Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

24 May 2007

A-Next: Second Coming

Collects: A-Next #1-6 (1998-9)

Released: August 2006 (Marvel)

Format: 144 pages / color digest / $7.99 / ISBN: 0785121315

Of all the M2 digests published so far, A-Next: Second Coming is the weakest.

Why? Well, for a variety of reasons. Like all the M2 series, A-Next is generational, telling of the formation of a new group of Avengers after many years without them. But whom does Tom DeFalco choose to center the new Avengers around? Kevin Masterson, son of the minor ‘90s Avenger Thunderstrike. The other heroes are somewhat less than inspiring as well, given Spider-Girl and the Fantastic Five’s forebears: J2 (son of Juggernaut), Cassie Lang (daughter of the second Ant-Man), and Mainframe (a seeming robot with much in common with Iron Man). Mostly second stringers there; later American Dream (spiritual descendant of Captain America), Freebooter (Swordsman knockoff), Bluestreak, and Crimson Curse join up. And along the way, they run into the sons of Bill Foster (Black Goliath), Black Panther, and Hercules … not exactly the most inspiring.

 cover But DeFalco and penciller / co-plotter Ron Lim have to keep the major players unfettered because the book ends with a major question: what happened to the original Avengers? That’s the strong point of the book, the hints of what happened between the divergent point of the “normal” Marvel Universe and the M2 Universe; wars between Namor and Dr. Doom, Dr. Strange being stripped of his role as the Sorcerer Supreme, how Bruce Banner got the Hulk under control. It’s a lot of intrigue for six issues.

This is another digest whose art is affected by the reduction in size. The reproduction makes the lines of the inking seem sketchy, and there are quite a few times the art looks like Lim hasn’t seen a person with Asian features before. Other than that, the art is competent is unexceptional, perhaps a little scratchy.

DeFalco’s presence on all the M2 titles can be seen as a positive, but here it seems like a liability. The characters in A-Next sound like those in J2 and Spider-Girl; they even react to each other in the same ways, filling the same roles. It overwhelms the intriguing points of the past and makes the book a little dull.

Rating: (2 of 5)

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