Multiversity 101: Make Mine Marvel Now!

Typically in Multiversity 101, I try to provide analytical looks at various things that are going on within the industry, both good and bad. Sometimes though, you just want to go fanboy a little bit, and today, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

I love Marvel Now!

When I say that, I don’t mean by any means that every title in Marvel Now! works for me, and even some of the business associated with it bothers me. I can’t get into Iron Man because of Greg Land’s art (Kieron Gillen does a mean Stark, though), X-Men Legacy and Cable and the X-Force are just impossible to like for me, Fantastic Four bores me, and the fact that many of their titles have seen artistic changes already bugs me.

But even when it comes to the things I’m not a fan of, I can’t help but respect.

Take X-Men Legacy, for example. That’s a book that features two creators who are up-and-comers but not very proven in Si Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat, a main character that has no significant fan following, and from the get go, it had the deck stacked against it. But Marvel embraced it and are letting Spurrier and Huat tell their story seemingly. It’s a book with a significantly different feel – some would even say indie – than most Marvel books, but the thing I really appreciate is they are trying something different with it instead of just telling generic X-Story. Throw in some killer Mike Del Mundo covers, and this is a fascinating book even if it isn’t my favorite.

But let’s talk about what is going on with the new books that are really clicking with me.

I loved Hickman and Dragotta’s FF, but Fraction and Allred? They’re somehow continuing the legacy of their run with many similar elements that pay tribute to Hickman and Dragotta, yet expanding on them at the same time. It’s easily one of the most fun comics on the market right now, and it makes this X-Statix fan very, very pleased. Reed Richards would be very pleased too, as the Future Foundation is in very good hands indeed.

Thor: God of Thunder from Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic is nothing short of marvelous, with their first arc about The God Butcher being of the scope and scale befitting a god. It puts Thor in the proper context while creating a villain that is his equal – and even superior – in more ways than one. Sure, it helps that Ribic was made to draw Thor, but even through just four issues, it has quickly become apparent that Aaron and Ribic are crafting a Thor story for the ages.

Then, you have Young Avengers. Everyone knew that this book would be nothing short of amazing, but Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson and the rest crushed this first issue so completely that expectations weren’t even possible to remember afterwards. As I told MC writer Walt Richardson, this quick blast of a comic was the comic equivalent of a perfect three minute pop song, to which he responded with, “I bet Kieron would like that comparison.” I bet he would, but probably not as much as I enjoyed his comic.

Avengers and New Avengers have, so far, maybe not met expectations, but Hickman, Opena and Epting have certainly challenged us as readers and created Avengers comics for a new generation. They’re simultaneously operating on a higher scale than we’ve seen for the book since the Kree Skrull War, while showing the meticulous planning that Hickman has always factored into his books. Maybe they’re not there yet, but you can sense something big is building.

You look around, and even the non Now! books are thriving. Wolverine and the X-Men is fresh off one of the best X-Men issues in years in my book. Hawkeye is maybe the best comic in comics. Journey into Mystery, previously unthinkable without Kieron Gillen, has thrust Sif to a point of prominence and unmatched quality for the character.

There are many more you can talk about, but the point of it is this: Marvel Now!, as a relaunch, restart, reshuffle, whatever, has been a huge success. To me, Marvel, creatively, is in a far healthier place than it was this time last year.

They didn’t have to completely rehaul everything, they just set their books back to point one and put exciting creative teams on titles and let them tell the stories they want to. It’s a simple formula, yet one that distinguished competition around the industry has completely faltered at.

I’m sure you could check back with me in six months, and I may be further frustrated by creative team changes and events like Age of Ultron and whatever is going on with Spider-Man on the horizon, but for now, my excitement knows no bounds. Marvel Now! has managed to get Marvel back to the point where they once were – a house of ideas designed around exciting creators and their exciting creations.

Sales have matched the excitement so far (although they have seen rapid decreases after huge first issue sales), so hopefully this type of momentum sticks. With books from names like Brian Wood, Olivier Coipel and Nick Spencer on the horizon, I imagine the future for Marvel is just as bright.

I have to ask though, fellow readers. What’s your take on Marvel Now! so far? Exciting? Disappointing? Generally meh? Let me know in the comments, because right now, I’m drinking the Marvel Kool Aid with a smile on my face.

About The AuthorDavid HarperDavid Harper mainly focuses on original content, interviews, co-hosting our 4 Color News and Brews video podcast, and being half of the Mignolaversity and Valiant (Re)visions team. He runs Multiversity's Twitter and Facebook pages, and personally tweets (rarely) @slicedfriedgold. By day, he works in an ad agency in Anchorage, Alaska, and he loves his wife, traveling and biscuits & gravy (ordered most to least, which is still a lot).

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User's Comments
  • Branden Lau

    I’ve been really digging Marvel NOW! The sheer number of quality books coming out now is exciting, the problem though is that so many of them are $3.99/double shipping that I just can’t buy them all. That’s one hell of a complaint right there.

    • David Harper

      I agree, mostly. I wish less books were $3.99, and sometimes I wish they came out less often, but quite often I think “I wish I could read the next issue sooner” with books. Things like Hawkeye? That can come out as often as they can make it.

      I totally understand though. Marvel has made it financially difficult to read their books, and that is not the best move they could make. They need to find a balance, because they are pricing readers out.

    • sTEVE

      I can’t express enough how much I agree with you. The $3.99 pricing and double shipping are the sole reasons why I’m trade-waiting Avengers/NA and ANXM/UXM. I simply can’t afford it, and I won’t try. Why Marvel wants to make their readers choose between reading a double shipped title and trying another book is beyond me. If I have to make the choice between reading a book that double ships or another book, I’m going with another book. It’s the reason I’m not reading Wolverine and the X-Men anymore, there are just too many quality books out there for me to waste two spots on my pull list with one book.

      To me, if double-shipping has to happen, why can’t they price those titles at $2.99? $8 a month for 40 pages of story just doesn’t seem right to me.

  • David

    Great article! I’ve been really excited about Marvel Now! and have enjoyed most of the titles I’ve picked up.

    Thor, Journey, YA, FF, Avengers Assemble, Avengers Arena are amazing, I’m enjoying Avengers, NA, Superior Spidey, and Deadpool, Red She-Hulk’s improving, I flip back and forth between excited and okay with All New X-Men depending on if stuff happens or if it’s mostly Bendis conversations not pushing the story forward (I’m not against calm issues, I just think Captain Marvel 9 was done much better than ANXM 6), and I have hopes that Fantastic Four will improve once it gets to the reason why I’m reading it (time travel hijinxs with historical figures and big bang/end of the universe). I’m looking forward to reading more Hulk (haven’t gotten the rest in my pull list yet). I thought Captain America was okay, but wasn’t interesting enough to buy monthly, but I might check out the trade if it has good reviews. I also have the first issue of Uncanny X-Force but haven’t read it yet. (I may be forgetting something because there’s a lot of Marvel Now! books.)

    The only two titles I bought that I was outright disappointed with are Iron Man (which is just because of the art. Gillen’s writing is fine.) and Uncanny Avengers (the first issue was 19 pages of boring recaps followed by an amazing cliffhanger, a decent second issue that actually had stuff happen, and a third issue that had so many unnecessary and boring captions (also, I don’t remember there being that many captions, so it threw me off – this title should be action, not text boxes explaining what’s happening in the art it’s covering) that I was too tired to read YA after it. Also, Cassidy’s art looks rushed and is really disappointing me. I know I’m done with the title, I just need to figure out if I hop off here or wait until the end of the arc.)

    Two outright disappointments (and going in I knew the odds were against me for Iron Man) out of about 17 titles is damn solid and much better percentages than my original picks for the New52. Also, there are more new titles coming out that sound amazing (Fearless Defenders, Secret Avengers, X-Men, UXM) that will hopefully boost that record even more.

    EDIT: I forgot A+X. I skipped the first issue, liked the second, hated the third, skipped the fourth. I think it’s an ok-ish series, but only if you like all of the creators and characters in the book. Otherwise it’s too expensive for mediocre stories.

    • David

      Now if only Marvel could stop double shipping and charging $3.99 for so many of those titles; I want to keep buying them all, but it’s getting expensive to enjoy all those titles!

    • David Harper

      I forgot Uncanny Avengers, but yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It’s been a huge disappointment so far. I have not really enjoyed any of the issues, and the third one was just straight up bad. It’s a bit of a shame, because I had HUGE expectations for it. Remender and Cassaday…what could go wrong?

      • David

        If you do read Uncanny Avengers 4, I’d love to see you do a review on it.

        • David Harper

          I’ll read it for sure. As for a review, I’m not sure if you watch 4 Color News and Brews, our video podcast, but I can almost assure you we’ll do a review on there.

  • sTEVE

    Here we go, my mini-reviews of the NOW titles I’m reading:

    Captain America: really enjoying this so far, more so than I thought I would. I love Remender on Sci-fi pulp (Fear Agent is the best thing ever) and I am really liking how different this is from Brubaker’s run. Wasn’t sure about JRJR on art, but I think Klaus Janson is a good choice of inker for him. Excited for this book going forward.

    Thor: this book is fuggin’ amazing. That is all.

    Uncanny Avengers: Meh. This book hasn’t really grabbed me yet, though I admit I am really excited about the future of this book. I can’t wait to get into the “Ragnarok Now” arc and the continuation of his Uncanny X-Force plot. Plus: Acuna on art! On time art!

    Indestructible Hulk: Enjoying Waid’s take on Banner/Hulk so far. Plus Leinil Yu is a beast on art. What’s that? Walt Simonson too?!?! Holy Crap!

    Young Avengers: Great first issue. Really looking forward to what’s next from this creative team,

    Fantastic Four/FF: Fantastic Four bores me, no other way to say it. Now that the family is finally on their trip, I’ll give it another issue, but that’s it. FF though… wow that is good comics. Huge fan of X-Statix here, and this is filling the hole that book left behind.

    I’m trade-waiting Avengers/New Avengers and All-New X-men/Uncanny X-Men, so no opinions on those yet. Overall, I have to say Marvel NOW has made me a happy reader. As someone who was only reading Daredevil, Fury MAX, and Hawkeye consistently before NOW, I’m happy to be more involved in the Marvel U as a whole.

    • David Harper

      Couldn’t agree more. I didn’t mention Indestructible Hulk, but I really, really have enjoyed Waid’s take, and Yu/Simonson art is spectacular.

      And Fury MAX rules! That book needs more love! Goran Parlov!

      • sTEVE

        Yes! Fury MAX is amazing! That book is criminally under-read, though I do have a feeling it will be one of those books that finds a wider audience with the collection.

        • David Harper

          I hope so. It is an outrageously great book. People tend to be love/hate with Ennis, but how can you not love Parlov’s work? The guy is so good.

  • Zach Wilkerson

    Great article! I for one am loving everything that Fraction is doing. I wish I could get more books, but like others have said, the double shipping makes things tough. I’m limiting myself to the Hickman Avengers books, and holding out for the second arc of Uncanny Avengers to recapture that UXF magic.

    • David Harper

      Oh man, I really can’t wait for the UXF/Uncanny Avengers arc. That’s going to be awesome, and Acuna on the book should be great.

      I’m really loving Fraction’s stuff too, besides Fantastic Four. I just think that book is really boring, but I put more of the burden of that on Mark Bagley to be honest.

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