So here we are again with ALL NEW MARVEL NOW WHERE NOTHING WILL BE THE SAME BLAH BLAH ZOMG whatever. The big difference now is that instead of shuffling most of their current creative talent like they did with the first Marvel Now initiative this time we are getting a lot of new writers and artists while Marvel is introducing a lot of comics featuring characters that have traditionally had a hard time selling consistently the way your X-Men, Thor or Iron Man comics have. I’m not bothering with titles that are being relaunched after less than a few months so don’t expect my thoughts on the upcoming Daredevil or Captain Marvel relaunches (there going to be awesome. Duh.)
All New Ghost Rider
Felipe Smith Tradd Moore
So the spirit of vengeance returns in a muscle car roaming the streets of Los Angeles. A few things that are promising about this comic: Youth culture in Los Angeles has been exploding over the last four years and it’s pretty cool that Marvel is not only approaching that but attempting to do that on the cultures own terms. Tradd Moore is a wholly unique art talent that is going to give this comic it’s own singular visual aesthetic something that I think a Ghost Rider book will need to survive and Felipe Smith comes out of Tokyo Pop which also brought us Brandon Graham and James Stokoe. All in all there’s a lot of potential here. Worth giving a few issues.
All New Invaders
James Robinson Steve Pugh
Well here we are with James Robinson’s first Marvel comic after he scorched earth at DC Comics due to the usual arbitrary editorial nonsense. I’ve never been to high on what is admittedly limited exposure to his work but if you like those golden age age takes on modern comics ala Mark Waid then he is certainly the man for the job. Whether or not that translates to a modern Invaders story is yet to be seen as all these characters have changed a whole lot since the Jack Kirby days. We last saw Steve Pugh doing some solid abstract pencils on Animal Man but based on the preview art it looks like he’s playing it straight on this book. Worth a shot for fans of James Robinson or golden age revivalism in general. If not your millage may vary.
All New X-Factor
Peter David Carmine Di Giandomencio
Anybody that’s read David’s good/occasionally great X-Factor comics should have a pretty good idea of what’s going on here as I don’t think adding Gambit and making it corporately funded or whatever is going to change all that much for what was essentially a straight up X-Men comic filled with less popular characters. Sure it said they were “solving mysteries” but c’mon let’s be real; every superhero comic plot starts with a mystery on some level. No Jamie Maddox for now at least which kind of sucks but if you like the idea of him being replaced by Gambit you probably bought a lot of Image Comics in the 90’s and you’re also in luck because that appears to be what’s happening here. Artist Carmine Di Giandomencio seems relatively talented for the limited amount of work that’s been available in the US but he does story boards for Martin Scorsese which is about as high an endorsement as I can think. X-Men completionist will probably enjoy this or hate buy it. One year from now you’ll see it on the shelve of your LCS and think “wait they’re still publishing this?”
Avengers World #1
Jonathan Hickman Nick Spencer Stefano Caselli
For all you people that think Hickman is too cold or what have you Marvel heard your complaints and brings this peace offering Avengers World where you will be given the opportunity to get to know what these Avengers are like on a personal level. Personally I’m flabbergasted as to why this title exists other than the obvious reason that having Avengers in your title =$$$$$$$ but as a consumer and fan of all the creative talent here I don’t see any reason for me to buy it. While Hickman’s name may be on the title Spencer is supposedly doing the heavy lifting on this one. The question is can Spencer bring the same kind of insanity and great charecter moments from Superior Foes of Spiderman and Belam? If so then we may have something here but even if it does how does that set it apart from DeConicks Avengers Assemble? I’m just not seeing it. Stefano Caselli is perfectly competent. If you don’t like Hickman’s Avengers it’s probably worth dropping that for this but I’m going to stick with the main book and sit this one out.
Black Widow and The Punisher
Nathan Edmondson Phil Noto Mitch Gerards
I’m not going to say this about much else but I’m going to say it here: out of everything I’m writing about these two comics are the must buys of the group. Nathan Edmondson has been doing some amazing creator owned work over at Image Comics but his skills haven’t quite been able to translate into the big two yet. I think that ends with these two titles. Edmonson best creator owned work work like Dancer, Who is Jake Ellis and The Activity has excelled at mixing Military/Espionage setting with science fiction and that’s essentially what Black Widow and The Punisher are. They are Military and Espionage stories set inside Marvel’s science fiction based universe. It’s about as close to a perfect fit as you can get. Mitch Gerards draws like a Michael Mann’s Heat which is exactly how a Punisher in Los Angeles comic should look and based on the preview pages Black Widow looks like the best work Phil Noto has done so far. If your only going to buy one comic out of this launch of titles make it one of these two.
Haden Blackman Mike Del Mundo
For all the fans of the New 52 Batwoman this is the comic for you. Series writer Haden Blackman takes his talents to another female superhero comic and while I don’t think Mike Del Mundo is as talented as JH Williams III (who is?) he’s more than proven his ability with his fantastic cover work and what we’ve seen from the preview pages has been excellent. There hasn’t been a lot of success for Elektra holding down her own series and that’s partly because outside of Frank Millers head she is kind of a blank slate. Here’s hoping Blackman can bring the same levity and gravitas that he brought to Batwoman here and if nothing else it should look pretty. This is a must buy for fans of Blackman’s Batwoman work and is probably worth anybody checking out that’s looking for cool art and a unique style from a superhero comic.
Inhuman and She Hulk
Charles Soule Javier Pudilo Joe Maduiera
2013’s rookie of the year does bigger things in 2014 with two new Marvel titles. I’m excited for one and not as much for another. Starting with Inhuman it just feels like bad vibes all around. Now I know that everything appears amicable but Matt Fraction, the dude that’s worked on Uncanny X-Men, Iron Man, Fear Itself and Thor, couldn’t handle the editorial guidelines on this? That’s not promising. With that said Joe Mad is still Joe Mad and Soule has been able to do some great work under DC’s draconian New 52 editorial so maybe everything will be alright. Now on the other hand She Hulk has some Hawkeye/Young Avengers potential for slice of life fun and innovative superhero stories. Javier Pudilo has done some great interior work on Hawkeye previously and the tone he brings is just cartoony enough to match the type of light and funny vibes that I’m getting off this comic. I’d call She Hulk a must purchase and Inhuman a game time decision.
Ales Kot Garry Brown
NBC favorite and rising star comes to Marvel with the difficult task of making Iron Man’s side kick interesting. This is another charechter that doesn’t have a strong history of setting the sales charts on fire so why not give Kot the chance to run wild with the story and see what happens. Kot’s been quoted as thinking of Rhodes as “the human equivalent of Superman” which is crazy but also kind of true when you think about it so this out the box approach just might work. Garry Brown has been doing some great work on Dark Horse titles like The Massive and Dark Matter after some successful runs on Batman, X-Men and Daredevil comics and his washed 70’s film style sounds like a good mix for Kot in theory. If you were ever going to read a comic about Rhodey this would be the one.
Loki: Agent of Asgard
Al Ewing Lee Garbett
The fan favorite get’s his own title again at what is probably the height of his popularity. Al Ewing of 2000 AD fame has been jumping around on different Marvel titles over the last year or so including having the unfortunate task of launching The Mighty Avengers with pervy tracer Greg Land. He has Lee Garbett on art for this comic which is far less offensive to people with the most base level of good taste and should be good enough not to offend people paying for this. I have a feeling that this title is only going to work if they go balls out insane crazy to keep it interesting and I don’t think they are going that route. Readers who love the character will probably be given their fan service month to month but I have a feeling are ultimately going to be disappointed once they get a Loki that isn’t being written by Keiron Gillen or acted out by Tom Hiddleston.
Cullen Bunn Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Cullen Bunn is another one of those writers that came out of the creator owned field and hasn’t been able to find his niche yet on any Marvel titles and I’m not sure if this is going to be the comic that does it for him. Is anybody interested in a solo Magneto comic? I’m a pretty big X fan and I can’t say that it’s something I’m interested in. Magneto is going to be branching away from the team and dealing with “mutant threats” before they can manifest themselves behind Cyclops back so essentially it’s just using the modern X-Force playbook with Magneto. Gabriel Hernadez Walta has an interesting style that could justify this comics existence depending on just how far we are going to go with Magneto’s destruction. Another comic that will be of interest to X completionist or Bunn fans and probably not much else.
Warren Ellis Declan Shelvy
The real question here is does Warren Ellis still got it? Ellis has wrote must read classics like The Authority and Iron Man Extremis but his recent Avengers work hasn’t set the world on fire. Moon Knight is one those fan favorite’s that gets a new title semi annually for a brief period of time before it’s inevitable cancellation. Ellis has the difficult task of getting back to his strength as a writer while working on a comic without any history of sustained success. But it’s still Warren Ellis and he’s a legend in the game. His take seems like a cool concept and he’s saying all the things that would make me think he’s engaged and if nothing else we have Declan Shalvy whose done some fantastic interior work on Deadpool and Conan The Barbarian. There is lot’s of potential here and even if it is a failure it will probably be an interesting one at the very least.
G Willow Wilson Adrian Alphona
Full disclosure: I’ve lived in Jersey City for over five years and because of that I may have an irrational level of excitement for this comic. With that said it’s nice to see Marvel add under represented elements of realism as the Egyptian Muslim is huge part of the population and Jersey City itself is a lot more like the outer borough neighborhoods that most of the foundation Marvel characters started out in minus the cool cache that comes with those places nowadays. Writer G Willow Wilson has written multiple comics about muslim youth so this should be right in her wheel house and all Runaways fans should already know what Alphona brings to the table. A lot of what made early Marvel comics so great was the way they explored teenage angst and out of all the new titles coming out this seems like the one with the most potential of capturing that spirit for a modern audience. I don’t know about you but the porcupine in Hulk gloves certainly adds to the excitement. Worth reading for fans of the classic Marvel or readers looking for something new in a super hero comics
Christopher Yost Marcus To
Longtime Marvel comics/animation/film writer Christopher Yost get’s to revitalize the New Warriors with a mix of new and familiar faces. Yost has been the main writer on the occasionally excellent Scarlet Spider for a couple years now making that comic way better than it had any right to be as well as some excellent work on the initial revived X-Force before Rick Remender took it to the next level. Marcus To should be a familiar face for DC fans from his work on Flash, Red Robin, Huntress and Batwing. Talent is solid on the creative side so if fans can get over the new faces on the team this should be pretty enjoyable at the least.
Dan Slott Mike Allred
It’s well documented around these parts that I’m not a fan of Dan Slott’s writing style even a little bit but with that said ALOT more people seem to love what he’s doing on Superior Spiderman and it look’s like those fans are in for a treat here. Slott get’s to team up with superstar artist Mike Allred on a cosmic style comic that he was born to draw. Allred’s drawing style is probably just light enough to match up well with Slott’s writing. Slott is going for a Surfer that is no longer tethered to Galacticus but riding around with a surprise lady in his life in tow. So this appears to be Dan Slott writing a Silver Surfer love story drawn by Mike Allred. That sentence should tell you everything you need to know as to whether or not you’ll be picking it up.
Si Spurrier Rock He-Kim
X-Force goes back to “black op’s” style mutant team with up and coming Si Spurrier at the helm. Spurrier started off at Marvel turning X-Men: Legacy into a 90’s Vertigo style take on Legion that was pretty great upon inception that got redundant over time and the fan favorite creator owned Six Gun Gorilla. A few things that make this current version of X-Force look interesting is that as of now it appears that the focus has completely shifted from it being Wolverine and friends murder people to the fascinating and underused Psylocke as it should have been after the Dark Angel Saga, we are getting Cable being written by someone that may actually have something interesting to say with him and Spurrier himself seems to engaged enough with current events that can give this title a necessary level of gravitas that it’s needed post Remender. Rock He-Kim did some cool cover work on Age of Ultron although his preview pages have left a lot to be desired. Still this all sounds promising and is probably worth a shot for X fans, people who enjoyed Six Gun Gorilla or Uncanny X-Force or anybody that’s intrigued by the premise.