The GeeksverseWeekly Reviews For 11/07/12

Weekly Reviews For 11/07/12
Published on Monday, November 12, 2012 by

Marvel Now! starts hitting in force with the release of Iron Man #1. Valiant continues it’s relaunch with a new Shadowman, Avengers Academy comes to an end

Iron Man #1 ($3.99, Marvel Comics)

Iron Man #1, cover by Greg Land

  • Writer: Kieron Gillen
  • Penciler: Greg Land
  • Inker: Jay Leisten
  • Colorist: Guru eFX
  • Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
  • Assistant Editor: Jon Moisan
  • Editor: Mark Paniccia

Marvel Now! officially started with Red She-Hulk and the AvX: Consequences series, but this issue is where it really kicks-off.

Gillen does a great job with the way this opens up. It feels fresh and new but also with the history of Iron Man present. It’s hard to get that mix just right but Gillen does it. It’s a title that is fresh, a new reader can pick it up without much (if any) prior Iron Man knowledge and enjoy the book. But there’s connections to history for the long time readers.

Even long time readers will enjoy the fresh new car (armor) scent of this issue. It just feels new but with a healthy dose of respect for the old. This is how DC should have done their relaunch and if the rest of Marvel Now! works the same, it’ll be a success.

Gillen has a good handle on Tony Stark and what makes him tick. All the parts of Tony are hit here; his womanizing, his futurist view, his intelligence and his “death wish” (as he puts it). All are on display and all go into making Tony Stark.

I used to like Greg Land, and some times I still do. His work on Sojourn, for Crossgen, was breathtaking. Beautiful women, well laid out pages. Then he discovered photo reference and it went downhill. The ability he had is still visible, but sometimes he relies on photo reference too much and his characters end up in awkward poses for the flow of the story and worse of all, they can end up stiff and lifeless. For the most part, that’s at a minimum in this issue, but it’s still there.

4 out of 5

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Shadowman #1 ($3.99, Valiant Comics)

Shadowman #1, cover by Patrick Zircher

  • Writer: Justin Jordan & Patrick Zircher
  • Art: Patrick Zircher
  • Colorist: Brian Reber
  • Letterer: Rob Steen & Dave Lanphear
  • Assistant Editor: Josh Johns
  • Editor: Warren Simons

I’ll be honest, I never read the original Shadowman or the Acclaim version. Patrick Zircher, and to a lesser extent Justin Jordan, was the main draw of this. I love Zircher’s work, have ever since his New Warriors days, and he’s one of the few artists whose work is an instant buy regardless of what the book is.

I really didn’t look too much into this book and what it was about prior to picking it up. I knew the basics from the Valiant days. I really like what Jordan and Zircher (wonder how this collaboration came to be and what the writing process is) are setting up. There’s a bit of mystery with his parents and their records, groundwork laid for some past times style stories and an interesting supporting cast.

They do a great job of making his origin as Shadowman very natural. The amulet was keeping him safe and the minute he throws it away, and the reasoning is natural as well given the situation, it all goes to hell quickly. The only thing I don’t like is the outfit, it looks too super-hero-y for the type of story and the logo on the chest seems out of place for a look being given by a shadow spirit.

Excellent set-up by the team and striking visuals, especially Mister Twist who is gruesome. Jordan is popping up all over the map. He’s got a new Luther Strode mini at Image and 2 monthly books at DC. Not bad for someone that came out of the blue last year.

For someone that was completely new to Shadowman, they do a good job of making it interesting and providing a good hook. This is another in Valiant’s strong series of debuts.

5 out of 5

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Avengers Academy #39 ($2.99, Marvel Comics)

Avengers Academy #39, cover by Guiseppe Camucoli

  • Writer: Christos Gage
  • Penciler: Tom Grummett
  • Inker: Cory Hamsher
  • Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
  • Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
  • Assistant Editor: Jon Moisan
  • Editor: Bill Rosemann

I’ve felt that Avengers Academy is a series that never quite lived up to it’s potential. The idea that the Avengers would have a training school makes perfect sense and is something that should have happened a long time ago. New Warriors, Young Avengers, Young uhm.. uh.. (whatever that book Sean McKeever had out that starred the female Bucky). With all these teen heroes out there, having an Academy just made sense. Why it wasn’t built off Young Avengers I don’t know as that book and characters already existed, but it wasn’t and we got this series.

The characters weren’t bad. The idea wasn’t bad. The end result was very cliched though. Parts of it felt force and it just never really seemed to find it’s foundation or voice. I think going with new characters was the fatal error, even if some of the characters were excellent (Finesse).

The last issue really highlights what was wrong with the series. It was an average book and it’s an average ending. More of a “huh” ending. The book ends to make way for Avengers Arena (which is a series I’m not sure should exist and I’ll explain why when that book comes out), but leaves the void that should have been filled a long time ago. What is going to happen to all these teen heroes?

Some Avengers foundation thing? It sounded vague, like it was being made up on the spot, and that editorial really didn’t know what it was doing with the characters. And now that they are introduced, they shouldn’t just be tossed aside. There are some things that should be explored more.

Grummett is a servicable artist, but he wasn’t exciting. Veil always looked odd with her mask, he could never get a good handle on it (of course not many artists could get a good handle on it).

3 out of 5

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