Top 5 best Marvel Stories of 2014
There were some major stories and events at Marvel this year. There were major events like Infinity, Original Sin, and Axis. There was Carol Danvers becoming the new Captain Marvel. Sam Wilson became the new Captain America. Peter Parker returned as Spider-Man only to be thrust into the biggest event of his life. Then a Terregenesis bomb went off creating a whole slew of new characters to pop up including the new Ms Marvel. In space there was a new focus on the Guardians of the Galaxy with many getting their own titles for the first time in ages. There was certainly a lot to going on in the house of ideas.
In my mind here are the top 5 stories at Marvel over 2014.
Thor has been one of the best action, adventure books of the year. The last Thor god of Thunder book #25 was full of three awesome stories. Then the new series launches with an enigmatic new female Thor being thrust immediately into a crazy dangerous situation.
The mystery of the series continues into next year, with a promise of a
Thor #25 Preview first appearance of female Thor!
Thor #1 Preview the age of the female Thor is nigh
Who is the new female Thor?
Female Thor Cosplay
Beginning with the events like Infinity and Inhumanity it became clear that Marvel was making a big Inhuman push. Many of these changes finally start materializing in a noticeable fashion in the series Inhuman. The series introduces a ton of new place, new characters, and new dynamics to the Marvel Universe.
Inhuman is far from perfect. The story feels that is forcing too much through at once at times. New characters are flying at you at such a pace that it is hard to process. The new faces show up then sometimes inexplicably disappear, only to randomly reappear. The series also suffered some from a writer switch early on and from a rather weird tie in to the Marvel event Axis. Those faults aside the jack hammering the series is doing is impressive. Inhuman is never boring, always bold, it is always surging forward with each issue dropping its own combination of haymakers. The series has created this massive platform from which Marvel's super heroes of the future will spring, and because of that I think it will be series that many in the future will be searching out to read.
3) Ms Marvel
Ms Marvel was the most surprisingly fresh and original character of 2014.
Many fans including myself were initially more interested in Carol Danvers. I saw that Ms Marvel old moniker was going to be used by a young Muslim girl. I figured Marvel was trying to score some brownie points by adding diversity. One of those little politically motivated projects that comes out with a lousy story and a shallow character. This was a character that seemed predestined to be carved out of a cookie cutter painted the desired color, fail in her own series, land on the D team of the Avengers before heroically sacrificing herself by getting sucked through a worm hole to save Earth and then disapearing forever.
My initial jaded comic geek expectations were so so off the mark. I bought the first issue because I have this comic buying affliction where I buy everything with a 1 on it. Then the issue sat around a bit as I read everything else. Ms Marvel sat off in a little corner of my stash. Eventually, I read everything else, so with a little grown I picked up this
Instead, what we get is a very intelligently written, deep, emotional, and funny character written from a unique and interesting perspective. Kamala is in her own words is complicated, and she is meant to toy with both Western and Muslim preconceptions of what a Muslim teenager growing up in the United States is like. She sees a path of full assimilation into western culture, and then another of clinging to her faith and heritage but neither path feel quite right to her. She wants a third path, her own path, but this path seems to be very bumpy and unpaved . While, Kamala deals with this large crisis of conscious she is also confronted by all the desires, fears, and complications of being an American teenager.
Then the Terrigen cloud hits and WHAMO this girl with all of these complications now has super powers.
Kamala also begins to tie into the events in the Inhuman series as she is an Inhuman or Numan. Once again she supplies a fresh and interesting perspective to those events that are shaping the entire Marvel world.
The team on Ms Marvel in my minds are rockstars for what they did on this book. Willow Wilson is going to be a very closely watched writer going forward as she fully kicked the ball out of the park.
2) Scottie Young's Rocket Raccoon
While Ms Marvel touches on a lot of everyday issues and the major events in the Marvel Universe, Rocket Raccoon's series is just plain out there on its own. It is its own thing, in art, in tone, in story it is the crazy child that does not fit anywhere but you can't take your eyes off it.
Its one part looney toons, one part cosmic Marvel, and one part......I don't know. The series constantly surprises you with amazing art and fun writing.
It has been awhile since there was a series that I could easily hand to a kid under 7 and know they would like it. This series is not too kiddie, nor too graphic, and reeks of this pure creativity that all ages can enjoy.
Preview of Scottie young Rocket Raccoon ongoing series
1) The Spider-Verse
Dan Slott has taken some serious risks with Marvel's flagship character. First, he allowed Doctor Octavius to take over Peter Parker's mind and effectively kills off Spider-Man. The result was a long arcing story of what became called Superior Spider-Man. Then Dan brought Peter Parker back and barely gave him time to catch his breath before shoving him into the most epic Spider-Event story of my lifetime.
The Spider-Verse is awesome, and is jammed full of a ton of interesting and characters who normally would not see the light of day.
Some have faulted the series for the sheer amount of death it employs. There is a casualty list that is quite long and requires updating with almost every book.
See the list here --> Spider-Verse Deaths and Casualty list
There are panels after panels of dead, formerly beloved characters strewn about like chaff. Perhaps, this is an interesting topic to bring up with shows like Walking Dead and Game of Thrones also becoming known for killing off characters. While many of the deaths in Game of Thrones and Walking Dead are used for great dramatic effect, here they just happen, they just are, neither the characters in the story or the reader are given much time to process that a life was just snuffed out. I have to reread each book to remember exactly who died. The effect of the death in the series does up the ante, each time I open a book I am confronted with bizarre cocktail of dread and excitement. There is some adrenaline that runs through you as you read this series.
Beyond the death the other interesting aspect of the Spider-Verse is seeing one of the most well known characters from a different angle. In this series we see all the different ways Peter could have turned out and what exactly it is that makes him special. This is an interesting read especially coming right off the Superior run where we had another guy trying to out do the long time fan favorite.
The event also provided a backdrop to bring back lost favorites like Spider-Man Noir while also unleashing a slew of creative new characters. There are some characters in the series that will likely find themselves in their own long running series most notably Spider-Gwen.
All of this makes the Spider-Verse interesting to watch but there is also just the reality that it is quality throughout. It is well drawn, well written, put against an epic adventure that just can not be beaten.
The Spider-Verse Checklist
Meet all of the Spiders of the Spider-Verse!
Spider-Verse Deaths and Casualty list