ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW! Wrap-Up: Surfing the Light Fantastic

Lotta titles, led by the book everyone wanted to read this week: Silver Surfer #1. Continuing our weekly wrap-up of all the All-New Marvel Now! #1s and .Now issues …

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Silver Surfer #1. Storytellers: Dan Slott and Michael Allred. Marvel has been trying to crack Silver Surfer for a very long time now. Series after series have come and gone, and while the Surfer remains a very popular and in-demand character, he has been a popular and in-demand character that can never sustain his own series. He’s just so alien, so not relatable. Well, it seems Dan Slott and Michael Allred have cracked the code. Yes, the Surfer is not relatable to many readers, but stick him with a very human, very easy to understand companion, in the vein of like, oh I don’t know, a certain British Timelord, and you have yourself a take on the Silver Surfer that could finally stick.

Everything that fans love about the Surfer is in the debut issue of the new title, the Kirby-like energy, the over-the-top settings, the cosmic melodrama, but it is all combined with the very human story of a girl named Dawn, a girl who has never left, nor has had the desire to leave, the New England beach town she grew up in. Slott juxtaposes the cosmically fantastic with the magically mundane to create a modern story that will appeal to those with Silver Age sensibilities. Allred was born to draw this character. Seeing his cosmic landscapes and vistas is like discovering Ditko’s Dr. Strange for the first time. This book is one for the ages.

Grade: A+


All-New Ghost Rider. Writer: Felipe Smith. Artist: Tradd Moore. Wow, not what I was expecting at all. Newcomers Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore defy expectation and create a new Ghost Rider, one that carries the same spirit of those that came before but is shockingly different in execution. Some traditionalists probably won’t accept this new Ghost Rider, but let’s be honest, Ghost Rider has a tradition of change. From the Western hero of yesteryear to motorcycle-riding Johnny Blaze to perennial ’90s guest star Daniel Ketch, Ghost Rider has changed identities many times during the years, and this All-New Ghost Rider is perhaps the most daringly different yet. Smith and Moore trade in the signature motorcycle for a souped up, flaming street racer. If you ever watched one of the “Fast & Furious” movies and wished Ghost Rider played a role, well, here you go.
This new Ghost Rider is Robbie Reyes, a brilliant mechanic who wants to get himself and his brother out of the ghetto. When a street race goes wrong, Robbie is shot to death for some unclear nefarious purpose and the new Ghost Rider is born. The story is fast paced and gripping while the art, while not necessarily to my personal tastes (what’s with the tiny heads?), does serve the alternative and urban feel to the story very well.

Grade: B

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New Avengers #16.Now. Writer: Jonathan Hickman. Artist: Rags Morales. The first issue of New Avengers as part of the All-New Marvel Now! campaign follows the same path as the past year of issues. It’s big, bold, filled with mind-bending concepts, but with very little humanity to hold it all together. There’s nothing to grab hold of to make Hickman’s magnum opus of alternate Earths, alien incursions, and warring realities anything more than hugely imaginative concepts being thrown at the reader in big bursts of energy. If that’s your thing, here you go. But, I miss the Avengers, the banter, the parings, the interactions, and the fun.

This is not to say that this book doesn’t have merit. Rags Morales’ art is excellent, overflowing with gravitas and energy, the whole thing looks like an Avengers comic should, but it doesn’t read like one.

Grade: C

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Iron Patriot #1. Writer: Ales Kot. Artist: Garry Brown. Ales Kot has proven himself to be one of the most exciting new voices in comics, with his all-too-brief run on Suicide Squad, his wonderful continuation of Secret Avengers, and his creator-owned work such as Change and Zero. Iron Patriot marks Kot’s first attempt at a launch, and it’s a good one. Iron Patriot #1 is a complete character study of James Rhodes, his supporting characters, his motivations, and his place in the Marvel Universe. This is the most fleshed out Rhodes has ever been as he begins his new mission to protect the US as the Iron Patriot rather than attack other nations as America’s War Machine. Garry Brown is note perfect as the artist, drawing domestic scenes of Rhodes and his family with as much gusto as heavy metal action.

Grade: A-

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Uncanny Avengers #18.Now. Writer: Rick Remender. Artist: Daniel Acuna. Another title that doesn’t have a great many Avengers, but still feels like an Avengers (and an X-Men) story thanks to some great character work from Remender that spotlights Havok and his wife, the Wasp (WHAT?). Remender and Acuna do the alternate timeline riff with a world where there are no Avengers while the aggressive mutants led by Magneto and the Brotherhood act as a police force pursuing super-powered beings. It’s all very big and a little confusing but Remender grounds it in his exemplary use of Havok and the Wasp. The shock of their marriage in this alternate timeline is eased by their banter and clear love for each other, creating an unexpected character pairing. Where is the rest of the team? Other than Thor, we don’t really know, but no one does alternate timelines like Remender (see Image’s Black Science), and this issue plays to his strengths. Acuna was born to do these type of stories with stunning cityscapes and redesigned Marvel icons filling every panel. This is a big but human story, an epic that at times is in danger of collapsing under its own weight, but so far is managing to stay grounded enough to entertain.

Grade: B+

Author: 13th Dimension

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