So it's been a while since I've written a Marvel Unbound, but I haven't stopped reading those Marvel collected editions we all know and love (well, love to varying degrees, as you're about to read). There have definitely been some hits and misses among the books I've been reading. I'll try to keep the complaining to a minimum and focus primarily on the good stuff in this capsule edition of Marvel Unbound.
First up, Ms. Marvel. I picked up the first three trade paperbacks from TFAW's nick & dent sale a while back and ripped through these slim volumes at a really fast clip. I'd had my eye on the series from reading Bendis' run on Mighty Avengers, and Brian Reed does a great job bringing this character back to the forefront of the Marvel Universe with solid, entertaining stories. The bulk of the art is handled by Roberto de la Torre, who gives the title character just enough cheesecake factor to keep you coming back, and Chris Sotomayor’s colors simply pop off the page. This was a fun series of books, and I’m definitely planning on picking up the subsequent three volumes that collect Ms. Marvel’s saga up until the title character is taken over by a Dark Reign replacement.
Next, we have two volumes of Mini Marvels: Rock, Paper, Scissors and Secret Invasion. I don't think I know anyone who has an unkind word to say about Chris Giarrusso's work. Between the two, I’d say I enjoyed Rock, Paper, Scissors better than Secret Invasion, but it was all good. It's light, fun and perfect for every fan of any age. And these two digest-sized collections are perfect for introducing little minds to the big world of the Marvel Universe. My kiddo still brings up jokes from these stories with giggling laughter. I'm tempted to make a day trip down to the Mid-Ohio Con this year just so the kiddo and I can meet Mr. Giarrusso, shake his hand, and thank him for the entertainment.
Civil War: Heroes for Hire and Civil War: X-Men. Wow. These were both incredibly bad. Read both of them over the course of a couple days (the X-Men in one sitting). Slight, inconsequential, painful to read. These two books are perfect examples of what’s wrong with forced event tie-ins. Avoid these.
It's no secret I'm not an Ultimate Universe guy. I read the first couple Ultimates trades and it just wasn't my cup o' Marvel tea, but my love of Bendis' work prompted me to pick up the Ultimate Spider-Man: Ultimate Collection, Volume 1, collecting the first 13 issues of that title. I guess I'm just not the target audience for this line (or I'm terribly unhip), because tedious is probably the best way to describe the book. It felt like it was trying way too hard to be cool and it felt dated (especially Aunt May). Not sure where else to turn to give the Ultimate Universe a try, I mean, I figured if anyone could get me into it Bendis would be the guy.
In an effort to wrap things up on a positive note, let’s talk New Mutants Classic, Volume 3, which is the Bill Sienkiewicz run with Claremont. Three words: Demon Bear Saga. Loved revisiting this trippy storyline and gorgeous art. This is the era I was reading New Mutants full-on, which always makes the rereading that much more fun because you're reliving a bit of your childhood as you're flipping through the pages. Great appearances by Magneto, Cloak and Dagger, and a beautifully rendered Nightcrawler add to the great things about this volume. Along with Dani’s Demon Bear Saga, we also get a fairy tale featuring Rahne, a rock fable starring Sam, and gorgeous Sienkiewicz pinups of each of the New Mutants. Good stuff all around.