Monday, December 13, 2010

Why I love Marvel Adventures Super Heroes

Some time ago, I posted my lament for the abrupt loss of the Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four title, which featured character-driven stories that mixed humor, action and the kind of touching moments rarely seen in many of today's explosion-first Michael Bay-fest comics.  The entire Marvel Adventures line seemed to be in jeopardy, getting pared down to two titles, and I lost track of it for a while.

Last month, though, I picked up a copy of Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #7 because a member of the FF, the Invisible Woman, was showcased on the cover.  Before this, and because of the cover theme this book employs, I thought that each issue of this title starred a different Marvel character, where every issue was self contained to the point that one had nothing to do with what came before or after.

Once I flipped through the book, I realized that Marvel Adventures Super Heroes is indeed an ongoing book that follows a variation on the Avengers - where Sue Storm is not just a member, but a leader.  I did some research and found that this theme began in issue 17 of the first volume, continuing into the second volume once the entire line did a hard reboot.

It's refreshing to see that everything that made Marvel Adventure Fantastic Four great is still present in this new title.  The creative common denominator is Paul Tobin, of whom my respect for grows monthly.  Tobin juggles a wide cast of characters expertly and manages to follow a growing number of plot threads while still making each issue accessible.

Tobin has a knack for making the characters in the books he writes supremely human, and this book is a great example of that, especially when you consider that the title's roster is filled with mythical gods, World War II heroes, androids and people who can fly through space.

The Fantastic Four are well represented in this book, starting with Sue Storm's presence - she is every bit the strong female character that she should be in every FF title and that too many books lack, and the fact that she, along with Captain America, leads this particular group of Avengers is a strong example of that.  The budding romance hinted at between the two characters is intriguing as well.

Reed Richards also plays a significant role in this book, though his true motives are as of yet unrevealed. It's clear that he's keeping an eye on Sue for reasons we're not yet sure of; the Black Widow and the Vision are on the team at least partly as a result of his behind-the-scenes tinkering.

Not to belabor the point, but I really do recommend this book.  From in-depth characterization to big action, this title proves beyond a doubt to be a worthy successor to Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four.  Not that I would mind seeing that title revived as well.

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