With all the buzz revolving around DC Comics as of late, Marvel has been a little slighted.
Sure they are probably biding their time for announcements at San Diego, and being in the middle of their Fear Itself Event means they cannot reveal too much without spoiling some of the story; nevertheless, I bet you may not realize they are relaunching some of their own titles.
Now Marvel is not approaching the magnitude of DC’s relaunch, but they are revitalizing a number of their characters here and there, embarking on the same kind of push to get readers excited about certain characters again. Thor got a new #1, and this week we are also getting relaunches of both Captain America and Ghost Rider.
Even though I like the characters I have already mentioned, the initiative I am most looking forward to is the relaunch called Marvel’s “Big Shots.” These are their street level heroes. I am talking about Moon Knight, Daredevil, and Punisher.
The craziest part of this initiative is that it has already begun, and the term “Big Shots” refers to both the character and the creative teams. Moon Knight #1 shipped in May. We are already three issues into Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s run. Together the duo have taken Moon Knight’s multiple personality problems and given it a new twist. He is now manifesting the personalities of various members of the Avengers, specifically Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Captain America.
I have followed Moon Knight through his last two series and I can see the problem with the character. The multiple personality disorder he has lacks the fun, ridiculousness of say Deadpool. As a result it is hard to enjoy the adventures of a crazy man being a hero if you approach it seriously. Bendis tapped into a smart idea when he decided Moon Knight is still crazy, but his craziness is now manifesting in a way that has him “becoming” heroes we already know and enjoy. It takes the weird factor out of rooting for the man a few sandwiches short of a picnic while not turning him into a Deadpool wannabe.
Next week we get Daredevil #1 from writer Mark Waid and artists Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin. The creative team is approaching the series from the aspect that the themes and ideas originally presented by Frank Miller have been done to death, and as a result they will not be covering the same ground. With the promise of no ninjas, and a different attitude from Matt Murdock, I think this creative team will give us something altogether different while not dishonoring the years of character building we got under Bendis and Ed Brubaker. The preview seems to hit all the right notes too.
One of my favorite aspects of the new DD revealed in recent interviews by Waid was that Matt is honestly trying to reclaim the mantle of a hero, and while Matt is doing just fine all of the people in his life from Foggy Nelson to Dakota North are waiting for the other shoe to drop. It should make for some interesting reading and I am hoping this proves to be the title that gives Waid wider recognition again. He deserves it.
Finally, in August we are getting Punisher #1 from writer Greg Rucka and artist Marco Checchetto. In recent years Punisher in the Marvel U suffered in comparison to the more violent and crazy PunisherMax. Rucka is dealing with that head-on as Punisher in the Marvel U will have to contend with both villains AND heroes that are trying to curb his violent ways. Expect Rucka to explore how Castle keeps going long after his revenge is sated. If you want to know even more from Rucka himself your can check out his interview with CBR.
These three titles excite me because they effectively do what Shadowland was expected to do a year ago and failed: gain buzz for the “street level” heroes. The best part is that it shows Marvel realized their “event” did not do the job and instead turned to concentrating on the specific books by assigning them fantastic creative teams to just tell good stories. It is the same approach DC is doing for their entire line.
I enjoy a good crossover, they can be fun and engaging, and many new titles can spin out of them. But there does not always have to be an event. Sometimes good creators and a fresh start is all a comic needs to grow from there.
With Fear Itself and the X-Men’s approaching Schism story, I was afraid Marvel’s “Big Shots” as they are calling it would not get the attention they deserved. I have enjoyed Moon Knight, look forward to Daredevil, and will try mainstream Punisher simply because Greg Rucka is doing it.
Hats off to Marvel because these books definitely have my attention.