Marvel NOW! – Review Post 5

Posted by MSchiwal (71 posts) - - Show Bio

Savage Wolverine

“Humid, tropical pollen, volcanic ash, polar breeze… smells like the Savage Land.”

Okay, this is a weird series, and not in a good way. The basic setup is that we will have Wolverine killing dinosaurs in the Savage Land, which has happened so often it may as well be a trope, hell, Wolverine’s other series’ arc involves him in the Savage Land. Okay, now my first impression of this book was that it was trying to be a horror movie… which is stupid for a Wolverine book, and not an entirely correct analysis but it does reek from certain horror cliches. First off the opening pages involve a science team from SHIELD investigating, and I am not shitting you here, The Forbidden Island….. which quite naturally is located just beyond Terror Bay. Seriously, who writes like that? Oh, and what does the Forbidden Island look like? IT IS A MOUNTAIN CARVED TO RESEMBLE CTHULHU! You don’t go up to investigate places like that! Shanna the She-Devil is accompanying SHIELD and providing her knowledge of the area where we then get the single dumbest line of Marvel NOW:

SHIELD Agent: Black Magic, huh?… You’re not superstitious are you, Shanna?

Seriously? What the hell! That is the kind of stupid ass line you expect from the dumb jock before reading from the Necronomicon. Not from a SHIELD agent in the Marvel Universe. SHIELD who works with the Avengers! You know like Doctor Strange and Thor? Magic is a fact of life in this universe, and this kind of ignorance is beyond baffling because it just seems impossible that in this stage of the Marvel Universe you could have trained SHIELD Agents, Agents who are leading missions into a region of Earth where dinosaurs still roam, who do not know about magic existing. Its just shit writing!

So that gets us up to page two… dear god. Is it any wonder why it took me so long to review this?

Anyway, I was wrong about this being a horror film, because once Wolverine shows up it becomes evident what the author is going for… this is a Conan story. Its Wolverine trapped in the Savage Land with a scantily clad bombshell, fighting cultists and monsters. Hell, I could enjoy that if it was done competently… this is not. I have read through the issue a number of times but honestly I could not tell you what really happens beyond SHIELD agents crash, Wolverine wakes up mysteriously in the Savage Land, Wolverine kills dudes, Wolverine meets up with Shanna, Wolverine kills dudes…. Its just… filler.

The art in this book is actually really nice. Shanna is drawn scantily and sexy as hell… which while normally would be complaints? It is kind of her thing. I actually was fine with her here and really appreciated her strong musculature that made her actually appear like a warrior woman. However what kills the art completely for me is the lack of continuity. Wolverine’s costume should be sufficiently battle damaged over this first issue: He wakes up on the ground, possibly having fallen from a great height, his hand and glove are bitten through by a dinosaur, he takes an axe in the shoulder, a spear through his stomach(which is the most grievous omission as the spear piercing him is the focus of an entire page), he is then carried through the air via talons in his shoulders and dropped… the last panel is of Logan falling after being released from the talons… and his suit is in perfect condition?! Seriously, it just bugs the crap out of me. I mean yes, if they wanted to they could easily say that Wolverine has a new suit that patches itself, that would be fine, the FF could have totally set him up with that… but it would need to be explained, a single panel showing the suit healing would have done it! Hell, it makes even less sense as this is Logan in the jungle fighting dinosuars, like I said its a Conan story, you would expect his suit to get as battle damaged as possible over the course of this! At the end of the arc he should be fighting Lovecraftian cultists in the shredded rags that remain of his uniform.

I love Wolverine when he is done well, which unfortunately isn’t often. Oddly enough I find that he is at his best when he is not the main character, a story arc here and there are great, but he works best as part of a team. Slipping in the one-liners, occasionally showing the heart of gold, fighting alongside people he is willing to die for… these are all things he excels at, however once you put him as the focal point and get inside his head, you have Logan constantly talking to the audience and you can get sick of him really damn quickly.

The Superior Spider-Man

“Farewell Otto Octavius. From now on my name is Peter Parker”

I don’t really like Spider-Man comics. I really enjoy Peter Parker and have really loved him in certain books, hell even his spin-off Avenging Spider-Man is great, and Spectacular Spider-Man is one of the very best cartoons ever made…. that being said, I have never enjoyed the main comic series. It is just… ridiculous I think is the word I want. Spider-Man suffers from years and years of really bad continuity and hell, he is still dealing with fallout from the Clone Saga! When this series was announced, it hands-down got the biggest buzz by announcing that Peter Parker would not be Spider-Man. This definitely grabbed my attention. Personally I felt like they had done so much to Peter over the years, and driven off so many fans that maybe be laying him to rest and having someone carry on the mantle it would allow many people to enjoy the title again. Hell, that’s what happened with Miles Morales, I despise the Ultimate Universe but I still love that particular title.

So I did something I hadn’t done in awhile and actually read the Amazing Spider-Man issues leading up this this title and was reading along with everyone else when it was revealed that the new Spider-Man would be Dr. Octopus in Peter’s body. With Peter’s memories, he saw Peter’s life and realized what a hero Peter was, and that with great power comes great responsibility. Otto was genuinely mournful when Peter then died in his arms, and he swore to become the Superior Spider-Man. With that I was pretty much sold on this title. It was a completely unique setup for a book, and the audience always loves a good redemption story. That being said… this first issue was both a lot of fun and disappointing.

Seeing Otto in his new life was fantastic. He is now handsome, has a great job where he is paid to create and advance scientifically, and he is dating Mary Jane. All the while his arrogance is shining through and while everyone can tell something is up… it honestly just comes across that Peter has finally gained some confidence. Seeing Otto take charge of Peter’s life is thrilling for me because I always hated seeing how much Peter got in his own way, whereas Otto came from nothing and thus realizes all the gifts he has been given and begins to thrive. As Spider-Man he fights the new Sinister Six… which outrages Otto that someone would have the gall to call themselves that after his death. Otto does take them down, but in a completely different way. Otto bugs them and instead of charging into their lair, he finds out where their next crime will be, and sets up the area so he can control the battle. All the while he is fighting them, the scene becomes surrounded by press and police that Otto called before hand, everyone sees Spider-Man being a hero not a menace and with the police called in and present they are able to assist. I was really enjoying this book until the last page reveal… Otto is about to kill one of the villains and is stopped by a ghostly hand…. it is then revealed that Peter Parker is still present in his body, however he is unable to take control. The issue ends with Peter swearing he will find a way back.

Personally, I am almost always in the favor of change with comics so long as the are moving things forward. Characters can die, relationships can end, people can graduate from high school… So this was a pretty big blow for my overall enjoyment of the issue. I actually really loved Peter’s death, because it ended with him redeeming one of his greatest foes, saving one last person. This last, unwelcome development simply means that this storyline is not the start of something new… its just an interesting detour before everything goes back to normal… and I stop reading the series again.

Uncanny X-Force

“The drug is called TAO… the bad news is that it makes you susceptible to some sort of hive mind mentality(it also seems to make you dance like a complete jackass)”

Reminder’s run on Uncanny X-Force is tied for my favorite overall X-book alongside Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, so I was thrilled when this book was announced. Wolverine is completely done with the squad after he killed his son on their last mission, and Psylocke is seemingly lost in the world and without purpose. After living in this dark part of the world, where she lost the love of her life, she simply couldn’t return to normal life. Logan eventually sends her out on “not-a-mission” to go investigate some things. Storm tags along to talk to Psylocke as she is worried about her. Storm is… well Storm is great. She too, is rather lost in the world after her divorce and she is still figuring things out after AvX it feels, but she seems much more in control than Betsy and it shows. They fly off and meet up with their contact, Puck. I know nothing about Puck… but so far the little dude is pretty damn awesome.

They wind up at a rave where they encounter Spiral, the multi-armed mutant warrior who I vaguely remember from the animated series… She and Psylocke have a past… not a good one.

And it turned into a ballroom blitz.

Besides that we have Bishop show up, happy to be back in our timeline and then he roars at some cops. Okay….

This is by no means a bad comic, but it does fall short of what it could have been. The first issue of the last series was action filled with the team on a mission to kill Apocalypse now reborn, the last page shockingly revealing that their target was a young boy. This issue is very dialogue laden and the last page while certainly a shock…. is more squicky than anything else.

Overall this is a good first issue with some pretty fantastic art at points, especially great are the black, white, and pink panels which represent flashbacks… but this issue is still simply good when I feel it could have easily been great. This book is still fun and I feel pretty confident that the author will find their legs soon enough… and then take off running.

Young Avengers

“I have no powers and not nearly enough training, but I’m doing this anyway. Being a super hero is amazing, everyone should try it.”

FUCK YEAH! Seriously, I can’t even begin to explain how pumped I was for this series. They combined one of my all time favorite super hero teams with Kid Loki from Journey into Mystery, I swear this kind of series is the sort of thing one normally needs to make a crossroads deal to get made, but here I stand with my mortal soul intact(mostly) and a copy of Young Avengers.

One of the things I really, REALLY love about this issue is that it doesn’t fall into the biggest pitfall of a first issue. This is dragging along showing out heroes being recruited, and it just become a slog of getting the band together during the first issue. Here, however, we have our heroes all doing there own things and are split nicely into pairs. Hawkeye and Marvel Boy wake up in space after a one night stand and then end up fighting Skrull… its a completely awesome scene and they have yet to even meet up with the rest of the group. Wiccan and Hulkling are still together and the main focus is on them, their relationship, and how they are dealing with their grief. Loki is stalking them and is keeping an eye on Wiccan for some purpose… Miss America in turn is keeping and eye on Loki as she knows he is up to no good. Our players are all there and on the paths of intersecting… but they are allowed to breathe and be themselves and do their own things, which is really damn refreshing. They aren’t all suddenly called in and forced to be a team.

The biggest development in this issue comes at the hands of Wiccan, who saves Hulkling’s dead mother via chaos magic and alternate realities. It is super complicated but luckily Teddy doesn’t care and just is so happy to have his mother back… it is a really great, strong panel of him embracing her. No question, no screaming of “How could you do this, you aren’t god!”, just a boy who is happy to see his mom again. Of course Wiccan is an idiot however because well.. he pulled her from an alternate reality and by the end of the issue things take a dark turn and it is apparent that she will be the teams first villain to vanquish.

This series is exciting and bold. The artwork throughout is great and the layouts are daring. This is a series that you need to be reading, and I am already waiting impatiently for the next issue!

#1 Posted by MSchiwal (71 posts) - - Show Bio

Author's Note: I realize that I have fallen way behind on my Marvel Now coverage. It has been a very difficult time for me personally with my finishing school right now and with some medical matters in the family. Everything is going well now, and I am working very hard to catch up. I just wanted to thank everyone for the patience and support and assure you that I have not been sitting by lazily.

Thanks again for reading, it means the world to me.

#2 Posted by akbogert (3197 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm in a rush, so I'll have to come back and read the rest, but I did read the Savage Wolverine write-up and I agree wholeheartedly (and was laughing at times in the review). It really was just completely not worth reading, and your notion that Wolverine functions better as a less-focused-on part of a team coincides perfectly with what I've been coming to feel but hadn't actually tried to articulate.

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