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As we recently reported, the conclusion of Marvel’s apocalyptic Secret Wars event mini-series got pushed back into January 2016. However, despite the delays, their post-Secret Wars series (re)launches are steadily releasing now. The Beat is taking a look at each new release to tell you whether or not it’s worth your time and money. It’s the All-New, All-Different Marvel Rundown, week nine.


All-New Inhumans #1

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Writers: James Asmus & Charles Soule Artist: Stefano Caselli & Nico Leon

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Colors: Andres Mossa Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

I’m still not sure about this new direction for the Inhumans. The second issue of Uncanny Inhumans from Charles Soule was a really fun issue — but this comic brings the story back to some of the muddled and confusing concepts that initially kept me at arm’s length from the Inhumans franchise during the new All-New, All-Different Marvel launch.

Frankly, there’s nothing unique enough about the individual Inhumans characters to draw me towards the series. However, the strike team premise is a strong one — and there is still a fair chance that the best parts of the Inhumans comics are still yet to come. It doesn’t hurt that the book is drawn by the excellent Stefano Caselli. I’m glad to see him working on something other than the Avengers, which he has done some excellent work on over the past few years. Finally, it really is nice to have Charles Soule’s name attached to this comic — cohesion and continuity is something I value in a shared Universe.

Verdict: Borrow.

Not a bad start by any means, but not quite the Inhumans covert ops team I was hoping for.


The Totally Awesome Hulk #1

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Writer: Greg Pak Artist: Frank Cho Colors: Sonia Oback Letters: VC’s Cory Petit

While I have never liked a Hulk comic book before, this book might make me a believer. Frank Cho’s exciting depiction of large-scale action, paired with Greg Pak’s incredibly bright script, makes this comic fun to read from start-to-finish. While the actual plot of this comic is made very thin, the team establishes Hulk’s new status quo quickly, and Pak will have ample time to meld Amadeus’ new life as the Hulk into a plot-driven adventure. Also, the fact that readers are taken to the brand new Hulk as a character is no small miracle.

Verdict: Are you seriously still thinking about this? Go buy.

Reading a Hulk comic book hasn’t been this fun since Greg Pak’s last Hulk run.


All-New X-Men #1

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Writer: Dennis Hopeless Artist: Mark Bagley Inker: Andrew Hennessy

Colors: Nolan Woodward Letters: VC’s Cory Petit

For a comic that’s packed with characters from a more innocent time in U.S. History, I wasn’t expecting a tale that was so subdued. Silly me. For anybody that is interested in a comic that evokes an early Chris Claremont X-Men feel, this might be the story for you.

While Mark Bagley isn’t my favorite penciler, I appreciate the tone that his work conveys in the issue. As a publisher, it’s nice for Marvel to bring a more subdued X-Men series to the market place. While Extraordinary X-Men almost has the same feel as this series because of the artwork from Humberto Ramos, something about this story feels more genuine, as if Bagley and author Dennis Hopeless have a clear mission statement about what this comic is supposed to be. All-New X-Men #1 may not be the most exciting book on your reading list, but I’m hoping that Hopeless and Bagley can make it among the most consistent.

Verdict: Buy.

The subdued X-Men comic I want to read — a great alternative to Extraordinary X-Men.


Daredevil #1

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Writer: Charles Soule Artist: Ron Garney Colors: Matt Mila

Letters & Production: VC’s Clayton Cowles

This comic has some massive shoes to fill. While Mark Waid’s legendary run on Daredevil lightened the character up, Charles Soule sets Matt Murdock along a more brooding path, evoking some of the darker elements from past runs.

The most interesting part of this comic is the color work from Matt Mila. Pages are barely filled with any ink at all, giving Mila ample room to shine. After the vibrant color work of Javier Rodriguez, I strongly feel that this art style is the key difference between Soule and Waid’s runs so far. While this story is incredibly clever, mixing legal proceedings with crime bosses and character drama, the text is still a little vague.

At the end of each All-New All-Different Marvel comic, the publisher asks readers if they want to know what happens next, and asking myself that question has served as a surprisingly good litmus test on the quality of these books. Despite the somewhat limp twist at the end of the issue, there are many interesting ideas presented throughout the comic.  So, yes Marvel, I do want to know what happens next in Daredevil.

Verdict: Buy.

While Daredevil isn’t the slam-dunk I was hoping for, it’s still a good comic book.


Guardians of Infinity #1

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Writer: Dan Abnett & Jason Latour Artist: Carlo Barberi & Jim Cheung

Inker: Walden Young & John Dell Colors: Israel Silva & Laura Martin

Letters: VC’s Cory Petit

This comic has a lot of different lead characters to introduce and doesn’t even bother giving them any backstory in this issue. Amazingly, beyond the Guardians themselves,  Dan Abnett and Jason Latour shove a ton of other characters into the comic as well. Carlo Berberi’s pencils are suitable for the story, but after inks and colors, his work looks washed out here. While I was disappointed in the thin initial script by Abnett and Latour, Jim Cheung’s back up story was a beautiful character story that focuses on the relationship between Rocket Raccoon and Ben Grimm. I’ve always liked these introspective character stories. It’s sad that Marvel rarely tells them.

Verdict: Skip the feature, read the back-up.

This is not the Guardians book you are looking for.


Red Wolf #1

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Writer: Nathan Edmondson Penciler: Dalibor Talajic Inker: Jose Marzan, Jr.

Colorist: Miroslav Mrva Letters: VC’s Cory Petit Consultant & Cover Artist: Jeffrey Veregge

I’m trying to take a look this title as objectively as possible in light of the recent events that stirred the comics community into a frenzy. For a well-written piece about that, I’ll send you to something written by Beat Editor-in-Chief Heidi MacDonald.  To the work, though…

The Beat’s Managing Editor Alexander Lu billed this comic as boring, and I’m inclined to agree.  I have seen artist Dalibor Talajic tell some strong stories at Marvel, so I am disappointed in the artists’ dulled technical work here. Characters are depicted inconsistently and the action is muddled. To make matters worse, the cliffhanger takes away an important aspect about this comic that made it stand out in the first place. 

Verdict: Pass.

Red Wolf #1 is lacking the ingredients of a good story.


Spidey #1

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Writer: Robbie Thompson Artist: Nick Bradshaw Colors: Jim Campbell  Letters: Travis Lanham

Where do I start with this comic? Maybe the art? Spidey #1 has wonderfully vivid pencils from Nick Bradshaw that are beautifully colored by Jim Campbell. Bradshaw has line work and style that is all his own, but bears some resemblance to that of comics great Art Adams. Over the past couple years, Bradshaw has been continually evolving his style at Marvel comics with impressive results, and this work is the height of his artistic achievement at the publisher.

Writer Robbie Thompson’s narrative style is going to make a great many Spider-fans apprehensive. This story retells original Silver Age Spider-Man stories while remixing certain aspects of that continuity. It’s an interesting conceit, but after reading this first issue I wondered: who is this comic book actually for? When Kurt Busiek told Spider-stories between the Ditko and Lee arcs in The Untold Tales of Spider-Man, I felt as if that book had a strong focus on continuous storytelling, whereas this book does not. It still has charm, but if Spidey is a series of done-in-ones, I’m not sure if the series will actually amount to anything worthwhile.

Plus, do we really need to tell stories about Spider-Man’s early days again?

Verdict: Pass.

Thompson and Bradshaw tell an okay riff on the early days of Spidey that I don’t need to continue reading.


Thanks for tuning in!  We’ll see you next time.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. My biggest week so far…I grabbed Daredevil, Spidey, Hulk, Guardians of the Infinity, and Red Wolf.
    As far as Red Wolf goes (and as much as I enjoy this column) I’m choosing to ignore critiques from this site because I can’t picture that anything Edmondson writes will get a fair review. It would almost seem hypocritical to have articles about things he’s been accused of and then turn around and give his book a glowing review. At this point, the Internet has either found him guilty or chooses to ignore the stories. I chose to check the book out because I liked Black Widow and Deathlok. If any definitive proof ever comes out that backs up the articles that have come out against Edmondson, then I have no problem taking a pass on any project that he’s involved in.

  2. Shawn, thanks for your comment. To take a moment to speak candidly, at least in regards to my review on Red Wolf #1, I’ve done all within my power to review the book objectively as a work of fiction, separate from any drama around Edmondson. While I think it would be disingenuous not to mention the controversy surrounding him in relation to the book’s production, my distaste for the title came solely from it, rather than from any feelings I may or may not have about the writer.

    To be quite frank, I’ve defended Edmondson, to the detriment of others’ opinion on my own character, a number of times in the past. Not necessarily because I don’t believe that there’s fire somewhere within all the smoke, but because I don’t believe that mudracking articles without evidence constitutes journalism worthy of acceptance as fact.

    Personally, I do not think it would be hypocritical to give a stellar book review to a title written by any author, even if I had a grudge against him/her/them. Conversely, books written by people I like will not necessarily receive good reviews either. Politics between the comic publishing industry and comics journalism are one of the biggest things that undermine our credibility, so I and the writers at the Beat are doing our best to rise above that.

    I’m not asking you to trust us, or anyone, blindly. You can and should be examining everything you read from as many angles as possible. I’m simply trying to say that when I write, I write with the intent to criticize the art, not the artist. When I say that I do not like a comic, it is not because of the creative team behind it, but rather because of the work itself.

  3. I appreciate your response and I appreciate that The Beat handled the article fairly, in my opinion, because I felt The Beat’s article was more about the issues of comics journalism than a slam piece on Nathan Edmondson. But many people on the internet decided to be judge and jury when there is nothing concrete except accusations. I tend to lean right (more libertarian actually) politically and I feel that people with conservative views can be made to feel unwelcome by a very liberal industry/online community. My favorite creators are pretty liberal but I can put aside our different beliefs because I enjoy their work.

    I mean no personal slight to The Beat because this is the most informative site on comics that I go to because you don’t pander to Marvel and DC and you’re not overly snarky. I tend to take reviews with a grain of salt anyway because of different tastes. I’ve very much enjoyed Alexander Jones reviews of the new Marvel and DC books lately because I’ve found them to be very informative and they’ve even made me take a second look at books I may have passed on Wednesday. I do enjoy the site and I try to respectfully disagree in the comments section when I have an opinion contrary to things that are written so I hope that I don’t come across as a troll.

  4. 2 keepers out of this bunch: Totally Awesome Hulk and Daredevil.

    46 of these #1s and I’m left with 8. That’s half as much as I was getting pre-Secret Wars. I like the titles I’m getting from them but I think the relaunch is going to wind up being a jumping off point in the end.

  5. All that being said, the review focused on the visuals and neither reviewer nor commenter commented specifically on the writing.

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