This week has four new Marvel Now books and a second issue (I’m not counting Avengers Assemble). I picked up all of them: All New X-Men 1, Thor: God of Thunder 1, Fantastic Four 1, X-Men Legacy 1 and Red She Hulk 59. Because there are five Marvel Now books this week, they’re probably the only books I’ll be reviewing in full.
The other comics I picked up this week include Batman 14, Batgirl 14, Superboy 14, Amazing Spider-Man 697, Wolverine and the X-Men 20 and Gambit 5. These are my first impressions – I’ll link to full reviews as I post them.
Batman 14 was brilliant. There isn’t much to say without spoiling this issue, but the Joker is back in full force and is attacking the entire Bat family. Whether you’re a Batman fan or a Joker fan, you really should be reading “Death of the Family.” It’s also an easy recommendation for anyone who wants to try out a Batman comic, although it’s worth buying issue 13 as well.
Batgirl 14 was good. Batgirl’s mother was kidnapped by the Joker’s henchmen at the end of the last issue. This issue mostly focuses on Batgirl’s reaction to that news, and her rescue attempt. Is Batgirl experiencing crippling fear or uncontrollable rage? Perhaps there’s a bit of both. This issue explains through its visuals exactly why Batgirl hates the Joker so much, and everything you need to know is included in the main story. This is an easy recommendation for anyone who likes Batgirl, or for those who want to use “Death of the Family” to check out the larger Bat family in general.
Superboy 14 was decent. I tried this series once before and thought it was just OK. I only picked this one up because it’s the first actual H’el on Earth crossover issue. This was actually a better introduction to the character than the other issue I read was. It explains who Superboy is and where he is in life. While neither Superman nor Supergirl appear in this, the villain is introduced. It’s a little confusing and doesn’t explain exactly what the villain’s powers are (I’m not sure it even gave the villain a name), but otherwise this was kind of fun. I’m not yet sure whether to recommend this or not, and I probably won’t know until I know more about what’s going on.
Amazing Spider-Man 697 was great. It concludes the three-issue story arc depicting the original Hobgoblin’s return. The issue is mostly action as the two Hobgoblins chase Peter Parker and his boss, while Parker is dealing with his Spider-Sense overload. The action is fun and there’s plenty of humour as well. The ending teasers are awesome too. This is an easy recommendation for Spider-Man fans, or those who want to check him out.
Wolverine and the X-Men 20 was very good. It was much more character focused and serious than most issues in this series so far. Angel takes center stage as he hunts down new mutants and invites them to the Jean Grey School. This issue also introduces a girl who can transform into a shark. There’s also a fight with Mystique (whose powers have been enhanced) and the new Silver Samurai. It’s an entertaining read. Hopefully the series can remain character focused like this instead of jumping all over the place like it often has in the past. If you’re interested in checking out a post AVX X-men book, this is a decent place to start.
Gambit 5 was fun. The Ragin’ Cajun was kidnapped at the end of the last issue by the man he stole from in the first. In this issue, he’s forced to steal for that man. There are several twists along the way, which flow naturally from one to the next. I can’t say more without spoiling the issue, but this is simply a fun read. It’s a comic about a mutant thief that in some ways, feels like a cross between James Bond and a heist film. If that sounds interesting, check this series out.