As many readers may be aware, Marvel Comics is in the midst of a semi-relaunch. In the wake of Avengers vs. X-Men, several books have been restarted and the Marvel Universe as a whole is in a different place. This has seen a lot of shuffling of creative teams. What I have now is some initial thoughts on the current Marvel Now! titles:
I’ll be honest, my expectations going into this book were very, very low. I think Brian Michael Bendis is talented when he sticks to his niche, which is street-level crime drama. His work on books like Powers, Alias, Daredevil, etc. is undeniably excellent. But his mainstream Marvel work, like the Avengers books, has been very lackluster. It felt like I was reading an Avengers book written by someone who didn’t really like the Avengers. So I was understandably nervous when I heard Bendis would be moving over to X-Men, as the X-Men are what first got me into comics. Fortunately, this issue is actually a very good start. I’m still a bit iffy on the logistics of how the X-Men of the past come into the present and Storm’s dialogue was a bit melodramatic, but it isn’t enough to turn me off to this.
I was very disappointed in this book. Deadpool has not been funny since Gail Simone was writing it, and that’s sad. It’s not hard to make Deadpool funny — he’s a walking lawsuit who breaks the fourth wall, the jokes should write themselves. But for some reason, ever since Gail Simone left, no one’s been able to handle a Deadpool solo series (this doesn’t include the very excellent work done by writers who have used Deadpool in ensemble books to excellent effect, such as Fabian Nicieza’s Cable & Deadpool or Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force). In this set-up, you have Deadpool going up against zombie Presidents. Especially in this current political climate, that’s awesome! It’s the kind of idea I’d wish I thought of. But the execution falls and aside from a few random giggles (which were unrelated to the plot), this book is not funny.
The writing in Iron Man #1 was actually very good. But there is one, major problem — and that is the art. I don’t know why, but for some reason Marvel put one of their best writers with one of their worst artists on this title. Salvador Larroca was an amazing artist. And he’s a guy who can actually draw on his own. Why Marvel chose to replace him with Greg “I Need to Photoshop Porn Stars” Land is beyond me. But the art failings are unfortunately very obvious. The armor scenes are done well, but when we have to see Tony outside of the armor, we’re greeted with exaggerated expressions that make no sense whatsoever.
Against my better judgment, I really enjoyed the beginning of this series. I like that Havok is becoming a bigger factor. Rogue and Scarlet Witch’s animosity felt a bit forced, though.
Thor: God of Thunder
I really don’t know what to think of this book. It’s got a lot of old school mythology/flashbacks, which could prove very interesting. I do like how Jason Aaron isn’t shying away from Thor’s attitudes as a god of old times, though — the whole thing feels authentic
I have to be honest, this is the title that disappointed me the most. I’d only recently become acquainted with Kelly Sue DeConnick through her work on Captain Marvel (which I liked). But her Avengers Assemble felt very forced and unnatural.
From my experience so far, the best Marvel Now books seem to be Uncanny Avengers, Thor: God of Thunder, and (surprisingly) All-New X-Men,