Wednesday Comments – Marvel #1 Madness!

As I’m sure everyone who is reading this column is well aware of, this past weekend at SXSW Marvel announced that, for a limited time, they were offering up 700 #1 issues for free digitally.

Naturally it swept across the Internet like a wildfire and actually caused Comixology’s servers to crash. So many people tried to download free Marvel comics that few actually succeeded.

I was one of the few who succeeded. I don’t know how I got so lucky. I don’t know if it was because I used the Comixology app on my iPad rather than actually going to their site or because I tried before the word had fully spread across the Internet. But I did succeed. I picked up 35 first issues from Marvel.

I’ve yet to read them all, for a couple reasons. Firstly, I’ve got comics that I actually paid for that I still have to read. And secondly, I’m hardly a fan of the digital experience when it comes to comic books. Swiping is cool, but I prefer turning the page.

In fact, I’ve only delved into digital comics on a few occasions. I picked up the first issue of Spaceman a) because I’m a fan of the creative team and b) because I wanted encourage DC to offer up debut issues at 99¢. And then there’s the adventures of a certain man of miracles that I’m unable to obtain a physical copy of, so I resorted to going digital.

But, c’mon, when Marvel is offering up hundreds of debut issues for free it’d take someone with the will of Hal Jordan to pass that opportunity up.

So far, I’ve only read 11 of the debut issues and honestly they varied in terms of how successful they were (and I’m basing that on the idea that a #1 issue is an introduction.)

I’ll give you a rundown on what I read and what my thoughts on the book were.

All-New X-Men #1 – It’s a pretty strong set up. In addition to the text recap, the book does a good job of setting up the new status quo as well as making you want to return for the next issue. For the record, I think I’m firmly on Cyclops side of this whole debate. If I were to keep reading it’d be to see how he fares, as well as seeing how the kids from the past adapt.

Avengers #1 – This book was confusing. As someone who’s not a regular Marvel reader, it took me a minute to realize that the prologue, for the most part, was a flashforward. I didn’t know if the antagonists were new characters or not. And I knew maybe half of the characters that Cap recruits at the end of the issue. It was a jarring read and I was in the dark for most of it.

Avengers Arena #1 – Again, this is another book where many characters were unknown to me, but in this case I really enjoyed the book. Here are characters that I’m being introduced to, but in a fashion where I care about them, right off the bat. Avengers Arena is a book that I would seriously consider picking up, possibly in trades, possibly at cons.

Cable & X-Force #1 – Another pretty good issue. I liked the prologue this time around, (it was fun seeing Havok trying to take charge.) I liked how all of my questions about Cable (why does he have an eye patch and need a new arm) were answered before the end of the issue. I enjoyed Cable’s relationship with Forge. It was a treat seeing Domino having a call with Boom Boom. And I’m intrigued by Dr. Nemesis. Again, this is another book I could see myself revisiting in the future.

Hawkeye #1 – I was trying to limit my initial reads to Marvel Now books, but I needed to see what all of the fuss was about. This book totally delivered on all of the hype. I can’t say anything about this book that hasn’t been said before and months ago. I loved the art. I loved the story. I fell for the character. I will be buying this book in trades and will give serious consideration to jumping on monthly.

Indestructible Hulk #1 – This was a great first issue, but then again, Mark Waid’s got plenty of experience writing introductory issues. I enjoyed the setting (I kept looking for Bart, Max or Carol.) I loved Banner’s cockiness. I enjoyed the set up for the new status quo. Yet another book that’s on my radar for the future.

New Avengers #1 – I appreciated this book mainly because I remember reading the Illuminati one-shot those many years ago. Also I was a Black Panther fan. I guess I didn’t like seeing Black Panther forced into a corner where he had to deal with them, so I had an issue with the plot. But it was a good read.

Superior Spider-Man #1 – Yet another book with a ton of hype. I enjoyed it for the most part. It was fun seeing “Peter” use his brains in a variety of different avenues. The book didn’t knock my socks off, but it was a satisfying read.

Thor: God of Thunder #1 – This was a really interesting book. I liked the mystery aspect of it and how the story flowed in three different eras. The art was amazing, I’ve not seen Esad Ribic’s work since he left Vertigo. Thor was always one of those characters who never really clicked with me, but this issue really worked for me.

Uncanny X-Force #1 – This book had some great characterization. I really liked how it got into the mental state for both Psylocke and Storm. I loved the development with Spiral and Puck made for an interesting inclusion. This isn’t a book that I’d return to, but if I did it’d be mainly for Bishop and Spiral.

X-Men: Legacy #1 – I really wanted enjoy this book. I think it’s got some of the best covers on the stands today. But this issue did nothing for me. I like the idea of Legion trying to keep control of himself (himselves?) and that he’s trying to do right by his father, but this book left me flat. The execution just didn’t work for me. It made me sad.

So there you have it; Marvel’s great internet crashing experiment was a success, if only because it got Hawkeye at least one new fan. It was a bold experiment, but it worked. It not only created buzz but also new fans. Plus I officially have more Marvel digital comics than I have DC digital comics, which is kind of a big deal.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday go out and get some fresh new comic books. Try to get them from your local comic shop, but if that doesn’t work, get them digitally.

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