Current Reviews


Marvel Select #14

Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2006
By: Michael Deeley

Reprinting: X-Men: Phoenix Endsong #3, X-Men: Deadly Genesis #2, and part of House of M #3

Writers: Greg Pak, Ed Brubaker, & Brian Bendis
Artists: Greg Land, Trevor Hairsine, & Olivier Coipel (p), Matt Ryan, Scott Hanna, Mike Perkins, & Tim Townsend (i), (with additional art by Pete Woods)

Price: $4.99 USD
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I hadn’t read any of Marvel's flip books for a while. And when I saw this book reprinted issues from two X-Men mini-series I hadn’t read, I thought I’d give it a look. The quality of these two books is worth the cover price, even knowing how the series end. I’d give each of these books . The writing from Greg Pak and Ed Brubaker is compelling, with dead-on characterization. And the art teams include two of the brightest stars in comics today. Greg Land has already established himself as a top-tier talent famous for his beautiful women. Trevor Hairsine is the next big thing, with his richly detailed pencils and life-like compositions. I might pick up future issues to complete the stories.

But I wonder if this comic is really good for new readers. The flip books were made for newsstands and other mainstream outlets. And two mini-series rooted in 20-30 year old X-Men history may not be the best choices for attracting new readers. This did a better job selling trade collections of these stories than keeping readers coming back every month.

I also question the wisdom of serializing the House of M mini-series. Each issue is broken up into three parts and printed in "Marvel Select," "Marvel Heroes," and "Marvel Tales." Now I’m sure all of us have had the mixed experience of biking or riding around town to grocery stores, drug stores, book stores, etc. to find a specific comic book. It felt great when you found it, but crushing when you didn’t. Then there’s the fact this reader is shelling out $15 a month to buy a complete issue. Granted, he’s also getting two X-Men comics, New Avengers, Captain America, Amazing Spider-Man, and Runaways. But I’ve found fans of Spider-Man comics usually don’t follow X-Men comics. Could Marvel be trying to bring back the “Marvel Zombie”? Forcing people to buy as many Marvel comics as possible? And what will they do with the current Civil War mini-series? Will that be published the same way as House of M? And what about the tie-ins and the related mini-series? They’ll have to create a whole new flip book to cover them all!

So the Marvel flip book format is good way to introduce new readers to Marvel comics. It may also lead readers to TPB collections. But it may not hold reader interest from month to month. And stunts like breaking up House of M like this just come across as a crass money-grabbing scheme. And could somebody please tell Quesada his “Cup O’Joe” columns fall far short of the standard set by Stan Lee’s Soapbox? Even Bill Rosemann’s “Your Man @ Marvel” was more natural.

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