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.
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.