Marvel’s attempt to revitalise their comic book titles seems to be working a lot better than the Distinguished Competition’s New 52. For one thing, using the word “NOW!” as a marketing gimmick to brand each of their “phases” makes for a more coherent picture. That shouldn’t be too surprising, as Marvel’s always been much better at maintaining some form of continuity than DC.
I’m not biased, really.
Note: A version of this post was contributed to and will appear in an upcoming edition of the newsletter of Facebook group Singapore Comics Kaki.
Marvel’s latest “phase”, which begun last month, is called Avengers NOW!. It’s an appropriate name, considering that it marks the relaunch of three titles featuring the holy trinity of Avengers. There’s All-New Captain America, Thor and Superior Iron Man. These were joined by other titles like Angela: Asgard’s Assasin, Ant-Man and Deathlok.
But as any long-term comic book fan knows, just because it’s a #1 issue, doesn’t make it immediately accessible to fans. New fans need comic books that are preferably light on continuity, while existing fans who want to pick up another title will be looking for titles that will be worth spending another US$3.99 on.
So, over the next three days, I’ll give my recommendations for 5 titles in the Avengers NOW! relaunch that should be great for Marvel fans new (and old!) in 2015. Let’s start off with Number 5.
It’s probably weird to recommend a title even before the first issue is out, but hear me out.
Mark Waid can do no wrong.
When it comes to superhero comics done right, there is a very small pool of creators that have proven to be consistently reliable for the past two decades (i.e. for as long as I’ve been collecting comics) and chief among them is Mark Waid.
Having recently relaunched his award-winning Daredevil series, Waid now turns to S.H.I.E.L.D., the spy organisation that has seen an unprecedented revival of interest thanks to being featured prominently in Marvel’s films and television shows. In fact, S.H.I.E.L.D. the comic series will feature the comic debuts of characters like Jenna Simmons and Melinda May who, of course, will be based on their Marvel Cinematic Universe counterparts on the show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
The other unique attraction of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” the comic is its “episodic” nature. While it does have an overarching storyline, the main adventure will occur in 1 or 2 issue arcs. It’s a welcome change, since most comics nowadays tend to unnecessarily inflate storylines in order to fit a trade paperback. This “episodic” format also allows for a rotation of artists, including big names like Carlos Pacheco, Humberto Ramos, Chris Sprouse and Alan Davis. With different artists contributing to the book, an experienced writer like Waid can have more fun writing stories that play to the artists’ strengths.
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 is on sale 31st December. The first issue is 40 pages, and priced at US$4.99. Subsequent issues will be at the usual 32-page format and priced at US$3.99.