What's new in the world of comicsPop Culture by Ian Clark
December 01. 2012 6:58PM
Marvel Comics has generated some buzz with its Marvel Now launch, which rebooted several books, ended some others and launched some new ones not unlike DC Comics' New 52 did a year ago (though Marvel downplays any similarities) for that universe.
Marvel is clearly trying to capitalize on the massive success of "The Avengers" movie by creating excellent jumping on points for numerous characters that appeared in the blockbuster film.
Launching with issue No. 1 in November were Captain America, Indestructible Hulk, Invincible Iron Man and Thor: God of Thunder. The archer Hawkeye got his own book a few months ago and issue four is out now.
Indestructible Hulk has arguably the best writer/artist team of all the new Marvel books, matching scribe Mark Waid with artist Leinil Francis Yu. Waid had legendary runs on Captain America and The Flash in the 1990s. Issue No. 1 doesn't wow you, but it does offer a nice springboard into what could become a really good read each month.
The Hawkeye books has quickly become a favorite of mine. Writer Matt Fraction has done a great job of grounding the Avengers hero in realism while adding some really quirky elements.
David Aja's art is not my favorite style, but it doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. It shouldn't be too hard to pick up the first four issues of Hawkeye and jump aboard.
I haven't had a chance to check out the other solo comics for the other Avengers listed above, but I have been reading one of the keystone books in the Marvel Now initiative, and that one is Uncanny Avengers.
Spiraling out of the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline (which I thought was quite good, though it could have been told in 10 issues rather than 12), The book sees a unification between the Avengers and X-Men, at least on a small team scale.
The team is not a roster of A-listers, but there are enough well known characters (Wolverine, Thor, Captain America) added to some second tier heroes (Havoc, Rogue) to make for an interesting mix. The first two issues were good and I recommend checking them out.
Over at DC, the book I am recommending is Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. The first two issues are out now (and it launched as a digital comic back in June) so it is easy to get those first two issues in your hands.
The old version of this book was one of my favorite Batman reads because it took place outside of regular Batman continuity, as does this one. What does that mean? It means you don't need to be reading the regular Batman books and understand what is happening there to enjoy this one.
The stories are smaller arcs (issue No. 1 had four short stories) and there are rotating creative teams. The result is excellent Batman stories that are not bogged down by years of comic book history.
If you like Batman but can't keep up with all his books, this one is a pure distillation of the character and will scratch that Batman itch for you. The first two issues have been excellent and this comic has quickly become a "top of the pile" read for me.
That's about it for what's happening in comics. You can find all these books and tons more at Harrison's Comics and Pop Culture in Nashua and the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester. Tell 'em Ian sent ya.
Ian Clark's Pop Culture Club appears every week in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Check out his "Nerdherders" podcast on iTunes or www.3nerds.us. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.