As I mentioned in an earlier post on comic collecting, I currently get my books through Discount Comic Book Service (http://www.dcbservice.com). For anyone who might be interested in obtaining their fix in like manner, here’s a little rundown of the process; it’s really easy. From DCBS’s site you download an excel spreadsheet of the complete monthly Previews order catalog. You mark it up with what you want, save it, and then upload it back to the site. You follow their checkout procedures: shipping address, billing info, shipping preferences (I go with once a month for a flat $6.95), bag & board options (if you want them), etc., and you’re done. Comics shipped right to your front door. Simple! Most everything I order is 40-50% off cover price. They also offer discounts on most merch and collectible items such as apparel, toys, busts & statues, games, etc. You really can’t beat the prices and the customer service is great.
All right, enough with the infomercial.
Depending on how busy my schedule is, I might not get through my entire pile of books each month. Also, sometimes I like to wait until I have several issues of a title, or, say, all parts of a mini-series, etc. before sitting down to read them. Therefore, and because I’m getting some of my books nearly a month after release date, my comments might not be the most timely. Oh well. So without further ado, here’s what I got around to reading this last month:
Ultimate Comics Cataclysm #0.1
New Avengers #13
Avengers A.I. #7
Guardians of the Galaxy #9-10
Indestructible Hulk #15
Indestructible Hulk Annual #1
Indestructible Hulk #16-17
Iron Man #19
Thor: God of Thunder #16
Thor: God of Thunder #16
The Superior Spider-Man #21-24
All-New X-Men #20
Uncanny X-Men #15
Wolverine & the X-Men #39
Cable and X-Force #17
Deadpool by Joe Kelley Omnibus*
I haven’t bothered much with Marvel’s Ultimate Universe over the years. I picked up the first couple story arcs of “Ultimate Spider-Man” and “Ultimate X-Men” when it launched, but quickly lost interest. What really killed it for me were how awful and ill-conceived the “Ultimate Marvel Team-Up” title was, and the ridiculously long wait periods between issues of “Ultimates.” I bailed, and eventually sold my issues off (for a tidy profit =) and haven’t purchased a single book from the imprint since. Until now. Earth-616’s Galactus being shunted into the universe of Earth-1610 was one of the more promising developments to spin out of the Bendis helmed “Age of Ultron” event, and at first, I thought that just maybe they were finally going to wrap the line. It seemed plausible; I mean, they’ve revamped the imprint several times in recent years, breathing new life into it- but the sales and interest always inevitably drop off. This event, with its “Last Stand” pitch, seemed like just the thing to close it down with honor and dignity. But no. Recent solicitations reveal yet another revamp that I’m betting few will care about in a year. It’s too bad; the “Hunger” mini was actually pretty decent.
I’m still really enjoying Hickman’s Avengers runs. I thought “Infinity” was entertaining, epic in scope and very ambitious. The “Cosmic” fanboy in me was greatly pleased to see so many worlds, species and characters from throughout the Marvel cosmos represented. Goodness knows it was more satisfying than the dreck we’re being served over in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Nova,” but more on that in a minute. I like the scale of “Avengers” and the dark, desperate tone of “New Avengers.” As for the latter, I’m just happy to see Dr. Strange getting some screen time. That and I think I have a bit of a thing for Black Swan. #24.Now served as a nice little epilogue to “Infinity” and did a nice job setting the stage for what comes next.
Oh, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Nova,” why must you suck so bad right now? Seriously, these are the two titles I MOST want to love each month, and yet, I am continually disappointed by their lackluster showing. I should preface my criticism by acknowledging that I’ve been a hardcore fan of the cosmic titles for decades, and that I judge current offerings by how well I feel they stand up to and build upon past glories. Part of the reason I delighted so much in Abnett & Lanning’s most recent stint was their ability to respect and include past continuity while crafting a modern cosmic landscape. I was upset (putting it mildly) when their assorted titles abruptly ended, and was desperately holding out hope that somehow they’d be back. A couple of years passed...nothing. Then, it was announced that “GotG” and “Nova” were being relaunched written by Bendis and Loeb (respectively). It’s a smart move by Marvel- coupling bigger name talent with lesser known properties- especially since these characters are virtually unknown to mainstream audiences and yet will soon feature in the upcoming Marvel Phase II film. However, these titles have failed to deliver at nearly every turn.
“Guardians” is a meandering mess. We’re a dozen issues in and all the team has done is navel-gaze as they wander aimlessly through space, reacting to myriad events originating outside of their own title: Star-Lord picks a fight with his dad, Iron Man wriggles his way on to the team in an embarrassingly obvious marketing ploy to raise the title’s profile, they acquire the multiversally displaced Angela- because apparently one deadly, sword-wielding female teammate just isn’t enough, they show up for “Infinity” in what are undoubtedly the WORST and most pointless tie-in issues ever written, and now they are supposedly off to tangle with the All-New X-Men. I swear something of import had better happen in this crossover… Thankfully, there is a small sliver of hope in this otherwise depressing quagmire: Abnett & Lanning have a couple of backup stories in the upcoming “100th (really 101, I guess?) anniversary” issue #14. Not only that, but they are also writing the 2 issue “Prelude” to the upcoming film. I’m betting that these stories will be more interesting and entertaining than anything we’ve yet seen in the current volume. Can’t wait!
As for “Nova,” what a crock! In the comic, Sam Alexander is a mopey, pubescent moron only slightly less contemptible than his obnoxious television incarnation. His adventures thus far have been bombastic and juvenile and are tonally more in line with the all-ages “Marvel Adventures” line of books. The brat acquires his helmet/powers through one of the sloppiest and most insulting retcons in all Marveldom, then stumbles around stupidly, barely avoiding calamity after catastrophe by sheer, dumb luck. Making it worse, he’s being crammed down our throats through repeated unwarranted and undeserved appearances in crossover events (“Avengers Vs. X-Men,” “Infinity”) and other titles (upcoming “New Warriors” relaunch). Please. Stop. You are killing us real Nova fans. Return Rich Rider already. If Star-Lord and Thanos could come back from the Cancervers, why not Rich?
I’m a longtime fan and reader of Thor. I despised Fraction’s recent run- thank goodness for Gillen’s brilliant “Journey into Mystery,” and while Aaron’s current volume has yet to knock my socks off, I liked the “God Butcher/God Bomb” arcs well enough. The art is beautiful, if nothing else. In any case, I find myself quite taken with the current storyline “The Accursed,” mainly because it is fun to see more of the nine realms and their assorted denizens depicted. Also, there is something about the idea of a League of Realms that appeals to me. Hopefully it lasts beyond this arc.
I came to Waid’s “Daredevil” late. I haven’t always cared much for DD’s solo adventures, so when this volume launched I passed despite Waid’s involvement. Still, I kept hearing good things and seeing all the positive press so I started picking it up about a year ago. I’m glad I did! What I like most about the book is its unconventional tone and direction; you never know from one issue to the next where you might end up. Case in point, issue #33: DD is hot on the heels of the Sons of the Serpent (a racist extremist group) and next thing we know he’s run smack into the Legion of Monsters- whom I love! Hopefully Waid can keep the momentum going as this volume wraps and relaunches in the next couple of months.
*I didn’t actually read the ENTIRE “Deadpool by Joe Kelley Omnibus” this month; I just riffled through it and reminisced... What a fun series that was!
BEST of the month
Thor: God of Thunder #16
WORST of the month
Guardians of the Galaxy #9-10
What I’m looking forward to next month
Loki: Agent of Asgard
Well, that’s all for January. I meant to get this up sooner; I’ll try and do better for February’s stash. The next few months should be pretty exciting with so many “All-New Marvel NOW” titles hitting shelves. Hope they live up to the hype.