Let’s start things off right by first saying what we’re all thinking: Happy New Years!
Now onto business. Just because it’s 2013, doesn’t mean comics are still not getting pressed and the world ended.
Maybe Avengers vs. X-Men is far, far from our minds — thank goodness — but there’s still plenty of excellent choices to wet your Nerd appetite in the new year. January 2nd offers lighter than usual first release week, but there were still three comics that stood out in this Apostle’s eyes.
MarvelNOW! keeps on rolling, with the new relaunch of New Avengers. Yup, Luke Cage steps aside for another well-statured African-American superhero, Black Panther. The interesting twist with this, is that Panther now runs the Illuminati, which you remember as the 5 brightest minds in the business who came together during the Skrull Invasion. This week also delivers the final issues for the first arcs of All New X-Men and Iron Man. Both Brian Michael Bendis and Kieron Gillen have set our favorite characters up for new beginnings and great stories in the near future (especially since most of this Iron Man story has been “bleh”).
New Avengers #1
After a couple of tremendous years writing Fantastic Four, Jonathan Hickman has become Marvel’s latest goldenboy with new volumes of both The Avengers and NOW!, New Avengers. This second Avengers title starts with the arc, “Memento Mori”, which means “Remember your Mortality” in Latin, and, of course, deals with the Illuminati being brought back together by the Black Panther.
Our latest intergalactic threat — because simply what else is there? — calls herself “Black Swan”; and if your familiar with Hickman’s writing, then you won’t be surprised if this Darren Aronofsky-approved villain plays out a huge role for another 50 issues.
With exceptional pencils by Steve Epting (Fantastic Four, Captain America), and some interesting clashing of minds, the Apostle ranks it a 3/5 on the Geek Bible scale. I liked it, but admitt was left wanting more. There’s no doubt this is only a mere first soak in the sunrise for this excellent, epic level creator.
Iron Man #5
While the first arc of Kieron Gillen’s new Iron Man hasn’t been the most well-received (especially with Greg Land’s generic model-photocopied art), I’m happy to tell you that all ends well — with Extremis placing Tony back on the charts.
That’s not to say the first four issues were a complete miss. Tony’s dealt with an intriguing task of destroying the last of Moya’s armor, with many manifestations of different Extremist getting in the way. Stark’s had no choice but to push for even heavenlier tech skills, all the while others have been taxing his emotional character to new levels. Hard to believe after the shit he went through during the last several years of Fractionland, but this new threat has certainly been dangerously viable.
With exceptional writing from Gillen (Journey Into Mystery) and better art from Land (thank God), Iron Man may very well be back in the cynics’ map. With the future now laying in space, it should be interesting to see whether the level of quality can only go up from here, as well. 4/5 for the issue.
All New X-Men #5
Bendis continues to impress with the newest issue of ANX #5, with those clever personal script skills reinvigorating this franchise second to none. This issue ends the first arc for our wayward time traveling original X-men, with new beginnings and changes that will effect the far future. With Wolverine’s school having a book, and Cyclops team and school having there own book (in a couple months), the future of this book will be the younger fab five. Seeing there perception of the current world and commentary on how far things have changed, will be one hell of a book.
BMB’s writing for this first arc dipped a little around issue 3 but has hit a great end for our first foray into the original mutants. The art on another hand has never missed a beat and Stuart Immonen continues to impress even with accelerated shipping schedules. Bendis and Immonen fairly deserve a 5/5 on the bible scale with such an exceptional issue. I now find myself having personal battles on which X-men comic is truly deserving of flagship status. Well done MBM.
Another week in the books and a whole new year of all that is Geek to look forward to in 2013! From Marvel’s phase two of movies with “Iron Man 3” and “Thor: The Dark World” to FOX’s “The Wolverine” all coming to theaters this year. In comics we can look forward continued MarvelNOW runs, “The Age of Ultron”, a hopefully not crap-tastic “Superior Spiderman”, and our friendly neighborhood mutants the X-Men turn 50! Also Deadpool gets a video game…. Not a bad spread for the feasible future!