2013 kicked off the year with a good range of titles for your reading enjoyment.
We first tackle Batman Inc #6, as Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham keep the pace going in Batman’s quest to stop Talia’s reign with Leviathan. Some great character dynamics with Bruce and Talia and a shocking death at the end that upped the ante. Burnham’s pencils are the real story, bringing every emotion to life as this war rages on.
We then say see you later to American Vampire with issue #34′s look into the past and future. Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque breathed new life into the vampire genre for the last 3 years and while the hiatus is not something we like to hear, it’s only going to mean better stories when the creative team is ready to move forward with this mythology.
Lastly, the pick honors go to Bendis and Immonen making All New X-Men a treat with issue #5. We’re really seeing a resurgence of X-Men in the last few years and this keeps the trend going. One could have easily balked at bringing the original five to the current timeline and call it a fad, but it’s brought some excellent character interactions and dialogue that Bendis is known for. Immonen is the icing on the cake with his slick pencils, though you have to wonder how long he can keep it up with this book seemingly coming out weekly. It’s a ride I’m enjoying nonetheless.
Scott Snyder’s penultimate issue of this mini-series keeps delivering the goods with great action and more great history of Carpathian vampire lore. He does what great monster movies tend to do, which is build up the presence of a great evil without actually showing him. And having Dustin Nguyen on hand to create this aura/presence is what makes this mini-series just as fantastic as the main one.
Snyder, along with Greg Capullo, also gets to play with New 52 origins with Batman #0. Bruce Wayne’s origin story is not anything we haven’t seen before, but is still solid enough of a build as we get into next month’s Death of the Family arc. James Tynion IV’s back-up story though was great, as we see the impact of Batman on his eventual partners’ lives.
And then there’s Avengers vs. X-Men #11. If you didn’t catch my rant on Twitter or Facebook last week after reading this issue, then you’ll want to listen to this.
NOTE : the following may tip us off about what the new direction of the Marvel books will be once the AvX event is said and done. Avoid the below if you don’t want to be spoiled!
Considering the massive reboot DC took on last year under the New 52 banner, I guess it comes to no surprise that we’d see something similar on the opposing front of the big two publishers. Just announced on MTV Geek, the ‘Marvel NOW!’ campaign launches in October with plans to both relaunch old titles and reintroduce new ones.
There is also a new digital strategy as part of this that ties into the AR (Augmented Reality) app Marvel first introduced in its Avengers vs. X-Men books. I’m hoping it’s an update to the app because heck knows how long it took me to get my iPhone properly adjusted on a panel or cover just to get the digital video to show on my first two AvX books.
What’s interesting with the re-launch (reboot is a term Marvel is trying to avoid) is the slow progression of new titles Marvel will introduce as opposed to the hard reset DC did in the span of one month. Here’s the lowdown of the books so far:
Uncanny Avengers #1 (October)
by Rick Remender & John Cassaday
From the “ashes” of “Avengers VS X-Men” the two teams come together for the first time to fight a new deadly foe — the Red Skull, who wants to “x-out” the mutant race! Expect Captain America and Wolverine to be members, as well as a few “wild card” surprises!
All New X-Men #1 (November)
by Brian Michael Bendis & Stuart Immonen
Everything old is new again…after the original five X-Men suddenly reappear in the present! How do they get to the current time-period? What do they think about the events of Avengers VS X-Men? All I know is — this definitely means the return of Jean Grey!
Avengers #1 (December)
by Jonathan Hickman & Jerome Opena
So the rumors are true then about Hickman taking over for Bendis after his 8-year run with the flagship team book. As is Bendis taking on the other flagship team. Cassaday returning to full-time interiors is a big surprise and working with a rising writer in the ranks in Remender will surely bring tons of fun to the pages. Not a bad start, though details are obviously still sketchy on what else Marvel has in mind. San Diego will probably tell us a lot more.
DC’s New 52 gets criticized for not taking too many risks with its flagship characters. Barry Allen’s origin isn’t altered much, but his environment, powers, and villains certainly are. Factor in Francis Manapul’s continuing exquisite art and you got another consistently great run for the fastest man alive.
Wolverine and the X-Men #6 is just all about fun. Jason Aaron has really made this into such an enjoyable book amidst all of the dark and gritty material we get from our comics. And yet he continues to make it compelling for readers. I’ve also grown to like Nick Bradshaw’s art more and more with each issue.
And where would a Quick Picks be without a Scott Snyder sighting? Only this time, he lets Rafael Albuquerque shine in American Vampire #24. Whether you like your car chases, your gritty asylums, or your vampires, Albuqerque draws it all with style.
Was there ever any doubt?
Uncanny X-Force #18 concludes one of the best X-tales I’ve read in quite some time. It speaks well to the talent that is Rick Remender and Jerome Opena for ending this arc in style. Whether you like your action or like your character moments, this one has it all. How the team tops this going into 2012 is going to be a sight to see.
Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft continue to bring the creepiness in Severed #5. You all know what’s going to happen – we’re just biting our nails waiting to see when that payoff will come into play. The characters and set pieces is what makes this mini-series stand out.
And finally, can we just declare J.H. Williams III the master of his domain? Batwoman #4 is a marvel to look at just like the previous three issues. It say something when DC is willing to put all of their ads in the back of just this book.
Earlier at NYCC this year, Mike and I attended the Marvel Cup O’ Joe panel and saw this image on the screen:
Clearly, the Phoenix Force is making its comeback, but in what capacity, we hadn’t known since it was first revealed. Then, USA Today released this article today and all was revealed – Avengers vs. X-Men:
As you can see, the Marvel “architects” are set to write the entire 12-issue bi-weekly run, which goes into the following synopsis:
“Kicking off in a special “zero issue” prologue in March written by Bendis and Aaron, Avengers vs. X-Men begins the next month with an extinction-level event barreling its way toward Earth, namely the cosmic entity of death and rebirth known as the Phoenix Force. It’s looking for a new host who will possess all of its power, which may or may not be the mutant teenager Hope Summers.
Cyclops, Wolverine, Magneto and the other X-Men want to protect her and prepare her if she’s to be the new Phoenix. Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man and their fellow Avengers want her handed over to them so they can figure out what to do with her and keep the world safe from a potentially fiery fate.
Suffice it to say, tensions — and fisticuffs — arise.”
You can’t help but think Civil War as you read this, although not on the political and human rights level that the Mark Millar series was diving into. But we’re obviously a ways off from knowing anything more. Stay tuned as the details reveal themselves.
The real question to ask – will Wolverine make a guest appearance?