Thursday, May 3, 2012

Comic Book Review: Three Marvel Comics that are actually good reads.

I have to say that it has been quite a few years since I've been able to actually enjoy reading a Marvel Comic book. The entire Civil War/Dark Reign/Whatever event we're running continuously now because we have no idea how to actually write comics caused me to get bored with their entire line of comics.  I think Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. was the last series I actually liked, beyond the ubiquitous Marvel Zombies titles. I did try to follow the Red Hulk storyline as well, and liked The Twelve (which is finally being finished as I write this).

This year I've actually found three Marvel Comics series in the past few months that have both been readable and enjoyable.

The first title is Avenging Spider-Man. Despite the name, this is basically a re-working of Marvel Team-Up, as every month Spidey is highlighted with another character. The first three issues are a complete story featuring Spidey, Red Hulk and J. Jonah Jameson (now Mayor of New York) facing off against the Mole Man and a new subterranean race. The stories are scripted as well as the last incarnation of MTU, and the artwork is superb. And, more importantly, the stories have a lot of humor, something that's been missing from the Marvel Universe for a long time. Issues #6 and 7 are crossing over with the newest series of both Punisher and Daredevil, which should be a fairly intriguing story, as they face off against a conglomeration of all the various high tech super-secret (not) villain organizations. Really, I'm just happy to see a team-up book back on the stands.

The next on-going title that I'm enjoying reading is The Defenders, back in their own book that has the motto "protecting humanity from the impossible." I'm assuming this group will have the same kind of nebulous membership as the original did. Doctor Strange, the Sub-Mariner and the Silver Surfer return, joined by Iron Fist and Red She-Hulk. The initial storyline has the team going to Wundagore Mountain to protect a reality-altering device from an age-old spirit that has embodied the original Hulk's rage. There's a lot of humor, especially from the conflict of these diverse personalities, a lot of good action and the requisite strangeness that has always marked any Defenders title.

The third title I'd like to mention is actually the current "big event" at Marvel: Avengers vs. X-Men. I haven't liked the "big events" at either Marvel or DC for quite a long time. Hell, I think that last one that was any good was the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.  But the first two issues of this series make me hope that things have changed. The story starts with Nova, the Human Rocket, crashing in the middle of New York City from outer space, where Captain America and the Avengers discover that the Phoenix has reappeared. Naturally, they'd like to stop her from destroying anymore planets. Cyclops and the X-Men would like to keep Hope Summers, who is manifesting the powers of her mother, safe from the Avengers. And just as naturally, a battle royale ensues. The two issues I've read where very enjoyable, with good characterizations and somehow none of the multitudes are really left by the wayside, a major feat in itself.

I'd love to think that Marvel has actually listened to their fans and started giving them what they want: Good, solid story lines without a lot of the trimmings that come with multi-book annual crossovers.  However, since each of these comics I've mentioned was published under at least three or more covers, I'm going have to leave conclusion for a later time, to see if these books can maintain the same level of quality.

But as for right now, these three titles are definitely worth reading, and are a good jumping on point for new fans and older ones who have been alienated by a very dull status quo.


by Rich Meyer

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