Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year, Marvel NOW!

I have already said that I have an affinity for Marvel comic books, so I may be biased.  When comparing DC's New 52 "reboot" with Marvel NOW!'s "non-reboot", Marvel wins hands down.

Good things were already happening at Marvel in 2012: Fear Itself (the 2011 event) was finally over. Hickman's run on Fantastic Four and FF were amazing!  Bendis ran Avengers for longer than any other writer in Marvel history, and he did amazing things with them.  Fraction's Iron Man was solid.  Defenders got resurrected with a bang and retired with a whimper (sorry Marvel, it wasn't all good).

The big event of the Marvel year was AvX, Avengers vs X-men, which sounded like a gimmick, and ended up being pretty damned good.  I especially liked when Black Panther slaps the science out of Tony Stark just as he was going to go all Civil-War-Serious on us again.  (Tony only gets to tear the world apart once a decade!)  Cyclops started sliding into madness years ago (in my opinion) and the Phoenix Force just made it so everyone else could see it.  AvX managed to hit the other books without making them slaves to the "big event" (which shows that maybe Marvel is learning from it's past mistakes.)  Wolverine reopening the school turned out to be a really fun ride and showed what an ensemble cast book could be like, in Wolverine and the X-men.  New Mutants had a great year (thanks Abnett and Lanning) especially the "Date with the Devil" issue #37--possibly the best single issue I read all year!

Marvel did get bought by Disney last year.  This still kind of creeps me out and makes me worry, but so far so good.
Marvel movies did great: Avengers anyone?

So 2012 was a good year for Marvel.
And then they announced Marvel NOW! (which has to have CAPS and an Exclamation Mark!) the new "not a reboot" of the Marvel line.  Uh Oh!, I thought to myself.  Marvel is going to do a DC-style New 52 (which I did not think turned out well for DC).
But so far, so good in my opinion.

Marvel moved all their most popular writers and artists around, giving them fresh books to work on.  This resulted in some really good endings to some of the existing story arcs.  Fantastic Four, Avengers, New Avengers, Iron Man, Spider-man all got interesting stories that their old teams wanted to tell before they left.

And NOW! the new Marvel NOW! issues have been coming out (with more promised for later).
Bendis is on X-men now.  He did my least favorite thing and did a time travel story where the 1960's teenager X-men meet the new screwed up X-men.  I didn't want to like it.  But it is turning out to be really great.
Matt Fraction has taken the Fantastic Four on an intergalactic road trip.  And put a replacement FF team on Earth to hold down the fort.  I can't wait to see what happens next.
Fraction and Aja have are also 7 issues into a new Hawkeye series that is one of the coolest things being published right now.  It is hard to describe, but a joy to read.
The new Thor series is good.
Avengers is going cosmic, Hickman style.
Spider-man just killed Peter Parker (again) and replaced him with Doc Octopus!  (Don't worry kids, it is the 50th anniversary of Spider-man this year.  I'm sure Peter will come back to us somehow.)
And there are still more NOW! titles that have not come out yet.  Fearless Defenders, an all Girl X-Men Team, Nova, and Guardians of the Galaxy!  I am Groot!

This could end up being a great year for Marvel Comics!  I think they are doing a lot of things right with their "not a reboot".  It's a great time to jump on and Marvel didn't throw all their history and continuity into the garbage.  I like it so far.  But maybe it's just me?

-- Jay

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