Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Marvel June previews reviewed

Pencils & Cover by KAARE ANDREWS
The birth rate is climbing in the small African village of Karere...and these newborns are anything but normal: infants made
of steel, infants only partially visible to the eye, infants who combust and destroy city blocks. Hoping to witness the rebirth of the mutant species, the X-Men go to investigate. But what they find may just be something far more sinister and dangerous...and familiar.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

I saw an awful lot of grumbling online when Marvel debuted a previous Kaare Andrews cover for this series. A lot of that grumbling was a lot harsher than it needed to be; Andrews is a hell of an artist, and whether one likes his designs for these particular characters or not, that doesn’t really have much to do with how good or bad an artist he is.

Me, I kinda liked the art on that first cover, and his presence makes me a lot more interested in Astonishing X-Men then I have been previously (I dropped it somewhere in Whedon’s second story arc, I think, intending to catch up in trades some day…which I’ve yet to do).

The two characters that seem the most…wrong on this, as in the previous cover, are Emma Frost and Beast.

I appreciate Andrews’ efforts to give Emma and Storm completely different body-types, but he seems to have done so by shrinking Emma to somewhere in the neighborhood of two-and-a-half-feet tall, significantly shorter than Wolverine, whose whole visual identity is that he is shorter and hairier then everyone else. As for Beast, well, he looks ridiculous, but he looks ridiculous in a very specific way, that huge hunchbacked torso, tiny-headed way that The Big Guy characters in all early ‘90s superhero teams (all one million of them) were designed.

So anyway, do portions of this and the previous cover in the series seem to suck? Yes. But keep in mind that all evidence suggests that this is Andrews sucking on purpose for some reason.

I'm really looking forward to John Romita Jr.'s upcoming Avengers title, if only because it means 22-pages of John Romita Jr. drawing the Marvel Universe every month.

Penciled by STEVE ELLIS
THE WINTER GUARD IS BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! The Harvey Award-winning team of David Gallaher and Steve Ellis reunite to bring you the harrowing adventures of Russia's elite strikeforce! Atlantean warlord Krang has brutally invaded the coast of Russia and only the Winter Guard has what it take to stop his diabolical plan...but their actions just might have dire consequences for Russia and the rest of the world. Guest-starring the Agents of Atlas!
40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

Absolutely everything I know about these characters:

a.) They are Russian superheroes.

b.) One of them is a bear.

That second one is enough to pique my interest in this comic, but factor inn the Agents of Atlas, and this is going to be awfully hard to resist. That’s two super-teams, one with a talking bear and one with a talking gorilla, in the same comic book!

Also, Krang of Atlantis is apparently the heavy. Throw in Namor punching stuff, and this might just be the Marvel event of the summer.

Penciled by NEIL EDWARDS
A giant toy store full of deadly videogame kids and killer Legos. An underground labyrinth inhabited by needy Swedish nannies. The Impossible Man. Arcade. And a babysitter named Johnny Storm...Enter the Frank-tastic Four.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

Oh man, I hope the “Frank-tastic Four” are a team of four Frank Castles whose exposure to cosmic rays gave each a different fantastic power, so that there’s a stretchy Punisher, an inivisible Punisher, a Punisher on a fire and a Punisher who is made of orange rock.

Written by TOM BELAND
Pencils & Cover by JUAN DOE
Variante Española También Disponible
M.O.D.O.K.! Monkeys! Mayhem! Marvel’s First Family returns to Puerto Rico!
There’s no such thing as a relaxing vacation for Reed Richards and Sue Storm. They thought they were getting off easy with just having to fight an out-of-control Dragon Man in an exploding oil refinery...but when the monstrous evil genius M.O.D.O.K. hatches a plan involving genetically enhanced monkeys, our heroes will be up to their ears in it! And will they be helped or hindered by the mysterious Puerto Rican figure known only as...El Vejigante?
48 PGS./One-Shot/Rated A ...$3.99

I really enjoyed the last two Beland/Doe FF-in-Puerto Rico one shots, so I’ll be looking forward to this one. If you pre-order it from your shop, make sure you ask for it out loud…in the most outrageous Spanish accent you can muster.

Written by JIM MCCANN
Penciled by DAVID LOPEZ
Hawkeye, the world’s greatest marksman is back—and reunited with the world's most dangerous super-spy, Mockingbird—in an all-new ongoing series! The deadly duo defied every obstacle to make their way back to each other and put together the all new WCA team—but now the one thing that divided them years before has returned to haunt them: the Phantom Rider! This ancient enemy is out to destroy all our heroes hold dear, and is teaming with Clint Barton’s arch-nemesis, the obsessed assassin Crossfire, to do it! Writer Jim McCann and penciler David Lopez, the team behind the acclaimed New Avengers: The Reunion, reunite to aim the spotlight and crosshairs on Marvel’s terrorist-targeting tandem, delivering a monthly dose of classic threats, new enemies, shocking allies, unexpected twists and dysfunctional dynamics in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

He’s his world’s greatest archer. She’s a bird-themed vigilante. They’re both on-again, off-again members of their world’s premiere super-team. And they’re a couple. And now Marvel is giving them their own ongoing series…perhaps just to prove that they can keep that premise going longer than DC did Green Arrow/Black Canary…?

HERALDS #1-5 (of 5)
Penciled by TONCI ZONJIC
The WOMEN OF MARVEL event continues with the blockbuster of the summer, a fast-paced five-issue weekly series by Kathryn Immonen and Tonci Zonjic!
Powerful forces are converging on Earth and the women of the Marvel Universe are at the center of it! Years ago, a herald of Galactus sacrificed her life for the universe. Little did anyone realize, a shred of that spirit lived on...and now she’s back for vengeance on those who abandoned her. The most powerful super heroines of the Marvel Universe must put aside their differences to stop this threat before the Earth is destroyed. Emma Frost, She-Hulk, Agent Abigail Brand, Hellcat, Valkyrie, Monica Rambeau, Sue Storm...these mighty women will be put to the test as never before, as cities are destroyed, families are torn apart, and a cosmic resurrection changes the heroes’ lives forever!
32 PGS.(each)/Rated A ...$2.99 (each)

The weekly publishing schedule is what ultimately pushed me off the fence on this one. I really like weekly comics, so this is going on my pull-list.

Written by JEFF PARKER
The powerful agent of ATLAS and Atlantean Princess known as Namora finds a missing colony of her aquatic people in the
Barents Sea, and goes to bring them back to the new home of Oceana. But the Atlanteans are unwilling to leave and now Namora is also compelled to stay...and serve THE KRAKEN! Don’t miss an aquatic adventure like only critically-acclaimed writer Jeff Parker (AGENTS OF ATLAS, THUNDERBOLTS, FALL OF THE HULKS) can tell it!
32 PGS./One-Shot/Rated T+ ...$3.99

Okay, this is a tough one. I have a rule about $4, 22-page comic books—I don’t read ‘em. Even if I’m really interested in them for some reason, I’ll just wait for the trade on them. And I’m really interested in this one. It’s by writer Jeff Parker, whose work I like, it’s drawn by Sara Pichelli, whose work I like, it features Namora, a character I really like, and Marvel even went and got Ramona freaking Fradon to draw the cover on it. BUT, this is only a one-shot, not a miniseries, so there won’t ever be a trade to wait on! (Actually, since this is a one-shot featuring a super-heroine, and there have been several others of those solicited recently, I’m assuming a trade will eventually collect them all, but it will be an anthology featuring characters who aren’t Namora by creators who aren’t Parker and Pichelli).

I’m…I’m torn here. I don’t know what to do about Namora #1.

From what I understand, the character pictured above on the cover of Ultimate Comics Avengers is "African-American Hulk," who rather than being a rampaging man-monster is simply a guy who looks a lot like Mr. T, only slightly more cut. I don't really know what to make of this, although if that's simply who skinny little white Bruce Banner becomes when he gets angry now, well, I suppose there might be some interesting ideas about racial identity and...oh wait, Mark Millar is writing this, isn't he? Ugh. Nevermind.

I really like this Brendan McCarthy cover for June’s issue of Peter Parker.

Spinning out of ASTONISHING X-MEN comes a story that will take you places you’ve never been! After Secret Invasion, Agent Brand is no longer the top dog at S.W.O.R.D. Forced to share her leadership post with former Avengers-liaison Henry Gyrich, Brand is less than pleased. Will the arrival of her boyfriend, X-Man Beast, help her out? Not when she discovers Gyrich’s plan for fixing S.W.O.R.D. is to rid Earth of ALL ALIENS! Brought to you by Kieron Gillen (DARK AVENGERS: ARES), Steven Sanders (Five Fists of Science) and topped off with covers by ASTONISHING X-MEN artist JOHN CASSADAY! Collecting S.W.O.R.D. #1-5

Well, that’s one way to sell a comic book series featuring a couple of X-characters that was canceled after only five issue due to poor sales—throw “X-Men” and a colon in front of the title.

That's the cover of Young Allies, a new series written by Sean McKeever and featuring his take on Nomad. The solicitation said Toro was on the team too, although I don't see him...or is that big guy with horns supposed to be Toro II or something...? Anyway, it looks sort of cool.

Marvel's full solicitations for June are available here.


troyfreund said...

RE: Astonishing X-Men cover, my only objection is to Emma Frost's mysteriously levitating breast covered in baby-puke. Just weird-looking, that's all.

mordicai said...

Mohawk Storm is the best of all Storms.

Lord Irish said...

I hate Mohawk Storm. WTF? Isn't she married to the Black Panther, anyway? Can you imagine Mohawk Princess Di?

Also, Wonderman needs a beat-down; mullets are OUT!

Loving Mockingbird's new costume; still glad I don't actually spend money on Marvel...

Steven R. Stahl said...

So. . . Marvel publishes a new series starring Hawkeye and Mockingbird, and the first (best?) idea McCann can come up with is to recycle a WCA storyline which had an abortive conclusion almost unrelated to the premise (I got a peek at Englehart's planned conclusion years ago; the conclusion was far, far better than the one Marvel published). McCann is practically begging for unfavorable comparisons, and giving the duo a foe that they can't do anything against (Englehart's Phantom Rider was an actual ghost) unless McCann requires his Phantom Rider to possess someone.

The description makes the "Hero faces his worst fears" cliché that Remender employed for his Dr. VOODOO arc seem almost good.

I bought S.W.O.R.D. #1 and wasn't bothered by the artwork or humor, but the "Dark Reign" tie-in turned me off. S.W.O.R.D. presumably wouldn't have been created and couldn't function without massive assistance by friendly aliens.

Ellis has been innovative in his treatment of mutant genetics, but supposing that infants can have powers, IMO, goes too far, to the point of being foolish. The simplest and neatest way of producing a rational system for using mutant powers is to suppose that psionic energy is the ultimate basis for the powers, and evolved brain genes and their products control how the powers manifest themselves. Supposing that infants who lack coherent thought processes manifest powers eliminates systematic explanations for them, even compared to classical mutants. Even "magic" as an explanation doesn't work.


LurkerWithout said...

Hrm. McKeever's Nomad mini was quite good, a nice surprise after his terrible run with DC on Teen Titans. Maybe with Marvel he can make a teen team work?

Jason Quinones said...

mohawk storm is indeed the best of all the storms...

and wonderman is and always will be a douche.

here's hoping hakweye shoots him right in the nads.

KentL said...

"The solicitation said Toro was on the team too, although I don't see him...or is that big guy with horns supposed to be Toro II or something...? Anyway, it looks sort of cool."

Yes, this is a new Toro (original, Golden Age Toro is long dead). This one is based on the one from the Heroes Reborn world, but not actually him (dude, I don't know). I'm torn on this series. I liked Nomad well enough, but maybe not well enough to follow this. I'll probably just trade wait.

Unknown said...

I think SOME of Emma's height discrepancy can be chalmed up to her bending over. Winter Gurad is a pretty kick-ass team, and Darkstar is one of the most famously dead-again, alive-again heroines of the Marvel U. It sort of feels like Agents of Atlas are the new Spider-Man of cross-over sales-bump drivers though. Hope it's good. My guess is that Namora's one-shot will be collected in a future Agents of Atlas TPB. And this version of Toro is a reimagining of the Toro from the Heroes Reborn Univeres, except he's from the 616 and she's actually from the HBU. Of course his name is actually a play off of the WW2 Sidekick. Except his powers are... bull related I think?

Kid Kyoto said...

"reunited with the world's most dangerous super-spy, Mockingbird"

Wouldn't Nick Fury be the world's most dangerous super-spy? Or Black Widow? Or Agent Brand? Frankly I'm not sure Mockingbird is even in the top ten...