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Thought Balloon: Marvel NOW! (Part 3)

2
Posted February 7, 2013 by Will Fitzgerald in Ramp Reviews

It’s the penultimate month for Marvel’s re-launch, Marvel NOW! and January’s issues were packed with apocalyptic threats, a living vampire, dinosaurs, body-swaps and kissing.

If you’re thinking of picking up some new comic books, (and when has there been a better time to start?) let us recommend some just published, new #1s.

NEW AVENGERS # 1+2

Written by Jonathon Hickman, Art by Steve Epting

★★★/★★★★★

The Illuminati are an elite circle of Marvel heroes who meet in secret to make decisions on the world’s larger than life problems. Originally against the idea of such a formation, The Black Panther finds himself faced with an impossible decision and takes his place among the Illuminati – replacing the deceased Professor X – to help save the universe. The premise uses some of the great sci-fi trappings of Marvel while the artwork of Steve Epting balances out those same fantastical elements so we get a story that plays to the strengths of the Marvel universe but with the tone of a real world thriller.

 

 

MORBIUS, THE LIVING VAMPIRE #1

Written by Joe Keatinge, Art by Richard Elson

★★/★★★★★

Morbius is a relatively unique entity in vampire literature. Invented as a nemesis for Spider-Man, Morbius owes his vampiric status to science, not the supernatural. Essentially, he’s a Bat-man Man-bat. Instead of sci-fi/fantasy though, Joe Keatinge has set up a story where a fugitive Morbius is taking shelter in a slum neighbourhood. One expects metaphorical resonance for bloodsuckers of society on the horizon. This opening issue has the feeling of travelling in the wrong direction but the writer has found a good voice for Morbius and the artwork, especially the colouring, is solid.

 

 

SAVAGE WOLVERINE #1

Written and drawn by Frank Cho

★★★/★★★★★

Cheesecake is the mission statement here. Wolverine wakes up in the Savage Land (Marvel-speak for dinosaur island) and teams up with Shanna the She Devil (a Jungle Jane type), as drawn by Frank Cho (read: lots of T+A) to try and blow up the dampening field surrounding the island so they can call for rescue. Dinosaurs, dames and clawed Canadians. Check, check and snikt.

Shanna's belt really completes the ensemble.

 

UNCANNY X-FORCE #1

Written by Sam Humphries, Art by Ron Garney

★★★/★★★★★

Ask any long time X-Men fan and they would tell you the two mutants who probably most embodied a gentle spirit would be Storm and Colossus. Now they are each team members in two separate wet-works books, this being the second. Questionable editorial decisions aside, this book is at least more entertaining than last month’s Cable and X-Force. It features a time-travelling mutant, a multi-limbed extra-dimensional drug dealer and a man making out with his own female clone. If that sounds exciting, well its about the level of your average superhero comic but at least the rest of the team line-up is inspired and its drawn by Ron Garney who’s a seasoned pro.

 

YOUNG AVENGERS #1

Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Jamie McKelvie

★★★★/★★★★★

The creative team behind the critically acclaimed series, Phonogram, bring the same fun, hipster-ish flair to a teen superhero book.  Honestly, this book ticks off so many demographic boxes, I’m surprised it doesn’t overwhelm the story but the characters are all written as being inherently more interesting than their ability to represent minorities. It also blends new characters well with established ones and the pace skips along with no time for clunky exposition, forcing us to accept them and keep reading. Also, its got kid Loki, who’s up there with Damien Wayne as Most Entertaining Child Superhero. Outstanding first issue.

My So-Called Superhero Life

 

VERDICT

New Avengers and Young Avengers look set to become great team books. If you’re looking for something epic in scale and steeped in the lore of the Marvel Universe, New Avengers is for you. If you’d like coming of age stories, smartly written for a wider audience (i.e. more Buffy than Smallville), then check out Young Avengers. And if you’d like to see Wolverine fight Velociraptors with no commitment to a long run of issues or prior history, try Savage Wolverine.


About the Author

Will Fitzgerald

Film freelancer and comics enthusiast, Will tried to coin the term 'quarter-life crisis' but a younger, more successful twenty-something beat him to it.

  • Seamus Kennedy

    Young Avengers is looking like being my favourite team book in years, and that’s after just one issue. It just feels so fresh! I might have to give New Avengers a look. Wolverine-wise, I’m waiting to see what Paul Cornell does with him, but I’m not a huge fan of the character generally

    • Will Fitzgerald

      I’m very interested to see what Paul Cornell does with a solo character and Alan Davis art will be worth the cover price alone.

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