Friday, January 14, 2011

Where to start?

In early December I picked up my comics for September through November, and that's 1/2 of the reason I've been missing in action since then. As of today, I'm out of new comics to read once again, and so I'm thinking the best place to start blogging in 2011 is on the books I've just finished reading. This leaves me with one really big question:

Where to start?

I've been reading some truly fantastic comics for the last six weeks or so, and narrowing it down to a singular starting point might actually prove a little bit difficult.  So I'm going to simplify the exercise. A quick spin through the box on the floor, where my most recent reads are sitting waiting to be filed, and let's see what jumps out above the rest....

Levitz on Legion has been pretty sensational.

Pak's Incredible Hulks bi-weekly run is terrific

Fantastic Four may soon be Marvel's best book once more.

Superman's long walk poses some challenging questions.

But do you know what has my attention above and beyond any of these things?

What Brubaker is doing with this Marvel title is fantastic, and while the other Avengers books are finally starting to show some life and perhaps indicating that we're going to get something more than the status quo from Bendis this time around, this is THE Avengers book to read.

Some excerpts of great interest from recent issues:

  • Steve Rogers in possession of the power of the Nova Corps!
  • Nick Fury's fully autonomous LMD duplicate Max Fury returns! 
  • The Prince of Orphans becomes a prime time player!
  • Shang-Chi, The Master of Kung-Fu is back!
  • John Steele (America's real first Super Soldier) is one of the bad guys? 

What Ed is doing with this series is remembering that greatness is in the details. We're not on a wild ride of mish-mashed characters being crammed together for the sake of selling comics like we were back in the days of Marvel Two-In-One. This is a story about a covert Avengers team lead by Steve Rogers on black ops missions that the public isn't allowed to know about. And since the last time I blogged about how great it was in comparison to the other Avengers books, its only continued to get better.

One of the things I like the most is that Brubaker is taking a lot of secondary characters, and making them relevant. I've always maintained that one of the big differences between an "A" character and everyone else was the writer on the book. Of course that rule doesn't apply when you factor in iconic characters like Superman, Captain America or Spawn.................alright, everyone who didn't vomit when they read SPAWN must leave the blog now and NEVER return. NOW!

I'm serious!



Okay.........back to my point......Brubaker is doing the kind of work with otherwise background characters that Robinson did on Starman, and it's that work which will make the series continue to work as these characters rotate into and out of Rogers' black ops team.

The stories are tightly written, and there is an underlying thread which is clearly building to an even larger story. They are, if you will, a mosaic of tales creating an epic story which may yet become one of the great Avengers stories; the potential is certainly there. It appears it will all revolve around a secret society known as The Shadow Council, who are at the root of each of the story arcs we've invested in thus far, indicating that a final, frightening confrontation will perhaps be the penultimate chapter of this run.

I for one am excited to see it.


Cam said...

True story: When I was young and more ignorant than I am now, I enjoyed Spawn.

A year ago I was out of comics to read so I thought, "Hey, I used to like Spawn, I should catch up on that".

Big mistake. I only got through one or two issues before I had to put them down in disgust with my former self.

The 4th Man said...

I want to kick younger you.

Rude39 said...

Hey, in all fairness, Spawn was the culmination of 1990's grim and grittiness, complete with shock and awe bits thrown in just for attention's sake.

That said, the bedrock of the book, the origin story as it were, IS solid. How can it not be, when you have such a Faustian-esque concept?

Todd McFarlane may not have executed it well, but the idea in and of itself is solid.

Of course, watching Spawn in all his goth, gore, and heavy-handed emotions as a contrast to The God Damn Batman was pretty amazing.

The 4th Man said...

Spawn is the culmination of some idiot's belief that just because he knows how to draw means he knows how to write.

The best thing that ever happened in Spawn's series is that writing duties were taken over by some real talents for a couple of issues.

The concept didn't have to be as bad as it was executed, but Todd's inability to recognize his terrible writing badly damaged any future the book could have achieved.

He should have come up with the idea, and then begged Gaiman to write the series.