Sunday, 1 November 2015

Marvel Comics October Round-Up

October was the month of the big relaunch for Marvel Comics, and while Secret Wars is still stumbling on - in fact, there's even some pre-Secret Wars stuff on the shelves - the main lines have been relaunched with a slew of new issue ones. Some seem to be making the most of the new universe they're launching, others are taking characters back to their core appeal. I've finally managed to catch up on the first bunch, and here are my thoughts. Nearly up-to-date now; The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl relaunched this week too, but I'll hit that with the November titles.

Sam Wilson: Captain America #1: Sam Wilson goes freelance, pitting himself against the corporate facade of American politics and fighting for the under-represented, instead of acting as a weapon for a corrupt national security force. Marvel-America tears him apart, and real America does the same. Sam Wilson pits himself against the forces of hatred and intolerance and defends Mexican illegal immigrants from hate groups. This is exactly what Captain America should be - putting the real America to shame.

Doctor Strange #1: A definite success, relaunching the Sorceror Supreme in a stylish, unnerving way. Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo work brilliantly together, illustrating Strange's deeply unsettling worldview. It doesn't seem that the big reboot has really made any difference to Strange, what with imagery from an early issue being used to illustrate his origins, but that's all for the better. This is a great fantasy comic.

The New Avengers #1: The first lot of Avengers to be introduced into the post-Secret Wars world, this is a mix of the Mighty Avengers and the Young Avengers retooled together as an official team, albeit under the auspices of AIM, which is a questionable authority. Plus, Squirrel Girl, happily acting like she's still in her own comic in spite of the serious chaos around her. There's an intriguing threat masterminded by the Maker, ie the evil Ultimate Universe version of Reed Richards, which is a good use of the melding of continuities that there's a place for now.

Uncanny Avengers #1: And the other Avengers team of the month, the continuing exploits of Steve Rogers and his desperate attempt at unity. It's often hard to see what the difference is between Marvel's various groups of superhumans and why anyone should care, but this does a good job making mutants, Inhumans and enhanced humans distinct, particularly with Rogue, the last of the X-Men to remain while the others have fled, slowly being killed by the Terrigen that has been transforming people into Inhuman beings. Thrown into this is Deadpool, so clearly not Avenger material that he had to join the team eventually.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1: Bendis doing good Bendis. Pletny to enjoy here. Again, I can't see how the reboot has changed anything, since this carries on directly from the events at the end of the pre-Secret Wars run, but I do like the new status quo, with Kitty Pryde as the new Star-Lord and the Everlovin' Blue-Eyed Thing having a whale of a time being an astronaut. Maybe the movieverse Chitauri are a continuity implant? I'm not sure. In any case, this is roughly 300% more fun than the Fantastic Four reboot, and Thing deserves that.

Spider-Gwen #1: Relaunched less than a year after its initial launch, Spider-Gwen looks to be be just carrying on happily as if no universe-collapsing events ever happened, so clearly Earth-65 survived the cataclysm. There's no reason that this needed to start over with issue one, but cool, let's go with it. Gwen continues to juggle her parallel lives while her father tries to clear her name with the NYPD. Meanwhile, the Lizard returns to terrorise New York, except that in this universe, Peter Parker was the Lizard, and died as such. It remains good fun, ticks along nicely. Nothing new here, but why break what's fixed? Oh, and then this reality's Captain America turns up, and she's not happy.

Karnak #1: Karnak of the Inhumans is a hell of an odd character to see headlining his own series. I bought this out of curiosity and on the strength of positive recommendation, but to be honest, it didn't do much for me. Karnak's power - to see the flaw in all things, and exploit it - is intriguing but rather opaque, and I'm not sure it makes for an exciting comic. However, I suspect the problem is with me on this one; I just don't think I really get what it's trying to be.

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