Sunday, January 29, 2017

Superhero Media: The List

From the few online comics resources that I read, I've gleaned that Dark Reign was not particularly popular with the majority of fans. I admit that when Norman Osborn became director of S.H.I.E.L.D. after Secret Invasion, it was a bit strange, but the following change of status quo made for some interesting reading. Dark Reign gave us the Dark Avengers, Secret Warriors and solid Thunderbolts content, so I'd say it was worthwhile having a read. The List is a compilation of eight comics from different series, all covering Osborn's "Iron Patriot Acts", a madman's plan of revenge on the heroes that have harried him in his storied career. The hit list; Clint Barton, Daredevil, Namor, Nick Fury, Bruce Banner, Frank Castle, Wolverine and Spider-Man. Like most compilations, The List suffers from shifting tones and art styles as it jumps from series to series; some are better than others and some don't quite look right

To break it down quickly, the Barton story is great, with Clint taking out all of the Dark Avengers until Ares beats him down and there's a brilliant scene where the Avengers argue about weather or not they have the right to take a life. Daredevil becoming the leader of The Hand isn't overly interesting, but works well as a lead-in to Shadowland. The X-Men are never truly interesting to me, but Namor getting to kick arse is the focus of the story and always fun. The included issue of Secret Warriors is actually one of the best in the series, but fits better in it's own continuity than it does here (see below for a great joke from this comic). I'm so unfamiliar with Hulk continuity that I honestly can't form much of an opinion here, but I didn't enjoy it all that much. Frank gets killed of in a disappointing, extended snuff-sequence by Draken of all people, which is about as dull as it sounds. Wolverine is boring, as usual. Finally, Spider-Man is solid, as his comics typically are, thanks to Marvel funneling good writers and artists onto the book. 

So, is it any good? Well, it's ok. Some of the individual comics are awesome, but they don't really "flow" in the collection. My main takeaway is that I'd have been better off reading more Avengers: Dark Reign and rereading Secret Warriors, it would have been more entertaining. I believe that this is, in part, the core reason many event comics don't find an audience outsider of hardcore fans, the narrative and tone never really transfer across all of the issues and the whole thing feels disjointed. Still worth a read, but not the best collection I've seen from Marvel. 

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