Writing a great first issue is hard. With “#1 With A Bullet”, I wanted to examine some debut issues that worked – or didn’t – in an attempt to figure out just what makes a great first issue… and what common mistakes creators occasionally make. Today, I look at Mark Waid’s fantastic Daredevil #1 and the art of revitalizing a character who has been stuck in something of a rut. Continue reading
Iron Man: Believe is a breezy, confident relaunch for the Armored Avenger, and while it lacks the depth of some of Kieron Gillen’s best work, its casual inventiveness should charm and thrill a lot of readers.
In a lot of ways, Iron Man was kind of a B-lister even 10 years ago. Sure, he was on the Avengers regularly, but at that point, basically everyone was on the Avengers. Until the mid-2000s, the only major storyline he really had outside of the Avengers franchise was Demon in a Bottle, a melodramatic but largely excellent story that defined the character for years to come. The dual success of his movie – particularly Robert Downey Jr.’s incredibly charismatic performance as Tony – and Civil War, a story that put him at odds with Captain America and gave him a lot of intensely emotional material, has made him one of Marvel’s most marketable heroes.
His status as an A-list hero is fitting given the vast changes to the role technology places in our everyday lives, and Matt Fraction’s largely excellent run from 2008-2012 helped cement his status as a modern pop icon. British writer Kieron Gillen, fresh off of reinventing Loki and pushing the X-Men into war with the Avengers, was an interesting choice to relaunch the character for the Marvel Now initiative, and Iron Man: Believe is the first volume of Tony’s relaunched adventures. So, how does Gillen fare?
Written by Gillen and penciled by Greg Land, Iron Man: Believe is probably one of the least dramatic re-launches of the Marvel Now initiative – but just because Tony is still fundamentally the same man dealing with essentially the same conflicts, don’t mistake this for business as usual. Kieron Gillen’s Iron Man is an unusually thoughtful adventure, and it continues the hero’s run of strong, character-focused stories that push Tony forward without trying to break the formula of who he is and why he works.
This week in comics, Marvel breaks ground in Astonishing X-Men #50, Justice League Dark gets a new writer and a new sense of purpose, and DC continues to beat up on owls, like, everywhere.
I’ll admit, part of the reason you haven’t seen too many reviews of The Punisher popping up lately is, I lost interest. Though the book opened strong, a detour featuring the Vulture was too campy to keep up the tone of the book, and a tightening financial situation made me decide to drop it. But I like Rucka and Lark too much to stay away for long, and with sales on the title dropping like a rock and a bit of Christmas cash in my pocket, I decided to dive back in and see where things stood while I still could.
I mentioned briefly last month that The Punisher #1 read more like a horror comic than a conventional action book, but I never said why. Though The Punisher #2 is a much more conventional issue than the formally daring opener, that idea holds: not only is The Punisher seemingly being written as a horror comic, but as a horror comic in which the monster is the good guy, and everyone else is even worse.