Ranking Marvel’s Fresh Start: 10 – 6


Jeff Lemire & Kim Jacinto

Ask the prolific Eisner-winning Lemire, whose recent successes include a love letter to Golden Age superheroes, Black Hammer, and various journeys into the fractured psyches of humanity, both powered and otherwise, as seen in Royal City and Bloodshot, who is the one Marvel character you’d most like to revive? Moon Knight. Okay, you’ve done that. Who is the next Marvel hero on your list?

Gotta be The Sentry. This first issue is rife with classic capes n’ tights bombast, juxtaposed brilliantly with real human struggles — a Robert Reynolds that looks like he was pulled fresh from the towns of Essex County. In fact, Kim Jacinto’s art, when it isn’t aflame with dynamic action sequences, even resembles Lemire’s illustration style, sketchy and expressionistic with every shade of human emotion wonderfully styled. – MMDG

When I saw that a new Sentry book was out, I was skeptical. The Sentry is a lot like Superman in that it’s hard to come up with scenarios that can seriously threaten them and make for suspenseful and dramatic stories. I think Superman writers overcome this with solid character writing and an exploration of his personal psychology. Seeing Lemire’s name on this book inspired confidence and it wasn’t misplaced. Lemire is the perfect guide to further explore a character that I feel is hard to write for, and has ultimately made him underutilized in the books. The situation Bob finds himself in, literally living two lives, is a great take on the super hero/alter ego concept, and I gotta say, I’m happily growing sympathy for the character. Part of that is the writing, but I immediately noticed Jacinto’s strong facial expressions. They’re intense! His illustration strengthens the juxtaposition of the golden guardian to the dark void and underlines this particular book as a psychological horror story. This could be the defining story for this character, and I’m excited to see where Lemire, Jacinto and co. take it. – tyrannofloresrex

Man can this guy rip bodies! Great art — despair with a hint of imbalance — match the tone of the story. And I’m a sucker for a cliffhanger so I’ll probably pick up #2 to see who the villian is. – lebronald



Donny Cates & Ryan Stegman

Stegman has really managed to turn his art into some next level stuff. I will keep reading as long as he is on the book. The opening Norse segment looks so good. I like Cates’s direction of making the symbiotes more of an ever-present part of the MU. Reminds of the Brubaker/Fraction Iron Fist run. Still not the biggest fan of the symbiote in general but this is well written and has a good mystery. I am intrigued enough to want to continue with this one. – MeanOldPig

I love these red faced aliens. I hope it stays dark and gets creepier. – lebronald

Still not a fan of the character, but Donny Cates has done marvelous things with Dr. Strange and Thanos in recent months, and Stegman’s art is unbelievable. I’ll be reading this. – MMDG


West Coast Avengers

Kelly Thompson & Stefano Caselli

Refreshingly, this reboot of the Hawkeye-led best-coasters seemingly has nothing to do with editorial mandates or higher-ranking media imperatives. There wasn’t an earth-shattering crossover event that necessitated a tie-in title. In fact, the impetus behind Kate Bishop’s “heroes wanted” rally is a Santa Monica infestation of a random horde of mindless landsharks. Apart from Clint Barton, AKA the original Hawkeye (who’s really more of an adorable mascot), this goofy ragtag lineup doesn’t feature a single character with an MCU counterpart. Quentin Quire, in fact, after somehow avoiding being drafted into one of the seventeen X-teams falling off the racks, gets to shackle his irascible punk apathy to the meta-fictitious fangirl enthusiasm of Gwenpool. Wonderful. You can get away with anything in the Golden State.

Thompson successfully straddles the line between a humorous pastiche of classic super-teams (like the Great Lakes Avengers book) which, while entertaining, have little staying power; and the more serious universe-at-stake melodramas that are too often the norm (see recent arcs of both The Avengers and Justice League). – MMDG

I laughed out loud at Dutch Oven. – lebronald


Doctor Strange

Mark Waid & Jesús Saiz

Magic? In comics? I’ve never understood having a sorcerer in a world where super powers are explainable traits. Magic should be reserved for different literary universes where that’s the ruling power. So I never liked Strange. But I do like the lost-power angle and my interest is piqued enough if the reviews are good. – lebronald

I love Mark Waid and the art by Saiz is some of the best in the Fresh Start (which is saying something), but I can’t help but get the feeling that this seems more like a mini-series than an extension of the ongoing title. The Gaiman-esque fairy tale of a powerless Strange questing among the stars for magical restoration just feels out of place. Good, though. And I’ll look forward to more. – MMDG


Black Panther

Ta-Nehisi Coates & Daniel Acuña

Pretty great. I’ve learned to be patient with Coates’s long, issues-spanning arcs, but this intergalactic Wakandan empire business hits the ground running. Yes, there are still lots of questions, but also lots of answers (it feels like a looong time since that teaser in Marvel Legacy #1). Looking forward to more of this afrofuturist epic in the making.. – MMDG

I always thought Black Panther was comics’ version of 70’s blacksploitation, but the movie and now this comic make him seem like an all-time hero. Gonna read this on the regular. – lebronald


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