MARKLEY’S FEVERED BRAIN: marvel now too
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by Wayne Markley
Last time, I examined a number of the new Marvel’s number ones billed as marvel Now. considering that there have been so lots of number ones I thought I would also devote this blog to them, and I still have not covered all of them. as with the first batch, there is both good and great here. Of the five I am going to review today I didn’t dislike any of them, and some of them I thought were great. I need to say marvel is on a roll at the moment, even if I do not like this constant re-numbering of the titles.
Great Lakes Avengers #1
First up is great Lakes Avengers. This is a light-hearted and fun book written by Zac Gorman with art by will Robson. For those of you who did not know, the great Lakes Avengers were a group of B-grade heroes who got together to defend the upper mid-west. They had their own miniseries as well as appeared in a number of issues of the Avengers and West coast Avengers. They were originally created by John Byrne but over the years, the creators and line up have changed many times. The only real thing of note in the early appearances was Squirrel girl was the star of the early issues. This new series features Squirrel Girl, even though she is not actually in it (you have to read it to see). This issue is generally just a “Let’s get the gang back together” story, but I thought it was very satisfying and has the makings of a great series, although, to be honest, I do not expect it to last that long.
Occupy Avengers #1
Occupy Avengers is by David (Power man and Iron Fist, Nighthawk) walker with art by Carlos Pacheco and Rafael Fonteriz. I really liked this book. It is a very political story, as if the title did not give this away, and it features, so far, Hawkeye and Red Wolf. The story is set in new Mexico and it follow ups on Civil war II (spoiler warning) and the repercussions of Hawkeye killing Bruce Banner. While in new Mexico, Hawkeye comes across and joins up with Red Wolf, whose series recently wrapped up but I loved. This book has the threads to become Marvel’s leading political statement, even a lot more so than Captain America, and based on the first issue I would say it is left leaning. but I have no problem with a good political story, leaning left or right, as long as it is well done. The art by Pacheco and Fonteriz is great, it is clean and straight forward, and some of the nicest art I have seen in some time. This book seems to be a modern version of the classic O’Neil/Adams green Lantern/Green Arrow, but time will tell. but this first issue was great.
Continuing my Avengers theme, we have the Avengers #1.1 next. This is a miniseries that takes place in the early days of the Avengers. This issue takes place ideal before/during issue #16 of the original series, where the new Avengers were introduced; Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. It is written by mark Waid and drawn by Barry Kitson and mark Farmer, and with a team like that, how can this book not be fantastic? It is so fantastic that the villains are the old fantastic four villains, The Frightful Four! This book reads like the best of the Roy Thomas/John Buscema run. It is fast paced with all sorts of internal conflicts between the members, and beautiful art by Kitson and Farmer. I do hope when the series wraps up Kitson and Farmer get a regular series as they are dazzling together. This book is a need to for any individual who longs for the old days of marvel or just any individual who really enjoys a good old fashioned well done comic. (How about this creative team on a revived fantastic four book?)
The Champions was a team up book back in the 1970s which was a mix of characters that really did not fit anywhere else. It includes the Angel, Black Widow, Hercules, Ghost Rider and Ice Man. It never really caught on and is mostly looked back on as bit of a joke. marvel recently relaunched the Champions spinning out of Civil war II where all of the younger Avengers quit over philosophical differences with their elders and formed their own team consisting of Ms. Marvel, Nova, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Hulk (Amadeus Cho), Viv Vision and the young Cyclops from the past. The book is written by mark Waid (again) and it is one of his best works. It is a mix of humor, adventure and great personalities. The art is by Humberto Ramos and Victor Olazaba and it is also a best fit for the title. Ramos’ art is often too stylized for my taste and I do not care for it, but here it is toned down and is perfect. The stories are well thought out and very well put together. It makes you think and it is entertaining as well. Plus, the interaction between all of these young heroes, with all of the questions about the true purpose of being a hero and what makes a hero, is perfect. After just two issues this book has jumped to the top of my need to read pile. If they keep this quality of work up the name Champions will rates as one of the greatest team books in Marvel’s history.
Foolkiller spins out of title Deadpool and the Mercs for Money. This solo series is written by Max Bemis and drawn by Dalibor Talajic and Jose Marzan Jr. Foolkiller first appeared in the old Man-Think title and was a killer of people he thought were fools. over the years the character has gone through a number of changes and part of the reason I liked this book so much is it address the history of the character and attempts to describe all of the odd twists and turns Foolkiller has taken over the years. This is not the nicest book as it is a bit dark with all of the violence in the character’s past and in his present life, but I thought the book was a smooth read with very great art that made me want more. I am interested in where the writer Max Bemis takes the character after his last miniseries, as the worst X-Men ever was one of my favorite books in a very long time. Plus, the Dave Johnson cover made this book absolutely worth picking up.
Black Panther: world of Wakanda #1
There are a couple of miniseries that I also really enjoyed, the first issues of which are also part of the marvel now campaign. Black Panther: world of Wakanda is a five issues series by Roxane Gay and Alitha Martenez and tells the story of the Dora Milaje before the events of Black Panther #1. This was a complex story with great art that adds quite bit to the current Black Panther series. The second title is a four issue series by Genndy Tartakovsky called Cage! Genndy is joined by Stephen DeStefano on inks to do a stylized, yet very fun, take on Luke Cage back in the 1970s complete with headband and yellow tee shirt and boots. Genndy Tartakovsky is the designer of Samurai Jack as well as lots of other animated features and brings all the originality and wackiness of his animation work to the pages of this comic. A lot of fun.
Well, that wraps it up for this time. marvel seems to be on a roll with the marvel now titles being, for the most part, great, with only a few clunkers, such as Solo. I do hope occupy Avengers (with this title I think it automatically dooms the book) finds an audience. have you read any of these new books yet? What do you think? Do you like them as much as I do or am I an idiot? I welcome your feedback at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. everything I have written here is my opinion and does not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. Is there something you are reading that I am missing out on? Please let me know! I hope all of you have a safe and satisfying Thanksgiving and I am very thankful for you reading this blog and for your comments. As always…