The Avengers have been in the fiercest battle of their lives, as of late, with another super powered team.
All summer, instead of the typical super clash of powers resulting in no real coherent storytelling, Marvel decided to pull the rug out from under us and take the fight to another level. 5 issues in to the main “Avengers vs. X-Men” series, the fighting became heavily on the side of the X-Men as five of their members absorbed the powers of the cosmic force known as the Phoenix.
With it, even Thor can be thrashed about.
Speaking from firsthand experience interacting with multiple comic book fans, it seemed like the excitement for a series such as this was waning. Yes, it was being released around the same time at the height of “The Avengers” movie mania, but what else was the hook?
Turns out, a major cosmic destruction event like this can be both explosive and unexpectedly intelligent. Combining respectable storytelling with fun that cannot be had anywhere else.
The series itself has just published its tenth issue, meaning we are that much closer to reaching a conclusion that will have untold ramifications on the Marvel Universe and all of the superheroes that inhabit it.
Well, we have been kind of told.
Following the end of the Avengers and X-Men war, we will be given the line wide initiative known as Marvel NOW.
This initiative launches once “Avengers vs. X-Men” wraps up, whoever the winner may be. What Marvel comics is hoping to do is start fresh and wrap up years worth of stories as well as runs by authors on books they’ve written for years. The hope is to bring newer readers to the genre and take the current authors and writers out of their natural habitats, making the series all the more desirable.
Sounds vaguely similar to what DC Comics did a year ago with the “New 52”…
Come to think of it, they’re reaching the conclusion of their first year. We’ll get to that later on as well…
So Marvel is taking the “bring in fresh faces” route and trying to attract new readers by rolling out a collection of brand new comic book series. Some of them are new; some are just brand new #1s of series that have been in print for a while. So, similar to the New 52, Marvel is attempting a major grab at new readership and bringing in fans of the comic book world that may have never read comic books before. You can say what you want about the major publishing company, when they want to bring in new readers, they do not try to hide that fact.
Will it work, though? Here’s a small rundown of some of my favorite series that have been released so far. And which ones have the potential to be, I don’t know, good?
Uncanny Avengers, written by Rick Remender and drawn by John Cassaday
Currently, yes, the Avengers are smashing face first into the X-Men. With explosions and bright shiny lights and all that, but,
come October, a new team of Avengers will arise. Well, technically, 3 new teams of “Avengers” comics will arise, but this is the big one. This is the combination of both Avengers and X-Men, to form a team to protect both the mutant and human world.
Author Rick Remender is becoming one of the biggest writers at Marvel. Typically, though, he writes characters that stay out of the spotlight such as X-Force and Venom. Characters with deeply troubling pasts that prefer to keep their fights out of the knowledge of the world.
Now, though, it appears he’s stepping center stage and I could not be happier. In their first huge adventure, Captain America, Wolverine, Scarlet Witch, Rogue, Thor and Havok tackle the Red Skull and his living propaganda machine, Honest John. What kind of adventures are these for Avengers to handle? Sounds awesome though.
On the art side, no one could be more excited for John Cassaday than I am. His realistic, detailed and, most important, human art style seems to be a perfect fit for this. The last time he did major super-hero work was almost 4 years ago, so the fact that he’s drawing such big names in the Marvel Universe is a cause for dancing.
Well, not really, but close.
Indestructible Hulk, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Leinil Yu
If there’s one man that knows how to write comic books, it’s Mark Waid. Being a veteran of over 20 years, Waid has written darn near every superhero in comics and has even delved deep into independent comics.
Not to mention, he’s also fresh off of winning 3 Eisner Awards for his work on Daredevil, revitalizing the characters motus operandi by bringing him out of the perpetual spiral of darkness that he always seemed to find himself in. Daredevil, much like the Hulk, suffered from a poor movie performance so is typically written off by the general public.
Actually, that sounds like a great idea for a column in the near future.
Anyway, what works so well about this comic is that it sounds like Mark Waid is going to give the newly adjectived Indestructible Hulk a purpose, now, instead of just dragging him through the desert all mopey and sad.
He’s turning him into a certified agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
S.H.I.E.L.D., as you know, is that organization from “The Avengers” movie with all the guns and flying airships and Samuel L. Jackson.
Also, Leinil Yu is drawing it. And anytime Leinil Yu draws anything, it’s time to pick it up and indulge in the amazingness that is sure to follow.
Finally, one more series to look at that I think definitely is worth mentioning.
The Mighty Thor, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Esad Ribic
Like I’ve stated before, Thor is a most difficult character to lock down.
It’s a hard task to balance the god-like properties of his stories, which almost need to play out like Greek Myths or fantasy tales on the scale of J.R.R. Tolkien,
while keeping him grounded in the realistic Marvel Universe.
I think, again, Marvel Comics has chosen the right writer for the job in a vein similar to Mark Waid on the Hulk.
Jason Aaron has a wonderful skill at creating characters that exhibit an edgy nature with relatable, humanistic qualities. According to solicits, his first story will take place throughout Thor’s history, as he battles someone called The God Butcher over the course of thousands of years. The rebellious Thor from the past, the superhero Thor we all know from the present, and the old, cranky god-king Thor of the future.
Esad Ribic is a style I grow to love more and more. While, certainly, he has the chops to produce wonderful covers like the first issue, his most recent run on “The Ultimates”, an alternate-version of the Avengers, showed his knack for drawing end of the world sequences of action and adventure; while balancing this skill for world ending, he never lightens up on the emotion.
The drama needed for ‘The Mighty Thor”, that balance between story and power, is something I think that both Aaron and Ribic will handle with marvelous dexterity.
None of those series caught your eyes? How about a new Invincible Iron Man armor? Or a Captain America fighting fascism in a micro world? What about a Deadpool fighting the zombie presidents of years past?
Are any of these stories going to be any good? Who knows?
What I do know is that I don’t want to miss a single one in case it’s marvelous.
In addition to writing for the column “Comic Matters” for the Tucson Citizen website, Bobby Acosta is also a 5th Grade Elementary school teacher, frequenter of local comic book shop Heroes & Villains, and explorer of the importance of comics. He recommends each and every comic he writes about.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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