I have now read all the recent issues of Avengers and New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opena, and Steve Epting. I don’t get it. I enjoyed the characters in Avengers but the villains in both are not interesting or frightening. The solutions are simplistic and a little annoying because they just end with no actual solution, even though the characters think they are over. The saddest part is I read Avengers 2 before Avengers 1 because I grabbed the wrong issue and I didn’t feel any more loss in the storyline than I did after I read the first one. Each issue (all seven) cost $3.99 so it was $28 worth of comics. I don’t know if I got my money’s worth – especially from New Avengers, which seems to be about a story that I missed a large chunk of it even though I don’t know where I missed it from. The art was never the problem. It was good. But nothing that really set it apart.
To drop a book or not drop a book…I wish it was a question. Instead, it is a several month dilemma of weighing factors of quality, quantity, and more. I buy comics that I have bought for sixteen straight years – no questions asked. There are books that I drop after the first issue. However, the hardest books to deal with are those that have something I really like, but also something that makes me not want to even open the cover. Prophet and Doctor Who are two examples of this current dilemma.
Prophet is a reimagining of a character created by Rob Liefeld back in the earlier days of Image comics. It is a book I want to support – independent creators trying something new; beautiful art and imagination that expand what a comic can be; and something that is deeper and more intense than a typical 20 page flip-through. I open up each issue and love looking at it.
It has a unique stay that brings all the weirdness to life. The art team of rotating penciled featuring Roy, Milonogiannis, and Dalrymple have created a beautiful universe to play in. However, I have no idea what is going on and remember nothing from the previous issue, even if I read it only hours earlier.
Brandon Graham is an interesting creator that I really want to like. I have bought King City and Multiple Warheads. Some of the themes are utterly fascinating. But I don’t care. It reads hollow to me. I understand why people love this book and I see all of the interesting turns Graham is taking. But it just isn’t for me. And I should not continue to spend $4 hoping that the book will finally click with me.
But unlike a novel where I can just walk away and not think twice about disregarding something that other people obviously would like, comics makes me want to support products that break the mold so that publishers continue to break the mold. The fear is that they will just release another Green Lantern series or an Avengers spinoff, so anything unique deserves my money, even if I don’t like it. Weird, huh?
Unlike Prophet, I love and get the concept of Doctor Who. I watch the television series and think these characters would translate well to comics. But I am again disappointed. However, Andy Diggle’s writing is not the problem in this recent issue. He provides the lightness to the characters as they exist on screen. He creates a nice setup with the wise cracking alien, a femme fatale, a ship captain, and various peripheral characters. It hits the twist at the end of the first issue to get wrapped up in the next issue. It has great pace and charming dialogue.
But the art is incredibly distracting. It looks incredibly rushed. But remember this is a two-issue arc. Josh Adams started with this issue and it looks completely rushed. If this was a rush job by IDW, they need to work on their editorial mandates right away. This is unacceptable work. If this is how Josh Adams wants his characters to look, then he may need to reexamine his motives.
For example, the aliens have nothing unique about them. One is a short gray blob. The artist can do anything. Look at what any of the Prophet artists do with this freedom to create above. The characters has interesting aspects to their costumes. A lot can be read into them by a quick glance. All of the aliens here look like they have to meet the BBC budget guidelines from 1974. There are never any backgrounds. It is always just a color wash. Again, look at any of the work in Prophet. If this is written to be 1974 or low-budget, then I suppose I am not the market for this book, but it is incredibly distracting to never have nice backgrounds in panels or to have any imagination going into any of the character designs.
Additionally, below are pictures of how Rory and Amy look in the issue. This actually looks like something that the artist used a photo reference for. It has Amy’s inquisitive face and Rory looking at her with a little bit of awe and fear.
But they have different facial features as the story continues. I have no idea how tall or chubby Amy is from these drawings. Rory’s strong features get molded by clay into a blob. Amy’s arms come out at her at angles that don’t even make any sense
The art is incredibly rushed and incredibly lazy. And it makes me want to ditch the story. It is distracting and bothersome. Rory looks like and old man who is waiting for someone to feed him pudding and Amy went from being tall and thin and only a couple inches short than Rory to a fireplug with a square face. She looks like she was turned into an ape woman.
Previously…Cyclops, possessed by the Phoenix, killed Professor Xavier. Wolverine runs a school. People are afraid of mutants again and there are more and more appearing after a few “years” of No More Mutants.
All New X-Men starts on a strange note. Like the last book called New X-Men, something is happening to Beast. But Stuart Immonen draws an awesome Beast. He is the focus of this first story arc, even though he falls ill. But you can tell exactly what is going on with him through his pain, his sorrow, and his decision to go back and grab the original X-Men at their most innocent.
Immonen does emotion well. In the third issue, where the story seems to pause for an issue, all of the problems with Magneto’s and Cyclops’s powers are apparent in their body language no the interesting use of cartoonish power failures.
The ink lines are consistent with recent Immonen pencils. It is a thick style that allows the characters to pop off the page. X-Men is at its best when it is a pop comic (as Grant Morrison noted when he took over the book). Though this isn’t the same pop he was referring to, it works. In the image below, the line work surrounding the returning X-Men but the background structures do not have the same dark lines. And for whatever reason, when I took this picture, Angel consumed the flash. Read what you will into that.
As for the story, we have three new mutants who I am sure will be Chandler-style guns: a girl who can stop time and space, a boy who can bring the injured back from the dead, and someone who can mimic the look of another person. So, obviously, we have a double agent, someone will be revived, and time and space will continue to be manipulated. As Cyclops builds his team, they will probably be there.
But why? Cyclops is supposedly trying to rehabilitate himself but he killed or injured a whole set of cops who had Emma in custody. Magneto is right – this isn’t a redemption story. Cyclops knew what he was doing and he will have to accept who he is now and how he came this far. I hope Bendis goes with this storyline as it could be really interesting. After finishing his Avengers run, there were so many possibilities that didn’t go anywhere. Let’s hope X-Men stays on track. And that Scott doesn’t do the X-arm sign like his just scored a touchdown again.
The story is about the steps we take to get where we think we need to get. Beast warped time. Cyclops started a revolution. The other characters are there-but I will assume they will have more to do soon. And I hate Illyana. Why do so many Marvel writers like her? I don’t get the character at all. She seems horrible.
I enjoyed the dialogue. The story has a lot of potential. The art is amazing. It is definitely the cleanest artwork that I have seen thus far in Marvel Now. I’m in. If you’re interested, I have a digital code in the books, so the first person to leave a comment can get my digital codes for the three issues.
Of the six titles that DC just cancelled, I had decided to drop five of the six by this point, even though I started reading all but Static Shock at the start. Men at War and Blackhawks didn’t have what I was looking for in new war comics. Both I thought were very well done, but they didn’t excite me to pick up the next issue. Mister Terrific also seemed fine, but as I try to save some money, this was an easy book to drop. Hawk and Dove was only on the list because Sterling Gates was writing the book. Once it was announced that he was off the book, so was I. I have never read anything Rob Liefeld has written, but these characters were not interesting enough for me to continue. I enjoy OMAC but it is a book that did not seem destined to be long for the world as Keith Giffen was moving onto new books and Dan Didio has other things to do.
I am excited about some of the new books:
Batman Incorporated should be good. I am interested to see where it takes place and how it continues between old DC and new DC. I also enjoy Chris Burnham’s art. And who doesn’t like Grant Morrison? Show me this man and I will question his judgment.
Earth 2 by James Robinson and Nicola Scott will be entertaining. I liked Robinson’s end of JLA. I thought he took marginal characters and made them exciting and fun. It was a light heartened book with some serious storylines. The Eclipso story really showed what a good character Donna Troy can be when put with the right people. With the Justice Society being on another Earth, I am expecting a JLA/JSA cross-over by the end of the year. I would assume Geoff Johns will be writing it.
I love Power Girl. The entire run of her last series was fantastic, so though the Huntress mini-series isn’t that enthralling, I’ll pick this one up. The art alone should be worth it.
Dial H is one of my favorite concepts. A regular person finds a phone dial and becomes a hero when he or she dials H-E-R-O. The Will Pfeiffer run about ten years ago was fantastic and China Mieville is a great novelist. I saw him talking to Shelly Bond at the Chicago Comic-Con. I know nothing about the artist but with Brian Bolland doing covers, they should be entertaining.
However, I am done with war books so I will not be getting G.I. Combat and I don’t think I’ll be picking up the Ravangers as I am not reading Superboy. I’m assuming several of DC’s favorite sidelined teenage heroes (possibly Static Shock and Spoiler) will appear in this book. I would also guess that a Wildstorm character or two will be there.
Anyways, more fun in the comic world