My good friend Blimpy pointed out that even though I am a DC, I have been doing most of my comic reviews on Marvel. I think this requires further attention, but for now I would like to bring up the next set of Marvel Now's #1 relaunch issues. And this batch is much better than the last.
Jonathon Hickman is fresh off of his stellar run on Fantastic Four and is looking to bring his epic story style to Marvel's ultimate heroes: The Avengers.
The first pages set up the story as a flashback told from the future. He tantalizes with a series of enormously important events that shape the course of not only Avengers history, but the rest of the Marvel Universe. The flashback says that the impetus for this series of events was an idea.
Tony Stark and Steve Rogers discuss the future of the Avengers in addressing problems, particularly the those on a cosmic scale. And the solution Tony comes up with is simple: get bigger.
The first issue deals with a threat from earth that emanates from Mars. Circumstances require that in the end, Tony's and Steve's new idea be put into effect.
For years the Avengers, like the Justice League, has had a rotating roster. The number of heroes who have at one time been in the Avengers is massive. It seems like Hickman is taking us down a path that will bring all of those various versions of the team together.
The scope is huge, but Hickman proved that given enough time, he can tell one heck of a story.
4 out of 5 stars.
Fantastic Four #1
Matt Fraction has the unenviable job of following the legendary Hickman run, which my comic book guy thinks is the best run on the series, including the Lee/Kirby stuff. Fraction wisely does not jettison the extended cast set up by Hickman. He acknowledges all of that continuity and does not excise them ala Alien 3. It is a joy to watch Ben with the moloids and Sue checking up on all of her sleeping "kids." But he does set up a plot that will simplify the main characters of his book.
Reed Richards discovers that the cosmic rays that gave the FF their powers is breaking his body (and presumably the bodies of the other 3) down at the molecular level. He then decides to go on a quest to find a solution in a space/time ship with Sue, Johnny, Ben, Val, and Franklin. This puts Sue on edge as Franklin has had a premonition of something horrible happening "in space." And Reed does not tell the others why they are going.
This first issue had a lot of the same fun and imagination as Hickman's run. Also Mark Bagley's art fits very well in the tone and tempo of the crazy life at the Baxter Building.
4 out of 5 stars
With the Fantastic Four taking a magical journey through space/time, someone needs to lead the Future Foundation while they are away. This first issue shows the recruitment of She-Hulk, Ms. Thing, Medusa, and their new leader Ant-man. This is a nice reversal of the original Fantastic Four roster, now with 3 women and 1 man.
The story centers around Ant-Man, dealing with death of his daughter and reluctantly taking charge of the other children in the FF. The story is interspersed with interviews with the different members of the Foundation as a kind of re-introduction of the characters, which is something very important to have for new readers to hop on. Fraction is writing this book as well and he keeps the same tone and tempo as the last.
However, Mike Allred's art has always been a bit unsettling to me. It isn't that it's bad, but it always makes everything seem so flat. Going from Fantastic Four to this is like going from sculptures to icons. If I stop picking up this book, it will not be for the story, but the art.
3 and a half out of 5 stars.