March's Number Ones - All Marvel Edition

End of the month, and you know what that means! That's right, another round of short pithy(ish) reviews of new number ones. I don't know if you noticed, but Marvel's in the middle of a new releases initiative (Marvel Even More Now Than When They Called It Now Then), so I thought we could start by looking at their output of new series and see what that's all about. In a few days, we'll do the indies. Mmkay? Kay.
Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez. Given Carol Danvers is being handled by her previous series' writer - and that's a very good thing, by the way - I wasn't sure I should even review what what was essentially a continuation, just like I'm ignoring Daredevil's renumbering (all you need to know about THAT one is that it's the best superhero book on the stands, and has been for two years, so start getting it already, jumping on point and everything, bla bla bla). But seeing as I deserted the previous volume of Captain Marvel towards the very end, because of crossoveritis, this was a reboot I very much wanted to check out. While the first issue does make use of the previous series' supporting cast (which I love) and several Avengers, it's apparently to say some goodbye to them because Carol's new status quo will be cosmic! While that's fairly exciting - perhaps more to others than myself; I appreciate, but am not a particular fan of Marvel's space operas - I do hope we don't abandon all the Earth-bound characters. Proof is in the pudding, there's a super-charming page "drawn" by Kit, the little girl in the book. Oh, speaking of art, if the previous iteration's more abstract art turned you off (I liked it, personally), you should feel more at home with David Lopez. It's clean, realistic and makes Carol at once strong and sexy.
Keep reading? I liked the book before it decided to interrupt itself with Avengers business I cared nothing about. So I'm willing to see where DeConnick is taking Carol next.
Moon Knight by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. I'm going to go right out and admit I've never read any Moon Knight before. Cool name and design, but his back story, with the split personality disorder and Egyptian god patron seemed needlessly complicated (they say he's Marvel's Batman, but at this point, he's really Marvel's Hawkman, isn't he?) and none of the more recent creative teams managed to draw me to the title. Warren Ellis repositions Moon Knight as gentleman detective who comes out of the shadows and helps the police, in the pulp mold more than the superhero one. Gone is the spandex and cowl in favor of a white suit an simpler mask. The things Ellis has to say about him, and the absurdities heaped on the character over the years are very intriguing, and while it's a different take, it doesn't makes what went before in any way moot. Ellis may be perfect to write a completely insane superhero, and Shelvey's art is completely appropriate to the mood of the book.
Keep reading? All in!
Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Michael Allred. I'm a big fan of Michael Allred's work - his kooky, imaginative, stylish art and his charming indy approach to story - and while Dan Slott is credited as co-storyteller, Allred's fingerprints are all over this (Slott's a bit of a chameleon and had just as charming a collaboration with Allred on FF). They don't shy away from the Surfer's power - it opens on him rekindling a star that to him, is only as big as a beach ball - imposing no limits on what might possible for this series. The universe Galactus' former herald surfs through is infinitely imaginative, wondrous and impossible. We're also given a contrast in Anchor Bay, a small beachside town where Dawn, as sedentary as the Surfer is nomadic, runs a bed and breakfast. How her destiny ties into our hero's is a mystery, but one that seems ripe for exploring, and which puts a human face on the book.
Keep reading? Oh, this is bound to be one of my favorite things of 2014.
Secret Avengers by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh. I used to read Secret Avengers, but it fell victim to the Great Culling of 2013. The revamped series injects a nice dollop of humor in the concept and abandons the strange "then we brainwash you" element of the previous series. In effect, this is very much part of the "Hawkeye Universe", not just because he's a featured member, but because the book has the same sly humor, clever structural tricks, and Black Widow and Spiderwoman as BFFs. Walsh's art even looks like Aja's (cover by Tradd Moore, so you're not seeing it here). But it's more epic in scope than Hawkeye and features spoon fu, MODOK in SHIELD's basement, and explosive decompression. So a fun, action-pack start, yet still a long read thanks. Nice to feel one's investment was worth it.
Keep reading? Back on board. I'm pretty much trying everything Kot's doing right now, and I'm never disappointed. Speaking of which...
Iron Patriot by Ales Kot and Garry Brown. And in this case, I'm less enthusiastic. Maybe I missed something in some other book? Rhodey is adopting the Iron Patriot identity and making speeches; he's got a daughter and  a father; and he's fighting big lumpy kaiju in the Gulf of Mexico. I'm a bit lost. What is this series about? The family drama is an early focus, and what Brown's sketchy art is best at (he's a bit grubby on the techno/superhero elements). What it means to be a patriot, NOT a government stooge, is also part of the equation, the book borrowing from Captain America as much as Iron Man. Plus superhero action. Unlike Kot's Secret Avengers, Iron Patriot IS a quick read, with wide open panels. It just left me wanting more, in every way.
Keep reading? I don't think I can justify it based on this first issue.
All-New Ghost Rider by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore. Robbie Reyes becomes the new Ghost Rider, begging a few questions like whether or not we need a new Ghost Rider, and whether he'll always be in a car or will trade his race car for a motorcycle eventually (that's not the plan, but they might give in to temptation). The street racing material is flashy and stylish, though the way Moore draws figures may be too extreme and cartoony for some readers. I like it, and it tends to transform the gorier moments into art design. Unfortunately, Robbie because the Ghost Rider only in the final moments of the issue, so it's hard to say what the book will be like with the Spirit of Vengeance doing stuff. Robbie himself is an altruistic street hero with a penchant for illegal street races, but again, at this pace, there's no indication of how he'll juggle a normal life with that of a vengeful antihero. So...
Keep reading? In for another issue, though I must warn the creative teams, I'm not big on murderous antiheroes, so issue 2 really needs to blow my socks off.
Magneto by Cullen Bunn and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. In art as much as story, Magneto plays as a slightly creepy horror book. Magneto is painted as a anti-heroic vigilante looking to right wrongs done to mutants, and while the story is fairly simple, Magneto's inner monologue is interesting. Walta's art has a nervous, anxious line reminiscent of Guy Davis that I quite like; he can be disturbing without being disgusting. I have no interest in mutant books, but if this one can keep its nose out of X-Men related crossovers, I might read it regularly. But this is also another antihero book, so it needs to wow me quickly to keep me on board.
Keep reading? I'm willing to read the second issue, even the whole first arc, but it could fall prey to time. It's not really likely to rise to the of my list, and after a few months of not getting a certain book, there tends to be a natural culling.

So those are the Marvels I tried in March. Did you? And if you did, what did you think?


Madeley said...

I don't bring it up much, but I quite like cars (although I wouldn't call myself a petrolhead), I quite like Ghost Rider (although I wouldn't call myself a megafan), and for reasons that almost completely escape me I quite like the Fast and Furious movies. So Ghost Rider was a must-buy and I enjoyed it very much. The art style is maybe an odd choice for this kind of title, but I think it works, particularly given the hyperkinetic approach to the character.

I think Warren Ellis is a hugely talented science fiction writer with a lot of annoying, reoccuring idiosyncracies. I might check out Moon Knight, even though I have zero interest in the character, although if it errs to far towards Ellis's frustrating side I probably won't be getting it for very long.

I love the Silver Surfer, but I think the character's a difficult one to get right, particularly as I like the angsty hippy soliloquies of the John Buscema era. I don't know if Dan Slott's approach would be my cup of tea, and also my biggest comic book heresy is that I've never been that big a fan of Mike Allred.

That Magento comic has almost sold itself to me on the strength of the cover alone. That cover is gorgeous.

CalvinPitt said...

I would have tried Moon Knight and Ghost Rider if they'd been $3 an issue instead of $4. For that cost, I need more certainty I'm going to like it. Which is why I picked up Captain Marvel. DeConnick had already demonstrated she could write Carol, and I like Lopez' art. Sold. Same reason I bought the new Daredevil (my feelings on that are the same as yours).

The only other first issue I bought was Avengers Undercover. It followed up Avengers Arena, which I quite enjoyed, it had the same creative team, and I thought it went pretty well. I don't know if it'll pan out over the long haul, but the first issue was promising.

Siskoid said...

Kneel before the colorful might of Magento!!!

Sorry, had to do it.

Avengers Undercover was the other #1 this month, but as a continuation of Avengers Arena (which I dropped like a hot potato), I had virtually no interest in it, despite some of the Academy kids still being in it.

Jayunderscorezero said...

Price was also my main reason for not grabbing Silver Surfer although I did really enjoy the free digital Silver Surfer comic by the same team that was released on the same day. Great, great stuff, there.

Madeley said...

Little bit surprised there ISN'T a Magento in the Marvel U.

Siskoid said...

The Purple Man almost took the name, but the color sep process wasn't specific enough.


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