It’s Wednesday – capes & tights edition! (March 20, 2013)

New-Avengers4-galactus-jock
This is a tights & capes edition!

NEW AVENGERS #4
Writer: Jonathan HickmanArt: Steve Epting ,Cover Artist: Jock 

“WORLD EATER” The Illuminati have learned that Earth is the center point for the death of the Universe. If this is true, doesn’t that mean destroying it might save everything else? Enter the world eater, Galactus.

AVENGERS #8
avengers8-hickmanWriter: Jonathan Hickman, Art & Cover: Dustin Weaver

The Avengers face off against the World Breaker. Discover the imminent threat to the Avengers World. Watch as we get our first hints as the hidden connections between the events of Avengers and New Avengers.

First of all,  how about that juicy cover on New Avengers by Jock leading this article? Delicious.

To the best of my recollection, my introduction to his work was his collaboration with Scott Snyder on Detective Comics, which is a breathtaking run.

I followed Hickman over to Avengers from his brilliant stint on Fantastic Four. I can only guess this was part of Marvel’s plan when they kicked off the creative team shake-up across their titles.

I’m hot and cold on these titles – I love them one month and don’t the next. Some great ideas in here. Good characterization. Compelling dialogue. And unlike a few reviews I’ve seen, I like the characters he’s chosen to focus on in Avengers. A good writer can take B, C and Z-listers and craft a compelling story. Hickman proves his ability as a writer.

That said, something about the pacing doesn’t sit well with me. But as I write this I’m remembering this was my reaction when I started reading his run on Fantastic Four. Everything felt rushed and choppy. But the story built to this incredible crescendo that was worth the ride. However, those books had an emotional core – love and family – that I’m not sure can be replicated in these two titles. But I’m willing to keep reading for now partly because, as someone who came of age with Marvel in the 80s, I am totally digging the use of New Universe characters. Even though I knew it was coming, I was still thrilled by the way he “revealed” Nightmask in issue #6. Well done, Mr. Hickman. Well done.

Over in New Avengers, well let’s just say I have high hopes Hickman is building to a moment when the characters are going to do something really bad that will have readers saying “Oh shit!” and it will be worth the wait. (It’s definitely brewing). Plus, this issue has Galactus.

HARBINGER #10
HAR_010_CVR_SUAYAN1Writer: Joshua Dysart, Pencilers: Matthew Clark, Alvaro Martinez, Dimi Macheras, and Brian Thies

Lead or die. Peter Stanchek is about to face his toughest test yet.

Trapped between the opposing forces of Toyo Harada’s Eggbreakers and Project Rising Spirit, Peter Stanchek and his wayward band of renegade telekinetics are about to find themselves in a vicious, three-way firefight. Can they put aside their fears and do battle as the team they’ll need to be to survive? The Renegades are about to make their big debut – and, when the smoke clears, the Valiant Universe is going to be a very different place.

X-O MANOWAR #11
XO_011_CVR_CRAIN1Writer: Robert Venditti, Penciler: Cary Nord, Colorist: Moose Baumann

ALL-NEW ARC! PLANET DEATH has arrived! X-O Manowar’s one-man invasion of the Vine’s alien homeworld starts here!

At long last, Aric of Dacia will take his revenge on the alien race that have pursued him at every turn. As his Visigoth forefathers sacked Rome, so too will Aric of Dacia bring a devastating assault to the doorstep of his oppressors. Taking the battle directly to the Vine planet of Loam, he will decimate their armies, he will level their cities – and he will not stop until the whole of their empire is reduced to ash. But when one man declares war on an entire world, what painful consequences will he reap for himself – and for the whole of human race?

For the most part, Valiant books have not disappointed. I’ve really enjoyed both Harbinger and X-O Manowar so far. I’m off Archer & Armstrong, but that’s mostly because I have too many books and need to cut back somewhere (sorry guys). I haven’t tried Shadowman or Bloodshot yet.

Harbinger specifically evokes in me the same feelings I had reading Chris Claremont’s run on the original New Mutants. Dysart’s writing on this book comes across as fresh and surprising with a bit of edge, which is impressive considering this is a reboot and there is a glut of books on the market at the moment, many of which feel like rehashes of something you’ve already read.

If you’re looking for a superhero-type action book and are turned off by Marvel and DC, I encourage you to check out Valiant’s line. The quality is definitely there.

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