Wednesday Comments – My Marvel Reads

The word’s been out for awhile, but I’ve decided to devote this week’s column to some Marvel books that recently got the axe.

I don’t read that many Marvel books. I honestly can’t get support an additional universe of titles. I’m probably buying way to many books as it is, so I really can’t pick up another batch of crossovers. I just financially can’t do it.

So I’ve basically just been reading Fantastic Four, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Spider-Man 2099, All-New X-Factor and Mighty Avengers. And I really do read them for different reasons.

I read Mighty Avengers because I want to show Marvel (and DC) that Black characters are viable and deserve a shot a anchoring a book. I picked up the relaunch, but haven’t read the first issue yet. I will say that I wasn’t the biggest fan of volume one, but I felt that I needed to support it.

Spider-Man 2099 and All-New X-Factor are on my list because I was a fan of when Peter David handled those properties in the 1990s. I love what David’s done with X-Factor every time he’s handled the concept. And even though I was reluctant to venture into the Spider-Man family of books, I couldn’t resist hanging with Miguel again.

Hawkeye was just a critical success that I had to see what all the fuss was about. Honestly, it’s one of those rare occasions when something completely lived up to the hype. Hawkeye was both ambitious and grounded.

Fantastic Four and She-Hulk I read because I was following writers. I’ve been a fan of James Robinson since Starman and really wanted to see if he could make Marvel’s First Family appealing to me. And Charles Soule has really blown me away since he came onto the scene. And who better to write a legal She-Hulk book than a practicing lawyer?

But of course Hawkeye, Fantastic Four, She-Hulk and All-New X-Factor will be ending shortly. That breaks my heart, a little.

Hawkeye makes sense. Because of its erratic shipping schedule, I’ve pretty much grown accustomed to life without Hawkeye. But that same erratic shipping schedule meant more people were playing the “wait for the trade” game, which spelled doom for the book. Plus Matt Fraction finished the story he had to tell.

Fantastic Four’s ending is a bit murkier. Depending on who you believe the book is ending because of either sales or the upcoming movie. Either way it’s troubling, because Robinson had really begun to hit his stride with the title. Watching the family fall to a conspiracy against them has made for a dramatic monthly read. And Robinson is clearly having fun with the characters and their history, it’s really unfortunate that it’s coming to an end.

All-New X-Factor, much like the various other volumes of X-Factor was supposed to sort of fly below the radar. X-Factor is frequently a title that held characters that weren’t being used in other books. Because of the castoff nature of the book, it allowed for some awesome characterization and exploration of concepts. Of course X-Factor casts always change because invariably one character or another gets called up to the majors.

And of course with both X-Men and Avengers franchises, X-Factor got caught in the middle with it’s ties to both. While All-New X-Factor hasn’t been the home run that previous versions have been, it’s still been a highly enjoyable read and I’ll miss.

But I think the book that I’ll miss the most will be She-Hulk. First off, She-Hulk has it’s own unique look, thanks to Javier Pulido’s art. But the art really matches the tone of the book’s voice, which is provided by Soule. She-Hulk is a great example of a creative marriage.

She-Hulk also felt like nothing else on the stands. It featured recognizable characters, but in interesting settings. Seeing She-Hulk handle the cases of her superhero compatriots is such fun. It allows the reader to see a different side of, most recently, Steve Rogers. She-Hulk’s a book that is fun and poignant all in the same issue and that’s a rare find.

While I’m bummed that the books are ending, I’m certainly going to savor the remaining issues. And I’m really hoping that the stories will provide some closure. Because there are few things worse than a final issue that doesn’t read like a final issue.

Well, those are my thoughts this week. It’s Wednesday, go out and buy some fresh new comics from your local comic shop.

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