Welcome to another edition of Marvel Snapshot! In this week’s column, I’ll be revisiting my column from earlier this year on what I was expecting (or hoping for, really) from Marvel this year. I’ve given this some thought, and I want to share and also get lots of feedback, too, so here we go.
Let’s start out with Marvel’s biggie, Fear Itself, shall we. First and foremost, I thought that killing Bucky wasn’t the brightest idea. He had really started to become his own “Cap,” and Steve Rogers was doing great being the new Nick Fury. I’m sure Marvel thought that they were doing something edgy or wild with that one, but honestly, I thought they dropped the ball. Why not kill off a few B-listers? That would have a similar impact, plus they could actually stay dead and no one would care. We all know Bucky is coming back sooner than later anyway due to popularity, so why kill him off (other than the dollars it may have brought in)? I’m sure Bendis and crew will say that they have some grandeur plan that’s going to be better than the last thing, but I can’t remember the last time that actually rang true. Can you?
I didn’t read Spider Island, but I did hear good things about that. I didn’t care for all the tie-ins I saw with both books, even though they claim you can just read the main title and get the full story. That trick is getting old, isn’t it? I did, however, buy Fear Itself: Homefront and Fear Itself: The Deep (I can’t resist my love for Dr. Strange). I thought Homefront was a waste of money for the most part, but The Deep was pretty cool. Doc Strange, Namor, and a host of others battling undersea beasts is my kind of book! I’d also like to give a nod to Uncanny X-Force. If not for that book, I think I might be ready to drop Marvel completely. Now, this isn’t a snap decision I’d be making either. I’ve been on a steady decline of their books for the last couple of years. It’s been quite a while since I was really pumped up about a story and it actually delivered in the end. I have been disappointed at one time or another by Secret Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers, New Mutants, and so on. These books only deliver the goods about 50% of the time for me. Back to Uncanny X-Force for a minute, though. If you’ve been reading that title, than you know how good it is, but if not, I’d highly recommend it. Tons of action coupled with intriguing plots. The artwork is always solid, too, in case you were wondering.
My biggest gripe is with the X-Men, but I aired my thoughts on that a few weeks ago, so I won’t go there again. Needless to say, I’ve become really disenchanted with Marvel this year, and I honestly don’t look forward to anything right now besides Uncanny X-Force. The only thing that looks promising in the near future for me is the new Defenders book, and I’ll definitely give that a try. I used to rely heavily on Marvel cosmic to get me out of the doldrums, but even that fell flat for me overall, too. I mean, Annihilators was OK, but I’m used to spectacular, mind blowing stories from that genre, and it didn’t happen. Annihilators: Earthfall is another book that I had high hopes for, but after two issues, I’m not all that impressed (compared to Annihilation, Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova).
Maybe I’m just burned out from Marvel altogether and I just don’t know it yet. Maybe I’m in denial, and I need a therapist…is Dr. Phil still in business? OK, forget that last part, but am I the only one that thinks smaller publishers are getting better while the big guys are shoveling more crap than goodness out there? This year alone I’ve read more Dark Horse, Zenescope, Image, and others (Th3rd World, IDW, Oni, etc.) than every other year combined, and I can only see that ratio getting higher.