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November 29, 2009

Marvel Snapshot: Best of 2009

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This week on Marvel Snapshot I’m going to be discussing Marvel’s year in review. Since we’re basically in December, I thought it would be a good time to look back and reflect. Now, for me the choice was simple, but I’ll wait until the end to reveal my favorite. Let’s get this show on the road right now!

coverxmenlegacy220I have to give the X-titles first nod because they had a HUGE year. Marvel’s mutants were very busy in 2009, starting off with the return of Rogue. She took a leave of absence after she touched the first mutant baby (Hope) born since M-day. Touching this baby took away all the personalities and powers other than her own inherent ones that had been floating around in her body. The X-titles were front and center with X-Infernus; this 4 issue mini brought back Illyana Rasputin (Magik) from Limbo and back into the lives of the X-Men. We also saw an extraordinary story in X-Men: Kingbreaker, which of course led directly into War of Kings. This was absolute heaven for me, being an X-fan, and also a big time fan of Marvel’s cosmic scene. It pitted Cyclops’ and Havok’s evil brother Vulcan (who had usurped the throne of the Shi’ar Empire) against The Kree, Inhumans, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Starjammers in a cosmic war of epic proportions. The Inhumans decided that the Shi’ar were getting out of control with their quest to rule the galaxy, so they intended to put a stop to Vulcan permanently. In the end, Black Bolt and Vulcan were both killed and the universe has a huge tear in it (The Fault), from a weapon Black Bolt was going to use to unify the galaxy by changing all life forms into Inhumans using the Terrigen Mist.

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Nothing of note really went on in Cable issues this year. It basically spent the last year showing Hope and Cable running from Bishop, who is out to kill them both. Well, OK, there was a cool issue where in the future we got to see Stryfe and Apocalypse, but that was the only decent issue if you ask me. X-Force was a huge bright spot for me. It is one of the most consistent books Marvel has to offer (Guardians of the Galaxy being the other). We saw the early stages of Selene’s machinations, and also the evil cyborg Bastion, and his quest to revive some of the X-Men’s old foes to attack them once again. We also learned about a man named Eli Bard and how he is connected to Selene. This all led up to the current Necrosha arc that ties in with the New Mutants’ new ongoing series. Let me also not forget about X-Factor. This is a title I have not read in quite some time, but I do know that the beginning of the year brought the birth of Jamie Madrox and Siryn’s baby. This team has had a bit of a shake-up with Rhane and Rictor leaving (Rictor is back though IIRC), Jamie and Layla traveling to the future but Layla not returning, and a renumbering starting at the end of this year with #200.

Next, let’s take a look at what Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers were up to. The Avengers were really on the run this year because of one man – Norman Osborn. The beginning of this year saw the birth of Norman’s “Dark Avengers.” They are his own hand-picked team that wear the costumes of the real team of Avengers so Norman can fool the world into thinking they approve of him, and his new authoritative position. Dark Avengers has really focused on this new group trying to act like superheroes without giving in to the sometimes psychotic urges they have. Meanwhile, behind the scenes you have the real Avengers trying to undermine Norman and his fraudulent group. New Avengers, for the first half of the year, showcased this team fighting against The Hood and his gang. This story also branched out into the Search for the New Sorcerer Supreme story, which showed us the downfall of Dr. Strange and his quest to find his replacement. That story was pretty good and ended up with Brother Voodoo becoming the new SS. Although he was a very unlikely candidate, he has the experience in the mystical realm to get the job done; well, after some training from the former SS, that is.

Darkavengers1Mighty Avengers was a bit of a disappointment for me this year. The year started out with Loki disguising him/herself to appear as The Scarlet Witch, in a move that has still somewhat not been fully revealed, other than to create a little havoc for this team. One story that I thought had a lot of promise was that of “The Unspoken.” It showed us the origin of the previous king of the Inhumans (before Black Bolt), and how he was overthrown, then exiled to Earth. This arc showed a lot of promise, but in the end really left much to be desired with an ending a five-year-old could have written. Avengers The Initiative is another title that has really slowed down and lost my interest almost totally since Secret Invasion. This book basically has taken a year to show Norman Osborn dismantling The Initiative and starting his own project. It seems to me that what has taken ten issues could have been resolved in two. Over all Mighty Avengers and Avengers the Initiative have been pretty big disappointments for me personally. I expected bigger and better things from Dan Slott. At least the artwork was pretty solid from Khoi Pham.

Now, I’ll hit some quick points of interest with some titles I don’t really read but know some dirt on. First is the Noir series. I did buy the X-Men Noir mini, but that was all I could take. I wanted to buy Spider-Man, but was so turned off by the X-Men title I gave up. I just didn’t care for anything about this book at all, although I did hear some good things about the Spidey book. Since these two there has been a Daredevil, Punisher, Wolverine (shocking I know), and Luke Cage version that have hit the shelves. Deadpool continues to wow most people with his main title, but most of the feedback I get from his Merc with a Mouth series is that it’s garbage. This year also saw a relaunch for Spider-Woman in September. I have subscribed to this based on the New Avengers/Secret Invasion plots involving Jessica Drew. She is an intriguing character from my perspective, and I like the whole “spy angle” they’re putting on this book, so I’m really excited about the future of this title.

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Amazing Spider-Man had at least seven or eight printings of the famous Barack Obama cover (yes I own one, let the laughter ensue). Spidey had the “Character Assassination Plot” story with the villain Menace trying once again to take him down. I also bought a few issues of Thor, Captain America: Reborn, and Fantastic FourThor was a pretty good read, and Coipel’s art is amazing to look at. I know some people are not too excited for Reborn and the return of Steve Rogers, but I for one never wanted him gone, so for me it’s kind of bitter sweet. Marvel bringing him back so soon makes his death hollow, but I love the character, and although Bucky is doing a fine job, Steve is the only real Captain America to me. Fantastic Four didn’t do a whole lot, but every few issues Jonathan Hickman does manage to get me to buy this title, so he must be doing OK.

This year saw a big trend downward in comics sales, especially in October, according to Diamond. I’m sure there are many titles on the chopping block for this upcoming year, but I’ll remain optimistic about the ones I want to stay around. Hopefully the next couple of months’ events can get next year starting out with a bang and not a thud. For me personally though, I thought it was a good year for comics all around. I was absolutely blown away by Kingbreaker/War of Kings. This whole arc had me excited every time an issue was forthcoming. I especially liked Guardians of the Galaxy. That title,  in my humble opinion, is the best book Marvel prints month after month. X-Force is also a very good book, and my second place ribbon winner. That’s all for now, but I’ll be right back here next week for more of my opinions on Marvel’s latest and greatest.

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Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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4 Comments


  1. InfiniteSpeech

    I have yet to take the Spider Woman plunge though I like espionage/spy themed stories. The Noir series didn’t grab my attention either and I thought about giving the DD and Luke Cage ones a try sometime in the future when they’re in trade.

    Cable HAD promise for a bit but it just fell into a repetitive boring ass cycle after a bit…I should have dropped the title sooner and picked up GOTG instead lol Dark Avengers and X-Factor are two of the better books this year hands down!

    Great article Billy!


  2. billy

    @IS-Yeah I hear ya with Cable. I thought that the first 3 issues or so were decent but it went down the crapper fast and swirled around forever. Spider-Woman has been a good read so far and the artwork is really growing on me. Do yourself a favor and pick up GotG. It’s reeeeaaallly good. I have the entire run and have never been disappointed. I’m really looking forward to Siege, Second Coming and DoomWar.



  3. I agree- the X-Men man had a kick ass 2009!

    Although, I disagree with your dissing of Cable! The whole point of the series was to age Hope and give us her origin story. I thought it was pretty cool and can’t wait for it to wrap up in X-Men Second Coming!

    Have you checked out the new Spider-Man Noir series? It’s ‘meh.’ Great call on Spider-Woman. Love that book.

    And Hickman is amazing!


  4. Billy

    That new Spidey Noir does interest me but a “meh” rating isn’t helping it’s chances. lol



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