By Jon Durmin
What about that last minute shopping for the holidays? Never fear; I’ll tell you how to spend your money! Jolly Jon D (that’s me!) will regale with his (my) sage selections for stocking-stuffing selections for you skull-scratching substitute Santas hoping to surprise sons, sisters, soulmates and more with a comic surprise.
Featuring a classic-feeling line-up, a new challenge, and a clear return to their status as heroes in a world that hates & fears them, Extraordinary X-Men can’t be beat for the X-Fan in your life who is a bit behind on their Marvel releases. It’s little wonder it was voted most well-liked series of the ANAD Marvel by the glut of M6P staffers. Best of all, the first story arc will be complete this Wednesday with the release of EXM #4, and many local comic shops & online vendors still have extra or reprint copies of the first three issues in stock. This means that, depending on your budget, you can tease your gift recipient with one issue or regale them with a full story.
I can’t stress enough that the Age of Ultron comic is a poor purchase for your friend who saw Avengers AoU 17 times at the local theater. Rage of Ultron, the original graphic novel by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena, Pepe Laraz, and Mark Morales, however is a great done-in-one story that captures the nuanced relationship between the titular villain and his creator (Hank Pym, for those of you confusing the cinematic U with the one, true 616), and the high stakes threat that was so strong in the movie. All this topped off with an ending that truly tears at the heart strings.
Robbie Thompson & Nick Bradshaw’s fun new flashback series Spidey is in stores now, and features tales of Peter Parker in the way most fall in love with the character – a young man struggling to balance his many responsibilities as he figures out his new powers. For something a bit more heavy duty with that same, classic-feeling Spider-Flair track down the Omnibus Edition of Untold Tales of Spider-Man, by Kurt Busiek and Pat Olliffe.
For your Favorite Laughter Lover . . .
Forget Howard the Duck, Ant-Man, Squirrel-Girl, and the rest. The single biggest laughter loader from Marvel’s recent publishing library is Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man. There’s not an issue that doesn’t delight with the almost-ran antics of the second-rate, not-so-bad supervillains featured in this heist story. Start with the first TPB and save the other two volumes for your giftees birthday.
A lot of new Marvel titles seem to be gunning for a younger (or at least more juvenile) audience, but only one really hits the mark. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is a fun, heart-felt new series with a protagonist that just about any young or young-at-heart reader can connect with. Also a giant dinosaur sidekick. I don’t know any kid that doesn’t want a giant Dinosaur side-kick.
For the Marvel Fan That Can’t Stand Recent Marvel Books . . .
We at M6P realize that Marvel’s All-New, All-Different publications are not for everyone. With that in mind there are plenty of classic TPB options to return to that reclaim the Marvel flair for heroes with realistic personas, realistic faults, and realistic problems. IF, however you’ve got a Marvel fan who has everything they could want in their home (or online) Marvel Library, I’ve got one recommendation: The Valiant. We don’t often (EVER Jon! EVER!! – Editor Jarid) encourage readers to explore non-Marvel fare here at M6P, but I’ll stick my neck out to say that The Valiant is a short, strong story that quickly & effectively introduces readers to new heroes in a setting and scenario that feels like it should sit on the shelf beside Civil War, Days of Future Past, the Coming of Galactus, God Loves – Man Kills, the Kree-Skrull War, the Dark Phoenix Saga, The Death of Gwen Stacey, and other key, classic Marvel events. With a $9.99 cover price for the TPB collection of this mini-series the price is definitely right for that fan, friend or family-member you’re unsure what to give.