Friday, March 7, 2014

Rant-Reviews--Marvel Comics That Make an Effort

Effort Versus Barely Trying
There are some Marvel comics out there that feel like they are phoning it in, so to speak (Bendis' X-Men comics, for one example). It's just the usual bit of drama, a dash of action, some angry dialogue, a sampling of fighting, and so forth. Then we have the Marvel comics that seem to actually be making an effort. You know, they've got a solid story, great dialogue, well-done action and fighting that actually looks like fighting instead of character's just posing at each other, as awesome-writer Abhay noted DC and Marvel comics are wont to do. These Marvel comics I'm going to discuss are the ones that actually make an effort, and even if they don't fully succeed at least they are trying, so that counts for something.

"A" for Effort Comics, and Sometimes an "A" Overall Too!
Daredevil #36
Since he started his run of Daredevil with the assistance of various wonderful artists, Mark Waid has set out to make this a Daredevil comic very unlike the previous ones--you know, since Frank Miller made it seem the only way to do a Daredevil series was to have it be as grim as the reaper (yah, puns!). Waid gave us a Matt Murdock who despite all his struggles wants to be happy, and in this issue Waid removes that one last thing holding Murdock down--his non-secret "secret" identity. Ever since Bendis did the comic (and did a great job, even if it was the usual dark and depressing stuff) everyone has known Matt Murdock is Daredevil but been unable to prove it. Well, in this issue Murdock openly declares, under oath, he is in fact Daredevil. It's a big turn in the character's story and precipitates him moving out to California as he will be doing in the next issue...which is actually #1 as they are re-launching the series and charging an extra dollar for it (now it'll be $3.99).

While I've greatly enjoyed this series, I feel this 36th issue is a good stopping point for me as I've continuously been cutting  back on comics, as I've told you all often, and the book starting with a new first issue and costing more money just has me thinking perhaps it makes more sense to flip through the trade paperbacks of this now. Be that as it may, this was a great series, with Mark Waid making that ever-important effort to bring us a Daredevil we hadn't seen in a long time--a fun one.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Origin II #3
Kieron Gillen has the unenviable task of following up on "Origin", the comic that told us once and for all just where Wolverine came from. This 2nd series has been interesting and is clearly trying to fill in more of the story too, it just is having a little trouble getting everything to click into place. We're meeting characters such as Sabertooth (when he was just "Creed") and other interesting folk...but the comic has a few things that bother me. Gillen wants to jam Mister Sinister into the story and while it makes sense from a continuity standpoint (Sinister has been around forever), it just feels odd to have this story set far in the past with a character I can't help but think of with a big elaborate cape and super-hero costume--even if he is dressed down for this series.

 I also was worried about Creed's inclusion in the comic, but that actually works pretty well. Gillen is clearly trying very hard to make a quality story here, even if it is stumbling in parts. I feel if he can work out the kinks and have me get over the usage of Mister Sinister this may turn out to be quite a winning series. We will see though.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Hawkeye #15
Even though issue #16 came out first a few weeks ago, because of the way different characters have different stories happening in each issue it didn't horribly destroy the momentum this comic has had--and boy what momentum it is! Nobody expected a comic about a secondary-character like Hawkeye whom has failed to carry his own comic to be as good as, and successful as, this series has been. Issue #15 doesn't change any of that, continuing the matching of Fraction's stellar writing with David Aja's killer art.

This has been one of the best comics coming out for awhile, and it is always encouraging to see it continue being great. I just wonder how everything will work when collected if Marvel has to pull more release-order shenanigans and put out issue #18 before #17 now to give Aja more time to illustrate. The only thing that I'm really concerned about in this issue is if Clint and his brother Barney are going to be okay after the shocking end of this comic.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Mighty Avengers #7
While Al Ewing had been doing wonderful writing on this comic, Greg Land seemed to be putting forth little effort in his work for the series (he is just so mediocre). Well thankfully, as of issue #6 we haven't had Land doing any interior art, so now the story-telling is mostly matched in quality by the drawing. I say "mostly" because sometimes things can still look a little rough or hard-to-follow, but overall this is some quality comic-booking. This issue is snazzy in that at the end it starts to hint at how various plot-points will be coming together and shows us that all the little things are working in a tapestry to create a big mystery. Ewing supplies some great story-telling with a dash of humor and this is basically now the only book with "Avengers" in the title I'm reading...although I will be checking out "Avengers Undercover" when that comes out.
4 out of 5 stars. 

All-New X-Factor #3
The only vaguely X-team-related comic I'm reading, I clearly am already a fan of this series because it is a comic written by Peter David, and it involves a team with the title "X-Factor". This team may not be the same incredible group as the last iteration of the series had (and which I often expressed great love for), but still make for a quality comic, with David's trademark wit and interesting plot-reveals, of which there is one big one this issue about where a character's allegiances may lie.

I'm still not sure if the company X-Factor is working for, Serval, is evil, good, or something in-between, but that is just one of the many questions I imagine David will reveal to us as the comic goes on. This is already a great series with only three issues out so far, and a great issue on its own merit too. I look forward to a hopefully long run of this series.
4 out of 5 stars.

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