Saturday, May 18, 2013

Marvel's August previews reviewed

It looks like Marvel's big, tent-pole crossover/event series have increased in frequency to the point that they are now over-lapping. For example, in August of this year, the Age of Ultron follow-ups and spin-offs will be in their first or second months, while the movie-inspired Infinity event is going on, and an X-Men family event (or will it be wider than that, given how many X-People are on all the Avengers teams now?)Battle of the Atom will be ramping up.

For a better idea of what Marvel's August will hold, you can check out their complete solicitations at Comics Book Resources. For some second-guessing and smart remarks, read on!


AVENGERS A.I. #2
SAM HUMPHRIES (W) • ANDRE LIMA ARAUJO (A)
Cover by DAVE MARQUEZ
ARTIST VARIANT BY ED MCGUINNESS
• The return of the Sentient Iron Man armor!
• Dimitrios -- a powerful super-intelligence with an axe to grind against humanity -- strikes...!
• What secrets does the powerful Alexis hold for the Marvel Universe? Is it your bank account balance, your email password, your secret journal entries?
• There’s nothing about your life that artificial intelligence cannot use against you! BEWARE!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99


As I probably said last month, I really like the idea of this book, that Marvel's now at the point where they can take a half-dozen or so characters with one thing in common, put them in the same book and slap "Avengers" in the title and it will sell. This one is a bunch of random robot characters. I hope it does well enough that we can get a Cat Avengers (Black Panther! Hellcat! Zabu! White Tiger! Sabretooth! That One Guy From Omega The Unknown Who Was Totally Rad!) or an Infernal Avengers (Daredevil! Devil Dinosaur! Son of Satan! Satanna! Ghost Rider!) or an Original Defenders Avengers.

I like this cover a whole lot, too. I think it's by Marquez, but I can't be sure it's not McGuinness. By the way, what the hell's an "Artist Variant"...? Sure the artists who draw the covers that aren't artist variants are also artists, aren't they...?


ENDER’S GAME GRAPHIC NOVEL TPB
Written by CHRIS YOST
Penciled by PASQUAL FERRY
Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is 6 years old, bullied, resented and alone. And he might be humanity’s only hope. Ender is recruited to the International Fleet’s child warriors in training, to fight in defense of the planet. His promise is high, and his teachers are sure he will rise to the test — if Battle School doesn’t kill him first! As young Ender rises through the ranks, he struggles to find tranquility, humanity and a connection with something greater than the brutal mechanics of war and strategy. But when he is thrust into Command School at a vastly accelerated pace, will he crack up on the road to becoming the hero that the human race so desperately needs? Sci-fi legend Orson Scott Card’s award-winning classic is brought to life! Collecting ENDER’S GAME: BATTLE SCHOOL #1-5 and ENDER’S GAME: COMMAND SCHOOL #1-5.


I believe this is a collection of the previously published adaptations, collected into a new package in time for the upcoming movie.

After the backlash sent DC's way for hiring the now notoriously homophobic Orson Scott Card to write a Superman story for them, I suppose it will be interesting to see if similar heat is directed to Marvel for this book, and if Marvel or Yost or Ferry feel the need to distance themselves from Card's beliefs.

If not, it may be worth asking why not. Was it really just something special about Superman, and the idea of a writer who doesn't believe in justice and the American way getting to write the character that rankled so many readers and retailers...? (Personally, I think Card's a odious enough individual that I wouldn't wanna read anything he wrote for any publisher, involving any character).


Hey, is that a new costume for Valkyrie? I liked her old one, and didn't really think anything was wrong with it, but I really like this one too.


GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #6
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS & NEIL GAIMAN (W) • SARA PICHELLI (A/C)
...
• The blockbuster new series hits hard as Marvel’s newest superstar Angela comes right for the Guardians!
• Round one is Gamora versus Angela…with an entire universe at stake!
• All that and comics legend Neil Gaiman joins the award-winning Ultimate Spider-Man team of Bendis and Pichelli in this one-of-a-kind comic book event!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Well, my theory was that Marvel was announcing the use of Gaiman's Angela character as cover for their introduction of the Marvel Man character into the Marvel Universe, because, for the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone at all would be interested in the Angela character (who is really only of interest as a footnote in a clash of two huge comics industry personalities), why Neil Gaiman would be interested in co-writing a Marvel space opera comic with Brian Michael Bendis and why the Frazetta-inspired, Medieval fantasy character is appearing in a sci-fi comic (i.e. she's not, but Marvel Man will be instead).

If that is Marvel's super-sneaky plan, however, they're going awfully afar with it, releasing fake solicitation info and cover images and everything.

I don't know; this doesn't annoy, anger or depress me like so many of the Big Two's more bizarre publishing decisions—it just confuses me. Seriously, the whole Angela and Gaiman at Marvel and in Guardians of the Galaxy thing just boggles my mind.

Ah well.

It is nice to see a great artist like Pichelli get such a great gig, working with one of the industry's most popular writers and the always-popular-when-he-returns Gaiman on a book that Marvel is pushing this hard.

Angela's Frazetta-ness looks even more apparent on this cover than usual, doesn't it...?

Oh, and hey, I'm not fashionista or anything, but isn't there some sort of rule about how your belt can't be bigger than your pants...?


HAWKEYE #14
MATT FRACTION (W) • Annie Wu (A)
Cover by DAVID AJA
• THAT THING THAT HAPPENED TO KATE IN THE ANNUAL IS TOTALLY FOLLOWED UP ON!
• This one has it all! Characters! Plot! Story! Dialogue! Theme! Meaning! Message! Action! A little exposition! Fire! Arrows! Criminals! Neighbors! Large bodies of water! Clients! Cops who don’t care! A system that victimizes the victims! The dog!
• In a broken town where cynicism and apathy has its claws around the throat of the good and decent, LADY HAWKEYE is the only hero you can trust!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99


I like the writing on this solicitation. Sounds promising!

Just wanted to note that here's yet another David Aja-less issue of Matt Fraction and David Aja's Hawkeye (Slow down, Marvel!), but the artist drawing it is Annie Wu, who is a) a lady (Marvel's got a coupla comics drawn by people of the female persuasion this month; I think Nicola Scott is the only female artist currently in the Distinguished Competition's employ, and who knows, that may be changing for the worse soon, as her creative partner on Earth 2 just announced his departure from the title and the publisher).

Wu previously contributed nice-looking splash pages to Hawkeye #8, each of which was meant to evoke an old-timey romance comic or paperback cover.



HUNGER #2 (of 4)
JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV (W) • LEONARD KIRK (A)
Cover by ADI GRANOV
• The fallout from AGE OF ULTRON rips open a dangerous rift in the universe!
• Prepare for a hunger so strong, that no universe is safe.
• Is this the beginning of the end?
• All the details will be revealed when Age of Ultron #10 hits stands everywhere!
• PREVIOUSLY SOLICITED UNDER THE CLASSIFIED NAME OF AGE OF ULTRON #10 UC
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


This one I just find odd. "Previously solicited under the classified name of Age of Ultron #10 UC"...? That's—that's—Well, that's just weird. Like, not only is the title classified, but it went under an assumed name for a while to protect...what? That Galacuts maybe shows up at the end of Age of Ultron or something, but even though Age of Ultron #10 is still a few issues away, Hunger is now safe to reveal it's true name to the comics-ordering public...?

This one confuses me almost as much as Neil Gaiman and Angela guest-starring in Guardians of the Galaxy...


INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #12
MARK WAID (W) • MATTEO SCALERA (A)
Cover by MUKESH SINGH
TIME TRAVEL VARIANT BY MIKE DEL MUNDO
“AGENT OF T.I.M.E.” PART 2!
• The team-up you’ve been waiting for: HULK and...BRUCE BANNER?
• In the last hours before the extinction of the dinosaurs, it’s Hulk vs. the CHRONARCHISTS!
• And who is the true TOMORROW MAN?
• Guest starring KID COLT, TWO GUN KID and RAWHIDE KID!!!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Well shit, this sure looks promising: Hulk, dinosaurs, Marvel's cowboy heroes and Mark Waid. And Hulk as Mona Lisa on one of the variants? Awesome. This is the one Marvel title I most wish was $3 instead of $4, and the one I'm looking forward to reading in trade the most at the moment (Although I still think the armor looks dub, no matter what its function!)


INFINITY #1 (of 6)
JONATHAN HICKMAN (W) • JIM CHEUNG (A)
Cover by ADAM KUBERT
Blank Variant Also Available
Design Variant by JEROME OPE√ĎA
Generals Variant by IN-HYUK LEE
Hero Variant by ARTHUR ADAMS
Hero Sketch Variant by ARTHUR ADAMS
Variant by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
Variant by SKOTTIE YOUNG
The oversized kickoff to the year’s most anticipate Blockbuster summer event, changing the way you view the Marvel Universe!
• The outbreak of war on two fronts: Earth and Space, with our heroes torn between them.
• The world-shattering return of Thanos!
• Includes material from FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: INFINITY
56 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99
Retailers: Check the Marvel Mailer for news on Infinity Launch Parties


I just wanted to call attention to this one because good God in heaven, look at all those variants! And mention of launch parties! And Marvel promoted this one on Free Comic Book Day! That's an awful lot of marketing muscles being employed to move issues of this comic (and I've gotta say, a 56 page comic for only $1 more than they charge for the 22-page Indestructible Hulk makes this sound like an incredible value, as well, although they also launched Age of Ultron with a $3 first issue before pumping the price up to $4 for the second issue).

Good for Jonathan Hickman...but the sheer number of those variant covers makes this look not only like Marvel is really getting behind this particular comic with all their might, but also like they're desperate to sell as many copies as possible...


NEW AVENGERS: BREAKOUT PROSE NOVEL MASS MARKET PAPERBACK
Written by ALISA KWITNEY
Cover by DAVID FINCH
Fantasy/romantic fiction/comics author Alisa Kwitney (A Flight of Angels, Moonburn) reveals the secret backstory of Avengers couple Hawkeye and the Black Widow! Under secret orders to assassinate the Widow, the rough-edged marksman finds himself caught up in a violent prison break that releases some of the world’s most vicious and powerful criminals. Defying his superiors, Hawkeye joins forces with the sultry Russian spy — and with a mismatched group of personalities that includes Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Captain America and Iron Man. Unexpected betrayals and shocking revelations lead the team from Manhattan’s top-security Raft prison to the untamed jungle of the Savage Land in dramatically different take on Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch’s first blockbuster NEW AVENGERS arc. Learn the sizzling backstory of your favorite big-screen heroes in this adaptation, inspired by the best of page and screen!
272 PGS./No Rating …$7.99


And here's Marvel confusing me once again. This seems like a terrible waste of Alisa Kwitney, who I would hope Marvel would either employ in the writing of comics scripts or, if she was going to spend time writing a trashy prose superhero novel, would probably be better off writing something original, or something original featuring Marvel characters, rather than novelizing one of Bendis many shitty New Avengers story arcs.

I like the bit that says it's a "dramatically different take on Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch's first blockbuster NEW AVENGERS arc." I suppose that means it will have a plot, be self-contained, have a beginning, middle and end and the character's won't all talk in the same voice...?

Because that would be cool.


S.H.I.E.L.D. BY STERANKO: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION TPB
Written by STERANKO with STAN LEE & ROY THOMAS
Penciled by STERANKO with JACK KIRBY
Cover by STERANKO
Rarely before and rarely since has comics seen a talent as innovative as Steranko. Blending together influences from Pop art to Salvador Dali and Will Eisner to Wally Wood, Steranko’s boundary-breaking style is an incomparable visual language that continues to influence and inspire storytellers decades later. Now, for the first time ever, Marvel is proud to offer the complete Steranko NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. in one volume! Collecting NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (1968) #1-3 and #5, and material from STRANGE TALES (1951) #151-168.
352 PGS./Rated T …$34.99


I'm glad to see that this is a book that exists, as Steranko's work on this book from that era is one of those runs that is always mentioned in histories of comics, but I think is also one of those runs that everyone knows about without ever actually having had the opportunity to read it (That is, Steranko's SHIELD comics have long been easier to read about than to just read).

I'm pretty sure that Marvel could probably compile a book of comparable size simply by collecting all of the Steranako/SHIELD homage covers they've published in the last 40 years, too...

YOUNG AVENGERS #9
KIERON GILLEN (W)
JAMIE MCKELVIE (A/C)
• We wanted to just write “Screaming! Screaming! Screaming!” for this solicit, but we’re told we need boring old facts. :(
• Anyway! The Young Avengers road trip across the multiverse goes proper crazy as it reaches it’s destination. It’s destination is mainly EXCITEMENT and HEARTBREAK.
• Several Young Avengers decide what to do next. The question is, whether what they do next is to be Young Avengers...
• Honestly, screaming.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99


At first glance, I thought this was another issue of Hawkeye, because of the purple logo. Hands off, Young Avengers–purple belongs to Hawkeye! (Although the Young Avengers have a Hawkeye on their team too, so maye it's cool).

2 comments:

JRC, the OWL Says Who said...

I wonder if that will be the gay version of Rawhide Kid? I know a lot people hated the two minis (I think they were poorly executed, but were also really misinterpreted too), but I'd like to see him still in play ...as it were.

Aside: Don't care for Valkyrie's new outfit as it just seems just a tad closer to a much more generic non-hero/mythological costume.

Akilles said...

I have no idea why they make the covers for Fearless Defenders look like that, but I ain`t complaining.

Also, the Neil Gaiman-Bendis team-up is cool, since it came out of the blue. Like, completely.

I`ve read agent of Shield 1-3 and 5 by Steranko. They`re not as good as I had hoped for, but they`re still interesting. You should totally borrow the book from a library.

Also, I dig the solicitation for Young Avengers.