Saturday, January 18, 2014

Marvel's April previews reviewed

All-New Marvel Now! Price Watch: I counted fourteen comics at the $2.99 price point in the publisher's April 2014 solicitations—Hawkeye, Loki: Agent of Asgard, Ms. Marvel, Nightcrawler, She-Hulk, double-shipping Avengers A.I., Avengers Undercover and Thunderbolts, the first issue of a two-issue miniseries entitled Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude, and the two Marvel Universe titles adapted from the cartoon adaptations (and not set in the Marvel Universe).

I suppose that's enough that someone like me who refuses to buy $3.99 comics could still find a pretty wide variety of comics to purchase from the publisher in any given month, but of those, only Hawkeye and maybe She-Hulk (depending on its quality) are ones that will be on my pull-list, and there are a whole mess of comics I would happily, enthusiastically, excitedly buy for $3-to-$3.50 in this month's solicitations that I will instead end up reading in a trade from the library in about six months to a year instead.

Ah well. For the complete solicitations, this is a fine place to click. For me droning on about those solicitations, you're already at the ideal place.

All-New DOOP #1 (of 5)
Peter Milligan (W)
INTERIOR ART BY DAVID LAFUENTE WITH LAURA ALLRED (A)
Cover by Michael Allred
...
Living in the margins of the X-Men, Doop has freaked out X-Men and readers alike. However, when he gets deeply involved in X-Men business (and in the personal life of Kitty Pryde!), Doop will be thrust into the spotlight. This adventure will prove that Doop is, in fact, the most powerful X-Man! Written by co-creator Peter Milligan (X-FORCE), covers by co-creator Mike Allred (X-FORCE, FF) and innovative interior art by David Lafuente (AVENGERS, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN)!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Maybe the perfect example of a comic book that should not be $3.99.

That said, I like this character and all of the creators—right down to the colorist—enough that this is a trade I'll wait for and probably actually buy, rather than just borrow from the library, so Marvel will still make some money off me. Eventually. I would really rather read it once a month on a Wednesday evening for five months though...

ALL-NEW GHOST RIDER #2
FELIPE SMITH (W) • TRADD MOORE (A/C)
...
“ENGINES OF VENGEANCE” PART 2
• ROBBIE REYES has been given a new awesome power but can the teen handle it or will it drive him to a path of destruction?
• Who owns the HAUNTED RACE CAR and what will they do to get it back?
• What are the PINK PILLS and who is behind their creation?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

That cover—and the knowledge that the person who drew it is drawing all the art under it, too—plus the words "HAUNTED RACE CAR" are really all it would have taken to get me to buy this for $3.

Hey, I wonder if Robbie is related to Jaime...?


ALL-NEW ULTIMATES #1
MICHEL FIFFE (W) • AMILCAR PINNA (A)
Cover BY DAVID NAKAYAMA
...
THE NEXT GENERATION OF ULTIMATES IS HERE!!!
• SPIDER-MAN, BLACK WIDOW, KITTY PRYDE, BOMBSHELL, CLOAK & DAGGER officially unite to tackle the vicious, rampant crime wave overtaking Hell’s Kitchen!
• DIAMONDBACK leads the teen gang, the SERPENT SKULLS, as they run West Midtown’s drug and weapons trade & deal in murderous citywide terror!
• Detective Brigid O’Reilly and her anti-gang unit are on the hunt for a serial mask killer called SCOURGE; they get close but not without some casualties!
• Written by Michel Fiffe, the creator of the acclaimed indie series COPRA
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

While this looks a lot more like Ultimate Young Avengers, it also looks and sounds pretty awesome, and I would really be interested in checking this series out. That said, I am soooo lost when it comes to the Ultimate Marvel Universe, I wouldn't know where to begin.

I stropped reading Ultimate Spider-Man, the last of the Ultimate books I was still reading regularly, shortly after the storyline in which Magneto flooded Manhattan in another comic book. I figured I would start reading it in in trades with The World According to Peter Parker, but the only trades I've read since were a few out-of-order Ultimates things by Mark Millar and the first volume of the Miles Morales Spider-Man book. At this point, I would need an extremely detailed checklist to catch up...and I wouldn't buy this in single issues anyway, because come on, $4?  Who can afford to read these damn things? Certainly not comics critics...

DAREDEVIL #1.50
MARK WAID (W) JAVIER RODRIGUEZ (A)
Cover by PAOLO RIVERA
• Celebrate Daredevil’s fiftieth anniversary with a look at the future!
• A special standalone story that takes place on Matt Murdock’s 50th birthday. How has his life changed? Who lives? Who dies? See if you can spot all the clues the Daredevil creative team has planted for the year 2014!
• Plus: Stories by special guest creators from Murdock’s murky past! Fifty years without fear have all lead up to this!
40 PGS./ONE SHOT/Rated T+ …4.99

Mathematically speaking, there's no real difference between 1.50 and 1.5 or 1.500, is there...?

This looks potentially fun; I hope all of those names in graffiti are contributing the stories by special guest creators from Murdock's murky past. And I hope Bendis is drawing his own story.

I imagine this book's contents will end up in a Daredevil trade...if the creative team of Daredevil isn't changing though, I wonder if they will renumber the trades when they start collecting these stories of Matt Murdock moving from New York City back to San Francisco, with a new Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 1, or keep the numbering they've already established...?

Wow, that Deadpool #27 cover sure is something to behold. This is apparently an anniversary issue of some sort, taking the piss out of DC's TEC #27, but also accomplishing the remarkable feat of rounding up every writer who has ever written Deadpool, including Christopher Priest, whose name I unfortunately never see in these solicitations anymore.


ELEKTRA #1
Haden Blackman (W)
Michael Del Mundo (A/C)
...
Witness the beautifully violent return of the world’s deadliest assassin. A life spent in silent pain has led Elektra to the precipice of despair. As she prepares to shed her past and take her next step, everything you know about her will change! Death is no escape, but she will find her way as a new option opens up that will take Elektra to places no other Marvel character can go.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

The latest go at an Elektra solo series is notable for its creative team: Former Batgirl co-writer Haden Blackman and cover artist extraordinare Michael Del Mundo. I'm not terribly interested in the character at all, but this could turn out to be one of those interesting, "Hawkeyzed" types of comics Andrew Wheeler was talking about recently.


Maggie Simpson, I think.


IRON FIST #1
KAARE ANDREWS (W)
KAARE ANDREWS (A/C)
...
Animal VARIANT COVER BY MIKE DEL MUNDO
Young Variant by Skottie Young
Blank Cover Variant Also Available
High above the city, in a multi-million dollar penthouse, Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist, “The Living Weapon,” is haunted by the consequences of choosing death over life. A message from Iron Fist’s mystical homeland of K’un-Lun brings Danny back to his blood soaked origin of betrayal and vengeance! Revenge is a weapon that cuts both ways.... Will Danny survive the bloodletting? A one-of-a-kind kung fu action epic directed by the inimitable Kaare Andrews!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99

Like here's a prime example of a Marvel comic book I can't wait to read, but $4...? Given the creator and the character, I have to assume that this is something of a limited series being packaged (or sold, I guess) as an ongoing series, similar to the just-concluded Young Avengers, and thus trade-waiting probably is the way to go with it anyway.


INHUMAN #1
CHARLES SOULE (W)
JOE MADUREIRA (A/C)
...
RESOLICITATION!
The newest super heroes of the Marvel Universe are born! A cloud of Terrigen mist is moving around the world turning regular people into Inhumans with amazing powers. But not everyone thinks this is a good thing. Discover the secret history of the Marvel Universe and get in at the ground floor of the next big Marvel franchise!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Joe Madureira...? Are you sure?

MIGHTY AVENGERS #9
AL EWING (W) • GREG LAND (A/C)
Captain America Variant by TBA
• The Blue Marvel faces a nightmare from the depths of the Neutral Zone - and the depths of his past!
• Meanwhile, Ronin can’t hide from the Deathwalkers any longer...
• ...or from the readers! This ish - the mask comes off!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …3.99

If it's Snake Eyes, I promise I'll start reading this book.

MOON KNIGHT #2
WARREN ELLIS (W) • Declan Shalvey (A/C)
...
• The best new comic of 2014 continues with a story that has to be experienced to be believed!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Based on the creative team and what I've seen of Ellis' Moon Knight recently in that Secret Avengers trade, I have no doubt this will be one of the better Marvel launches of the year. But I think you have to at least wait until your first issue is out and someone's read it before you can declare a series "the best new comic of 2014."


NIGHTCRAWLER #1
CHRIS CLAREMONT (W) • TODD NAUCK (A)
Cover by CHRIS SAMNEE
...
Animal Variant by TBA
NIGHTCRAWLER IS BACK!
Newly-returned from the afterlife, veteran X-Man Kurt Wagner finds himself in a world that’s a far cry from the one he left: Professor Xavier is dead, Cyclops is on the run, and the X-Men are divided. But determined not to let his new lease on life go to waste, Nightcrawler hits the road alongside Wolverine, eager to right some wrongs and safeguard the future mutantkind…and he’s going to do it by the means he loves most: swashbuckling, lady-charming and—of course—BAMFing!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …2.99

I could not have come up with a less likely creative team if you asked me to imagine one, despite the fact that Claremont has written Nightcrawler for something like 89 years and Todd Nauck probably draws a pretty good Nightcrawler. Neither of those guys would have been on my radar for a new Marvel comic in 2014, let alone working together on this book.

It's worth noting that the similarity between this solicitation copy and that of Amazing Spider-Man (below); I suppose a team-up with those two will happen sooner rather than later.

That's a pretty cute cover Samnee put together; I do hope the Animal Variant features an actual worm in a Nightcrawler costume.

ORIGINAL SIN #0
MARK WAID (W) • JIM CHEUNG (A/C)
IT’S THE PROLOGUE TO THE BIGGEST MARVEL SERIES OF THE SUMMER!
WHO IS THE WATCHER? That’s what Nova is wondering after his latest brush with the moon-dwelling enigma he’s encountered before! But what he discovers will have a profound effect on the young hero, as well as priming the pump for the most cataclysmic event in Marvel history! WHAT DID HE SEE?
40 PGS./ONE SHOT/Rated T+ …3.99

Well, is it the biggest Marvel series of the summer or the most cataclysmic event in Marvel history? Make up your mind, solicitation!

I'm not sure how effective "Who is The Wathcher?" is as a tagline—maybe something like, I don't know, "Who Watches The Watcher?" would be better...?—because the last time I saw him, it was in a comic where he had a name known to everyone to just about everyone, a house on the moon that Ant-Man and the Future Foundation were crashing in, and a wife or girlfriend. Aside from being giant and living on the moon, there didn't seem to be anything particularly mysterious about him.

Since I complain so much about Marvel's pricing, do note that at 40 pages (at least eight of which are likely ads), this is a rare example of the publisher offering more than 22 pages of content for the higher, $3.99 price. Unless there's just like eight pages of Marvel Saga prose pages, Official Handbook of The Marvel Universe write-ups of Uatu and Nova, and black and white reprints of Golden Age Marvelman comics in the back to pad it out...

SHE-HULK #3
CHARLES SOULE (W) • JAVIER PULIDO (A)
Cover by KEVIN P. WADA
...
• We the people find you DOOM!
• When the son of Victor Von Doom seeks extradition, Jen Walters will go to the ends of the earth for Justice!
• All this, and Matt Murdock too as Charles Soule (THUNDERBOLTS) and Javier Pulido (HAWKEYE) continue 2014’s sleeper hit!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Again, you can't call something a "hit" before you've released it and have some information by which to assess its performance. You certainly can't tell what kind of hit it's going to be, although in this case Marvel is fairly certain this will be a comic book that sells surprisingly well despite the fact that it receives no real promotion and no one talks about it at all. Weird.

I'm oddly split between loving and hating the new costume.

THE SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #12
NICK SPENCER (W) • STEVE LIEBER (A)
Cover by RON WIMBERLY
Voted one the best mainstream superhero comicS of 2013 by THE ONION A.V. CLUB!
• Only Five villains stand between New York and total chaos.
• The problem? Those villains are the Superior Foes.
• Spencer, Lieber, and utter chaos on the streets of Manhattan. Buy it.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Peculiar strategy. The book is already at cancellation level, so to help save it—and they should; it's their best book at the moment, which is saying a lot, considering the relatively high quality of the line, which publishes books like Hawkeye and FF—they're telling readers in a solicitation to "Buy it," while raising the price to $3.99, which will make it 33% less inviting to new readers, and push away some current readers.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #31
Dan Slott (W) • Giuseppe Camuncoli (A/C)
• SERIES FINALE! The end of an era! A tale of triumph and tragedy! The GREEN GOBLIN unmasked! A hero reborn! But what does this mean for OTTO OCTAVIUS?!
• There’s only one man who can save us from the Goblin Nation… PETER PARKER: The one, true SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN!
64 PGS./Rated T …5.99

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
Dan Slott (W) • Humberto Ramos (A/C)
The Greatest Super Hero of All Time RETURNS!
The world may have changed since Spidey’s been gone, but so has Peter Parker. This is a man with a second chance at life, and he’s not wasting a moment of it. Same Parker Luck, new Parker attitude. Putting the “friendly” back in the neighborhood, the “hero” back into “super hero,” and the “amazing” back into “Spider-Man!” Also returning: The recharged and reenergized ELECTRO!
64 PGS./Rated T+ …$5.99

What's this? Peter Parker? Returning as Spider-Man? I am shocked! Shocked, I say!

I do hope to read this whole Freaky Friday(...with a twist!) storyline someday, if I can figure out the reading order (I imagine it will start in a trade of Amazing Spider-Man, and then continue into all of the ones labeled "Superior Spider-Man"...?).

"Greatest Super Hero of All Time"...? Pfft. Get in line behind Batman and Superman, Spidey. "The Third Greatest Super Hero of All Time RETURNS!" lacks the zing, I know, so maybe the solicitation copywriter shoulda just stuck with "One of the Greatest Superheroes of All Time" or "Marvel's Greatest Super Hero..."

(Say, I wonder if this means they'll be relaunching The Superior Foes of Spider-Man as The Amazing Foes of Spider-Man...? Provided it lasts another month of four, of course.)

ULTIMATE FF #1
JOSHUA HALE FIALKOV (W) • MARIO GUEVARA (A)
Cover BY MIKE McKONE
...
• The Future Foundation is all that stands between us and COMPLETE AND UTTER DOOM.
• Sue Storm, Tony Stark, Machine Man and Sam Wilson face the ONCOMING DESTRUCTION.
• A mysterious new member will join their ranks, whether they like it or not. Hint: They will not.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Mainly interesting for the weird-ass line-up, this is another book I'd be interested in checking out in trade someday...if I had any idea how to catch up prior to its release. I have to assume its follows rather closely on events from the various Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimates comics and the miniseries set in that universe...

I don't care for the costumes. The colors I could maybe get used to, but the facing Fs just look like a stylized A.


Hey, Dr. Doom looks pretty good in blue...

3 comments:

JohnF said...

Doom 2099

Robert Jazo said...

Considering the amount of hyperbole found in comic book solicitations, declaring him the greatest hero of all time seems rather restrained. At least Spidey can make a run at the title.

Nacho said...

About the reading order of Superior Spider-Man, the hardcover includes the last numbers of Amazing.