Marvel Comics has an interesting problem on their hands. If you’ve been following the comics publisher or even the Diamond sales charts, it may have been brought to your attention that Marvel is unleashing a ton of brand new #1’s in advance of the conclusion of the landmark Secret Wars event. However these #1 issues were supposed to launch after the conclusion of Secret Wars, giving birth to a brand new version of the familiar Marvel Universe.
All-New, All-Different Avengers #1
Writer: Mark Waid Artist: Adam Kubert Colors: Sonia Oback Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
The state of the Avengers franchise was increasingly worrisome to me after being so in love with Jonathan Hickman’s wild take on the franchise. This issue hearkens back to the days of Avengers with Kurt Busiek at the helm of the title, and should provide delight for all. The team is paired down and each have a reason for being in this issue. Waid pulls off some ideas here that are incredibly creative (and too much fun to be spoiled here), a sequence involving Iron Man and a car is particularly genius. With Hickman getting so heady with the core Avengers material, I’m so glad to see Marvel pumping the gas on a completely different direction. Adam Kubert’s artwork was more polished than usual, he excelled in the visual tricks littered throughout Waid’s scripting. This is the Avengers stuff of dreams oozing with classic fun and clever ideas.
Waid captures the spirit of Avengers lacking in Age of Ultron — reminding us why we love costumed heroes in the first place!
All-New Hawkeye #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire Artist: Ramon Perez Colors: Ian Herring Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
The story of Jeff Lemire’s Hawkeye saga was as beautiful here as in the previous volume when the title last relaunched. The story of the past may not be as touching as All-New Hawkeye’s fixation in the future, but Lemire still has enough gripping character drama to sell the rest of this story. I’m also glad to see him address Kate and Clint’s changing relationship in a new context here, which was something bubbling under the surface of Matt Fraction’s original run in pairing the two together. On the art-side, Ramon Perez seems to be having fun experimenting with different art styles in this book. He’s seemingly gone beyond switching back from painting to regular pencils. The art direction and character drama in this title parallel Fraction and David Aja’s excellent comics work.
Verdict: All-New Hawkeye is staying on pull post-Secret Wars.
A fun story that feels personal both in art and storytelling.
All-New Wolverine #1
Writer: Tom Taylor Artists: David Lopez & David Navarrot Colors: Nathan Fairbairn Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
All-New Wolverine #1 really pares down the complicated life of Laura Kinney, but even with an extremely complicated character, Taylor’s cinematic style fits really well with this book. David Lopez, David Navarrot and Nathan Fairbairn’s work together in a stunning fashion and highlight some terrific fight sequences and facial expressions. X-23’s new transition to Wolverine feels natural and earned in the space of just this issue. I’ve never liked Kinney, but Taylor’s writing has made me a believer.
This book is better then it has any right to be.
Writer: Gerry Conway Artist: Mike Perkins Colors: Andy Troy Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
For a book focused on Carnage, Spider-Man veteran Gerry Conway has packed this story with lots of nuance and Spidey continuity. However, I’ve never been a fan of the character of Carnage, Venom or Toxin — I don’t think this will be the book to convert me. It seems that Conway is taking an approach to this comic where he will be trying to assign Carnage to the shadows — an idea that I really like in theory. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention illustrator Mike Perkins, his line work is beautiful and the author is a great fit tonally with the rest of the series. Cletus Kasaday is still a relic of the ’90s and I’m more than a little skeptical in terms of how much mileage Conway get in exploring his character. With that in mind, it would have been better if the series put a greater emphasis on Eddie Brock and his supposed Toxin influence. With a stronger focus on him, we could have seen both sides of the conflict. Also, Brock’s characterization lacks the charisma to make him a solid lead in this story.
Not my cup of tea, but not a bad Carnage comic book.
Writer: Joshua Williamson Artist: Shawn Crystal Colors: John Rauch Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Shifting the Illuminati concept over to The Hood and Titania is interesting, but I’m not convinced that anything in this first issue is truly worthy of a monthly pull from me. These characters are not my favorite villains in the Marvel Universe, and there’s nothing about their characterization as depicted in this book that’s really convinced me otherwise. I will check in occasionally, but this silly tone coming from Shawn Crystal is also putting me off a bit. Even though this series is morally complex, I can’t help but feel bad for the main character.
Not bad, not good.
Writer: Al Ewing Artist: Kenneth Rocafort Colors: Dan Brown Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
I really like Al Ewing, I really want to like Al Ewing — Loki: Agent of Asgard was a really beautiful comic book — but I didn’t feel the magic in Ultimates #1. I think part of the problem really is Kenneth Rocafort, in that his jagged, complex lines kind of throw me out of the story and make me think everything (people included) look like weird machines. I think this team is really interesting, and with a different artist, the comic would be worth a second look. Rocafort’s storytelling on the page has always been sort of static to me, and the illusion of moving pictures within comic book storytelling disappears with me when his name is attached to a project. I cannot deny that when the artist touches a page he draws something interesting, like the cool opening sequence of the comic — but it looks more like fine art to me rather than a narrative I could get lost in. I’m not sure how I feel about the Ultimates being a well oiled machine already either, and there was also nobody in particular in terms of characterization that made me particularly interested in grabbing another issue.
Maybe this comic could grow into something interesting with another artist?
Web Warriors #1
Writer: Mike Costa Artist: David Baldeon Inker: Scott Hanna Colors: Jason Keith Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Writing assessment: See above in Ultimates #1 and Illuminati #1. Same deal here.
Art assessment: Not bad.