First Reads of 2014

Wolverine & the X-men #40, not bad.
Wolverine & the X-men #40, not bad.

Alright, here's a little write-up of the comics I've been reading this month, roughly in the order I enjoyed them.

I would have included Wolverine & the X-men #40 on this list as well, as I have enjoyed that and the previous few issues of that series, but it seems some links aren't working right now.

Anyway, this was the start of a new year, and with a bunch of these books switching directions and creators right now, it's looking like it might be a pretty fun one for comics.

List items

  • Uncanny X-men (vol.3) #16

    This is quickly becoming one of my favorite books. While I was pretty into this series before BotA, every issue since has been better and better.

    Issue #16 focuses on the secret dealings and motivations of the team's perpetually mysterious wild-card, Magneto, as he learns the truth behind his secret association with SHIELD agent, Dazzler, and receives an invitation to join Mystique's new Brotherhood of Mutants in Madripoor.

    With one of the most bad-ass Magneto showings we've seen in a while, and probably the best art Chris Bachalo has turned in for this series, this issue is definitely the book I enjoyed most this month.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29 and 30

    Not having read a 'Ninja Turtles comic in more than twenty years, I first picked up issue #29 because of the stunning art by Ross Campbell (art) and Ronda Pattison (colors).

    The story inside issue #29 was a great jumping on point for this series, and expressed far more emotional depth than I had expected from an all-ages book.

    Besides being lush and pleasing, the art worked very well in the service of the story in both of these issues.

    As much as I may have only a passing interest in the 'Turtles themselves, as long as this book retains this high standard of storytelling and art, this book will be on my pull-list. Just gorgeous stuff.

  • Uncanny Avengers #15 and 16

    Though I was a disappointed to see Daniel Acuna wasn't drawing these issues, I was pretty into them overall, and McNiven's art is certainly serviceable for the intense action in these issues.

    As the Avengers epic battle against the Apocalypse Twins becomes ever more desperate,and with most of the team fallen in battle, the focus in these issues shifts to the more classic members of the team, Captain America, Thor, and the Wasp -all of whom have never been more bad-ass than they are in these issues.

    With the inclusion of supporting roles from Iron Man, Hank Pym and Bruce Banner in issue 16, this book is feeling more and more like the classic Avengers all the time. If any Avengers fans haven't been paying attention to this book because of it's initial contrivances about being a mutant affairs task force, these issues are a great place to give it another chance as the premier Avengers book going right now.

  • Hawkeye #16

    Since the focus of this book has shifted to Kate Bishop's solo adventures on the west coast, it seems to have been rejuvenated.

    Struggling to survive as a private investigator without the help of her mentor Hawkeye, the Avengers, or her parents, Kate's new context is filled with a colorful new supporting cast, quirky clients, and some of the best looking storytelling out there, and this issue was no exception.

    If you aren't already reading this book, seriously, do yourself a favor and pick up any issue. This one is as great a place to start as any.

  • Black Widow #1

    I gave this issue a chance because the art looked cool and nothing I usually read was coming out that week, but I was pretty happy I did. As first issues go, this one was just about perfect.

  • Mighty Avengers #5

    Despite the often stiff and overly-posed art of Greg Land, this book continues to be one of the best Avengers books Marvel's putting out. And, in my opinion, deserves a higher profile than having it's first 5 issues be tie-ins to events that I'm not even remotely interested in.

    Al Ewing seems to not just get this incredible cast, but genuinely seems to love writing every character -a trait far too rare among Avengers writers. For great character dynamics between both classic and new Avengers characters, look no further than this series.

  • New Avengers (vol.3)#13

    Simon Bianchi is a singular talent, and I really can't imagine a more appropriate artist to draw a book where Doctor Strange sells his soul and superheroes destroy worlds.

    While Hickman's Avengers series lost me months ago, this Illuminati book remains a textbook definition of epic.

  • Wolverine & the X-men #40

    Though I've felt very hot and cold about this series overall, the last three issue arc has been a lot of fun. The story-lines weave between Cyclops and Wolverine being alone together in a SHIELD Sentinel base, while SHIELD agents infiltrate the JG school protected by it's students; both of which are great ways to wrap up this series. And actually gets me interested in the next one.

  • Amazing X-men #3

    While I really enjoyed the first two issues of this series, which recalls the kind of far-out adventures of late 70's/early 80's X-men stories, I have to admit that this third issue felt a little light.

    The issue's most satisfying moments were the flashback and reunion scenes between Nightcrawler and Storm, both of whom have already been a lot of fun in this series, and the mysterious state the Beast is found in at the book's end. But with little else going on in the issue, it almost felt like I could have skipped this issue and been fine going into the next.

    With it's great cast and wonderfully fun art, I'm still on board to see where this crazy story's going; but when a 5 part story starts to feel like it could have been 4, it at least seems worth mentioning.

  • X-men (vol.4) #8 and 9

    While the Dodson's art on this latest arc has been pleasing and serviceable, it really hasn't been as good as the previous issues for me.

    The drama between the members of this team continues to be Brian Wood's strength in this series, and the most appealing aspect of this book. But the threats that the team faces fail to feel genuine, and the fact that all of the characters kinda look the same doesn't really help that. Hopefully the return of the great Kris Anka on pencils next issue can put this series back on track.

  • All-new X-factor #1 and 2.

    Like Black Widow and TMNT, this is a book I primarily gave a chance because nothing I normally read was out that week.

    And because Peter David is one of the greats, especially in his element when he has a new cast/premise to explore.

    And because I like Gambit.

    Both of these introductory issues were decent, with some very, very nice character work by Carmine Di Giandomenico; but I couldn't help feeling like not a lot happened, like I was reading one issue spread over two, so there's that trend again.

    The premise, the cast, and especially the creative team, are enough to make me give the third issue a chance, though, so we'll see.