Author's Note: I lost account access awhile back and just recently managed to get back on Comicvine. Apologies for these late reviews but I am back now, and hopefully should manage to keep up to date from now on.
“Couldn’t you just go knock on their door instead of digging around in the dirt and chasing down smugglers?”
“That wouldn’t be much fun, would it?”
An all female cast taking on the Defenders name and with no big names starring in the series. This is a unique little series, unusual even, and it is refreshing seeing Marvel taking these kinds of risky choices.
To be completely frank, not much happens in this first issue and you can really sum it up with one sentence: Valkyrie and Misty Knight team up to fight the undead. This is not a bad thing as it can be really good to have a single premise for a first issue and just build off of that… unfortunately other things do happen here, they just have no weight. Misty Knight fights some henchmen on freighter, Valkyrie stands on a cliff as blood rains on her… This issue could have really used a revision to be tightened up. That being said, the dialogue is good with all of our characters having clearly defined voices. Hell, it was a stroke of genius to team these two up because they are so different and speak so completely differently, the comedy is inherent and the author realized this… Still the overall story is stumbling out the gate.
The artwork is a mixed bag. The colors are wonderful, both bright and vibrant. However the proportions for our female cast can be a bit ridiculous, with really bizarre mouths and eyes at times. One panel that stood out as particularly heinous is one of Misty Knight fighting on the ship, posing with her ass sticking out at the audience while she is dripping wet from the rain. It is not Marvel Divas bad, but it is really hard to take your female-focused series seriously when the artist obviously doesn’t offer correct respect to the female form. Oh well, I still have X-Men to look forward to I suppose.
Not a bad issue, and overall a solid premise for a series, however it needs to pick up the pace if it wants to keep the audience’s attention.
Guardians of the Galaxy
“Imagine what you could accomplish i
f you were doing what you were supposed to be doing instead of cavorting around the galaxy with your broken friends.”
I am a huge Guardians fan, so I have been impatiently waiting for this one ever since it was announced. One of the thing that makes me so excited about Marvel NOW is how it is not disregarding continuity, and in this first issue we have some niggling mysteries that are mentioned, so we can definitely hope to see how Starlord escaped the Cancerverse. While a strong first issue though, this book does have some problems.
The story is actually perfectly fine for a first issue, it quickly establishes the main conflict, the fact that Earth has been declared a cosmic No Man’s Land. Earth has reached a critical point and the other alien races it needs to stand on its own if it is to ever stand beside them… however this does leave it vulnerable to other threats, thus the Guardians are stepping in to protect her border. Our team is already assembled here(thank god) with only one new member with Iron Man. I am not incredibly opposed to Tony on the team as a matter of principle, he is a science fiction hero and the lure of space makes a great reason for him to sign up… on the other hand I don’t think you can rationally quantify his time in space with his time on Earth… but then again neither can Captain America or Wolverine, so I guess that is just a curse of comic books.
The artwork is very well done throughout, with strong pencils and good color that works well for a space series… the main problems coming in with design. The Guardians are wielding new weapons and armor, which isn’t bad, however the new style seems to be there more because it looks cool than functionality. The Guardian’s tech was always very mechanical and solid, Rocket used big guns, Starlord’s helmet looked like a modded gas-mask, Drax used whatever big ass weapon he could get his hands on… Now everything looks extra shiny and well… like Mass Effect. Our team is wearing clear visors, with shiny led lights everywhere, and wielding laser axes. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but with the older styles is grounded things in a way that made things more real and believable… and now it creates a disconnect and the action becomes unrelatable.
Overall I enjoyed this issues and would recommend the series. If you are an older Guardians fan you will want to jump on board, however expect to be a bit perplexed by artistic choices.
“The universe has a sense of humor and I don’t get the joke…”
Sigh.. okay let’s shoot the elephant in the room before we move on. Nova is a hero best known as Richard Rider. A member of the Nova Corps., an intergalactic peace keeping group, he was a popular character, especially in recent years. A few years back, Richard was the only surviving member of the Nova Corps. After an attack and he absorbed the entirety of the Nova Force, the battery that powers their abilities, making him one of the most powerful cosmic superheroes in the Marvel Universe. This was a huge turning point and made the character even more popular. The last anyone saw of Richard, he was trapped in the Cancerverse with Starlord. Now Starlord is back and Richard isn’t, with a new teen hero taking the Nova mantle… a lot of fans are very upset over this and feel cheated. The feel cheated that Starlord somehow escaped and Richard didn’t… they think it makes no sense for there to suddenly be a new Nova as the Corps were wiped out. I acknowledge these concerns, however I think if people give this one a chance they will find a really fun series.
Nova stars Sam Alexander, a teenager whose father is an alcoholic janitor and ex-Nova. Sam naturally doesn’t believe this last part, but his sister and he had been raised on the cosmic adventures their father had told them. Sam’s father still has his old helmet and is waiting for the Corps. to call him back to the stars. In the meantime Sam is stuck cleaning up his father’s messes, literally, cleaning the bathrooms while his dad is drunk so that he can get paychecks. The resentment is obvious, and feels earned, you get the feeling that Sam doesn’t hate his father yet, but its headed there.
I also like how they address the issue of his father’s place in the Nova Corps. as he belonged to a different division, marked by their black helmets(normally Nova’s have gold helms). So it is currently a mystery if these Black-Helmed Novas are still out there or if this is the last helmet, but it does create a plausible reason for the helmet to be there as Sam’s father has been on Earth for the past fifteen years raising a family.
The series is really great looking, incredibly vivid colors and this hyper-ness to the battles that makes it fun to read. While I can understand some fans trepidation about this series, it is very solid and enjoyable. Also you are going to end up reading it when Richard finally reappears in the series, so you may as well just start reading now.
Wow… this may very well be the darkest thing to come out of NOW.
The Secret Avengers stars a black ops team of superheroes used by SHIELD. The roster will apparently change from mission to mission depending on needs. The first issue revolves around the recruitment of Black Widow and Hawkeye, and their first mission. The story takes its dark turn when the crux of the series is introduced, mental implants. They will have their minds wiped after every mission, never knowing what they were did, or that the team even exists. Anyone who knows even a little bit about Natasha knows that she would kill someone for even suggesting mind controlling her, however she and Hawkeye agree to join the team in order to REDACTED.
This series is something I see as being very confusing to both new readers and readers who have been out of the game for a bit, as this is the series most affected by the Avengers film. Both Agent Coulson and Nick Fury Jr are present in this series and are very well utilized, I personally like them, but I know plenty of people who feel like they are shoehorned into the comics. Still both those characters get their moments to shine with Coulson both recruiting and outmaneuvering Clint and Natasha, and Nick’s conversation about James Bond with Clint had me cracking up.
This series is very science fiction, in a good way, there are healing factor bullets and truth-telling demon squids. However the biggest factor is the dark nature of the premise, this shows our heroes doing very dark things and having their minds fucked with in the name of the greater good. This is not your standard superhero romp and I am certain we will see some despicable things happen, if you are up for that, then I can safely recommend checking out the first issue.
Also, I really want that Pineapple Coconut Scone recipe…
“He is talking freedom and revolution at any cost, and people are listening.”
The Marvel Universe has become a much more interesting place, and we have Cyclops to thank for that. Now, for those who have talked with me before, I have made it clear that I fall into the camp that views Scott as a villain now. However do not mistake that for disliking the character, he has been on a slope for awhile and even though I view him as having finally crossed the line, I am really enjoying him as a believable, conflicted, and fascinating character. A recent poll placed the fans at about half and half, 60% supporting Cyclops and viewing him as a hero, the other 40 viewing him as a villain now. Can we just take a moment and realize how amazing this all is? We have a complex character like this changing the landscape, who is not easily quantifiable, and we are not being lead by the nose on how to look at him.
Now we have Cyclops and his new team of X-Men, who have made their base at the old Weapon X facility. I do love the use of the place… but Scott does realize that this is just going egg on Logan even more right? Then again that’s probably the point. The X-Men are teleporting around the globe and snatching up new mutants left and right as the emerge, as sentinels are hunting down mutants once more. By the end of the issue, we have three new mutants on the team: Tempus, an Aussie with the power to stop time and the uncanny knack for not flashing her panties in the world’s shortest skirt. Christopher, a young man who can heal and has yet to pick out a codename. Finally there is Fabio… who can make golden balls that go POINK! He is the Jubilee or Dazzler of the team it appears.
This is a great first issue, starting off with SHIELD speaking to a mysterious mutant(whose identity you can guess by page 3) and the mutant expositing Scott’s current position. The X-Men then go and rescue Fabio from Sentinels, which is all awesome because the artwork was done by Bachalo who kicks all kinds of ass, especially with huge splash page brawls. The team started out together and we get to see them move forward and the plot immediately starts rolling. This is an exemplary first issue.
If you are at all interested in the Marvel Mutants, you should be reading this series.
Wow, I feel really bad for Wolverine lately… Currently headlining in three series, and none of them are currently as of writing. Look this issue was a boring disappointment, so I will keep it quick. This issue revolves around a naked Wolverine fighting a man with a ray gun. That is pretty much it. Wolverine gets blasted, he heals, he attacks the guy. We see Wolverine comforting the man’s son… who has been freaking out about how his dad was action and once Wolverine kills his dad, he starts acting strangely… obviously they are somehow possessed, and the kid takes the gun and runs off. Wolverine then takes off, not allowing the police to call in help or the Avengers because this is his responsibility… its not like there is an otherworldly force possessing a kid who is killing people with a disintegration beam. Seriously, man! Call in Dr. Strange or Reed Richards to figure out some way to pull this thing out… get a mutant who could contain this thing’s power so that it can’t hurt anyone.
So yeah, we have this fight which if it was going to be anything should have maybe been an in media res opening of Logan fighting some guy with a raygun in the mall, lasting two pages and we all have a laugh… its not interesting enough to be the first arc and it has nothing to do with a hero like Wolverine. Hell, he just lost Xavier, his best friend stabbed him in the back and half the world loves him, he just DROWNED HIS OWN SON! There is so much compelling stuff in his life right now but instead they are ignoring everything to tell a very dry, dull story that may as well take place in a bottle.
Finally there is the art… its pretty damn bad, not Thunderbolts bad, but right behind that. Anatomy and facial expressions are all over the place, and the colors are so desaturated and uninteresting that I don’t care what’s happening on the page. This type of art was acceptable in the late 80s but nowadays it just looks uninspired… which is the best word I can think of to describe this whole mess. It is uninspired. They realized they didn’t have a Wolverine main series and I guess they must have drawn straws because no on wanted to write it because this does not come across as someone who enjoys writing the character, it comes across as minimum effort, and that is just unacceptable.