Fastball Feedback: Marvel Edition Featuring All-New Wolverine #1 & More

All-New Wolverine #1 - Eiffel Tower
(Photo: David Lopez and David Navarrot)

The launch of All-New, All-Different Marvel is in full swing (as Secret Wars continues to aim at concluding in 2015) with plenty of new #1's from the House of Ideas dropping every Wednesday. This week there are seven new series featuring a wide variety of talent, characters, and styles. We're taking a look a few of the most exciting debuts to help you decide what's worth checking out and possibly save some extra strain on your wallet.

All-New All-Different Avengers #1 Girl Scouts
(Photo: Adam Kubert)

All-New, All-Different Avengers #1*

Written by Mark Waid

Art by Adam Kubert

Colors by Sonia Oback

*This is a review of "Avengers Assemble", not the bonus story "You're A Jerk!" also included in All-New, All-Different Avengers #1

All-New, All-Different Avengers is being launched as a flagship title at Marvel including their top talent and top characters under the name of the best known superhero team in the world. Considering all of the resources that went into this first issue, it's truly baffling how poorly it turned out. Much of All-New, All-Different Avengers #1 reads like a first draft by two competent creators, but one that certainly could have benefited both from a second draft and a little more effort.

The opening sequence in which Captain America is forced to choose between buying cookies from a white and black girl scout is questionable at best. The superhero antics that follow this are not much better though. This getting the team together story includes a pair of generic villains chasing a MacGuffin. It is so very bland that various elements could be swapped with dozens, or even hundreds, of previous Avengers stories without missing a beat. Mark Waid is a great writer of superhero comics, but broad script issues like this along with basic problems of craft (e.g. speech bubbles describing what is occurring on the page) make this issue feel rushed and insignificant.

While there are some very elementary flaws in Waid's craft, Adam Kubert fares no better. His design for the villains of this story could blend into a lineup of the most forgettable 90s Marvel baddies. The faces of characters, especially in the opening sequence, are poorly rendered and occasionally inhuman. Even his compositions are underwhelming, including a non-descript foot grab and a pair of unnecessary two-page spreads that squander their space. The highlight of Kubert's work is the revelation of a new Iron Man suit that is campy in all of the right ways. All-New, All-Different Avengers is anything but what the title describes. It's bland, unimaginative, and poorly assembled. The best thing to be said about it is that it is a perfectly readable Avengers comics, but we already have five decades worth of those.

Grade: C-

All-New Hawkeye #1
(Photo: Ramón Pérez)

All-New Hawkeye #1

Written by Jeff Lemire

Art by Ramón Pérez

Colors by Ian Herring

The #1 on All-New Hawkeye #1 is a bit misleading. This post-Secret Wars debut not only contains the exact same creative team as the previous volume of All-New Hawkeye, but even continues the same story. That's not a flaw though. Jeff Lemire, Ramón Pérez, and Ian Herring would crafting a great story before Secret Wars struck the Marvel universe and plan to keep on doing the same thing here now that it is winding down.

Pérez is a consummate cartoonist and manages to make the character-driven scenes set in the present land just as well as the action that takes place in the future. With only a few clearly defined line, he conveys the buried anxiety and resentment being felt by both Clint and Kate. Despite the explosions and technicolor effects to come, the most compelling parts of All-New Hawkeye #1 come when the two Hawkeyes are letting one another down with their words. The big, colorful action sequence at the end is nothing to scoff at though and Ian Herring's color work brightens up what should be a fascinating villain for the series.

What gives Pérez so much to play with on a small scale though is Lemire's script. He is exploring the consequences of surrendering three gifted, but traumatized children away. Lemire separates the story in two parts, showing what led to a split in the present and what brings the two heroes back together after 20 years. The result is something that reads like a breakup story, even if the romantic element was never there. Clint and Kate's codependence and partnership dissolves in a shockingly human manner that may strike close to home for some. As a result All-New Hawkeye is a comic that, much like its predecessors, sophisticatedly presents the problems we go home to after the day job is over (even if that day job is being a superhero).

Grade: B+

All-New Wolverine #1 - Logan
(Photo: David Lopez and David Navarrot)

All-New Wolverine #1

Written by Tom Taylor

Art by David Lopez and David Navarrot

Colors by Nathan Fairbairn

Laura Kinney (formerly X-23) has some large boots to fill in All-New Wolverine, taking over for one of Marvel's most popular protagonists. It doesn't appear like she'll have any problem providing the same action, excitement, or intrigue as her predecessor based on All-New Wolverine #1 though. Writer Tom Taylor and artists David Lopez and David Navarrot have composed a fun, self-contained adventure that both introduces the new status quo and sets up a lot of exciting new things to come.

Taylor is aware of Laura's legacy and addresses it directly here. He includes a flashback that gives new readers a clear sense of who Laura is without slowing down the quick action pacing of this issue (it also happens to be one of the best Logan scenes written in years). Most of All-New Wolverine focuses on the "new" part of the title though. Laura is caught up in a brand new conspiracy, seizing a brand new status quo, and working with a brand new partner. Each part of this equation is charming. Taylor creates opportunities for great set pieces with plenty of violence along with some smaller moments that will leave readers smiling (Angel and Laura are absolutely charming together).

Lopez and Navarrot run into some problems with the execution of Taylor's script though. Their work on characters is consistent, but action sequences and backgrounds prove troublesome. The placement of characters is often inconsistent and sometimes counter-intuitive. Paris is used as an exotic locale in this issue, but the proportions of the Eiffel Tower vary oddly and the geography of the city has clearly been crafted without a single look at Google Maps. Nathan Fairbairn lights up the cool, rain soaked night of Paris though with glowing streetlight and chilled skies. His coloring work is very welcome here, bringing an excellent sense of atmosphere. Despite some flaws in the art, All-New Wolverine #1 is a good start that delivers a clear direction for the character and shows just how much can be done with her in only a couple dozen pages. Whatever comes next should be a very fun adventure.


Grade: B-

What did you think of this week's comics? Sound off in the comments below.