So is it me, or have comics actually got better this last year? Despite having one week a month when I am not that excited about the shipping list, overall I have to confess that I think this has been one of the better years in recent memory.
DC, after a dismal start with the entire Flashpoint event, but the DCnU started as a resounding success. Admittedly, at present all of the titles have a very similar feel to them, to a fault. Yet so did Valiant when it started, and some of the titles are really striking out well. Stormwatch for example.
Marvel on the other hand have acquitted themselves nicely. X-Men Schism was another, slightly less disappointing springboard for the new X-Men family of titles. Cyclops’s team seems more of the same as before (not that there was a great deal wrong with that), but Wolverine and the X-Men returned to the early days of the New Mutants, where being a mutant kid at school was fun. Avengers Academy has the same appeal, but without the ever present shadow of mutant politics hanging over it.
Speaking of the X-family, the flagship titles have to be the New Mutants and Uncanny X-Force, both vastly different in the approaches. New Mutants is like seeing numerous old friends that one hasn’t seen for years, and the X-Force seems to be touching those spots that other X-titles cannot reach. Yet finally the X-family have reasserted the fact that they do live in the Marvel Universe, and not in their own little reality.
I have written extensively of the talents of Jonathon Hickman with Fantastic Four and S.H.I.E.L.D, or the Spider-Island event that made me a convert. So if I were to compare the two companies, the House Of Ideas comes out on top, once more deserving of its self-aggrandizing title.
So that’s the Big Two sorted, although it’s disappointing to see the relaunches that we have lost this year. The Red Circle heroes have returned to Archie, where I can only hope they find greater success; but I fear that may not be the case. The return of the CrossGen characters turned into two four-issue flops, so it may be the last we see of them. Still, Marvel, if you want to relaunch The First as part of the MU, give it a go.