Monday, September 23, 2013

365 Comics...260: Avengers Arena #15 (2013)

I still feel bad for slagging this title early on.  It's become one of my favourite books.  My initial reservations were about the obviousness of its influences, and the perceived slight of character, but Dennis Hopeless has spent the better part of the last 15 issue doing little but building his characters.  He's made fan favourites out of new creations while honoring those he's getting to play with -- and in some cases,  destroy -- in his sandbox by paying attention to what's come before and moving their stories forward (even if that movement results in death).

The letter columns at Marvel, along with the recap pages, are just a couple of Marvel's secret weapons in their war with DC.  Nothing promotes fan interaction and fan appreciation like a writer or artist or editorial team taking the time out to both construct a letter column and respond to praise, criticism, and questions.  DC's tactic seems to be to keep shoveling advertising (or "news reports") in readers faces, concerned more with selling new books than keeping the reader engaged and invested in the one they're already buying.

Hopeless' lettercolumns have been some of the best reading, particularly as he deals with the hate mail and vitriol after doing something nasty to someone's favourite character.  But as the series has gone on, the letters have been getting more tame, even the people upset with him have come to trust him on his storytelling journey (and those truly upset have left the book by now).

I wasn't initially very enthused by this cover, but I find myself staring at it a lot.  Mike Deodato Jr. has captured the barbarian feel quite well here in that line-heavy
Brazilian style of his.    I think if you take the bottom Marvel bar with Agents of SHIELD TV add off it would be quite amazing (or a retro Marvel top banner with little faces in a box under the price box... retro Marvel covers would suit this series so well..!)

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