How long does the Marvel Universe stay All-New and All-Different? How long does the Marvel Rundown (in it’s current incarnation) stay viable? The answer lies in the first column of the Marvel Rundown: The publisher’s landmark Secret Wars event has been delayed repeatedly, but Marvel is moving ahead as scheduled with their full line relaunch, giving birth to the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe.
I would be remiss if I didn’t offer regular readers of this column the opportunity to read my year-end All-New, All-Different Marvel wrap-up of the year (it’s 2,000 words long and awesome and written by me!)
In other words, with Secret Wars #9 launching next week, this is the second-to-last column of the run as wrap with the seminal comic and the Marvel Universe becomes not-new, all-same. This week, we take a look at the debut of A-Force (in the All-New, All-Different (not Secret Wars) Universe,) Spider-Man/Deadpool (seeing the return to Deadpool by author Joe Kelly,) and The Uncanny X-Men by Cullen Bunn. It’s week 14 of the All-New, All-Different Rundown;
Writer: G. Willow Wilson Artist: Jorge Molina Colors: Laura Martin
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit Production Design: Manny Mederos
While having an A-Force team during Secret Wars made sense, A-Force outside of Secret Wars needs a clear tone and reason for existence. This is where Wilson’s writing chops (and the eight month continuity gap of Secret Wars comes in.) Unfortunately, she doesn’t quite succeed, and the reasons for the team’s present existence are left somewhat unclear. While the issue features some nice callbacks to Secret Wars, these same references and other plot points throughout the book make it feel like a #1 that is not a first issue, thus making the series less accessible to new readers.
I’m afraid of new readers wandering into this story not really sure of who Singularity is, who the rest of A-Force are and why they are together. As a seasoned Marvel fan currently following websites and news, the people reading this column are likely the ones that ought to check out this comic. Those who aren’t already Marvel fans are really going to struggle. For instance, Dazzler has a new look, but flips back and forth between new and old costumes at a confusing rate throughout the issue. Aren’t readers going to wonder why her costume keeps changing within such a short time span?
I hope this comic continues to develop the different characters in the story and really grow towards a premise. Many All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe series’ #2s have cemented plot and tone stronger than the issues preceeding them – I have no doubt that this title will build upon itself as well. I can’t wait until She-Hulk has a more prominent role in this story.
Despite some accessibility issues listed above, A-Force #1 is incredibly charming and a delight to read, just make sure to be familiar with that Secret Wars A-Force miniseries before digging into this comic.
Writer: Joe Kelly Pencils: Ed McGuinness Inker: Mark Morales
Colors: Jason Keith Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
It’s a big week for author Joe Kelly. The writer’s excellent original work has become scarce over the past few years, with this Man of Action activity likely taking up a huge amount of his time. Kelly rams the gas pedal alongside artist Ed McGuinness to great effect in this debut installment. From the opening pages, Spider-Man and Deadpool find themselves in the middle of a huge conflict that neither character takes entirely seriously – it’s a great set piece that immediately establishes the tone of the comic.
While I appreciated the opening gag of the comic, reading this title is dizzying. Kelly writes Deadpool well, but this comic goes overboard with the quips while maintaining little plot. From a technical standpoint, it’s hard not to appreciate Kelly’s ability to have these two characters banter amusingly. Yet as a reader, I didn’t feel the stakes established between the two characters in this issue. There’s always room for improvement in future issues, and McGuinness crafts lovely over-the-top work in this comic, notably drawing conversational tidbits at interesting vantage points.
Kelly’s Image series Four-Eyes came back this week with an excellent brand new issue: Take a look.
Kelly can write Spider-Man and Deadpool like no other, but reading a comic with only a few silly asides and no ongoing plot thread feels…disposable.
Uncanny X-Men #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn Artist: Greg Land Inker: Jay Leisten
Colors: Nolan Woodward Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Before diving into this comic book with any critical eye, I’d really like to get one thing out of the way: Greg Land is and will always be Greg Land. For those that don’t know about the artist, I would advise you to go ahead and take a look at this piece focusing on some of his shortcomings as an artist, his problems are still well…problematic in this issue.
This is a difficult comic for a number of reasons, the first being that this title should probably be some sort of X-Force title instead of bearing the official Uncanny X-Men name. This is an issue that leaves me perpetually on the fence. While I appreciate how writer Cullen Bunn can really dive in the psyche of any given anti-hero that he chooses to dig into (see Sinestro and Magneto,) each of those comics haven’t sustained the plot that I wanted them to, and ultimately didn’t live up to their full potential (in this critic’s humble opinion.) Overall, I’m not sure if this is the story that is going to hook readers into the new status quo of the X-Men in full. I’m not even sure if this comic is going to function as a true continuation of the X-Men or X-Force characters’ stories, but I will continue reading to see if Bunn can find an unique and interesting voice for the series – only time will tell.
Verdict: Sticking with it, but unsure for how long
Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men is going to need a few more issues to get a solid verdict.
Be there next week for our in-depth look at Secret Wars #9, may the wars be with you!
Update 1/8/16: The pronoun at the top has been fixed.