The Heroic Age officially kicks off this week, which is exciting, but not so thrilling in the long run. Let’s see what we’ve got this week anyway.
Spoilers for: Avengers, X-Men Legacy, X-Factor, Invincible Iron Man, Girl Comics, Marvel Her-Oes.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: John Romita, Jr.
With the Heroic Age finally kicking off, we’re seeing what seems to be a simple reset of the status quo. While I can appreciate not being in the dark ages that began with House of M anymore, this doesn’t feel so heroic.
There are tiny differences here and there – like Bucky as Cap and Steve as head of SHIELD – but not enough to make it feel like a new era. Not the way Marvel would have us believe, anyway.
The story itself is your basic Steve recruiting former Avengers tale. There’s actually a two page spread of different reactions after Steve asks the question that I loved, but everything else was just plain. Kind of boring. And the little Wonder Man tidbit, setting him up as a villain for the arc…no. Just, no.
I’m not a fan of JRJr’s art. His Steve Rogers here looks incredibly weird, and the faces he draws look like feet. Eh. I’ll still read because this is the Avengers we’re talking about, but I hope it gets better.
X-Men Legacy #236 (Second Coming Chapter 8)
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Greg Land
After the Uncanny X-Men slump Second Coming fell into, it’s great to see New Mutants pick up the pace again and Legacy kept it going. We’re now getting into the second arc of this crossover, and it’s just…my God, it’s so good. I’m genuinely excited to see what happens next issue to issue.
Bastion is proving to be one of the greatest villains I’ve ever read – even though the X-Men got Hope home, he’s still planted seeds on Utopia and the surrounding area to keep the mutants contained. It’s incredible seeing his plan unfold, to the point where I was actually shocked when multiple Nimrods showed up. Bastion, I tip my hat to you, you crazy racist bastard.
The timeline here’s a little confusing when the Avengers show up, but I can let that slide.
When I started this, my friend Scott told me to prepare for Greg Land art. Now, I was lulled into a false sense of security by Land’s last issue on Legacy. The man wasn’t so bad there, obvious tracing aside, so coming back to this was a bit of a shock. All the porn mouths, the gaping jaws, the incredibly creepy Cable panels, they took me out of the story, making me pause after every page. It’s like a trainwreck.
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Valentine De Landro
A lot of my love for this issue lies in the fact that Siryn – no, my bad, Banshee – is back. I’ve made no secret of the fact that she’s my favorite character, and seeing her back in action after five months of nothing is great.
The storyline is chugging along, and this issue is an improvement from last month’s. Team X-Factor proves to be pretty damn resourceful, actually, and Layla and Shatterstar’s swooping in to rescue Terry was pretty damn awesome.
Surprisingly, the secondary storyline of Monet and Guido trying to save Monet’s father is dragging. Nothing seems to be happening there – some dude has cancer and he needs to feed of Monet’s lifeforce? Okay. That’s been done with before with Monet’s intro to the Marvel universe, but okay. I’ll go with Peter David on this one, because I’ve generally come to trust him.
Invincible Iron Man #26
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larocca
I was a little surprised this issue came out so fast on the heels of the last, but not unhappy for it. Where the last issue was a bit boring, this one is at least a little better, plot-wise.
The Hammer girls still irk me a bit, but the introduction of Spymaster was a nice touch, as was the little gestures being made by Tony and Steve to somehow repair what was broken for so long. It’s Tony giving Steve the Iron Man shut down code, and Steve returning all the old Iron Man suits. Little things, trying to rebuild trust in each other. That’s, initially, what I’m here for. The plot is secondary, in my opinion.
The art is okay – Larocca’s done better for sure. His drawings of the new liquid suit seemed a bit awkward, and his faces are still a little off.
Girl Comics #2
This cover of Girl Comics is pretty much the problem with a comic like this in a male-saturated market. While the collection of stories inside are pretty great, the cover is still created to sell to males. Look at Ms Marvel, Black Cat, Scarlet Witch – their poses are overly sexualized, to the point where it actually turns me off from a comic I, as a female reader, am interested in.
Cover aside, I still applaud Marvel for making a comic created entirely by women. They range from the adorable (Crystal trying to get Lockjaw to take a bath) to the stereotypical (a superhero beauty salon), but each has its own charm. My favorite was the beauty salon story, surprisingly. I really enjoy seeing female superheroes get along, or see long standing friendships on the page. What Kathryn Immonen did here is what Marvel Divas wishes it could be.
Marvel Her-Oes #2
Writer: Grace Randolph
Artist: Craig Rousseau
I admit I was still a little wary about the second installment of Her-Oes (I still hate that title), but I’m so happy to see the plot pick up a little bit. The teenage stereotypes are still there, but they’re not as bad.
Namora and Janet end up bonding over being superpowered, and after they head to Janet’s father’s lab, discover Jenny is as well. I’m not sure what Namora’s motivation is for wanting to fight Jenny, but hell, I can live with it.
I’d still like for the stereotyping to be toned down, but you know what? For a book aimed at teenage girls, it’s still pretty good.