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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Best of 2013: Marvel

To finish off the Best of 2013 roundup I thought it would be worth mentioning DC's and Marvel's superhero offerings.  Today we shall look at two fine series from Marvel:

Fearless Defenders


I absolutely cannot rate this series highly enough.  Fearless Defenders brings together a group of Marvel's female superheroes and has them defending the earth.  Front and centre in the group are Valkyrie (a character from Norse Mythology) and Misty Knight (black detective/martial arts expert with a bionic arm).  Valkyrie is tasked with reassembling the Valkyrior to defend the realm against mystic attacks.  Over the 12 issues that this series ran for they hang out with and recruit several other lady warriors, including some brand new lesbian characters.

The series is smart and funny.  It filled the gap that DC's Birds of Prey left and it's a crying shame that it was cancelled.  The covers were quite often satirical, often mocking the industry's predilection for tits and ass poses of women.  This was sometimes undermined by the art within the issues, which occasionally got a bit tits and assey, but the rest of it is so good it made up for that.  Written by Cullen Bunn, the plotting was tight and the characters were used effectively.  It is one of my most loved series.

All 12 published issues gave been released as two trades, you can buy them from Amazon or from your local comic shop:

Volume 1: Doom Maidens
ISBN: 0785168001

Volume 2: The Most Fabulous Fighting Team of All
ISBN: 0785168494
Price: £13.50

In 2013 Marvel relaunched their X-Men series as an all female team.  I'm not sure if this was done as a gimmick or because it felt like natural evolution for the team.  Whatever the reason was, the readers got an excellent comic series full of action and great characters.  The team includes well known characters such as Storm, Kitty Pryde, and Rogue, as well as fan favourites like Jubilee and Psylocke who are probably less well known to non comic readers.

The series is written by Brian Wood and has been strong from the start.  Art is provided by Oliver Coipel (pencils and inks), Mark Morales (inks), Laura Martin (colours), Joe Caramagna (letters).  Issues 1 - 5 are collected in trade under the title 'Primer'.  They deal with an alien invasion and a new baby on the team.  It was one of the best superhero titles on sale in 2013.  Volume 2 should be out fairly soon.

Price: £10.99
ISBN: 0785168001

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