Today I move over to Marvel, which actually took an even larger percentage of my money in '07 compared to '06, as mentioned yesterday. Of course, what I've noticed is that what I buy now sits on what I'd call the periphery of the Marvel Universe. There's only a couple of titles I buy that actually pay much attention to the Initiative/House of M/World War Hulk stuff. I think that's probably at least part of why I don't seem to rage as much anymore (besides making a concerted effort to not let the stories get to me as much), a bad story is even worse when I actually pay for it, as opposed to just hearing about it online. Anyway, I'm starting with team books today, though there weren't many of those this year.
Exiles (90-94) - Tony Bedard, whose run I greatly enjoyed, left the book at the end of 2006. Then Claremont came on, and promptly drove me off the book. It's not so much that he had to have Psylocke on the book, as it is that every character's voice seemed off from what they had been before (which is understandable I guess, if jarring), and the fact the stories made no sense. I still haven't figured out how exactly the universe the Exiles went to save in Claremont's first arc appeared to be destroyed, only to return a few months later, with everyone unharmed.
High Point: If I have to actually pick something, I enjoyed the fight between Psylocke and Sabretooth in #91. Even if it is a different Sabretooth, I understood Psylocke's reaction, and it was a pretty entertaining fight.
Low Point: #94, I suppose, since I didn't understand what was happening. I guess there was also the scene that implied Elektra defeated Tony Stark in his Iron Man armor and a host of other bodyguards, or Longshot abruptly not being mind-controlled because of his luck powers, when he was apparently mind-controlled until that moment.
Heroes for Hire (8) - I think I bought this issue because I was having a poor pull week, or maybe because Bully had insisted this title was more fun than people thought. It did have some fun, with Shang-Chi getting Master of Kung-Fu on the Headmen and their Doombot, and ultimately scaring his teammates and making a little kid sad. Awesome, but not enough for me too return to the title.
House of M: Avengers (1-2) - I figured this might be worth a look. If nothing else, I figured Tigra might get some good fortune, which didn't really pan out, though at least she got to save a life. But Mike Perkins art felt kind of lifeless, or still is maybe the better word, and it seemed like Gage was trying to fight in too many characters for only a five issue mini-series.
New Excalibur (15-24) - I bought this title right up to the point Marvel discontinued it, and if that Excalibur series by Paul Cornell ever starts up, I'll probably give it at least a cursory glance. Yeah, I doubt it would bear any resemblance to Claremont's, but that's hardly a bad thing at this point.
High Point: #16 and 17, the two issues were Nocturne is unexpectedly struck by a stroke and struggles to adjust to her situation and begin to rehab. You could tell Claremont cared a lot about this story, and Scot Eaton drew her facial expressions beautifully, depicting the fear, confusion, and frustration so well. And lost amid Bendis' annoying use of thought bubbles in Mighty Avengers, Claremont used them to what I thought was great effect to demonstrate the difference between things inside Nocturne's head, and how they tended to come out when she tried to vocalize them.
Low Point: His big Albion story (18-24). I bought it all, yeah I'm a chump. I thought it would be interesting, with Excalibur up against Albion and his forces, the Dark X-Men, and that government agency Black Air. Except Black Air was pretty much a no-show, and things really didn't play out too clearly. And that's what frustrating for me with this story. It seemed intriguing, and I think it could have been good, but things were too jumbled. It seemed like both sides were supposed to be spread out allover England, one side causing problems, the other responding, except everybody seemed to keep tripping over each other, and certain things didn't seem to make sense. How was Albion contacting depowered mutants to join his cause, and why depowered mutants? Albion isn't a mutant, why would he turn to people who always relied on powers, but have none? And we never even knew who any of the depowered chumps were, which made it especially pointless. The use of three different artists didn't really help much, and character reactions seemed off. Scenes started, then stopped at a climax, but weren't returned to until after the climax would have passed. Just a disappointing experience as a whole, but I figure it's probably my last chance as one of the two Lionheart fans to see her in some sort of useful role before she gets used as cannon fodder.
Ultimate X-Men (78-79) - Xavier "died", and I found myself not caring much. It's odd because I thought I would be interested to see these mostly kid X-Men trying to get by without him, but I didn't really feel invested. Maybe it was Xavier's revelation in 2006 that he loved Jean that did it for me. Didn't mind him going to the future after that, I suppose.
X-Factor (15-26) I don't think this year was quite as kind to X-Factor as '06. I certainly can't say I enjoyed the book as much. Madrox hunting down dupes was good, the X-Cell storyline was sorta interesting, but hampered by Pham's weak artwork (it seems improved on Incredible Herc, I'm unsure why), and the Huber story ended with kind of a thud. Then the Messiah Complex tie-ins started, and I really couldn't care less, beyond the fact I think this is screwing up the book (Rahne on X-Force? Really? And do we actually need X-Force? Hint: The answer is no.)
High Point: X-Factor #15 and 16. You have Madrox Prime being mistaken for Madrox, Agent of SHIELD, and captured by HYDRA. I was very interested by the idea that if you gave Jamie a nuke, and had him make dupes, each dupe would also have a nuke. Then he tracks down a dupe that's actually happy, and that causes quite the little ethical dilemma for Jamie, especially after what he did the previous issue.
Low Point: The Huber story. Not because it was bad necessarily, but the end was kind of flat, and PAD hadn't really done anything to support Huber's claims that he was behind Singularity and the X-Cell. If there had been a few more hints of that in earlier issues, it might have worked better, but for Huber to just pop up and say it, maybe he was lying, maybe he wasn't, but it's hard to muster up the energy to care. It wasn't all bad, Layla's confrontation with an increasingly wacked out Pietro was good, and the Rahne/Rictor stuff was interesting, but the primary story just didn't fly with me.
OK, that's Part 2. Thursday, all solo Marvel books, and there are quite a few, so consider this a calm beforehand.