(Editor’s Note: Our last comic round up suffered from, as I once heard Stephen King explain it, “diarrhea of the typewriter (insert your preferred method of typing here).” Seeing as how I’m branching out, but still very much a Marvel zombie, I will try to keep this one brief by just giving “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.)
The Good: Mark Waid is a good writer. I really like his Champions book (more on that in a bit). But, he doesn’t quite fit this version of the HydrAvengers, in my opinion.
The Bad: This team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are actually some of the worst villains in the Marvel Universe. While that in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, I feel like the execution isn’t so great.
The Ugly: I simply can’t wrap my mind around these characters as Avengers. I know that we are living in a Cosmic Cube altered reality and that nothing should be comforting necessarily. However, while I’ve gone along with most books on this crazy ride, this is a bridge too far.
The Verdict: Having been reintroduced to Warren Ellis via Injection and Trees, I couldn’t help but be reminded of his run on Thunderbolts. He would be the perfect writer for this hodge podge of characters that make up the HydrAvengers. Maybe that would make it easier to swallow. I, for one, can’t wait until the Legacy reboot of this team.
The Good: Mark Waid is a great writer. The proof is in this book. Each character is written with a different personality that shines through in the storytelling. This is one of my favorite books right now.
The Bad: Two here, but not really anything to do with the book. 1) While I’m glad that they included this book in the Secret Empire arc and that gave me a chance to discover it, I’m not sure that these characters fit exactly the way that they’re trying to make them fit. 2) I wish that I had been on from the beginning because I really enjoy this book.
The Ugly: I’m pretty sure that this book is meant for teenagers. I’m not sure what it says about me that it is one of my favorite books and I’m 41. Actually, I know exactly what it says about me. Society, and my wife sometimes, might not approve, but I’m comfortable with who I am.
The Verdict: This is one heck of a book and one lone bright spot through the whole Secret Empire event. While other books have changed their focus, flirted with disaster, or both, this one has stayed true to the characters and their mission to mirror “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. Heck, some of these characters have lost their damn minds in other books, but remained true in this one. Really, just a fun book and I can’t wait to see how things progress through Legacy.
Edge of Venomverse
The Good: This book and book 2 were very good. I liked the quirkiness of Gwenpool with the symbiote and the story of this one was fantastic. I haven’t read Old Man Logan yet, so this might have just grown naturally from that, but after the rather pedestrian nature of the first three books, I was surprised by the depth of this one.
The Bad: Book 1 and 3 were…not great. Book 1 wasn’t bad. It just felt very uneven. Book 3 was just not good overall. I didn’t enjoy the story. I suppose that by that pattern, book 5 is going to be meh. Given that it is Deadpool and I tire quickly of “old school” Deadpool, that’s a safe bet.
The Ugly: I’m usually a sucker for different art. Heck, I’ll buy anything drawn by Sam Kieth. However, the art for #3 was just horrible. Combined with the subpar story, I think that one just needs a do over.
The Verdict: An uneven series that seems to have different judgments from different people. The owner of my newly adopted (can’t say that in a few months) comic store, for instance, really liked book 1. She’s a fan of X23, though, so maybe that’s the reason why. I haven’t gotten into that book yet. Even so, I have high hopes for the actual series.
The Good: Another excellent book, written by a writer who knows and has been able to define the character in this brave new world that Marvel has been trying to forge. It has dealt with issues of loss and PTSD in a very real and poignant manner.
The Bad: This isn’t your father’s Hulk. “Hulk Smash” is almost non existent. Instead, it’s become a “talkie”, similar to Batman. I’m not saying that’s bad, but if you’re coming for that action, wait until Legacy.
The Ugly: Wait, they’re bringing back Banner Hulk? (Spoiler Alert: They’ve already brought him back.) But, one of the major plot points of this series has been Jen’s reaction and attempts to deal with her cousin’s death. I know they’re resetting with Legacy, but, still I’ll miss that storyline.
The Verdict: I was not initially going to invest in this book. However, one week I was short on books and decided to pick this one up because I am a huge Hulk fan. I’m glad that I did because it has become one of my most anticipated books each month. I’m a little worried how it will endure post Legacy, but hopefully they can figure it out.
The Good: At this point, I’ve only read these two generations books, but they’ve both been decent to good. I was a bit surprised that I actually enjoyed the Phoenix book more than Hulk. Greg Pak is one of my favorite Hulk writers and the book was good, but I just felt like the Phoenix story was much more in depth and balanced.
The Bad: There was a bit too much “Hulk Smash” in the Hulk book. I know that’s what people want from our Jade Giant. However, I’ve always been more of a fan of the introspective Hulks and less is more when it comes to “Hulk Smash”. But, I’ll stick with the book until we get to the deeper stories.
The Ugly: Another weekly book that I have to read, Marvel? I mean, I don’t have to read it, but I will. I just won’t necessarily be happy about it. Except, I’m pretty sure I will. *sigh* Chris is right. I may have a problem.
The Verdict: Only two books in and I’m okay with the concept. I’m intrigued to see how this shapes future books and tries to tie everything together with the past. I like what DC has done with their Rebirth books and think that a true reboot can do good things for Marvel, too. These books serve to set the tone and so far the tone is positive.
Secret Empire Tie In Books
The Good: Both Captain America books have been great. I hadn’t heard of Spencer before this event, but I like what he’s been doing with the event. While I don’t agree with including Champions in the event, I’m glad they did because it’s a good book. Ultimates2 wasn’t even on my radar, but that has been an amazing book.
The Bad: I don’t like what Secret Empire has done to Amazing Spider-Man. I’m usually okay with different, but the last few ASM arcs I’ve read have just been blah. Bear in mind that I haven’t even been around for the latest clone wars, but I read the one where Uncle Ben came back and the one before that years ago. The other books like Underground and United have been mostly forgettable, though the Widow “red room” story was interesting. Avengers has suffered most from Secret Empire. Again, I get the reason to include the team to show how different this world is, but it hasn’t been a great experiment.
The Ugly: I went from mildly interested in the event, to promising myself that I’d only get the main books, to buying every stupid book with the Secret Empire/Captain Hydra banner on it. Damn it, Marvel. Congratulations. You hooked me.
The Verdict: As is to be expected, these books have been hit or miss. Most have been very good. Some have been disappointing, but I don’t regret buying the books that I did. Overall, they’ve added to my enjoyment of the event and I’m back on the wagon…or is it off the wagon?
The Good: Nick Spencer has done a good job of telling this story and the art has mostly been just as good. As an aside, I’m glad that we are in the “hope” portion of the story. I couldn’t take much more “despair”.
The Bad: I didn’t like the art in a couple of the books. I just prefer the realistic art of Steve McNiven. The art of these books made me take a step back and try to absorb it before continuing. It just took me out of the story for a minute.
The Ugly: I almost quit reading the story altogether. One of those reason was that it was just getting too real. Especially with the recent events in Virginia, I couldn’t sit by idly as my escape from reality started to mirror that reality a bit too much. Ultimately, I kept going, but I was close to quitting there.
The Verdict: Overall, this event has been entertaining. I won’t say that it has been good, but it has kept me reading. There are a few times that I wanted to walk away for one reason or another, but I’ve keep reading and I’m glad that I did. Ultimately, at this point, I want to see how they write themselves out of this.