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by Wayne Markley
Ben Reilly, The Scarlet Spider #1
Ben Reilly, The Scarlet Spider is written by Peter David and drawn by mark Bagley and John Dell. like all of the titles in this blog, it is in its early going as issue four just came out. After the events in the recent Spider-Clone story, Ben Reilly has moved to Las vegas to start over. Unfortunately, he is not alone as Kaine has followed him there and is causing him all sorts of issues. The basic story here spins out of the Clone Saga, but you do not have to have read it to understand this series. So far this book has been a slow burn. They are taking their time to move the story along but there are a number of twists and turns along the way, which slows down the overall story. This is a fine book but it does not excite me. but as a general rule I really like Peter David’s work so I am going to give him time to see where he goes with the story. A nice companion book to amazing Spider-Man but nowhere as near as good as Amazing.
Defenders is the latest relaunch of this classic ‘70s series and it obviously being plugged to take advantage of the Netflix TV shows. That being said, this is a terrific book. It is written by Brian Bendis and has art by David Marquez. The book features Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Daredevil along with the Punisher. all of which make sense if you have watched the Netflix series. The story is urban based and is action filled and peppered with Bendis’ traditional humor and his terrific characterization. I find this book to be a joy to read in part because of Marquez’s smooth and seamless art (which is always stunning to look at) and Bendis’ storytelling. To me, Bendis reminds me of the best of Stan Lee’s work minus the preachiness. Bendis uses Stan approach of letting the dialogue and the characters interaction tell the story and rarely, if ever, uses third person narration or the boxes of text on the top of panels. I find this makes the book flow so much smoother, more like film than the text laden narrative stories where everything is spelled out. I am of the belief the characters and the art should convey everything you need to know and not have to have it spelled out for you. This take on the Defenders almost reminds me of the original series where it was character driven and the sense they are a team not really because they want to be, but more because they are needed at the moment and are working together because it suits their personal desires. This, along with Nick Fury (see below), are easily my favorite two marvel books at moment .
Generation X #1
Generation X is written by Christina Strain and drawn by Amilcar Pinna and Martin Morazzo. issue four just shipped and early on this is a fun book. It is in the vein of the original Generation X title in that it focuses on the group of younger mutants trying to find their way in the world and dealing with all of the various issues that come with being a teen. What I like about this book is it feels genuine. The characters act like teens and the dialogue rings true. plus the art is stunning and the stories move at a quick pace without getting bogged down in melodrama. The cast includes Jubilee (as the teacher), Bling, kid Omega, Nature Girl, Morph, Hindsight, and my favorite, Eye-Boy. The stories are also a nice mix of school drama and the traditional high school issues as well as them fighting evil doers around the world, even if they are not supposed to leave the school grounds. I find this book to be very enjoyable and even though the mutants featured in it are not the best known, this might be my favorite mutant book at the moment.
Nick Fury #3
Nick Fury is written by James Robinson and has amazing art by Aco. While this book sells beans, it is easily my favorite marvel book right now. Robinson and Aco have taken an approach of telling stories in the classic Fury style, doing a story and art style that greatly looks like the classic Jim Steranko run on the book. They are not ripping off these classic stories, but they are strongly inspired by Steranko in terms of their storytelling and page layout to the coloring. Each issue is a standalone story that is building a larger story. I just love the creative page designs by Aco as they are a trip back to the late Sixties or early Seventies. I am shocked these pages do not glow under a black light they are so psychedelic. The stories are heavy on espionage as well as marvel mythology. as with his previous Invaders book, Robinson is mining the little things that made marvel terrific in the Sixties. This book is obviously a work of love by both creators. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. buy it now before it is cancelled!
Weapon X #5
Weapon X is currently up to its fifth issue and so far it has been a very prettybook to look at but it has not really grabbed me. issue five ties into another marvel crossover called Weapons of Mutant destruction that involves a rogue group of scientists trying to rebuild the weapon X program using the Hulk as a base. It is written by Greg Pak and drawn by Marc Borstel (Greg Land drew the first four issues). This first story arc that led into the Weapons story involved adimantium cyborgs hidden in human form that are going around trying to kill all of the mutants. Thus, Old man Logan, Sabretooth, Domino, Warpath, and lady Deathstrike go about trying to stop them. By issue five the Hulk joins the cause. This is a fast paced action story with lots of fights but it feels a little dragged out to me. This may be so they could a line with the WMD story, as once they got to issue four and the WMD story things really picked up. I would not whole heartedly endorse this title yet, but I do think it has potential down the line to become a terrific read. Hopefully.
Marvel Comics digest #1
Marvel Comics Digest. first off, let me say this is a terrific concept. The digest is published by Archie Comics which allows marvel to get these digests into grocery stores, and a ton of locations traditional comics do not get into, as Archie Digests do. I suggested this idea at DC twenty years ago when I worked there but they would not let “someone else publish their characters”. This is a terrific way to get parents to spontaneously buy a marvel comic at the grocery store next to the Archie digest and Betty and Veronica. The first volume features Spider-Man and volume two is going to be the Avengers. These are scheduled to come out every other month so we will see how they do. as for the digest itself, you get close to 300 pages of reading for $6.99. The material is a mix of reprints from all over the Spider-Man history, from the Lee/Ditko era through the Andru/Esposito years up to the modern ultimate Spider-Man comics based on carton series. A plus is it includes a cover gallery so every so typically so you can see where the stories first appeared. The negatives are these stories are about 1/3 of the size of the original comics, and it is obvious some of comics were not intended to be printed in this format, such as the marvel Age Spider-Man stories. overall this a terrific idea for the marvel novice who is really not familiar with Spider-Man and is a terrific introduction to the world of marvel Comics. As it is intended to be. To the hardcore fan it will be disappointing, but I would suggest you pick up a copy anyway just to support the idea that marvel (and Archie) are willing to partner to reach out to a new audience.
This wraps it up for this time. I am really enjoying some of the newer marvel titles, such as Defenders and Nick Fury. I also find the others interesting enough to keep reading, at least for now. since this fall marvel is launching their legacy program and bring back a number of classic characters – Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, Don Blake – there is even more to look forward to. have you read any of these marvel titles? What do you think? Do you like them? hate them? how about DCs current crop of titles? I really would like to know. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. everything I have written here are my thoughts and opinions and in no way reflect the opinion of Westfield Comics and their employees. As Always…