Markley’s Fevered Brain: Farewell My Friend

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

Recently Marvel has been slowly pruning their list of titles and has been ending a number of series. I would be the first to agree that there are too many titles out there right now and not enough readers to support all of them. There are a lot of great books in the market place right now but there is also a number of books that seem to lack an audience and really have no reason to be published. Some of the titles that I am going to discuss here really came to a logical end. Some ended too soon in my opinion. Others are just victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I do think that both Marvel and DC have an issue with trying too hard to expand their franchises too far. Instead of just doing a few good books, they try and have a good lead book and then franchise all of the members of that lead book. I would point to both the X-Men and the Batman books as examples of where I think the main book (or even two or three) are really good, but there is not a need for seven or eight X-Men or Batman related titles. I understand the financial reasons behind it, but creatively I think it is taking its toll.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy


Brian Bendis’ recently wrapped up his multi-year run on the Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course, all the books that ended with Bendis’ departure have already been replaced with new number ones and, to be honest the main book, Guardians of the Galaxy, now written by Gerry Duggan, is a much better book than its predecessor. I am a big fan of Bendis’ writing, particularly his Daredevil and X-Men runs. I also thought the last few issues of his Guardians where the team was stranded on Earth were the best of the run. To me, the book just never got going. It had all sorts of potential that it just never seemed to achieve. I think this was a case where Bendis had a goal and a vision, but, perhaps for the first time, it did not work with these characters. When Marvel relaunched Guardians in 2015 under their All-New All-Different campaign, they added they Thing to the cast, in what I believe was to keep old Ben Grimm in the minds of readers foreshadowing the return of the Fantastic Four this fall by Bendis. (This is just my theory, I have no facts to back this up). They also added Kitty Pryde as a love interest for Starlord in hopes of drawing in the X-Men fans. The artists on his run varied a bit, but Valerio Schiti handled the majority of this run. There are three hardcovers collectiing the first half of Bendis’ run under the Marvel Now campaign, which ran from 2012-2015. There are also four trade paperbacks collecting the most current run of GOTG by Bendis (2015-2017).

Black Panther and the Crew

Black Panther and the Crew


Black Panther and the Crew is not done yet, so technically it should not be here, but it is half way done and Marvel has already announced the book is ending with six, and they have also announced a trade collection of the book due out in September. This book is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey with art by Butch Guice and others. This book is designed as a companion title to Coates’ Black Panther title. The stories are set in Harlem and co-star Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight and Manifold. The title and the concept once again pick up aspects of Christopher Priest’s run on the Black Panther where the concept of the Crew first appeared. In this updated version we once again the find the Black Panther and his friends fighting crime in the streets and laying down the law. This has been a very good book, well written and great art and a nice feel you do not find in many other Marvel books. Unfortunately this book has not found a large enough audience to keep the book going, but you still have time to pick it up and see what you are missing.

Moon Knight

Moon Knight


Moon Knight also recently wrapped up and it is once again is a title that had some ups and downs. Let’s start with the must current version of the character that was published in 2014 and was written by Warren Ellis and art by Declan Shalvey. This was fantastic. It was a new take on the character that paid homage to the roots of Moon Knight back in the 1970s. Ellis completely refreshed the character and made it an entertaining read with stunning art by Shalvey. His run only lasted six issues though. He was followed by the very good Brian Wood, with Greg Smallwood taking over the art chores. Wood and Smallwood continued what Ellis had started with creative and new stories with great art. They also stayed for six issues leaving with issue #12. Cullen Bunn and Ron Ackins wrapped up this series with issues #13-17. While these were also good, they were not as good as the first 12 issues. Then in 2016 Jeff Lemire took over the book with a new number one. Greg Smallwood returned on the art and the two of them were able to return the book to the levels that Ellis took it. Their stories delve more into the psychology of Moon Knight and at times were down right bizarre, but all of these stories worked. It was not a superhero book but more of a character study. They stayed with the book until its recent conclusion. James Stokes drew issues 6-9 and Smallwood returned for issues 10-14. The complete run of Ellis through Lemire has been collected in five trade collections and volume six is due this fall.

Nova

Nova


Nova has been around since 1976 and has come and gone a number of times since then. With the Marvel Now relaunch in 2013 Nova was changed from Richard Rider to Sam Alexander. Writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuinness joined forces to relaunch a younger and more naive Nova, called Sam Alexander, but I must say Sam was a more interesting character than the original Nova. The creative teams would frequently change, with Zeb Wells, Paco Medina and Carlo Barbieri replacing Loeb and McGiuiness and they were in turn replaced by Gerry Duggan, Medina and David Baldeon. This creative team stayed on the book through its conclusion with issue #31. This was a very good run of the character and it tied into a number of Marvel events such as Secret Invasion and at one point Nova was even an Avenger. The complete run can be found in six trade paperbacks. In 2016 Nova was once again relaunched with a new number one (see a trend here?), this time with the creative team of Sean Ryan and Corry Smith. This story saw Sam’s father return and was quite good, even though it only ran 11 issues. Finally, the most recent Nova series, this time by Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez saw the return of Richard Rider, the original Nova, and once again a nice little story arc, telling the tale of the two Novas. But alas, this book only lasted seven issues and a trade collection is coming soon. As with Moon Knight, I think the entire run is worth reading, but to me, without question, the Gerry Duggan issues stood out. Nova is still around as a member of the Champions, but I would not be surprised to see me writing about the conclusion of that book in the near future, ever though it is quite good.

Spider-Woman

Spider-Woman


Spider-Woman was a book that was part of the relaunch of the All New-All Different push Marvel did in 2015. The story opens with Spider-Woman being pregnant and with each issue getting closer to her having the baby and all the issues that come with that. It turns out to be a very fun story. The book continues with the birth and the pains and difficulties of child rearing. Dennis Hopeless is able to tell fun adventure stories laced with humor and warmth. I was actually sad to see this title end as it was really a great deal of fun. The entire run was written by Dennis Hopeless and the first two-thirds were drawn by Javier Rodriquez and they were beautiful. The last third were drawn by Veronica Fish. There are three trade collections collecting this complete saga.

That wraps it up for this time out. What has ended recently that you miss? Are any of the books I have discussed here worth bringing back? Did they end too soon? What do you think? I would love to hear. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley, (no Twitter for me!) Everything written here is my opinion and does not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. As always…

Thank you.

USER COMMENTS

We'd love to hear from you, feel free to add to the discussion!