Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Marvel Year

I am hoping to detail everything that I read from Marvel Digital Comics during the year that I am a subscriber. I also plan on giving any thoughts I have on the service, or issues I perceive with it, etc.

Fantastic Four #347, 348, 349 (Simonson, Adams, Tanaka) - This is a three issue run where the Hulk (in his 'Joe Fixit' phase), Wolverine, Ghost Rider & Spider-Man basically sub in for the FF after the team is incapacitated by a Skrull fugitive come to Earth to find a skrull artifact she sent there. The Skrull D'Lila disguises herself as Sue Richards and uses some mind control to get things rolling. A group of Skrulls hunting for D'Lila attempt to draw her out somehow by releasing giant monsters from Monster Isle and setting them loose on the world's population centers. MoleMan becomes involved as well, since the giant monsters are sort of his people as well. This is a terrific little run. It is a lot of fun. It's well written and well drawn. The plot works perfectly, and it still feels very much like a Fantastic Four comic, even though you have four different heroes stepping in to help. I was not reading FF when this came out in 1991, and it is nice to get a chance to read this.

Fantastic Four #245 (John Byrne w/a) This comic came out in 1982. As I was browsing I saw the cover and was compelled to read it again. I picked up FF a good bit during this time period, and I have always loved this story. As stories go, I am not sure how great it actually is in a critical sense, but for whatever reason it is a sentimental favorite of mine. This is the 'Childhood's End' Issue where Franklin's crazy awesome powers manifest and he turns into his older and fully bearded self and kicks some butt in his confusion until Sue realizes who he is, etc. I have this issue, but it is tucked away in a long box, so it was nice to read it again.

Wha... Huh? #1 - This is a 'What If' spoof that came out in 2005. It is written by a ton of people, and has art by Jim Mahfood and Steve Ditko(by way of reprinting). The writers include Bendis, Brubaker, Waid, Vaughn,Millar, and more. Unlike most of Marvel's past spoof attempts, this is an incredibly funny book. There are tons of gags in it, and the art is brilliant. I honestly don't know when it happened, but Jim Mahfood has become one of my absolute favorite artists. I am absolutely transfixed by his style. This comic works absolutely with his art. Some of the bits appearing in this volume: What if the Avengers all had beards?, What if the Ultimate Universe got Ultimized?, and the BRILLIANT What if Black Panther were actually white? It's just good stuff all around.

Agents of Atlas #1-6 (Jeff Parker/ Leonard Kirk) This is the 2006 Mini Series. I read all six issues of this yesterday. It is a perfect comic in my opinion. It introduces us to characters we may or may not have ever heard of, and it makes each of them profoundly interesting, while at the same time making them equally compelling and interesting as a team. I raved a bit about issue one of the ongoing series that just started, but I had no idea that the mini series I missed was going to be this good. Jimmy Woo, Ken Hale(Gorilla Man), Marvel Boy, Venus, Namora, M-11(the human robot), and Wakanda born Agent of Shield, Derek Khanata are the primary players in this, and all of them are full and intriguing characters. I Can't believe I didn't read this when it came out, and I feel my collection is lacking by not owning a trade of this. It is Action and Drama and Humor and Intrigue, all just perfectly done.

Marvel Digital Comics - Well, so far I am really enjoying this. I think the interface could be a little bit better, but it's not bad, and it's easy enough to use. Here are some problems I have found so far.
1. On the Smart Panels view mode there are sometimes portions of text that are not brought into focus. This mode allows you to move through the comic as though you are reading it. It enlarges parts of the page so that you can easily read it on screen without having to do any scrolling. I have found a couple of places so far where I have to switch to another mode in order to read the text.
2. There are comics listed that are not the entire comic, and as far as I can tell, there is nothing indicating that they have been abridged. I found this out when trying to find a story with Jimmy Woo in it from Strange Tales. When I went to the issue, it was only the 10 pages of Dr. Strange story that were available. The half of the book that was a Nick Fury story was not there. There needs to be some kind of notation of this somewhere that makes it clear you are not being given the entire issue.

1 comment:

John said...

I picked up that "New Fantastic Four" arc at NYCC this year, mostly because a friend of mine had bought it when it was new and I never got to read the whole thing. At six years old I had had no exposure the original Fantastic Four, so I was really excited to hear that they booted some old, less popular super-team and put their biggest characters together on a book. Sadly, I probably would've loved New Avengers at that age.

That Agents of Atlas mini sounds great. I'll have to pick that up at some point.