Saturday, November 30, 2013

Marvel Comics For Which I Was Most Thankful in 2013 and Am Anticipating Most in 2014

2013 marked my return to comics after a pretty long lay off. What started out as me trying to pick out a few books I thought my oldest daughter would enjoy reading turned into me subscribing to 14 titles, buying a year of Marvel Unlimited (GREAT idea with really poor execution), picking up quite a few trade backs and starting my own website...who knew? After the jump I'll reflect upon the comics I enjoyed most in 2013 and look ahead to those I'm anticipating most in 2014.


Guardians of the Galaxy


With Brian Michael Bendis on board, it was pretty obvious from the get go that this book was being written to get the team in the spotlight ahead of James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy film and the book has been very solid. Nothing spectacular has happened yet and I wish there were a little more Drax at times, but I have a feeling his time will come. While there was a lot of focus on Iron Man joining the team, I found his addition to be no distraction whatsoever. I'm very curious to see what Bendis does with Angela now in the mix and the events of Infinity behind us.

Uncanny Avengers


This book has been a bit of a conundrum for me. The first several books were awesome: there was a deep cast of characters and each were given a good bit to do and fleshed out very well by Rick Remender and I enjoyed John Cassaday's artwork. The book did a nice job of shining the spotlight on Havok and I was happy to see Wonder Man get some facetime. It was clear that they were building to something big early on and I felt a great sense of anticipation, however, when it got here, I was...confused and, to be honest, I pretty much just flipped the pages of a few issues.  Fortunately the book has picked back up in the past 2-3 issues and seems to be back on solid footing going forward.

Thor: God of Thunder


This book was a surprise to me. The Godbutcher and Godbomb arcs, when they were all said and done, were easily two of the best solo book arcs of the year. Jason Aaron had some very ballsy and unique ideas on where to take this book and did so to great success. Introducing a completely new villain in Goor to kick off the new series was risky but turned out to be a fabulous move. The 3 Thors concept could have easily failed miserably, but was handled so well that I sincerely hope that someday down the road, Marvel studios gives serious consideration to bringing the first 11 issues of Thor: God of Thunder a screen treatment.

 Indestructible Hulk


I've said it several times before, but Mark Waid's Indestructible Hulk may well be the template for Marvel's next attempt at a solo Hulk film. Banner's plan to redeem himself for the years of destruction for which he is responsible by becoming an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. take the classic Hulk theme and dump it on its head. No longer on the run, Banner accepts both sides of his own coin and basically becomes a mercenary.  Waid's really done well getting into Banner's head and I've enjoyed every issue. I'm curious to see how the current time-altering arc plays out, but this book has been a treat.

Avengers


This book has had my attention since the first issue because of its sci-fi connection.  It's had a huge cast of characters and has done an awesome job of giving each of them something to do while keeping the focus squarely on Cap as the leader during universe-changing events. I have loved the Infinity tie-ins and Cap's interactions with Cosmic heavy-hitters like Ronan, Gladiator and Kl'rt, all of whom have deferred to Cap's leadership skills.  It seems as if the book is splitting into two for 2014 with Avengers and Avengers World, which Hickman will be writing as well, and that's alright with me.

New Avengers


While I haven't been a huge fan of the current Fantastic Four book, I've still been able to get my Reed Richards fix through Hickman's New Avengers. While it seems that this book has only existed to serve the greater purpose of Infinity, the small cast of characters at its core are among my favorites in Marvel's stable and I'm glad to see the Illuminati are scheming behind the scenes. Hickman was basically given the most intelligent characters Marvel has to offer and tasked with finding something worthy of bringing them all back together and the events of Infinity seemed like a pretty solid place for their reunion. I'm not sure what the future holds for the book; in fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see it canceled at some point though I'm curious to see where it goes post-Infinity with the sweeping changes and fallout from Black Bolt's Terrigen bomb.

Infinity


While I have to reserve full judgement until I finally get to read issue #6, I fully expect Infinity to be my favorite Marvel event. While I haven't regularly read comics for a while, I have kept up with the big events or have recently caught back up with them through Marvel Unlimited. Some of them were great, some so-so and a few were just junk; however, Infinity had my attention from the get go and delivered some great writing and artwork. I've reread each of the issues and there are some panels that made me smile each time I saw them. This event has, once again, set the stage for some huge changes to the Marvel universe and I'm curious to see where the next year takes things as Earth deals with an influx of Inhumans without a king.

Looking ahead to 2014, Marvel is doing some controversial renumbering but also introducing some new books.  Below are several titles I'm going to pick up and give a chance:

Fantastic Four



Moon Knight


Avengers World


Black Widow

Punisher


Inhuman


All-New Invaders


New Warriors


All-New Ghost Rider