Review Round-Up: Atlantis invades, Kieron Gillen wants all my money

Posted: January 23, 2013 in DC, Marvel, Reviews
Tags: , , ,

Sorry for the late and incomplete update today guys. I’ve got a new work schedule and it’s been cutting into my writing time in a big way. But here are my reviews for the week so far. I’ve added short, one/two sentence reviews for the ones I haven’t gotten to yet. The rest will come tomorrow or Friday. Stick with me guys!
By Alex Headley

The Brian Lee O’Malley variant cover to issue 1. It’s pretty cool. Property of Marvel Comics.

Young Avengers 1
Dammit, this book is awesome but I don’t need to buy more comics. Kieron Gillen is obviously enjoying himself with this book and while its opening issue is a little disjointed and chaotic it’s also a hell of a lot of fun.
It’s also got a lot of (teenaged) heart. Billy and Teddy are one of the best couples in comics(gay or otherwise) and I’m glad to see them developed in such a natural way that also moves the plot forward in a big way. But my favorite part is the opening sequence with Kate Bishop and Noh Var. Gillen has given Noh Var more personality in three pages than Marvel has been able to do in years. Kid Loki is hilarious too of course and I like that he is making his way into the greater Marvel U. That said, I don’t know a thing about Miss America Chavez but she seems like a powerhouse. I’m sure her attack on Loki will make sense soon. I do hope Patriot will be involved in the book at some point though. Jamie McKelvie does a stand out job in this issue. I really enjoyed the art. His style is expressive and kinetic in a way that really sells the action I also loves the big splash page of the Skrull attack on Hawkeye and Noh Varr. I was completely unfamiliar with his work before reading this issue but I think he is one to keep an eye out for. I’m not sure if ill be adding this to my pull or not, both because of my financial limitations and the disjointed feel that I mentioned before, the pacing is a bit off but that’s something that can be fixed in future instalments. I think Gillen really wanted to introduce each character from the get-go and while he succeeds at that it takes a little weight away from each character as well. Did any of you read issue 1? What did you think?.

Avengers 3
Avengers 3 is disappointing. Not because the script is bad or the art is ugly but because the team and the concept promise so much but the execution doesn’t quite deliver. That said, its still a Hickman book with gorgeous visuals from Jerome Opena so it’s worth a read. But the central conflict with the Garden is so rushed to its conclusion in issue 3 that it hurts the overall narrative. I’m left wondering if Hickman wasn’t just trying to tie this opening arc up while he had Opena on hand and the arc wouldn’t be split between artists. My fears about the large cast are realized here too. How do you make Captain Universe work on a team? How do you introduce three or four new characters in a cast of 24. It’s obviously a challenge and one that the boom doesn’t live up to. Smasher seems interesting but only really gets three lines. Hyperion looks cool but never speaks( although his fight with Hulk is fun) and to anyone that doesn’t know about Captain Universe, the character makes no sense here at all. The resolution of the conflict is sudden and jarring because of her presence and makes pretty much the entire cast unnecessary. Still, the birth of a new human race is interesting , especially because of solicitations for later issues teasing the return of New Universe. Likewise there are some good lines in the book. Thor gets a great moment, as do Spider-Man( still Peter here) and Wolverine. I hope the next issue slows its pace a bit and at least introduces these new characters properly before moving on. Adam Kubert joins Hickman next issue and while I’m sad to see Opena go, any Kubert is good for a comic.

The cover to FF3 is quite fun in a throwback, early Marvel/Jack Kirby kind of way. Property of Marvel Comics.

FF 3
FF 3 is great fun. This is just a excellently crafted book that delivers on its core concept flawlessly. Fraction and Allred don’t quite top themselves from last issue(Mole Man attack!) but  we get a great sequence with Ant-Man and Darla that Allred clearly has a blast illustrating. Darla is really growing on me as a character and it seems like Fraction will be using her as a point of view into the zany, sci-fi madness that is coming.  I sincerely hope the Yancy Street Internet jerks become a recurring theme. I also love that the students seem like they will have more involvement going forward. Some of them are quite memorable and I can’t wait to see where the plot takes them. John Storm’s return to the present last issue really kicks this series into high gear and sets some very interesting things into motion. It also possibly spoils some events in Fantastic Four but I’m sure something clever and unexpected will happen to keep us in suspense over in the other title. It certainly adds a bit of meta guessing game to the books that is fun to speculate about. This is my favorite book from Marvel NOW! Because it has just been so consistently fun. I can’t this book and not smile as I do and that experience makes it more than worth it’s price tag and it’s place on my pull list.

Justice League 16
Exciting and new. Justice League 16 is bigger than Atlantis invading. It’s about expanding the New 52 in the most meaningful way since it launched. It’s the genesis of the new JLA and an expanded DCU in general and its very exciting, I think Justice League of America will be a fun book to follow. The hero vs hero thing at play with Aquaman is a bit of a tired comics thing these days but at least Aquaman comes off as genuine, even if Batman of all people should have been a little more level headed. The comic rationalizes this by telling us again and again that hundred have just died and the stakes are high. Superman and Wonder Woman react appropriately for their character’s portrayal but Batman and Aquaman were all buddy buddy last issue so his impatience seems out of place. Still the fight with Orm is full of impressive visuals, Ivan Reis knows how to craft a visceral environment for the big fight and you can really feel the super-powered punches landing. Reis is quickly becoming one of the industry’s super-star talents and I’m glad he’s on such a high profile book. Cyborg gets the spotlight here in a great way and I’m thrilled to see him getting some development and importance in the team. The backup feature starring Shazam continues to impress too. Black Adam is a little one dimensional at the moment but its a great origin story for Billy and a good introduction to DC’s magic side. Billy may be more of a brat these days but that just gives him room to develop later.


  1. xmenxpert says:

    I’m going to touch, briefly, on Avengers and FF. Avengers was good, but you’re right, the resolution was rushed and anti-climatic. This had some great action, but needs much more characterization going forward. FF was great. It’s Fraction and Allred, of course it’s a blast. Love it.

    Now, Young Avengers. To answer your question about America Chavez, she debuted in the 6-issue Vengeance mini a couple years ago. She’s a badass Hispanic woman who’s basically invincible. And badass. I loved her off the bat in that mini, and Gillen continues to give her a good attitude. Her problem with Loki comes from the Marvel Point One one-shot from a couple months ago, where Loki asked her if the multiverse might be better if Wiccan was dead. So now she’s keeping an eye on Loki to stop him from killing Wiccan.

    Now, the book itself. I love it. So, so much love. McKelvie does a great job with some amazing layouts – his double-page spreads are jaw-droppingly good. And Kieron Gillen is just brilliant. I love the characterization and the plotting. Kate and Noh have a surprising chemistry, and he writes them both really well, especially Kate’s excitement at being a superhero. The scene between Teddy and Billy is phenomenal. They’re not treated as a gay couple, they’re treated as just a couple. Two people in love. And it’s wonderful. I love this book. I want more of it, now.

    • I think you nailed it in regards to Avengers. I think New Avengers is much tighter in regards to characterization. Hickman can pull it off but this first arc wasn’t the best.
      I love FF. I’ve really enjoyed everything Fraction has done though so its no surprise.
      I 100% agree with your assessment of McKelvie. I love unconventional layouts and he nails that spread.

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