So I made a friend.
Anyway. This friend has all sorts of Marvel comics. Which is good, because I don't buy Marvel anymore. I buy DC, he buys Marvel. Now we share! It is good.
So I took awhile and finally caught up with most of what the Marvel universe is doing right now--basically, Dark Reign and such.
My assorted thoughts are as follows.
New Avengers and Dark Avengers, while ostensibly the line's flagship titles, don't really appeal to me. Not because I'm not interested in what's going on--because I am--but they seem to be only dealing with what other titles have already covered. And the other titles do it better. Still, they're interesting talking-head pieces, I guess, to introduce us to the characters and figure out what's going on, but I feel like I could skip these without any worry whatsoever.
Mighty Avengers, despite not catching me at all with the first Dan Slott issue, really grabbed me. It's now my favorite Avengers book--as Jeff described it at one point, it's the "Avenger-y Avengers". A lot of fun, and just...good. Which surprised me, because I've never been a huge fan of Dan Slott. (The final Avengers title, Avengers: Initiative, did not interest me at all, but I'm willing to give the new direction a try, since, you know, I'm not exactly paying for it).
Ms. Marvel is a great book. I was really skeptical when Moonstone took over, but the first issue she starred in was really, really good. This may be my favorite Dark Reign title right now.
Maybe I'm missing something, but Agents of Atlas just...hasn't done it for me at all. There are a few interesting pieces here and there, but mostly I found myself just glazing over it.
War Machine's not a bad book, and the upcoming storyline seems really interesting, but it certainly isn't essential reading by any means.
Thunderbolts has not impressed me. Deadpool is amazing, and easily carried that crossover between the two of them.
Wolverine Origins really surprised me with this most recent story arc, and I'm now really optimistic for Dark Wolverine, whereas before I was incredibly bored by Origins. I hope that the new, higher quality sticks. I love the fact that Daken is thrust into the spotlight, despite obviously not being ready for it--and he's taking it all in stride.
Invincible Iron Man is another one of my favorite Dark Reign titles. It has absolutely everything I want from an Iron Man book, and I can't wait for more chapters to come in. Which is crazy because I have never been a fan of Iron Man. Buy this book. The art is gorgeous, as well, and it actually feels like an important book, too.
Secret Warriors is decent, but the first issue seemed to promise more than the title has since been delivering. I expected this book to be seriously important, but now it just feels like another irrelevant side-title.
Black Panther is decent, but just sort of there. I'm hoping that the new writer takes it in a new direction, because while the Africa focus is interesting, the book hasn't exactly been successful lately. Marvel's strength right now (at least to me) seems to be that all of the books tie into the big picture (and the few that don't excel on their own). Black Panther doesn't really fit into either criteria.
Punisher? I have never cared for the Punisher. Ever. No interest at all. So when I say that I can't wait for the next issues of this new series, I think that's saying something. Rick Remember has earned his place in the "Write Stuff" with this series.
From there, the assorted minis. Dark Reign: Elektra is one of the better ones, and New Avengers: The Reunion is probably my favorite. Dark Reign: Fantastic Four shows promise, but it's not quite "there" yet. Skrull Kill Krew is a lot of fun. The rest are decent, but I don't see the point (like Dark Reign: Hawkeye, for instance).
I'm not all the way caught up--the last two issues I read were Invincible Iron Man 13 and New Avengers: The Reunion 3, so I'm just around there. But in all honesty, I'm liking what I'm seeing. I think that the Dark Reign concept is providing for some very interesting stories. I'm not sold on the quality of all of the books yet, and overall I'm much happier giving DC my money (I think that I'm far more likely to reread the books DC is putting out), but Marvel does have plenty of interesting "What's going to happen next?" moments.