The year 2012 has been a fantastic year for old comic fans and new alike. The Avengers movie hit huge success. The Dark Knight Rises brought an epic journey to an end. Judge Dredd opened a new movie universe to the world. The Amazing Spider-Man set up a new series of Peter Parker movie for a new demographic of fans. An incredible amount of new comic series from independent publishers have released and found great success. The Avengers vs. X-Men event brought immense attention to the Marvel NOW! relaunch. DC Comics The New 52 continued with its march on the comic market with Zero Month.
For me, I came back to comics at the beginning of 2012, and I have delved very deeply into some amazing universes. I have discovered a fantastic new hobby that consumes my free time. I started writing Comics For Noobs in an attempt to spread my rediscovered love of comic books to new readers abroad. I hope that if you’re a return reader that I’ve accomplished even a smidgen of that. It pains me to say that it is time for Comics For Noobs and Tommy Lutz to part ways. I’m going out with a bang, bringing four new Marvel NOW! titles worth checking out!
Thunderbolts #1 Published by Marvel Comics
Thunderbolts is an old concept from Marvel, bringing together C to D list characters and putting them in the spotlight. This time around, Marvel NOW! is putting some bigger names into the mix, some that don’t really fit here, but don’t really fit anywhere anymore. Punisher is the possible new leader, along with Red-Hulk, Deadpool, Venom, and Elektra. It may seem like a great all-star cast but the issue of Punisher aka Frank Castle being a lone vigilante has arisen. It may be a rag-tag team of high profile characters, but maybe it can avenge itself with substance.
When I say maybe, I really mean not really. Almost the entire issue consists of Red-Hulk trying to convince Punisher to join a team by threatening him with hordes of gang members who have been made aware of Castle’s tied-up whereabouts. He recounts his meeting with the other members and how he quickly and almost without resistance convinced them to join.What are they after and why would all of these characters be interested? Red-Hulk aka Thaddeus Ross has only ever been after one thing, and that’s Hulk himself. If this sounds at all appealing to you then by all means check it out. Let me interject before you run off to your comic shop, though. The writing style and dialogue are vague and mediocre, and the art leaves a lot to be desired with many cut and paste faces and about two different poses the entire comic. This comic lacks a lot of substance, and consists of an all-star cast that really doesn’t belong together. Take with a grain of salt.
Parental Concern: Moderate. Violence.
Cable and X-Force #1 Published by Marvel Comics
Here is a team that belongs together, a team of X-Men or at least mutant characters with dark pasts. Cable is the leader of this X-Force team consisting of Domino, Colossus, Forge, and Dr. Nemesis. Besides them, Hope Summers, the subject of the epic Avengers vs. X-Men event sets foot in the story. Why would Hope be involved? Because even though Hope is Scott Summers aka Cyclops’ daughter, Cable is the one who raised her in another time. Since she came back to the X-Men she hasn’t seen Cable and is worried about him. It is a touching plot in the midst of a chaotic and dark story.
There is yet another Marvel NOW! tie in that makes this comic a perfect fit in the after AvX devastation/rebirth of Marvel. The Uncanny Avengers lead by Havok approaches Cable and X-Force in the middle of something that would put them in a bad light. That makes this X-Force team the anti-heroes, and the perfect comic team for someone looking for something a bit different in the Marvel NOW! flurry of new comics. The art is exceptional and the scripting is easy to follow. The only drawback for any new reader is if you have not been following Avengers vs. X-Men and Marvel NOW! So go read those, like now.
Parental Concern: Moderate. Violence.
Avengers Arena #1 Published by Marvel Comics
Marvel NOW! has brought with it a flurry of other things; comics with the word Avengers in the title. Even though fans were lead to believe that NOW! was meant to clean up some of the series with multiple series, but apparently not. None can deny that Marvel should ride the high that they’re coming off of after the hugely successful Avengers movie, though. All of that being said, Avengers Arena really has nothing to do with the Avengers you may know. This comic is a Hunger Games rip off, so to speak. Almost non existent Marvel characters duking it out to the death.
This issue opens up on an epic fight between Hazmat and X-23, letting us know the inevitable fighting is well underway. Then it jumps back to tell us how this arena fight came to be. Arcade, a sinister character who can control minds among other highly effective powers has gathered a bunch of young Avengers and is trying to convince them to kill each other for survival. Will a group of heroes really resort to killing each other for a game? This issue is a very well done issue all around. It is entertaining to see a comic with this much of a serious overtone of death taking place in the Avengers Universe. That being said, these are character who are not very well known, and may not appeal to first time readers. The fact that they are set to die doesn’t really help new readers learn about them, but it does let them see what they can do. Read with caution as even among hardcore longtime readers this comic has polarized readers.
Parental Concern: High. Extreme violence.
Avengers #1 Published by Marvel Comics
Finally we can get to an Avengers team that everyone who saw the movie should be familiar with. Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, and Hawkeye are faced with an incredibly strong foe on Mars. Yeah, they went to Mars, but trust me, it’s fairly easy to follow. The enemy has proved a point, the Avengers aren’t strong enough as their core team to beat him. What they need is a bigger team of equally powerful heroes. That’s right, we’re finding out exactly how the Avengers roster is going to get super huge again.
This issue doesn’t fit in well with the other Marvel NOW! titles, or the AvX event at all. That is, so far anyways. This is the perfect series for fans coming off of the movie. It’s a familiar team written and drawn extremely well. For the AvX buff, if you can put aside what’s going on elsewhere in the Marvel Universe you should be able to enjoy this comic thoroughly. If there is one Marvel NOW! title I would recommend to any new reader who has any knowledge of the Avengers, this would be the ONE.
Script: 9/10Parental Concern: Moderate. Violence.