Once upon a time, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there was a fun, easy to play, co-op action brawler series called X-Men Legends. Later they bequeathed the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series, featuring a huge roster of Marvel heroes and villains in co-op action full of fireballs, laser blasts, swift punches, sword strikes, and plenty of shield-throwing and Hulk-smashing.
The series lay dormant for the last decade, until now. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is a triumphant return, showcasing classic comic book writing, art, and action in a post-MCU world. The Black Order retains the deep stat-based RPG elements while maintaining its easy and co-op-friendly action gameplay with an impressive amount of content and replayability.
Thanos is one of the biggest badasses of the Marvel universe. Yet he even he knows that one does not simply walk into Mordor invade the Earth. Earth is lousy with superpowered people, many with the power to practically (and some, literally) rewrite existence (looking at you, Scarlet Witch). What’s a mad Titan to do?
The original five X-Men are brought forward in time to find their mutant dreams of peaceful co-existence have never been further away.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Stuart Immonen, David Marquez, David Lafuente
Issues: All-New X-Men (2012) #1-15
Avengers Vs. X-Men was a major event in the Marvel universe. It finally reversed the Scarlet Witch’s “No More Mutants” decree back in 2005’s House of M, turned Cyclops and a few of the more grey-area X-Men into hidden revolutionaries, and led some of the more pro-active X-Men into joining forces with the Avengers.
AvX also transitioned veteran Marvel scribe and architect of the modern Marvel universe Brian Michael Bendis from Avengers books into X-Men. Specifically, a new flagship series called All-New X-Men.
All-New X-Men‘s story hook had me immediately rolling my eyes. The Beast, fed up with Cyclops’ post-AvX turn as a murderer and mutant revolutionary, decides the best course of action is to travel back in time to when the original five X-Men were starry-eyed teenagers under the tutelage of Professor Xavier (Marvel plays it coy with the dates. Jean is sporting a 1960’s era bob cut but obviously our modern heroes aren’t 60 year olds…). Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – All-New X-Men (2012), Vol. 1-3”
Writer: Ed Brubaker (#1-14), Jason Latour (#15-19)
Artists: Butch Guice, Michael Lark, Nic Klein
Issues: Winter Soldier (2012) #1-19
When I originally set out to read through the Winter Soldier and Captain America comics of the 2011-2012 period, I organized my reading order by the published trade paperbacks and omnibuses, as I usually do. I read through all the issues included in the Captain America: Return of the Winter Soldier omnibus, which included Captain America (2011) #11-19, Captain America And Bucky #620-628, and Winter Soldier (2012) #1-14.
Artists: Bryan Hitch, Brandon Peterson, Carlos Pacheco
Issues: Age of Ultron #1-10, Avengers #12.1
Age of Ultron has a fun premise (that’s absolutely nothing to do with the 2015 film): let’s do Age of Apocalypse, but with Ultron! Instead of X-Men we’ll focus on Avengers in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by a supervillain.
Matt Fraction concocted one of the most easy to jump into and satisfying new comics I’ve read in years.
Writers: Matt Fraction
Artists: David Aja, Javier Pulido
Issues: Hawkeye (2012) #1-5, Young Avengers Presents #6
My comic reading has slowed down significantly this year, which is ironic given I’ve finally reached the era I’m most excited to read: Marvel Now, the post Avengers Vs. X-Men era that began late 2012 and ran until Secret Wars in 2015.
Since I began my grand comic catch-up in late 2014 I’ve been very excited to reach this era, which brought lots of new characters and fun new takes on existing characters, including Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Thor, and Hawkeye.
Wait, Hawkeye? The lame bow-slinger? The dumbest Avenger?
Hawkeye’s previous claim to fame was that he died and was brought back by Scarlet Witch. He went through an existential crisis for a few years, including dressing as a ninja and calling himself Ronin. A new character became the new Hawkeye, a Young Avenger named Kate Bishop. At some point Clint Barton resumed his original Hawkeye-ness and became fairly boring again.
Then something magical happened. A new Hawkeye solo series launched as part of Marvel Now. It focused on Clint’s life when he’s specifically not an Avenger, and it turns out that life is equal parts humorous, emotional, and action-packed. Matt Fraction concocted one of the most easy to jump into and satisfying new comics I’ve read in years. Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Hawkeye Vol. 1: My Life As a Weapon”