I always keep track of which artists drew the most pages, using 110 and 154 pages as arbitrary cutoffs. That made more sense when Marvel and DC did 22 page books instead of 20, but oh well. Nine artists hit the 110 page mark, with Mike Hawthorne (120), Scott Wegener (144), and David Lopez (152) coming up short of the 154 mark. So close for David Lopez, but nice to see him back on the list for the first time since 2010, when he was drawing Hawkeye and Mockingbird. Please keep in mind this is just counting pages they drew in books I actually bought. I know Mike Hawthorne drew a lot more than that overall. Of the other six, Chad Hardin, Steve Lieber, and Adrian Alphona made it to 160, Javier Pulido and Todd Nauck reached 180, and for the second time in three years, Chris Samnee leads the way, with 221 pages. Congratulations to Chris Samnee for winning this totally arbitrary award I just made up that confers no prize whatsoever!
Hawkeye #15-20: The book that's taking so long to come out, they're going to go ahead and start the next volume before this one even finishes. Unless the last two issues come out in February. Matt Fraction writing, David Aja drew a couple of issues, Annie Wu drew three others, normal letterer Chris Eliopoulos drew that issue where Clint dreams about a holiday special. Kate's big battle with Madame Masque didn't exactly end well for either of them. Hawkeye got deafened, but looked like he was finally going to stop moping and do something by the last time we saw him. Which would be a nice change of pace.
High point: Kate's solo adventure officially marks the most I've ever cared about Kate Bishop. Up to that point, I felt like she was the one who talks a lot of junk at Clint, but doesn't have the credentials to back it up. I wouldn't say her stint in L.A. provided those credentials, but at least she was trying to do something good for people.
Low point: In spite of everything, I still hope that when this thing concludes, Fraction and Aja will give Clint the badass moments I've been expecting this book to provide since it was announced. The way things are going, I'm not sure we'll ever see the conclusion, though. So, the delays are the low point. Also, I don't have much love for cheesy holiday specials, so that issue didn't do much for me.
Klarion #1-3: I bought it because Ann Nocenti was writing it. I recognize seemingly no one else is enjoying her current work, but screw it, I always find it interesting. Trevor McCarthy was the artist to start, and once once they figured out the book was going to die in five minutes, they started bringing in other people, so Sandu Florea is credited with finishes on issue 3 (and neither of them worked on issue 4, which came out this month.)
Ms. Marvel #1-10: Written by G. Willow Wilson, with most of the artwork done by Adrian Alphona (outside a 2 issue arc by Jacob Wyatt), and color art by Ian Herring. A young girl who idolizes Carol Danvers is exposed to Terrigen Mist and gets the opportunity to become a superhero for her town, and winds up fighting a clone of Edison crossed with a cockatiel who seems to be abducting kids. She's already teamed up with Wolverine and Lockjaw, while charming seemingly everyone she meets. Does that make her the superheroic version of Mary Tyler Moore?
High point: Jeez, everything. Kamala struggling to be a hero while being herself. The montage of Bruno helping her figure out her powers. The way Kamala's idea of being a hero centers on helping people, not beating people up. The way Wilson shows that the adults are clueless, in that her father and Sheikh Abdullah both understand the kind of person Kamala is and don't try to bar her from what she's trying to do (even if neither one totally understands what's going on). Alphona's art, which is just great. Every character is easily distinguishable, his form is loose enough to work well with the weird shape-changing stuff Kamala's powers allow. He draws great robots, though I think my favorite panel is still Kamala giving a very happy Lockjaw a big hug. That one always puts a smile on my face. Even the 2-issue guest appearance by Wolverine was fun. I didn't think Wolverine guest appearances could still be entertaining at this stage.
Low point: I'm still waiting for a conversation between Kamala and her mother that fleshes Ammi out more. So far, Mrs. Khan is kind of the rote, hysterical overprotective mom, and I figure there's got to be more to her. That hasn't hurt the book, it's just the one thing I'm slightly dissatisfied about. Nit picking, essentially.
Nightcrawler #1-9: Chris Claremont writing Kurt's return to the land of the living, which unfortunately made him of interest to his adoptive, power mad sorceress mother, Margali Szardos, and cost the life of Amanda Sefton. Then Kurt got mixed up with some intergalactic pirates/kidnappers, mourned the death of Wolverine, and because this is Claremont, now Kurt's got to deal with the Shadow King. Ugh. Todd Nauck's done some of the best work I've seen from him.
High point: I want to give some credit to Rachelle Rosenberg and her color work. She's made the book very bright and colorful, kind of fantastic, which is preferable for me when it comes to Kurt. More swashbuckling high adventure, less moping.And credit to Claremont, he's certainly trying to get Kurt into high adventure, while also dealing with the very real fact that is has to be kind of disorienting to leave the afterlife Paradise you always believed in, to return to the world of the living.
Low point: All that being said, the book has never quite clicked as much as I wanted it to. Bringing in the Shadow King certainly didn't help, and I'd say that's the official low point (either that or the Death of Wolverine tie-in), but there's just something off. There's some spark, or bit of whimsy or something, that I want to see that hasn't materialized. Maybe because Kurt is still trying to sort out why he's back and what he should be doing, it's still too serious.
OK, one more batch of titles to go. It's a high quality batch, though.