Review – Marvel NOW!’s Uncanny X-Men #1, Secret Avengers #1 and Fearless Defenders #1

Uncanny X-Men #1

UncannyXMen_1_CoverThe true flagship book of the X-Men returns. In the wake of the Phoenix, the world has changed and is torn on exactly what Cyclops and his team of X-Men are – visionary revolutionaries or dangerous terrorists? Whatever the truth, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto, and Magik are out in the world gathering up new mutants and redefining the name Uncanny X-Men.

We knew the comic would focus on Cyclops and his team of revolutionaries. We also know through some releases that there’s a traitor on the team. This comic takes on both aspects. It doesn’t start with Cyclops and his team, instead we get the traitor telling the story from his perspective while talking to S.H.I.E.L.D. I loved this aspect of the story, the perspective was great and it was a nice change from what I was expecting. Brian Michael Bendis likes story telling from this perspective, so not shocking, but I definitely didn’t think we’d find out who the traitor was. Or would we?!

Yes, at the end of the comic, not only do we get to find out who the traitor is, but why they are doing it. It’s a doozy, not something I was expecting at all.

I figured we were just going to get Cyclops running around the world building his army, with some speeches every so often. Instead we have a hell of a political thriller, knee deep in philosophy about revolution and race relations. This is the original Uncanny X-Men on steroids.

Add in Chris Bachalo’s art and you’ve got a comic that’s amazing and a must buy.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Chris Bachalo

Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Secret Avengers #1

Secret Avengers (2013) #1 cover by Tomm Coker“The Most Dangerous Secrets We Have… Are The Ones We Keep From Ourselves.” The new Nick Fury leads a covert Avengers strike team including but not limited to Hawkeye, Black Widow, The Hulk, The Winter Soldier, Maria Hill and Phil Coulson on missions so dangerous, even the team members themselves can’t know about them!

I’ve generally loved the past Secret Avengers series. At time they’ve been fantastic, really standing out from the other Avengers comics of the time and having their own voice. Other times, the struggled to stand out and really have a point as to their existence. This new series, in its first issue is in the middle.

The point of the story isn’t the bad guy, he’s kind of lame and the threat meh. The bigger is the gathering of the players and how the new Nick Fury is pulling them together and more importantly how they plan on manipulating them.

This isn’t the old Nick Fury having a big plan that each player only knows a bit about, the new Nick Fury will use you and screw you over. His goal is the mission and the team is a tool that is expendable. First up to recruit is Hawkeye and Black Widow out to stop a guy from selling dark magic to terrorists. The battle is generally lame, but how Fury manipulates his team that’s the interesting part. It all comes down to those final moments.

The first issue is decent, but overall, it’s meh up to the end. We’ll see where the series goes, but it looks like it’ll have an interesting route it’s taking.

Story: Nick Spencer Art: Luke Ross

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Fearless Defenders #1

marvel now defendersValkyrie trying to make amends for her mistakes—mistakes that put the entire world in jeopardy—is tasked with choosing a group of heroic women to fight by her side, not from the women of Asgard, but from the heroic women of Earth.  Circumstance will provide her with an unlikely partner in this task, as she is joined by private investigator Misty Knight. With very different points of view and very different approaches, they will both find their definitions of heroism and honor put to the test by the women they lead and the challenges they face.

Girl Power! That was part of my draw to this series. I liked the idea of Valkyrie and Misty Knight teaming up and forming a team of kick-ass women. Cullen Bunn has a great tone to his writing that I thought would be a great fit to the series. This comic starts and mostly focuses on Misty Knight and a mission of hers to get some Asgardian doodad.

It’s an ok story. The beginning with Misty Knight is fun. Later I found myself drifting though. I felt like I’ve read this before. The idea of a possessed objects harks to Bunn’s Oni Press series The Sixth Gun. That series is fantastic, but this feels a little like a cheap knock off.

We’ve see Valkyrie used pretty well in some Avengers series. Misty Knight has kicked ass before in the amazing Heroes for Hire. The two characters together so far doesn’t quite click.

One of the more anticipated comics for me hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations. Hopefully the series is a slow start and gets better from here.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Will Sliney

Story: 6.5 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass