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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

New Marvel Comics - From 1999

Marvel Comics has published several recent interesting comics. Quality is uneven, but they prove that Marvel is trying to reestablish direction.

Nighthawk, a three issue series, suffers from weak art. Jim Krueger's script in the first issue has some interest, but it's difficult to give this more than C-. At least it's not as bad as another title, Sunfire and Big Hero Six.

Hawkeye suffers from weak art, but DeFalco's script makes good use of the archer and his efforts to train new Avengers. B.

Give an A to a crossover series, "Live Kree or Die", in Iron Man no. 7, Captain America no. 8, Quicksilver no. 10 and Avengers no. 7. The writers, Busiek, Waid and Ostrander, keep the episodes tightly woven, but the art in Iron Man and Avengers is significantly better.

Marvel recently reprinted the late Mark Gruenwald's 1985 Squadron Supreme mini-series as a paperback with his ashes mixed with the ink. The Squadron is featured in the current Avengers annual; that story line continues in another paperback, New World Order. Len Kaminski wraps up several plot threads left dangling since 1985 and lays the groundwork for future stories.

The parallels between the Squadron and DC's Justice League team are obvious. A new character, Mysterium, resembles DC's Phantom Stranger while a Skrull, scarcely mentioned in earlier stories, emerges as Marvel's version of the Martian Manhunter superhero. A.

Collectors will certainly want the first issues of the Marvel 2 titles. The covers of J2, Spider-girl and A-Next merge into one another as do the stories. Supposedly set fifteen years ahead of current continuity, the main characters are either the children of current characters or older versions of Jubilee, Peter Parker, Speedball, etc.

Cassie Long, daughter of the current Antman, is a logical choice for Stinger, but the idea of a junior Juggernaut (J2--a villain) is surprising. He resembles the young Peter Parker (SpiderMan).

Whether these characters will last as long as DC's similar Infinity Inc. remains to be seen.

-- Dr. Jon Suter