The Marvel Rundown: Marvel’s best new book will take you by surprise

The Marvel Rundown: Marvel’s best new book will take you by surprise

Marvel characters are becoming more relevant everyday. Since the Guardians of the Galaxy characters became a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one question has been littering the minds of long time Thanos fans: where the hell is Adam Warlock? With the release of The Infinity Entity #1, we get our answer. Not only that, we also get the launch of another fascinating new series, Mockingbird #1.  The character has served as little more than an Avengers love interest for years, but then things got interesting after a one-shot written by Chelsea Cain.  Are these books worth your hard earned dollar?  Find out in this week’s Marvel Rundown!


 

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The Infinity Entity #1

Writer: Jim Starlin Pencils: Alan Davis

Inker: Mark Farmer Colors: Jordan Boyd Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino

Given that Mantis has been announced for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and the next Avengers film will revolve around the Infinity Gauntlet, it’s hard to image that  the introduction of Adam Warlock to the MCU isn’t coming soon. In fact, if Warlock doesn’t appear in either of these films, he’ll probably never show up in the MCU.  If that’s the case, it’s lucky that we have The Infinity Entity to give us a taste of what could have been.  I just wish the sampling had tasted better.

For some time now, writer Jim Starland has been penning a series of Marvel graphic novels set to conclude with the release of Thanos: The Infinite Finale later this year.  In conceit, The Infinity Entity serves as a stage setting piece for that graphic novel, which means there’s a lot of continuity involved in this series.  Thank the heavens that Marvel series have recap pages. Last we saw Adam Warlock and Thanos they were apprehended by the villainous Annihilus, Thanos was trapped in a void and Warlock was taken prisoner. The events surrounding Warlock’s imprisonment and Thanos’ fate have been murkily communicated at best, and unfortunately The Infinity Entity does little to answer readers’ questions.  Worse yet, its own narrative is disappointingly thin.  There’s the possibility that things may ramp up quickly, as the book is set to release on a weekly basis.

Excepting that, The Infinity Entity should make hardcore Starland fans happy, as he delivers on the things he always delivers in his stories.  The story is snappy and fresh and we haven’t seen Adam Warlock in a little while, so just having his presence is a comfort. That said, given how insular this book is and the niche appeal of its lead character, The Infinity Entity is almost hostile to new readers. Without the appeal of Thanos, this book isn’t going to appeal to anyone who doesn’t already know who Warlock is.

Alan Davis’ art is perfectly suited to the style of comic book that Jim Starlin is trying to tell. His depictions of the original Avengers characters on the story have an evocative sense of innocence rendered through curvy line work that is easy to admire. Glancing at the cover drawn by Davis really tells readers everything they need to know in the comic; key moments and events that take place on the story are hinted right at the cover. That allows Davis to take Starlin’s somewhat murky vision and clear it up a bit.

It’s never been easy to follow Starlin’s grandiose Thanos saga, but this is close to a breaking point for me. If next issue doesn’t start clearing up the narrative I’m dangerously close to checking out and just waiting for The Infinity Finale.

Verdict: Only for hardcore Starlin fans.

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Mockingbird #1

Writer: Chelsea Cain Artist: Kate Niemczynk 

Colors: Rachelle Rosenburg Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

I honestly had no idea what to expect from Mockingbird #1. This comic book looks like James Bond with a female lead, but that’s not the case. Back in her Mockingbird one shot, series writer Chelsea Caine established one hell a of a unique voice for its lead, but this new ongoing is allowing both Caine and Mockingbird to truly come into their own. While most Marvel female-led series have elements of slice-of-life storytelling, Mockingbird #1 proves itself to be something special as Caine pushes the thriller genre to its limits in an entirely singular way.

Last week I praised Black Widow for being a self-contained story told in such a beautifully elegant manner that I was immediately sucked into the narrative. This issue is almost the exact reverse, using its blunt sense of humor to propel you through the book instead.  The book is stylish; almost to a fault. Mockingbird #1 features all sorts of vogue narrative techniques such as non-linear storytelling and quirky humor. However, the book isn’t just superficially excellent.  The most important part about this comic aside from Caine’s voice is the actual plot. This issue has something to say and actual stakes attached.

In her editorial at the back of the first issue, Cain explains the meaning behind some moments in the comic. Creators shouldn’t have to explain their work, but I hardly mind that Cain was willing to peal back just a few of the layers and teach me more about what I had read. While Mockingbird #1 flirts with mainstream Marvel continuity, it really does justice in setting itself apart from the other stories set in the Marvel Universe.

If you thought I was going to try talk about this comic without mentioning Kate Niemczynk, you’re sorely mistaken. The artist lends such a nice sheen of clarity to the story. The way that she depicts the smiling faces of the different characters throughout the issue is invaluable to inculcating feelings of paranoia and suspense.

Mockingbird #1 is overloaded with personality and unique approach to storytelling. I’m tempted to call Cain a rising star over at Marvel, but her fiction output extends into the ’90s with a litany of novels– to that extent, I think it makes sense why this comic reads like it’s written by someone with confidence even though she has only a few credits in the comics medium.

Verdict: ONLY for those who enjoy good comics.


Next week I’m going to make an effort to check back in with The Infinity Entity and see if Bendis and Marvel can justify the existence of a second Iron Man title starring Tony Stark with International Iron Man.

Comments

  1. Kyle Pinion says

    Wait, did you not pick up The Vision? It might be the best comic at the Big Two, period.

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