Marvel NOW! Review, Part 1
I review some of Marvel's newest titles
With Marvel NOW! in full swing, I have decided to review the current books, then give an update when NOW! has finally stopped. So far, I have really liked Marvel NOW! titles. I have had the blessing of being able to read a lot of them. I am currently reading: A+X
Cable and X-Force
The Superior Spider-Man
Thor: God of Thunder
Journey into Mystery
Wolverine and the X-Men
For the rest of this article, I will review up to New Avengers with the rest being taken care of in parts 2 and 3.
So the gist of A+X is teaming up an Avenger and an X-Man. It’s usually just for a standalone adventure, but at least one has had some relevance in the Marvel Universe. Some of my favorite teams have been Iron Man and Shadowcat, Gambit and Hawkeye, and Captain America and Cable (+Bucky). These adventures last half an issue and are completely resolved by the end. It’s not deep, but they’re and quick and easy read. If you have a few extra bucks, I would definitely pick it up, but it’s certainly not anything to rave about. 3 ½ Stars
Brian Bendis, Stuart Immonen
All-New X-Men is fantastic! It offers a refreshing take on the X-Men and brings back the whole soap opera of it all. Bendis delivers great characters, which is all made even better with Immonen’s great pencils. In the current arc, Beast brings back First Class to make Cyclops see what he’s done and basically to make Summers feel guilty. On of the things I love most about it is that Wolverine is back in his rightful place as breakout supporting character. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wolverine but I think he works best like Deadpool; awesome in supporting roles. The only criticism I have about this is that Beast’s sudden illness feels rather shoehorned in for fan service to ape-Beast and that young Angel and Iceman haven’t been given much dialogue. This book is a must have for any self respecting X-Fan and is the best X-Title out there.
4 ½ Stars
Cable and X-Force
Dennis Hopeless, Salvador Larroca
Cable and X-Force is one of those titles where you just want more from it. It has so much potential in its cast (Colossus, Domino, Cable, Dr. Nemesis, Forge, and Hope Summers) yet it seems to serve no purpose in the bigger scheme of things. I am hoping that it will go somewhere soon, but as of right now it’s just completely average. To its credits, it does address some of the costume issues and has a good Colossus showcase. Special credits go to Larroca who makes each page feel electrifying. If you’re on the fence about this one, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to not get it. However, with an interesting cast it does have potential.
3 ½ Stars
Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opena
This is the best Marvel NOW! title by far. With stunning pencils by Opena and great dialogue and characterization from Hickman, this is any comic fan’s dream title. The current arc is still mostly about recruitment, but it’s been a fun ride all along. There’s nothing wrong I can see about it, but it may help that I’m the biggest Opena fan there is. It has given way to some of the best lines in modern comics (we have beer, we have money), this is an absolute must buy. One of the best things for me about it is the interesting credit layout, which is also continued in New Avengers. Its fun to try and figure out the more obscure symbols and whom they belong to in the main Avengers team. Speaking of the team, the main Avengers team focuses on the cinematic one with Iron Man, Cap, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Black Widow mostly leading. However, these last few issues have been in flashback form showing how some characters got on the team. The other Avengers include, but aren’t limited to, Cannonball, Sunspot, Wolverine (of course), Spider-Man (Parker for now), Spider-Woman, and Captain Marvel. With great writing matched by even greater art, this book is absolutely perfect. 5 Stars
Rick Remender, John Romita Jr.
Remender has to follow up the masterpiece that was Ed Brubaker’s nearly decade long run on Captain America. Instead of continuing the espionage tone of the old title, he goes absolutely crazy. Right now, Steve Rogers is fighting his way through Arnim Zola’s Dimension Z with a kid of unknown potential taken under Rogers’s wing. It’s been fun to read, plus there have been some interesting flashbacks to Steve’s childhood, something that hasn’t been explored all that much. Remender graces us once again with great writing in which there’s really only been about 3 characters. However, Romita Jr drops the balls at some moments with some problems in faces and action scenes, most notably failing at art duties in the cover art of the debut issue. 3 Stars
Brian Posehn & Gerry Dugan, Tony Moore
Like I said before, Deadpool works better in a limited capacity. Some may disagree with me, but Deadpool shines in Uncanny X-Force, but his own series has mostly failed. This is no exception. This first arc gives way to some zany adventures with ghost Ben Franklin and zombie presidents, but it has almost no substance. Deadpool’s most interesting features include his limited sanity, his twisted mind, and his unlimited killing abilities. Almost none of these things have really been featured. Plus, I’m not a big fan of the Merc with a Mouth being an agent of SHIELD. I’m going to give it till the finish of the next arc, but don’t be surprised it this isn’t reviewed next time. However, I may pick it back up if there’s a creator shake up.
Matt Fraction, Mark Bagely
Fraction has worked wonders with Marvel’s Family of Superheroes. The chemistry between characters has been magnificent and you really feel peril in the form of Mister Fantastic’s disease, since its completely possible that the rest of the team could get it at any time, given that its due to the unstable molecules reacting weird. This first arc starts with them going off to space for a year in their time, but for four minutes back on Earth with the FF (Ant Man, She Hulk, Medusa, Miss Thing) replacing them for that time window. Of course, you can tell that nothing is going to stay on plan. Each character is clearly defined and has great writing. Bagley’s art is nothing spectacular, but seems just right for the Fantastic Four. 4 Stars
Mark Waid, Lenil Yu
Indestructible Hulk is Marvel NOW!’s breakout book to me. Waid once again reinvigorates a classic character, this time the Hulk, by changing the characters setting and personality. Bruce Banner now realizes that the Hulk “condition” can’t be reversed so he just accepts that and becomes an agent of SHIELD. This seems to be in line with Ruffalo’s portrayal near the end of Avengers where he’s just like “let’s have fun with it.” Lenil Yu once again amazes with his pencils. The only drawback to this series was the overly expository first issue. 4 ½ Stars
Kieron Gillian, Greg Land
This series has been magnicficently disappointing for many reasons. First off, the old series Invincibile Iron Man was underwhelming. Secondly, Kieron Gillian is on it! He reinvented both Journey into Mystery and (Kid) Loki. Much more is expected than what’s been given to us. And to finally hammer in the nail, Greg Land’s art is far from spectacular or even good. All of the new suit designs have been bland to say the least. Each issue seems to have the same format. Tony Stark finds someone abusing Extremis, he finds them, gets it back and wins. This first arc is nothing special or even new and is lacking in many ways. By and far the worst Marvel NOW! title.
Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting
This series just premiered, so there’s not really I can say about this. With the lineup being a new Illuminati, this has extreme potential to either be extremely boring or be one of the most engaging books in recent times. The first issue didn’t blow me away, but was a great Black Panther tale. 3 Stars (so far)
In short, its clear that Avengers and Indestructible Hulk have been the winners of these Marvel NOW! titles. Of course, this is all just my opinion. Thanks for the long read! What do you think of these new books? Share below!
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