30 Apr, 2013

The Unstoppable Marvel Now!

Posted by Raphael in Opinion

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Midtown Bloggerinos! Raph here, back from a brief hiatus. Our Times Square location has recently changed it’s hours. We’re now open 8 am – Midnight from Monday to Saturday and 12 noon to 8pm on Sundays! What does that means for yours truly? Learning to be more nocturnal! But fear not, I’m back and I have a lot to say, particularly about how much I’m enjoying Marvel Now! This relaunch of the Marvel Universe isn’t a complete reboot (unlike DC’s New 52), the stories aren’t starting over, they’re just ending the last epoch of the Marvel Universe, which pretty much dates back to 2005’s House of M. Here are 3 reasons why I enjoy Marvel Now!

1. Musical Chairs with Creators

As much as I enjoyed the work of Brian Michael Bendis on Avengers and Matt Fraction on Iron Man, you need to rotate out creators. No one expects a writer to stay on forever, particularly with a mainstream character (although I hope Bendis gets to write Ultimate Spider-Man until he’s done), so it’s logical that the guys at Marvel moved people around. Writers swapped franchises, artists are on rotations with each other on books, it’s worked out so far. The thing is, they’ve really thought this out well and moved people to exactly where they fit in, which leads me to…

 2. Like A (Hulk Sized)Glove!

The writers and artists have for the most part hit a real groove with their books, and some of it is just magical, but it also makes sense. Bendis likes doing high drama, and ensemble casts, why not tackle the largest dysfunctional pseudo family in comics? All-New X-Men, while controversial initially, does a great job of throwing the original five X-Men into the mess that is the current X-Men. Uncanny X-Men does a great job of not vilifying Cyclops completely, but clearly showing us that he is considered a terrorist worldwide for his actions in Avengers vs. X-Men. Matt Fraction does incredible, bleeding edge sci-fi with Tony Stark, why not have him work with another genius titan in Reed Richards? Also, why not have him do offbeat comics like FF and Hawkguy-er uh HawkEYE. On top of that, newer Marvel writers like Rick Remender (Captain America, Uncanny Avengers) and Jonathan Hickman (Avengers, New Avengers) are doing amazing work on their respective books. Mark Waid is also having an awesome time, with Daredevil already being one of the best books in comics, he throws Indestructible Hulk on top of that!  Instead of being bogged down by continuity or concern for new readers, the stories are fresh and FUN. Big action, big adventure, just what super hero comics should be. Throw in art from the likes of Jerome Opena, Stuart Immonen, John Romita Jr., Dustin Weaver, and so many others, and this might be the best Marvel has been in my lifetime!

3. Take A Chance On Me (feat. Darkhawk, Young Avengers, etc.)

On top of all of the A-List talent Marvel has tossed out there, they’ve also made some creative gambles and risks with creators like Kieron Gillen and Dennis Hopeless. Not that their work is bad by any means… but Gillen has only been at Marvel for about two to three years, and Hopeless even less so. Yet here they are, Gillen taking on a fan favorite in Young Avengers and the movie marquee idol that is Iron Man. Gillen and Rick Remender have had enough time at Marvel to craft their own fan favorite runs however, (Gillen’s Journey into Mystery with Kid Loki and Remender’s Uncanny X-Force), so it’s not like they’re TOTALLY out of the blue. Dennis Hopeless is though, and he arguably had the most controversial book.

Avengers Arena was marketed as an “homage” to the Hunger Games and Battle Royale… a few of it’s covers are basically taken from those two popular series. And yet, the series is still a good one. If you get past the concept that Arcade has brought a bunch of minor heroes (including, sniff sniff, DARKHAWK!), to an island where he is all-powerful, so that they can fight to the death, there’s a great story being told. Hopless’ characterizations of the heroes involved is very well done. I’ve never been more proud of Chris Powell, and there were characters I had forgotten about that I’ve come to love again, it’s just a shame that they’re probably going to bite the dust, and that’s the magic Hopeless has here. It’s similar to Walking Dead in it’s earlier years: you kept reading and praying your favorite character would survive the zombie apocalypse and then BAM!, he or she is dead. It’s kind of cruel, but you really don’t know what you have until it’s gone sometimes. If you also include Hopeless’ work with Cable and his renegade X-Force, he’s actually done very well for himself. And Marvel’s fans have reaped the benefits.

So that’s why I am loving Marvel Now! so much right now. Agree? Disagree? Leave comments on the page or on Facebook. Next week, I’m going to take a look at what I love about DC right now, and spread the good vibes all around. Until next time—

“Put the suit on”

-          Raph

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