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My Marvel Digital Journey, Month #2

uncannyxforce026When I first decided to try the Marvel Digital app, I justified it to myself on cost of print counterparts. Read a couple stories and that’d pay for itself, compared to buying the collected volumes.

For that first month, I ultimately read about 50 issues, working out to everything being like having read a bunch of 25-cent bin books. For “only” $10 spent, I was quite pleased with myself.

But getting into Month #2, I found myself devouring issues, and REALLY found myself taking advantage of the content-to-price ratio.

First, I decided to read/finish the final part of the run of Uncanny X-Force I’d dropped after frustration with the shipping frequency and art changes and general bad attitude toward Marvel and $3.99 books.

uncannyavengers001Finishing that, I followed a story thread into Uncanny Avengers; then followed stuff from that into the “core” event mini for Axis. Then I backtracked on Magneto’s story…and then decided to backtrack further to get the context for him going off on his own. But knowing the books had run side-by-side, I decided to pair Uncanny X-Men with All-New X-Men.

And in the reading I tried to include Annuals, which led me to the Arms of the Octopus “Special” issues; I also read all the tie-ins of the Battle of the Atom crossover.

Amidst all that, I also took about a week and a half “off” from the comics to read two full-length books: A Street Cat Named Bob, and The World According to Bob.

avengersxmenaxis001All in all, for what amounted to just under 3 weeks of reading, I breezed through nearly 120 issues, all from within the last several years; well over $400 had I bought the issues in-print as they were coming out, and still significantly cheaper than even a 25-cent bin.

All that X-reading has me looking at my third month definitely including the entirety of the first Wolverine & the X-Men, probably the middle Uncanny X-Men run, and the female X-Men title. I might throw in the core AvX series as a re-read. I also find myself interested in reading stuff because I “can,” that I would not otherwise have any real interest in…though some of it I’m content to save for another month or two, when the app catches up to immediately pre-Secret Wars continuity.

Skeptical as I was to start…the way it’s played out–having a tablet I like and plentiful wi-fi (at home and at work)–this has been amazing for my getting back a “joy” in (Marvel) comics.

My list of comics read:

  • xmen_battleoftheatom001Uncanny X-Force #25-35
  • Uncanny Avengers vol. 1 #1-25
  • Uncanny Avengers vol. 1 #8AU
  • Uncanny Avengers vol. 1 Annual #1
  • Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1-9
  • Magneto (2014) #1-14
  • All-New X-Men (2012) #1-26
  • Uncanny X-Men (2013) #1-22
  • X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1-2
  • X-Men (vol4) #5-6
  • Wolverine and the X-Men vol. 1 #36-37
  • All-New X-Men (2012) Special #1 (Arms of the Octopus 1 of 3)
  • Indestructible Hulk Special #1 (Arms of the Octopus 2 of 3)
  • Superior Foes of Spider-Man Special #1 (Arms of the Octopus 3 of 3)

Magneto #12 [Review]

magneto012AXIS tie-in

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Roland Boschi
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles and Cory Petit
Cover: David Yardin
Assistant Editor: Xander Jarowey
Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

It’s the cover that did it. I’ve had absolutely no purchase-level interest in Axis nor any of its tie-ins…but the cover of this issue grabbed my attention. Onslaught, with the Red Skull’s face, dwarfing a defiant Magneto. Talk about hitting the right buttons for me. The original Onslaught story was HUGE in my youth–in scope, in tying back to Fatal Attractions, in tying into that X-Traitor subplot that even touched the cartoon series, that played with the matter of Xavier, his relationship to Magneto, to “The Dream,” etc. The reason Magneto as a character is interesting to me is the way the character was handled in Legion Quest and the Age of Apocalypse and afterward–as well as the “Joseph” period and all that. I’d also seen some sort of “preview” or “solicitation” text on the issue referencing Erik dealing with his friend, and all that–I recall an apparent plot point being the Red Skull stealing Xavier’s brain–so that plus the cover, and I couldn’t bring myself to NOT buy the issue.

Getting into the issue was a different matter. I haven’t read anything else involved with this Axis “event”–Axis itself or tie-in issues–nor have I read the last 8-9 issues of this series, so my reading this issue was functionally jumping in “cold,” so to speak.

Apparently Magneto’s already mid-battle with “Red Onslaught” (how original, that name), and he’s gathered other “villains” and allies (Carnage, Doom, Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange, etc) to combat the Red Skull in Onslaught mode. He has his daughter (Scarlet Witch) cast a spell meant to access whatever there is of Xavier and bring that to the forefront. While this is going on, he recalls a happier time, in his younger days, when he and Xavier were new friends in Israel. The issue goes back and forth, present to flashback and we see an episode where Magneto revealed his powers to Xavier as they fled Baron Strucker and the two men sought to save Xavier’s lover Gabrielle Haller. Something happens and Magneto’s knocked unconscious, coming to to find the other villains gone and the Avengers present. As he wonders if the Scarlet Witch’s spell worked, he encounters the mind of Xavier–apparently the spell worked–and the two converse, the psionic image of Xavier essentially passing the torch to Magneto and telling him his way was right all along.

The art for the issue isn’t horrible, though I’m not terribly impressed–particularly compared to the cover. I know my attitude toward the visuals is partially the actual style and partially that I don’t care for some of the character designs or “new looks” or such. It’s also “tainted” by my presently re-reading old X-Men issues from late 1994 and loving those–for the nostalgia and the art and familiarity from my past. There’s really no way this issue can hold up visually to the likes of Kubert or Jim Lee or other artists whose work I particularly enjoyed twenty years ago. Yardin‘s cover drawing me in the way it did makes me think I’d enjoy his work on the interior, though.

The story itself seems solid enough, and I was absolutely THRILLED at the actual use of CONTINUITY, that the notion of Xavier and Magneto having become friends while working at a hospital in Israel is still there, and the presence of Gabrielle Haller. Stuff that I’d almost have “expected” to be swept under the rug in favor of some other “take” on the characters’ relationship, some other period of time instead of something that’s been touched on before. While I don’t care whatsoever for the Baron Strucker stuff, and struggled to recall what little I knew/know or thought I knew/know, I know the characters didn’t jump from what we see in Legion Quest to a “present day,” and so it makes sense they’d have other adventures and such. I just don’t much care for the constant “inbreeding” of the same body of established characters being constantly revealed to have had earlier and earlier and earlier interactions/involvements with each other, knowingly or otherwise.

But ultimately, while I WANTED to like this issue, it manages to fall short of my expectations–perhaps because this IS just a single chapter of something much larger, and I’m out of the loop and all that. I’m not overly thrilled to have spent $4 on the issue and had so little Magneto/Xavier as well as so little Magneto vs. Red Skull in direct confrontation, etc. I might be somewhat interested in this Axis event later if I can get a collected volume or the single issues cheaply, but despite being a bit intrigued (was it actually Magneto that set the entire Axis thing in motion, I’m curious about and don’t know from just this issue) I’m not motivated by this issue to chase down anything else for Axis, nor am I left with any particular desire to get the next issue.

This is probably a great issue for ongoing readers of the title; I can’t speak to its place or value in the overall Axis story, though…this doesn’t seem to convey anything one can’t get from the main series, and I actually have the feeling one would appreciate this issue more WITH the main Axis series being read.

There are worse issues one could randomly grab from the middle of a run, inside the middle of an event, I’m sure. But unless you’re specifically following the event or this title anyway, this does not seem particularly worth its $3.99 cover price and I am not going to keep chasing the bait of hoping to see more Magneto/Xavier stuff.

Axis Checklist – Act One: The Red Supremacy

The Avengers & X-Men must unite to stop Red Skull, the greatest evil the Marvel Universe has ever known!

October 2014
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #2
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #3

Axis Tie-Ins
All-New X-Factor #15
Axis: Carnage #1 (of 3)
Axis: Hobgoblin #1 (of 3)
Axis: Revolutions #1 (of 4)
Deadpool #36
Loki: Agent of Asgard #7
Magneto #11
Uncanny Avengers #25

Source: Promotional Postcard (pictured below)

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