With Iron Man 3 coming out, I sought out two of the most acclaimed stories featuring the Mandarin. Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #1-6 is a solid Year One type story, notable mainly for the inventive art of Eric Canete. Iron Man Volume 3 #15-18, 21-28 resurrected the Mandarin, although most of the fun was in Tony Stark’s status quo as the new Director of SHIELD in the aftermath of Civil War.
Secret Avengers (Marvel Now!) #1-4 is a fun spy series with a great hook: people you recognize from the Avengers movies go on missions they don’t remember. Young Avengers #1-5 (Marvel Now!) is probably my favorite team book of the Marvel Now relaunches, with inventive storytelling, a compelling cast and great metaphors for life as a college age adult, as the dead parents of various superheroes are literally resurrected.
This month I was on a fairly big Thor kick. J. Michael Straczysnki and Oliver Coipel did a great job resurrecting the God of Thunder in Thor #1-12/ #600-603, King-Sized Finale. The Thor: Anicent Asgard Trilogy cemented Matt Fraction as the obvious man to take over, focusing on the brash Young Thor of myth. Kieron Gillen tied up loose ends from JMS’s truncated run in Thor #604-614.
The first few arcs of Fraction’s actual run (Thor #615-621, Mighty Thor #1-6) were kinda padded, although there were always impressive moments. Fear Itself #1-7 is when things picked up, balancing a threat that shakes the Marvel Universe with Thor’s relationship with his father. The epilogues were also generally satisfying, although it might be a bit underwhelming for something that took place in several dozen issues.
New Avengers Volume 2 #14-23, 16.1 and The Avengers #13-24, 24.1 were Fear Itself tie-ins, as well as a rematch with Norman Osborn. I think that one would have worked better if it was limited to one Avengers title. Iron Man #504-509 featured a different side of the crossover, as Tony Stark and status quo were convincingly pushed to their limits. It showed that it’s always fun to have Tony Stark in a magical setting.
Kieron Gillen’s reimagining of Loki from Journey Into Mystery #622-645 (with side appearances in Exiled #1 and New Mutants #42-43 is justly acclaimed, with a fun lead, inventive storytelling (a pattern with Gillen) and fantastic explorations of the nature of mythology. During this time, The Mighty Thor #7-22 essentially becomes a satellite for Loki’s adventures in Journey Into Mystery. And that’s fine with me, as Loki was so much fun.
I also read Stan Lee and Kack Kirby’s Thor #137-139, since a battle with trolls that becomes important in Fraction’s run. I mentioned the title’s twelve issue golden age, but it seems that it can be expanded to at least fifteen issues.
Hawkeye #1-10 may just be Fraction’s best work for Marvel. He just has a great take on the character, as a guy who stumbles into various adventures and situations way too dangerous for a guy without any super-powers. And there are so many tricks for aspiring artists to steal from David Aja.
Casanova: Avaria #1-4 is the conclusion to the series that made Fraction’s reputation, and rather hard to follow, with time travel, alternate dimensions and an inconvenient cold that makes one of the main characters indecipherable. But is quite clever, and something I’ll be sure to reread soon.
Total: 1435 Comics read so far