Marvel Now! is about to completely overhaul my subscription list. I’m excited about some changes, nervous but cautiously optimistic about a few others and deeply dubious of a few more.
Right now my (too-long) subscription list is:
- New Avengers
- Captain America
- Captain America and…
- Captain Marvel
- Journey Into Mystery
- Iron Man
- New Mutants
- Uncanny X-Men
- Winter Soldier
The only titles I’m reading that aren’t changing are Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Hawkeye and Winter Soldier. Captain Marvel, Hawkeye and Winter Soldier are my top three favorite books right now, so it’s nice to know that whatever else happens with Marvel Now I’ll have some guaranteed favorites still around.
Everything else is ending and rebooting, getting a new writer and/or shifting focus to different characters. And several titles I’m not currently reading are rebooting or changing in ways that make me think I may start picking them up.
Books I’m going to miss:
New Mutants – The New Mutants are, and forever will be, the superhero team of my heart. The relaunched New Mutants title is actually what got me back into reading comics after a lengthy absence, and I’ve quite enjoyed Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s run. Marvel has a bad track-record with using the New Mutants characters when they don’t have their own book. I’m excited to see Sam and Bobby showing up on the first covers being released for the new Avengers title — especially Sam, who has always been a favorite of mine — but I really don’t want to see Dani Moonstar slip back into supporting-character obscurity.
Defenders – I’ve been loving Defenders, but with Matt Fraction writing the new Hawkeye title and picking up the Fantastic Four books I’m not surprised to see it go. At least it looks like it’s going to end as a short, but complete and self-contained run.
Captain America and… – The art on Captain America and… has been inconsistent, but the story is just great fun, and I’m enjoying the conceit of having a through-plot, but different characters teaming up with Cap for different segments of the story. I quite like Cullen Bunn’s writing, but he tends to end up on a lot of books that otherwise hold no interest for me, so I was enjoying having a monthly title from him starring a character I love.
Uncanny X-Men – I love Kieron Gillen’s writing, but his run on Uncanny X-Men has not held my attention like I hoped it would. That said, I’m incredibly dubious about the planned reboot and change of the title. The X-Men were my first comics love, and it feels odd to think I might end up with a list that doesn’t include any X-Men titles.
Books I am excited about:
Journey Into Mystery – I love Kid Loki, and I’ll miss seeing him in Journey Into Mystery every month, but I’m super-excited to be getting a title focused on Sif, written by Kathryn Immonen. My friend Elizabeth and I were recently discussing how disappointed we were in how Sif has been underutilized recently in both Thor and Journey Into Mystery. She’s a complicated and interesting character who more than deserves to be the center of the story for once, and it’s nice to see Marvel adding another book with a female lead by a female writer.
Avengers Assemble – I picked up the first few issues of Avengers Assemble, but the plot just didn’t engage me at all. The stand-alone, divorced from continuity format, and the restriction to the movie-characters just doesn’t play to Brian Michael Bendis’ strengths as a writer. However, the upcoming switch to a more rotating cast as written by Kelly Sue DeConnick has moved the title back onto my list. I love DeConnick’s writing. Her Captain Marvel is currently my favorite ongoing, and I think she’s well-suited to taking on the Avengers cast.
Red She-Hulk – I usually avoid all the Hulk-related books as just not to my tastes, but I’ll definitely make an exception for Betty Ross. I love Betty and with Defenders ending it’s nice to know I’ll still have my monthly dose of Betty Ross awesomeness. With Red She-Hulk and Journey Into Mystery, Marvel will now have three solo titles led by female heroes, which is still pitiful compared to the number of male-led solo titles, but is at least the start of an improvement.
Books I’m nervous about:
Avengers & New Avengers – I’ve not read a lot of Jonathan Hickman’s writing previously. I’ve dabbled in his Fantastic Four run a bit, but while I’ve enjoyed some individual issues it never engaged me enough to become a regular thing. The conceit of a large Avengers cast with rotating characters depending on mission is one that appeals to me, and a couple of the more unexpected characters on the interlocking covers for the first three issues really excite me (Cannonball! Falcon!) but I’m disappointed by how few female characters are there. The biggest complaint I have about Bendis’ run is his tendency to have one or at most two token women on a team, and I was really hoping to see that change.
Uncanny Avengers – Rick Remender’s writing is really hit or miss for me. I’ve been unimpressed and frankly bored by his run on Secret Avengers, and in fact dropped the book from my subscription list shortly after he took it over. Reading previews and skimming issues in the store has not lead me to regret this decision. On the other hand, I’m excited to see Havok get a higher-profile gig and I think there’s a potential for a great friendship between Wanda and Rogue. On the third hand, Wolverine. God, I am so over Wolverine right now.
Captain America – Again Rick Remender’s writing and I don’t always hit it off, and I’ve loved Ed Brubaker’s run on Cap so much that I know I’m going to have trouble transitioning to any different writer on the title. It sounds from interviews like Remender is taking the title in a completely different direction and I think that’s a good thing. Trying to replicate or copy Brubaker’s run would be a mistake, but I worry that his new direction will be one I’m not interested in following. However, I really like some of the stuff he’s said in interviews, especially when he said that there would “be a lot of flashbacks to a young Steve Rogers growing up in Depression-era Lower East Side”, because that’s a part of Steve’s history I’m personally quite interested in. That plus the promise of John Romita Jr.’s art is a guarantee that I’ll at least be giving this one a shot.
Iron Man – If you’d asked me when the news first came out, I would have said I couldn’t think of anyone better suited than Kieron Gillen to follow Matt Fraction on Iron Man, and that still may be the case. But the stuff he’s talking about in interviews is just not sparking my interest as much as I’d expected. Hopefully that will change when the book’s actually in front of me, but for now I’ve moved this title from “excited” to “nervous”.
Books I’m dubious about:
All-New X-Men – I’m just having real trouble seeing how this premise will work-out long-term. Brian Michael Bendis is a great writer, and I adore Stuart Immonen’s art, so I’ll probably at least pick up the first issue, but I’m just not sure this is going to be my X-book.
X-Men Legacy – X-Men Legacy is getting rebooted to focus on David Haller, aka Legion. Like all stories about a character whose mutant power is a tied to his dissociative identity disorder this has the potential to be a really spectacular pile of Fail. Starting with Mike Carey’s Age of X storyline Marvel has finally started treating Legion like a fully formed character with his own agency and choices, rather than the helpless child-victim trapped in his head that he was portrayed as for years, and the description of the new series implies they’re continuing in that vein, which is a step in the right direction. The only thing I’ve read by Simon Spurrier previously is the X-Club mini-series which I quite loved and which handled a cast of rather mentally interesting characters quite well, so I’m counting that as another point in favor of the book not being entirely faily from the start. But there’s just so much potential for this one to go wrong, especially as an ongoing series.
Books you couldn’t pay me to read:
Avengers Arena – WOW am I NOT the audience for this book. The whole premise makes me viscerally recoil, and I’m really unhappy to see a couple of the Runaways kids in the mix.