Last week the team of Joe Casey, Nick Dragotta, and Brad Simpson launched the first issue of their six part story Vengeance, exploring the villain and hero sides of the Marvel Universe while modernizing classic elements to create a very current and fun story. And while many of the mysteries introduced in the issue have yet to be fully explored, there was plenty of things to be excited about.
5. The Last Defenders?
Joe Casey has been popping in at Marvel over the years to do these wonderful little boutique books, and I am very grateful that Marvel let’s it keep happening. There is almost this little Casey-verse of shared continuity that takes place within the MU proper, and Casey likes to reference his past works, with cameos and one liners. The Last Defenders haven’t been a team since Casey last wrote them in 2007, but when he comes back to Marvel it was like they never stopped.
4. The Great Nullifier
New character based on a classic Marvel staple? Cool look, and fun personality? It may be too early to tell, but GN seems like a welcomed addition to the party. Especially knowing that while he has genuine good intentions, he can still get into some sexy trouble.
3. Miss America Chavez
Casey says in a recent interview on CBR that he originally pitched the series as a bunch of awesome stuff happening with little explanation or resolution, but Marvel asked him to tone it down. However we still see a bit of that with the introduction of the new Miss America, an incredibly super powered teen with no explanation of where she came from and why she can do what she does. However, we get a nice allogory that the American dream isn’t the suburban whitey of the 60’s anymore, and get some nice sass in their as well. I hope she stays around for the long haul, because she is a very nice variation on the American hero we have seen in the MU.
2. The Return of Angel and Beak
It really feels like Casey is catering to my needs with this series as he undoes a lot of shit that has happened to characters that only have about three fans and never really needed to be rebooted to begin with. We see that Angel Salvadore and Barnell Bohusk have quit their lives as tech powered super heroes (or we are just ignoring that New Warriors ever happened) and have started up a new Teen Brigade, to help fight evil behind the scenes. Their chemistry is great and they appear as they originally did after M-day. Beak is no longer the gorgeous male model and Angel has gotten back her edge. Even without their powers, the stuff they have been through has made them really good at what they do. I am also pleased that we are ignoring their 28 children. 28 children does not make for a fun story.
1. THE MAGNIFICANT RETURN OF STACY X
I can fully understand how Joe Casey must feel. You create a character and work really hard to find her a place among an A-list book, but the second you leave everyone who touches her ruins her just a little bit more. When Casey left Uncanny X-men, his character Stacy X was seemingly put through the ringer. Kicked off the team, depowered, repowered, and eventually died in the battlefield, it seemed like the few fans (me) would never get to see her revived. Enter Mr. Casey who not only reintroduced the character fully powered and wonderful, but did so with one throughaway line.
Don’t believe everything you read, Mags. With this line, Casey effectively wipes New Warriors vol. 3 from Canon and from my memory banks. It never happened, and the world is better for it.
So there you have it. I have been complaining a lot that Marvel has not been pandering to my non hetero white boy needs, and everything has been taking a turn for the Bendis-y, but once again Joe Casey has taken a ton of crazy ideas and melded them into something fun and new, something that feels a lot different than mainstream Marvel typically produces. And while I mentioned Casey most, I cannot forget to mention the incredible work being produced by Nick Dragotta, and Brad Simpson on art. The work is phenom and would not even be close to the quality it is with a different team on it.
So go! Buy it and read it and tell me what you think. I am sure with all of the Fear Itself clustterfuck going on this book is flying below a lot of people’s radars when it should really be on top of the pile.