Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Marvel's July previews reviewed

The Fear Itself line-wide story/event will continue to be Marvel's major publishing priority in July of this year, as even a cursory glance at their solicitations for that month will attest.

It's interesting that they're trying to keep the identities of the various characters who will apparently comprise "The Worthy," those characters who get big magic Thor hammers and redesigns and apparently go on hammer rampages, a secret, blacking out some of their images on some of the covers and replacing their names with a series of X's in the text. It's interesting because I thought at least some of them were already made public, like Juggernaut and The (Green) Hulk, yet some of these continue to treat even those characters' participation as a secret.

Anyway, here are some things that jumped out of me from Marvel's July, the fourth month of Fear Itself...



ALPHA FLIGHT #2
Written by FRED VAN LENTE & GREG PAK
Penciled by DALE EAGLESHAM
Cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
Variant Cover by DALE EAGLESHAM
FEAR ITSELF TIE-IN!
Alpha Flight... traitors??? After saving their country from the hammer-wielding XXXXX, The Flight are captured by the newly risen Unity Party and branded as traitors. Now they must escape from the bowels of the top-secret facility, Department H, they once called home. In doing so they must confront the shocking betrayal of one of their core members -- and discover an imprisoned hero readers have clamored to see since this series was announced! The red-hot writing team of Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente and artistic legend Dale Eaglesham continue their highly-anticipated resurrection of one of Marvel’s most beloved super hero teams in a story that absolutely cannot be missed!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99



I guess I didn't notice when I read through last month's solicitations for June releases, but the latest attempt at an Alpha Flight revival is going to be written by the Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente team, responsible for Marvel's various Hercules books over the last few years.

Strange to see Dale Eaglesham drawing it, as Alpha Flight seems like a bit of a step down from some of his more recent assignments, like Fantastic Four and Justice Society of America.

For a second, I was sort of surprised to see this launching out of Fear Itself, given that the previous attempt at an Alpha Flight revival also launched out of a big crossover event thing. That was 2007's Omega Flight, which used the post-Civil War status quo of the Marvel Universe as part of the premise, and that lasted only five issue, downgraded from an ongoing to a miniseries. But then I remembered most new Marvel or DC series launch out of some sort of crossover or big event in another book.


I really like this Amazing Spider-Man cover. That is all.


BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #521
Written by DAVID LISS
Penciled by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
Cover by PATRICK ZIRCHER
FEAR ITSELF TIE-IN
You've read about it, and may have even argued about it...but here it is: The debut of the American Panther! What does his arrival mean to Hell's Kitchen? Find out in the series that Aint It Cool News hails as "one of the best titles Marvel is putting out!"
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99


I have absolutely no idea what's going on with this title and this new costume, but I like the prhase "American Panther" and I like the look of that costume (I like the only Liss-written story I've ever read too, and I like Francesco Francavilla's art).

The only downside is that it's kind of too bad that the Panther is appropriating elements of Captain America's schtick while still using Daredevil's sub-title, numbers and setting. It would be kind of cool if he just went around replacing heroes in their own titles for a while, like Captain America (Which is, you'll see in the solicitations, having its name changed to Captain America and Bucky, while a new Cap title just called Captain America, starting with a new #1).


CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY #620
Written by ED BRUBAKER & MARK ANDREYKO
Penciled by CHRIS SAMNEE
Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
Variant Cover by TBA
Think you know the story of Cap and Bucky's origins? Well, think again. The secret story of the early days of Captain America, told from Bucky Barnes's point of view. From co-writers Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko with artist Chris Samnee (Thor: The Mighty Avenger).
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99


See? Interesting creative team too. I'm on the fence about this one; I haven't been following Captain America since...well, Bucky was still Winter Soldier during the last trade collection of it I read. I really like Samnee's art though. And I generally like Andreyko's writing, and would be curious to see how it meshes with Brubaker's. Hmmm... Well, I've got three months to think about it, I guess.


DAREDEVIL #1
Written by MARK WAID
Penciled by PAOLO MANUEL RIVERA AND MARCOS MARTIN
Cover by PAOLO RIVERA
Variant Cover by John Romita Sr.
Variant Cover by NEAL ADAMS
Variant Cover by MARCOS MARTIN
Blank Variant Cover also available
THIS SUMMER, THE DEVIL IS REBORN. RENEWED. RESSURECTED.
With new enemies, new friends...and that same old “grinnin’ in the face of hell” attitude, The Man Without Fear is back in a double-sized first issue and leading with his face! Mark Waid (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Irredeemable, RUSE) joins neo-legendary artists Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin for a new spin on Daredevil that will leave you gasping for air. Having turned his world upside over the past several years, Matt Murdock realizes that justice may not be blind to his past and villains may not be the only ones looking for answers. Bring it on. If Matt Murdock could see what he was doing...he’d be terrified.
40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


We're still early into con season, but I've already forgotten which convention it was announced at that Waid would be writing a new Daredevil story, and would be doing so with a new attitude, returning Matt Murdock to his more action-packed, devil-may-care daredevil attitude, rather than focusing on the death, darkness, depression and human misery that have defined the character and the title since Frank Miller was working on the book.

That actually sounds exciting, and you can't ask for a better art team than that. Unfortunately, Marvel's launching the book with a double-sized, extra-expensive first issue, which strikes me as a silly way to tempt new readers to try a new book out.


DISNEY • MUPPETS PRESENTS: MEET THE MUPPETS
Written and Penciled by ROGER LANGRIDGE
Cover by ROGER LANGRIDGE
The Muppet Show is out to corrupt a new medium as all your favorite Muppets return in this giant comic! Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo and the gang revive their variety show and bring back favorite sketches like “Pigs in Space” and “Veterinarian’s Hospital!” Kermit misses the swamp, and the gang tries to cheer him up. Fozzy revamps his standup act, but everything he tries gets the same boos as his original routine. Scooter attempts to figure out once and for all what species Gonzo belongs to. And a psychic tells Miss Piggy she’s going to lose something green.
96 PGS./All Ages ...$5.99
NOT FINAL COVER


It sounds like Marvel is simply reprinting part of Roger Langridge's first few issues of Boom's first Muppets miniseries with this, albeit it's going to be at a different size. I wouldn't mind seeing his art in a bigger, magazine-sized format. I don't know what this means for the future of Boom's Muppet comics, but I went ahead and ordered the few collections of Langridge's Muppet comics I don't have yet, just in case.

I hope this is an indication that Marvel will eventually be publishing Langridge's last Muppets comics, which were apparently written and drawn but weren't yet published by the time the license apparently went from Boom to Marvel.


FEAR ITSELF: FEARSOME FOUR #2 (of 4)
Written by BRANDON MONTCLARE
Penciled by RYAN BODENHEIM & SIMON BISLEY
Cover by MICHAEL KALUTA
FEAR ITSELF TIE-IN!
Fear makes us do terrible things—but it will also make the Fearsome Four BECOME terrible things! Twisted by their own terror as well as the reality-warping powers of a fear-drunk Man-Thing, Marvel’s Strangest Heroes transform into horrendous versions of themselves. Howard the Duck, Nighthawk, Frankenstein, and She-Hulk mutate from hero to monster freaks—and instead of saving the city the foursome just might end it. It’s a mad tale told by Brandon Montclare, Ryan Bodenheim, with
covers by living legend Michael Wm Kaluta. And joining the ghastly crew of creators and characters, the one and only Simon Bisley illustrates a special in-story Spotlight!
32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99


Pretty neat cover, even though Kaluta's Frankenstein is pretty emaciated and the body on his Howard looks just plain weird.


Oh, Fear Itself: The Deep will be featuring that She-Hulk, the one who's kind of Thundra from the future and green now or something...? That dulls my enthusiasm for this almost-Defenders reunion series, for some reason.


GHOST RIDER #1
Written by ROB WILLIAMS
Penciled by MATTHEW CLARK
Cover by ADAM KUBERT
Variant Cover by NEAL ADAMS
Wraparound Variant Cover by Arturo Lozzi
Blank Variant Cover also available
FEAR ITSELF TIE-IN
IN THE WAKE OF “FEAR ITSELF”, THE SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE GETS A NEW LEASE ON DEATH!
The hottest, most rocking thing on two wheels returns! Start pumping your fists and banging your head for GHOST RIDER # 1, by writer ROB WILLIAMS (DARK WOLVERINE) and featuring the long-awaited return of superstar artist MATT CLARK (Outsiders, Superman, INHUMANS). Witness the violent birth of the all-new Ghost Rider...come to cleanse the earth in a firestorm of Blood, Oil, and Vengeance! Johnny Blaze has been chained to Hell long enough. With the world thrown into chaos in the events of FEAR ITSELF he is given a chance to rid himself of the Spirit of Vengeance forever...and he takes it. The curse is passed onto a new host but Blaze has no idea what nightmares his action has wrought upon the world. Will the new Spirit of Vengeance bring us salvation...or send this world of sinners to a flaming death?
40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


Marvel apparently released images of all the covers mentioned above save the Adams one. You can see Adams variants for some of the other books though. Aside from Ghost Rider, it looks like he's doing ones for Daredevil and Captain America as well. Is that a big deal? Whenever I think of Adams and superheroes, I always think DC ones, so it seems like him drawing for Marvel might be sort of a big deal to me. But I may just be ill-informed of matters Neal Adams.


THE MIGHTY THOR #4
Written by MATT FRACTION
Pencils & Cover by OLIVIER COIPEL
ASGARD RISES AGAINST GALACTUS! The World Eater has come for something buried deep within the heart of Fallen Asgard. As Odin leads an assault wave of gods against Galactus, a wounded Thor must contend with the Silver Surfer once more! All of which leaves Volstagg and Kid Loki in charge of the Shining City for an afternoon. What could possibly go wrong?
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


Wow, has no one ever done a Galactus tries to eat Asgard story before...? That seems kind of hard to believe, actually.


WOLVERINE & BLACK CAT: CLAWS 2 #1 (of 3)
Written by JAMES PALMIOTTI
Pencils & Cover by JOSEPH MICHAEL LINSNER
James Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Joseph M. Linsner return to right where their classic “Claws” storyline left off to bring us an all-new tale of action, intrigue and razor-sharp appendages. Two of Marvel’s most beloved and be-clawed heroes, Wolverine and Black Cat, have barely had time to catch their breath from defeating the villainous mastermind Arcade and his sidekick White Rabbit when the two evil schemers find an escape from their exile in The Savage Land, and an entryway into revenge! Watch the fur fly as these four fight it out in an all-new, no-holds-barred Claws adventure!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$3.99


I really enjoyed Lisner and Palmiotti's first miniseries, and was actually quite surprised at how much I liked it. I'm a little surprised they're doing a sequel of it instead of trying something else with some different characters, but I can't imagine this won't be worth looking at.

5 comments:

Andrei said...

Well, Neal Adams drew the X-Men for a while but I can't think of other examples of work that he's done for Marvel. I think it's a big deal, don't know if anyone else does. The fact that he's only doing variant covers kinda sucks though, as the majority of fans won't get to see his work on these issues.

Diabolu said...

C'mon guys? "The Kree-Skrull War?" One of the first modern style epic events? Drawn by Neal Adams. Truth to tell though, beyond his brief but memorable X-Men and Avengers runs, I'm drawing a blank on major Adams Marvel work. Some fill-ins and covers in the '70s, plus some advertising art in the '90s? He had such good clones in Brent Anderson and Bill Sienkiewicz in the early '80s though, and Continuity Studios graduates once littered the entire industry.

hilker said...

The advanced search page at comics.org is a great resource if you want to look up all of Adams's Marvel work.

The new Alpha Flight series was set up at the end of Chaos War, so I'm not sure it's correct to say it's launching out of Fear Itself.

Randal said...

There is no more Boom Muppet book. Fingers crossed for Marvel to pick up where Boom left off.

Eyz said...

Neil Adams?? Darn'!

And a new Ghost Rider series! Finally!
I missed the ol' flammehead!