Saturday, May 23, 2015

This Week's Comics 5.20.15

Two years ago, I stopped buying comic books.  My son was just born, and time and money were in rapidly decreasing supply.  Likewise, the quality of the comics I was buying was also in decline.  So, in a move I couldn't have fathomed a decade prior, I quit buying new comics.  I started living on a steady diet of back issues and that is what lead to my current PURGE project. (see recent entries related to comics)
I kept my eye on the comics scene during my absence from partaking and honestly, I didn't get the impression I was missing much.  Then came Marvel's announcement of their upcoming (now current) Secret Wars event.  Secret Wars promised to fix everything that was wrong with the Marvel Universe and return the Marvel Empire to its previous glory.  Being a die-hard Marvel fan who quit in disgust, this naturally intrigued me, so I started following along by reading great comic book news sites like CBR. At the same time, the lovely wife was really getting into classic Disney Duck Comics, the collected works of Don Rosa and Carl Banks specifically (with big help from CBR Pipeline writer Augie De Blieck Jr.).  As luck would have it, Disney was about to launch new Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck comics.  So I took this as a sign that the universe wanted me to take another look at my beloved hobby once again.

Long ago, I used to do a feature called the Comic of the Week, or something, that no one ever read. In that time honored tradition I am going to start sharing with you the comics that I am buying and let you know how my return to comic readership is going.  I'll likely not buy comics every week as I am only getting a very few, but whenever I pick some up, I'll share my insights with you.  Maybe this will help inform your own comics purchases, maybe not, but either way, my opinion will be out there, which is honestly where it needs to be.

So without further ado, here are the comics I bought this week and some thoughts to go along with them:

First up, is A-Force #1.  Marvel's Secret Wars all female Avengers team!  My fear is that this is a gimmick comic that will sell strong for four or five issues and then vanish, but based on the first issue it is worth at least a look.  I have no idea which universe these characters are pulled from, but it can't be the main Marvel U because there are all kinds of crazy things going on.  So if you aren't overly familiar with She-Hulk or Loki or Captain Marvel, that's ok.  You'll get all you need from the story itself.  The first issue is a better-than-average set-up issue that delivers a full story and does a better job of explaining Secret Wars than Secret Wars #1 or #2 did.  I'll get issue #2 and see where this one goes.

Spawn #252.  I was super excited when Paul Jenkins was named the writer taking over for McFarlene, but he's off to a bit of a slow start.  We are two issues in, and while I get the general gist of the plot, the finer points are being lost on me, mostly because I've been out of the Spawn universe for about 8 years and I'm not sure why he has Venom teeth or what his relationship with Malebolgia and the rest of the cast is.  I'm trying to stick with it because I believe in Jenkins' ability to tell awesome, character-driven stories, but this one needs a kick in the pants to get going.  I'm good for about two more issues if things don't pick up.

Finally, True Believers:  Age of Apocalypse #1.  Marvel is doing something really smart here for once.  The True Believers line is a series of one-shot issues that spotlight some of the biggest storylines in Marvel history.  For instance, this issue, Age of Apocalypse #1 is a reprint of X-men: Alpha #1 which launched the now legendary Age of Apocalypse story.  There won't be an issue #2, but there are smartly placed ads for the trade paperbacks that collect the whole story, so if you like what you see, you know where to go.  The best part:  these comics are just $1.  That's right, $1.  And what's more, there are NO ADS, except for the ones in the back for the trades.  It's a genius way to celebrate the rich history of the Marvel U, introduce new readers to classic stories, and get everyone geared up for Secret Wars.  It is no coincidence that each True Believer comic spotlights a Marvel Era that is represented in that story. Again, smart for once.  I have seen TB one-shots for things like the Infinity Gauntlet, Iron Man: Armor Wars and Ultimate Spider-man.  So I'll probably be picking up a few more of these.

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