Beginning with #1
As many people know, the Fantastic Four, despite being the quintessential Marvel team, has always been a tough gig to nail down. Beside the initial Stan and Jack run, the only two people have made their marks on the team for me: Jonathan Hickman and Mark Waid. Both runs took me a minute before falling fully behind them. This was not the case with Chip Zdarksy and Jim Cheung’s Marvel Two-in-One. I was fully invested within the first five pages.
While not being labeled a Fantastic Four book, it clearly is nothing else but that. In the post-Secret Wars world, Reed, Sue, and the kids have been out exploring the multiverse while leaving Johnny and Ben on Earth. Not knowing whether the rest of their family is actually alive has left them both in a rut. Johnny’s powers are fading and he has become a sort of adrenaline junkie trying to stimulate himself to the point of his old adventures. Ben has become a sort poster child for all charity efforts of the Fantastic Four. They are both aimless in different ways with neither of them particularly thinking that they need each other. Heartbroken over the loss of their family, they feel that the isolation from each other is the only way to heal. Zdarsky shows how wrong they both are.
Continue reading The Best of Marvel Legacy #2 – Marvel Two-in-One
Beginning with #695
Marvel probably couldn’t have picked a better creative team to follow Nick Spencer’s subversive Captain America epic than Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. As great as the Hydra-Cap saga was (and despite mixed feelings regarding the conclusion of Secret Empire, it was great; don’t let the naysayers fool you), it was time for a fresh start. And in Captain America #695, his first issue under this season’s imprint, this new creative team perfectly captures everything that we’ve ever loved about the character, celebrating his past and paving the way for the future. These guys take their Legacy directives seriously.
The stellar team behind brilliant runs on Daredevil and, most recently, Black Widow, bring that same gorgeous storytelling to this Cap relaunch. Samnee’s elegant lines and fluid layouts are matched up with a vibrant color palette that manages to capture some genuine Golden Age nostalgia. And Waid’s first storyline doesn’t completely abandon the topical political bent of Spencer’s work. Cap goes undercover, returning to a town he had first helped when fresh out of the ice years ago, to intercept the plans of a supremacist organization. There’s some of that signature Marvel chronology compression that the continuity junkies will complain about, but just give us something to get excited about, is what I always say.
Continue reading The Best of Marvel Legacy #3 – Captain America
Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man
Chip Zdarsky & Adam Kubert
beginning with #297
Chippy is quickly becoming my favorite Marvel writer. His entire run on Spidey has been great (the previous issue is an all-time favorite of mine now). He keeps up the trend with this issue and manages to make it both a great character piece and action story. The heart of Peter and the humor of Spidey is in full force. I’m going to follow this run for the entire time. – MeanOldPig
Collection: Spectacular Spider-Man Volume 2:
Most Wanted (April)
Kelly Thompson & Leonardo Romero
beginning with #13
This was great. Reminded me of Fraction/Aja run that everyone fell in love with years ago. Kelly Thompson has a great handle on Kate and Clint and I could have watched them interact for awhile. The book made me laugh a lot and moved at a good pace. Leonardo Romero’s art is good as well! Reminds me of Aja without being a rip-off. I will read more of this. – MeanOldPig
Collection: Kate Bishop: Hawkeye Volume 3 – Family Reunion (May) Continue reading Ranking Marvel Legacy: 10 – 4
Al Ewing & Javier Rodriguez
beginning with #9
I’m enjoying this, but I grin every time I think of someone picking up this book for the first time. I probably wouldn’t keep reading it either – no context, no clue, just complications. But Javier Rodriguez’s character designs, especially the Progenitors, are wondrous. – MMDG
I don’t really see how this is supposed to be a great issue to pick up on its own. I dig Al Ewing’s other work and I know it’s very rich and reading everything is required so I don’t blame him. I followed it enough and some of if seems interesting to me. I love Maximus and his dialogue was spot on. The real draw was Javier Rodriguez’s art which holy crap is good. Him drawing big science ideas is something I really enjoy so I would keep reading if he was the regular artist. – MeanOldPig
Collection: Royals Volume 2: Judgment Day
Old Man Logan
Ed Brisson & Mike Deodato, Jr.
beginning with #31
To me this book has the feel of a 70’s crime film about someone tangentially related to a crime getting pulled into it by fate. Kind of like Sydney Pollack’s The Yakuza starring Robert Mitchum. This definitely has me intrigued and will make me read more of the title. While I don’t know what will happen to this book in the near future, this story seems like a fun one. – MeanOldPig
Collection: Old Man Logan Volume 7 (July) Continue reading Ranking Marvel Legacy: 20 – 11
Brian Michael Bendis & Oscar Bazaldua
beginning with #234
Judging a Bendis book as a jumping-on point is always a tough thing to do. The man is all about telling stories that have been years in the making. I don’t always like those stories but I’ve always liked his Miles Morales books so I dug this one. The Sinister Six is a concept that I always get behind and think you can have some good stories with. Do I think you can just pick up this book and enjoy it without any context? Yeah, but it is a bit like diving into the deep end and figuring it out. I liked it, but with Bendis’s announcement that he is jumping to DC, I can only wonder if this is his final Spider-Man story? – MeanOldPig
Collection: Spider-Man: Miles Morales Volume 5 (August)
Brian Michael Bendis & David Marquez
beginning with #6
Still a little lukewarm on Bendis. While there wasn’t anything bad about this issue, nothing from a script POV really blew me away. This is entertaining but not anything that I am salivating for more of. I do love a good Hell’s Kitchen War so there is that, and the team does have a lot more character than the TV show. The Marquez art and my own curiosity will probably make me give it one more shot. – MeanOldPig
I’m sick of Deadpool. Marquez’s art has never been better; Bendis can still ably write a team book; and, for the most part, I dig these characters. But I’m so sick of Deadpool. – MMDG
Collection: Defenders Volume 2: Kingpins of New York (June) Continue reading Ranking Marvel Legacy: 30 – 21
Christina Strain & Amilcar Pinna
beginning with #85
I’m not sure why I have such a soft spot for this series. Could be the contrarian in me reacting to all the hate; I actually like Pinna’s off-kilter art style. It’s refreshing to see something produced with effort, no matter how odd, when so many of these other Legacy titles have been trotted out with boring, lazy art. Maybe I want this to recapture some of the magic from Jason Aaron’s Wolverine & The X-Men series. But maybe it’s just time to give up. This book is doomed. – MMDG
Collection: Generation X Vol. 2: Survival of the Fittest (April)
Al Ewing & Paco Diaz
beginning with #11
I’m split on this. I really liked all the Sam stuff in his Archie prison world. I even liked the Celestial space robbers gang but there is always something missing from these books for me. I’m never sure why; Bobby and Sam are my two favorite mutants and their friendship is so good. Maybe it’s the team or some sort of tonal balance. A lot of the humor beside the Cannonball stuff didn’t really click for me. I just don’t buy the team as a whole and don’t really feel invested. While not bad, it’s not really my thing. – MeanOldPig
Collection: U.S.Avengers Volume 2: Cannonball Run Continue reading Ranking Marvel Legacy: 40 – 31
Gerry Duggan and Scott Koblish
beginning with #287
It’s impressive that Duggan’s Deadpool reign has been going this long but that’s about the only positive thing I can say about this. I don’t need to see him anymore. – MeanOldPig
There are a few charming pieces of artwork here and there, but everything else about Despicable Deadpool is pretty subpar. – IP
Collection: Despicable Deadpool Vol. 1: Deadpool Kills Cable (March) Continue reading Ranking Marvel Legacy: 53 – 41
Announced last summer, Marvel’s latest publishing initiative gave us a lot to get excited about. Marvel Legacy promised storylines that would celebrate our new era of heroes by connecting them back to decades of Marvel tradition. The past and the future would come together, and titles would honor that continuity by renumbering, keeping sequence across various volumes and series reboots. Those homage covers were a fantastic precursor (albeit somewhat ruined by the lenticular publication; hard to visualize either cover when you actually pick up the variant book).
And then the one-shot that kicked off this business, Marvel Legacy #1, became the single highest-selling comic book of 2017. Future Avengers, a Black Panther planet, the possible return of the Fantastic Four and Wolverine… so much happening in the coming months!
For a variety of reasons, however, Marvel’s Legacy initiative has been widely regarded as a failure. The company has been embattled by a number of issues since last fall, most of which have nothing to do with the actual comic books being published. Controversial firings, surprising departures, and rumbles from readers and retailers alike who somehow haven’t been able to get onboard with Marvel’s push for diversity, have coincided with declining sales. So while we await the directives from the new editor-in-chief, and news of possibly another series re-start, we brave Idlers take a look back in an attempt to assess the positive aspects of this latest launch.
Continue reading Marvel Legacy Ranked
Lost amid the tumult of retailer backlash, public relations nightmares, and declining sales, Marvel Comics has been soldiering forth with its Legacy initiative, boldly releasing books that apparently only a select few of us want to read. And although the bulk of the work on Avengers: No Surrender had been completed well before Axel Alonso was fired and shortsighted readers across the country demanded “recognizable superheroes,” I rather like to think that Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub got together and said: “You know what? Fuck those guys. They want a white Captain America and boy Thor, they can buy a ticket to the movies.” Then they pulled a shit-load of B-listers together for a weekly Avengers event.
Avengers #675 marks the first issue in the No Surrender event, and, with the coordinated cancellation of the surprisingly entertaining Uncanny Avengers and charmingly goofy U.S.Avengers, this is the only regular title for Earth’s Mightiest for the time-being. So, naturally, we’ll get a team with a three-headed leader of Sam Wilson, Roberto DaCosta, and Rogue. Take that, MCU.
It gets better. The premise of this storyline is that the planet has been stolen by an unknown force (and will soon be the battleground for two teams of villainous cosmic heavyweights), and the majority of the Avengers (that is, guys most people have heard of) are trapped in stasis. That leaves the avenging duties to folks like Hercules, Brother Voodoo, Cannonball, and, I shit you not, Living Lightning.
Continue reading Avengers: No Surrender
Fourteen weeks into the Legacy initiative, Marvel publishes the 53rd and last of its promoted title launches with Charles Soule and Phil Noto’s Astonishing X-Men #7. This book had been one of our favorites when it was launched at the tail-end of RessurXion because of the smart writing, slick art, and excellent team dynamic, and now, wrapping up the glut of Legacy releases, it serves as a good reminder that the future of Marvel Comics may be far more reliant on the marginalized mutant branch of the superhero tree than the company realized, or would care to admit.
There are a precious few of us longing for the return of Reed, Sue, and the Fantastic Four proper (although Zdarsky and Cheung’s new Marvel Two-in-One is keeping us pretty happy). And there are more than a few of us rolling our eyes every time another top-tier character dies or is otherwise melodramatically shown the door (stay dead, Mar-Vell). But there is likely a very large number of casual post-Claremont fans who have either grown up with the X-Men cartoon, discovered the characters in Bryan Singer’s movies, or have a fond remembrance of X-books of the 90’s who don’t understand why there are so many damn mutant books on the stands, with not a one of them featuring a certain bald telepath.
Continue reading Astonishing X-Men #7