written by Warren Ellis
Art by Declan Shalvey

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Far too often Moon Knight is relegated to merely being little more than Marvel’s violent and crazy version of Batman. In the past writers and artists have taken one of two paths, violent or crazy, and amped that feature up to separate Moon Knight from Batman. David Finch’s path was a far more violent Moon Knight while Brian Michael Bendis’ Moon Knight focused on the crazy. Warren Ellis, in one issue, has found a way to balance both. Moon Knight is part Batman and part Rorschach in this issue, yet at the same time these comparisons fail to completely grasp the depth of the character that Ellis is bringing to Moon Knight.

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Warren Ellis creates a noir world for Moon Knight to inhabit, showing him as an intelligent fighter and skilled tactician. This standalone issue shows his overall detective skills with the addition of his pure ability to quickly size up opponents and approach them within an appropriate manner. It is important to note that Moon Knight’s detective skills share more with Sherlock Holmes than Batman which helps separate this from just a Batman rip-off. This is a much more patient and skilled Moon Knight than seen in previous incarnations. He has a cavalier flare about him as he deals with the police which also shows he has a great self-awareness. Ellis writes a fantastic intimate character portrayal that is welcoming to those new to Moon Knight but is also a fresh yet familiar enough of a take on this fan favorite figure.

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Declan Shalvey’s art will most likely be the hardest sale on this book. I personally think it is fantastic, but the indie feel he brings is in the same arena as Maleev and Aja, yet still all his own. It is obvious Marvel has fared extremely well with the personal character and odd personalities such as Hawkeye and Superior Foes of Spider-Man and is attempting to add indie credibility to another title with Shalvey’s style which is an extreme departure to the sleek and clean styles of many mainstream titles. I think this is a great thing for the mainstream industry. While artists like Shalvey may not have a style as clean and sexy as Jim Lee or the like, often their ability to tell stories stands spectacularly beyond the popular artists. Shalvey not only lifts the story to new heights with his art, he immediately puts us into a dark and gritty world, bringing a perfect setting to the world Ellis is trying to create.

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I love this title, yet I have to admit I am a Warren Ellis fan boy. I think Ellis is to comics as King Midas was to everything, so I may be a bit biased on my review. I do think if you are more interested in fast action and intense drama which echoes throughout continuity like X-Men or Avengers this may not be the book for you. But if you enjoy the quiet character studies of Hawkeye or the recent Black Widow series, this may be a book right up your alley (pun kind of intended).

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Rating 5 out of 5

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Review: All-New X-Men 22.Now

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Stuart Immonen

ImageThis issue marks part one of the six part All-New X-Men/Guardians of the Galaxy cross-over The Trial of Jean Grey. I fell off of All-New X-Men and Guardians mid last year once I realized that after ten years Bendis and I should take a break and see other people.

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Bendis is an incredibly skilled and talented writer. I still think he blew his great plot ideas after Secret Invasion, but even then he is undoubtedly one of the greatest dialogue writers in comic books today. I even enjoyed Age of Ultron with its lack of Ultron due to the interesting character interactions of Logan and Sue Storm. With all of that, Bendis still has that touch. Half this issue is basically Jean and Scott fighting and although nothing really happens, like a Kevin Smith movie, you can’t help but enjoy what he puts the characters through. I think the break from Bendis has made me appreciate his amazing skill in dialogue. And that doesn’t say anything negative about the plot and what he is building. I am honestly interested in where this is going and seeing GotG and the X-Men interact in future issues (nothing really happens until the final page in this issue).

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Immonen is an incredibly skilled artist and is amazing when he works with Bendis. He has a great talent at both subtle facial expressions and superheroic action. He is one of the bigger guns at Marvel and I honestly would love to see more of his work on indie books in the future. He has a defined style that is only his and can only be poorly mimicked. He does a stellar job in this issue. At points, some of his work in this issue is very reminiscent of Walter Simonson’s work on early X-Factor issues which is not a negative statement at all.

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I highly recommend this book even though I assume most of you are picking it up anyway. Bendis and Immonen show they still have great things to give us as comic fans even after ten strong years. If I could give one complaint, which this is often my complaint about Marvel Comics any longer, it is annoying to pay $4 for only seventeen pages of story. Luckily, these seventeen pages are extremely strong.

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Rating 4.5 out of 5

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Review: All-New Invaders #1

Written by James Robinson
Art by Steve Pugh

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I deserve something for this. Seriously, I can’t get that time back from reading this. I’m going to start with the positive points because I really dislike the idea of writing down how bad this issue is. People spent time and created something they are probably proud of and now I’m going to poop in their cereal.

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Steve Pugh does a fine job on the art. He has a clean style that works well for the book. Some of his backgrounds are shallow and occasionally it looks as though he is mimicking other artists like Mike Deodato or Greg Land. Yes, those are different stylized but certain panels harken to those artists. I think if he discoveries his own voice artistically he could become a great asset to Marvel Comics. He does a great job showing the Human Torch and he has a few stand out panels which make this something worthwhile to thumb through at the stands.

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Now…I’m going to start this section by saying I know bad comic writing because I’m a bad comic writer. Okay. I’m not saying I could do better than James Robinson (although maybe I could) but anyone else at Marvel could. And to be fair, I think he may have an interesting plot. But his dialogue is atrocious. It is trite and clichéd and boring. He tries so hard to make characters sounds quaint and Southern that he creates characters who are boring and ignorant sounding. I attempted to reread the issue as though it was written in the 60s or 70s but the truth is it is 2014 and I think we can all agree unless it is an “all ages” book we expect a slightly more intelligent read. It makes me question the entire editorial staff which allowed this poor dialogue to pass by them. In no way after reading this issue do I feel as though I better know the characters introduced. If anything, I feel like Robinson doesn’t know them either. And one more thing…the in-battle banter. Seriously, who writes villains stopping and having a monologue anymore? And the Human Torch is actually questioning out-loud yet rhetorically whether she is alien on Namor’s race in the middle of a fight?

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I will not be reading the next issue which irritates me because I enjoy the original Human Torch and was happy to see him in a book again. But not this one. Not now. Save your pennies, kids.

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Rating: 1 out of 5

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Review: Thunderbolts 20.Now

Written by Charles Soule
Art by Carlo Barberi

ImageThis issue marks a jumping on point for the All-New Marvel Now campaign while continuing the storyline set up with issue one of this latest volume. General Ross (aka Rulk) has his ragtag group of antiheroes and has promised them help with their problems as long as they help him with his. I haven’t read this series since Daniel Way handed the series off to Charles Soule, so I am reviewing this as someone who is slightly aware, but as a new reader.

Image Charles Soule does a fantastic job with this script. He shows he is at great ease with a team-book and making sure that each character’s voice and personality shine through correctly and adequately. Obviously any book where Deadpool is written well he can easily steal the show, but Soule does a great job of making sure that each character is given their piece of the spot-light without making it feel forced. Soule also uses the natural progression of the story-arc to add Johnny Blaze to the mix of the team without it feeling forced. All-in-all this is an extremely humorous script and is an enjoyable read. Another writer could have easily made this feel like a throw away issue that was forgettable. Soule is able to quickly make me want to go back and read his run on this series so far and then continue with what he has planned. This series has become my brand new series to pick up each month.

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Carlo Barberi is a talented artist. His work on Daniel Way’s Deadpool series was always some of my favorite, and while I’m not a huge fan of the way he chooses to draw the Punisher, the rest of the group and even the backgrounds are expertly drawn. One nice small touch is the addition of small background pieces that reference old storylines after General Ross mentions something about alien relics. The Mark I and the Beyonder’s jumpsuit are the obvious entries. Barberi continues to show he is a talented artist even if he isn’t one of the bigger names at Marvel.

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I have to recommend this book if you are interested in any of these characters. All aspects of this book bring a humorous and fun addition to each of these characters’ continuity. And as long are you are not a stickler for everything being serious you may find a new series to pick up as well. Basically this is a very fun read.

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Rating: 4 out of 5

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Review: All-New X-Factor #1

Written by Peter David
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

Two in one day? Lucky, you, getting to read my trite analysises. Analysi? Analyses!ImageThis is the new start of the all new X-Factor series since Madrox’s detective agency closed their doors. Luckily for us Peter David decided that the end of the Multiple Man’s story was not the end of X-Factor’s story and he’s back with a team led by Polaris, the daughter of Magneto.

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First, I have to say as far back as I remember picking up new comics I remember reading comics by Peter David. Hoping to be considered cool by my brother who liked the Hulk (even though girls and football were his only concerns at the time) I picked up the classic and epic run by Peter David and Todd MacFarlane on the Incredible Hulk. I soon realized without my brother’s approval those were amazing comics and I’ve been a fan of Peter David ever since. I am incredibly happy his health scare last year did not end his comic career. I think I was as concerned for him at that time as a family member.

ImageBut now we are at the All New Marvel relaunch of X-Factor and I have to give an honest review and not just fanboy service to an idol. This issue starts with Gambit being recruited by Polaris after a botched theft Logan interrupted. Gambit is the reader’s perspective being slightly morally ambiguous and leery of a superhero team sponsored by a large corporation. Quicksilver shows up to check on his half-sister and the unlikely and tenuous trio head out on their first mission as the All-New X-Factor.

While not an action packed start to a series, this issue is still a well crafted work of humorous dialogue. Knowing and understanding these three characters’ recent history (the last X-Factor series and the short lived Gambit series) will help you appreciate David’s work at tieing this new story into the history and continuity of the 616 universe. The dialogue is well written and builds on a streamline narrative David is developing, but I honestly can see how some people may not enjoy this issue. If you’ve read David’s other work, he writes mutants more akin to Chris Claremont (concerned with planting seeds which will build long running narratives), and you must be aware that while a single issue may not blow you (although they definitely can) the long form story he builds will be worth it in the long run. Sometimes it isn’t even about the story as much as it is about helping the reader truly understand each character he is writing in a way many writers may gloss over. This has caused some to say his X-Factor run is hit-or-miss, while they are actually missing his character development due to a slightly ridiculous narrative. As a first issue this may not be the best way to pull new readers aboard but those missing a Peter David story will enjoy it.

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As for the art, it is actually decent. Carmine’s work is slightly reminiscent of Kaare Andrews, but still his own. This issue is not quite up to his work in the Punisher mini series which ended Greg Rucka’s run. Yet the art is not bad in any way. It helps move the dialogue with well used facial expressions, something occasionally missing in comics. He actually pays attention not just to story but to the character interactions.

All-in-all, you’ll like this issue if you enjoyed the majority of the last X-Factor series. This should become a welcome addition to your weekly pull list. If you didn’t read the last series I honestly recommend giving this a good college try. What may be lacking in intense action is made up for in well written and well thought out character interactions and dialogue.

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Rating: 4 out of 5

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Review: Black Widow #1

Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Phil Noto

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What do you expect from a Black Widow series? I honestly have never been too thrilled with any of her stories apart from those by Warren Ellis during his Secret Avengers run. With that said, I was excited to have a writer who helped tell the story of one my favorite non-Marvel characters (Grifter) come aboard and add to the continuity of the 616. Phil Noto is also an excellent artist with an unique style. So although I normally could care less about a Black Widow story, I was surprisingly interested in this series.

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The story is a mixture showing Natasha Romanova’s mental cunning, physical prowess, but also her personal emotional faults and weaknesses. This spin on the character is not a huge leap from previous incarnations and similar enough to the movies’ character to attract both old fans and new readers. Edmondson does a great job of showing the range and abilities of the Black Widow. While I don’t think this is a breakout issue that completely relieves my concerns that the character lacks the depth to carry her own on-going series, it is done well enough that I am interested in seeing a further continuation of her story.

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While Noto’s art may turn some off, his grungy, destructed yet still soft style creates a great atmosphere which sets it apart as a unique series at Marvel and helps contrast the two sides of Black Widow’s character Edmondson tries to expand upon. The consistent use of beauty marks on her face is a nice touch by the artist as well. Noto also gives interesting angles and helps keep the story moving. While a lot of art is functional in mainstream comics, in many ways Noto is able to lift the story by not looking like anyone else’s work. But that can also hinder his appeal to some who may be interested in only polished and slick mainstream art styles.

ImageThis is a solid start to a series based on a character I didn’t believe I would find much interest in. I’m still interested to see if this will turn into a long run (I doubt it) but it does add a dimension to the 616 that isn’t found in many other current series by Marvel. I’m enticed enough to stick with this series and see how it plays out. While it may not be to the level of Hawkeye, I think this is still the best entry in the solo series surrounding this character.

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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2014 All-New Marvel Now Preview Review

2014 (as every year) promises to be a big year for Marvel. Whether Marvel can exceed or even meet expectations is anyone’s guess. But given previous entries in the comic industry and even previous years of large promise (2013 being one of them) what can some of our true expectations be for the coming year? If you’re coming here for a review of this week’s comic books, I apologize. This is a review of the preview of Marvel’s year to come. It’s like political pundits’ predictions on 2016’s presidential candidates, except this is something you care about!

ImageShort Lived Yet Eternally Praised

To start things off, this coming March has one series that I’m incredibly excited about and that is Moon Knight under the creative vision of Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. Moon Knight has always been an underdog at Marvel with an extremely hardcore cult following but has at best achieved sixty issues in one volume, and more often than not has not passed thirty issues. Because of this I think it is safe to say that this won’t be a long on-going series, so don’t get your hopes up, but apart from one volume Moon Knight usually runs at least twelve issues, so we should at least get a year worth of stories this time around.

With this series also brings another aspect which does not bode well for the longevity of the run: Warren Ellis. Now, I love Warren Ellis. I’m a hardcore fanboy of his and I think anything he touches is gold. He could write My Little Ponies and I’d probably become a bronie. I usually don’t read novels, but I made the time to read his books. I hunted down an entire run of X-Force he plotted (not scripted) just because his name was on the books. So I’m a huge fan of his. But, with Marvel he doesn’t do long runs. He never has. Iron Man, Secret Avengers, Astonishing X-Men, Thunderbolts, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Nextwave, Starjammers, Wolverine, Storm, X-Man, Hellstorm, and Thor all had great issues by Warren Ellis, but no one run of his lasts longer than twelve issue. Well, with the giant sized issues in Astonishing X-Men, maybe more, but still. Doom 2099 and Excalibur are the few series which lasted but both were in a period where the miniseries Pryde and Wisdom came out (another by Ellis, but even I can’t get behind a Shadowcat/Pete Wisdom team-up).

The fact of the matter is we are most likely to get six to twelve of the greatest Moon Knight stories ever told. Ellis won’t overstay his welcome, so Marvel will either cancel the series or place an up-and-comer on the book who may not be awful, but behind Warren Ellis, he/she won’t be able to compete. Come December of this year the cancellation notice will already be out.

ImageAt least Liefeld Won’t Replace Him At Marvel

Nathan Edmondson may not be a familiar name with most who read exclusively Marvel comics, but he is anything but a rookie newcomer. Edmondson has worked on a few issues in the Ultimate universe, but this year is transitioning to the 616 to bring us tales of the Black Widow and Punisher is two separate series. The Punisher always does well and has a strong following, and after the Avengers movie I think fans are open to a Black Widow series if done well. Hopefully Edmondson has read Secret Avengers #20 by Warren Ellis to understand how to tell a good Black Widow story.

Nathan Edmondson is best known for bringing life to the solo career of Grifter. For those who don’t know, Grifter is a cross between Hawkeye with a little bit of Wolverine’s healing powers. He works with teams, but is still a loner character at heart with a complicated past. From writing all of these attributes I strongly believe that Edmondson will do a great job on both of these titles. But there is still a catch: Edmondson is also not well known for long runs. He typically has a story to tell, and then he is done. How does someone get replaced by Rob Liefeld unless they are just finished with their story or sick of their editor? With Edmondson and Ellis entry into the All New Marvel Now Part Two (or whatever they’re calling it), and with Alex Alonso’s acknowledgement that renumbering actually boost sales, I get the feeling that Marvel is not actually looking at these series as long on-going runs, but rather solid stories on short runs to boost familiarity with characters to encourage their cinematic and television goals. I don’t say that to be extremely negative, but rather something we must acknowledge as fans as the industry is starting to change forever. The one positive thing is if they are looking for shorter runs and multiple renumbers, some of the better writers out there not interested in long on-going series may be reentering the ranks and delivering higher caliber stories with less throw away issues between the stories that matter. Hopefully Edmondson, Ellis, and Matt Kindt are the just the forerunners and we’ll start to see many more skilled writers putting their spin on the 616 who haven’t before or in a long time.

ImageThe Dead-Wedding

As of yesterday the puzzle was complete and we got our glimpse into the wedding of Deadpool and presumably Death (probably Death). While I’m sure this is not going to be an epic event, it will most likely be a somewhat amusing entry in the Deadpool legacy. The latest run (or the Post-Way Run) has been a bit of a hit or miss for me. Some of the retro issues I thought were great, but the introductory story arc just felt flat. Daniel Way and Joe Kelly are two guys you don’t want to follow behind, but even then, with an extremely funny comedian co-writing the series I had high expectations and they were never met.

So what does this puzzle and the promised storyline show us? Not really anything. It is another reminder of how polarized people are on this subject of the new Deadpool series. Some people hate (and there is no hyperbole in using the word “hate” here) this series and so they hate the idea of the story that this puzzle represents. People won’t read Marvel now (Marvel Now now?) because of this advertisement. Heaven forbid a company tries to solicit excitement and anticipation in a series.

In all honesty, this will probably be a throw away storyline, but not the end of the world. It may turn out to be humorous and amusing read, but even if it doesn’t it probably means they’ll put the Deadpool series on sale on Comixology around this time so you can pick some of those up for dirt cheap and reread the series that you loved. So shut up.

ImageSuperior or Amazing or 2099 or Ultimate?

Let the speculations begin! The series that everyone hates to love (but we do, don’t we) is being hyped up with the Goblin Nation storyline and the apparent absence of the final issue of the storyline in the solicitations. Hmm? What does that mean? Well, probably just that it is coming out in April and that the April solicitations haven’t come out yet, but go ahead and guess something else.

With the return of Peter Parker to the big screen in 2014, most people’s expectation is that Parker will return in the pages of the comics. There’s a problem with that expectation though. Superior Spider-Man has not only become a fan favorite but also has received high critical praise and has solid numbers in sales. Dan Slott has also be given a large amount of creative freedom at Marvel. Because of those two reason, unless Dan Slott is finished with that story, I don’t think Superior is going anywhere.

We also have Spider-Man 2099 now in the 616 mix and the never-ending rumors of the end of the Ultimate universe and the introduction of Miles to the the 616 as well. With Kaine and Spider-Girl along for the ride I assume it is safe to say that the next big Marvel event will have the Scarlet Witch proclaiming, “No more Spider-Men/Women/Girls.”

But Dan Slott is jumping to the Silver Surfer (we can talk about that later) and although he is a fairly prolific writer, he isn’t like Bendis or Hickman and tends to stay on one book at a time. He’s typically focused on a character(s) and their story, so there is a possibility that Dan Slott maybe passing the reigns on Spidey to another writer and at that point in time it truly is anyone’s guess what would happen.

ImageInhuman Expectations

In a move that proved on social media whether or not you were a geek, the news that Matt Fraction was replaced by Charles Soule of the the Inhuman series came out almost at the same time that some dude with a beard said something racists and also proved that most people on Facebook don’t understand the difference between “free speech” and “free market.”

But, the real issue here is the creative differences which caused Matt Fraction to be split off of a series which is supposed to set the new course for the changing tide of the 616. To some this calls into question the actual creative freedom offered to writers and artist at Marvel. To others, they’re still wondering who the Inhumans are and why is Thanos having a son a big deal.

With Joe Madureira at the helm of the art, there are still many who most likely do not care who is writing the book and merely look forward to his energetic style. And whoever is writing this book will play second fiddle to Mad Joe who is an industry favorite and made his mark on the X-Men from the Age of Apocalypse to Onslaught. Apart from Jim Lee, his images are some of the most iconic for X-Fans from the 90s (maybe including the preceeding and following decades as well).

So what does that mean? The first issue will have record sales.

Soule is getting a lot of acclaim for his indie title “Letter 44” which actually is extremely good even if I’m not that impressed with the artwork. With a touch of indie-cred and the touch of an industry legend this book with reach out and draw people in who may not have regularly read this series.

But there are still two unclear things: Soule and MadJoe. Soule is a wild card in that not much is known about him and to have the reigns of the anchor-title of the all new Marvel Now is a big weight to bear for a rookie. He hasn’t done anything to make anyone doubt his abilities as a comic writer, but he hasn’t really proved he can hang with Bendis, Hickman, Fraction, Aaron, or any of the other heavyweight veterans Marvel has at their disposal. This will be his trial by fire, and while I wish the best for him (mainly because I really want the best for the Inhumans) we’ll have to wait and see on him. Joe Madureira on the other hand has a reputation not unlike John Cassaday. He has a wide following of fans, but there are always rumors of him being behind schedule and generally late on projects. Sure he delivers the goods, but if he’s late enough that another artist has to fill in for a few issues will that turn fans off of the series? We’ll have to wait and see.

ImageSurfing With An Alien

Dan Slott and Mike Allred: either you’re already on board or you’re cursing their names. These two take over the original herald this year with a Doctor Who type spin on the Silver Surfer. Dan Slott is an unashamed Whovian so when the news broke that he would be restarted the Silver Surfer series, but this time he would be giving him an companion, it wasn’t really a huge surprise. If nothing else it sounded like an original and possibly fun spin on the Surfer. The question everyone is asking is: Will it be fun, though?

Of course. Mike Allred is a fun artist. Dan Slott is a fun writer. Will either of them reshape the way we view the Marvel Universe? No, but for twenty-three pages a month you’re going to have a lot of fun on whatever quirky adventure these two decide to take you. That’s a fair promise.

Apart from killing Peter Parker, Dan Slott generally creates very fun and energetic reads. Often I feel the advertising department at Marvel oversales his comics, but they’re still good. Even his She Hulk run wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t as good as Peter David’s run, but it was still fun. And Mike Allred’s art always gives the whimsy and fun feel to comics that are reminiscent of the best of the Silver Age. So I strongly stand behind the stance that this will be a fun comic to read. I’m sure Silver Surfer purist will be upset by a slightly lighter touch on Norran Radd, but with the last name “Radd” maybe you shouldn’t take him too seriously.

ImageCall Mark Harmon!

The announced first event this year for Marvel involves the death of the Watcher and I would presume the mystery surrounding whodunnit. While DC has proven they are fairly capably at delivering superhero murder mysteries (Final Crisis and Identity Crisis), Marvel rarely goes near this genre apart from Dakota North or the CrossGen series Ruse. Yet if you look at the creative team (Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato Jr) this isn’t too far out of either of their comfort zones.

While Deodato isn’t well known for his murder mysteries and until recent years was best known for half-dressed, busty women, his shadowy style will play extremely well into a noir feeling mystery story. Jason Aaron, on the other hand, wrote the impeccable and dark series Scapled prior to his flights of fun humor on Wolverine and The X-Men. While he isn’t as strongly and consistently on the mark as Warren Ellis, Aaron has proven he has the ability to jump between serious and humor similarly.

But what does this mean for the series? Well, the Watcher will die, but no one will really notice except for those few that seriously thought that Earth X was actually part of the 616 continuity and the events from Infinity were ushering in that time. Silly people, Jim Krueger is a false prophet. My guess though is that we’ll find that someone in the Fantastic Four was sick of all voyeurism and took a little trip to the moon to pop a cap in that monstrous head. If I’m wrong, I’ll just delete this blog and refuse to admit I ever stated that.

I honestly think this looks like it will be a fairly interesting event series. With all of the past events that Marvel has put out it is just important to remember that the status quo will most likely not change that much, everyone will eventually come back from the dead, and whoever is actually guilty of the murder will be basically forgiven within a year or as soon as it is inconvenient for whichever writer is helming that character’s core book. But that doesn’t mean that the series itself won’t be entertaining and engaging while it occurs. We all hyped ourselves for an epic battle royal against Ultron thanks to an incredibly deceptive titled series last year, so the main thing is to just enjoy the premise and whatever may happen leave your expectations and all the hype behind. Remember: if you could write a better comic you probably would.

 

So goodbye, Marvel Now, and hello, New Marvel Now. Let’s hope we get more this year than just a slightly more diverse Ms Marvel. Check back next week as I start working through and reviewing this year’s all new number ones!

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