Friday, March 20, 2015

Marvel's June previews reviewed

Marvel's Secret Wars storyline and its attendant tie-ins and crossovers will continue to dominate the publisher's output this June. I remain baffled by the event, as Marvel keeps announcing new tie-in series that appear to be ongoings, but most of which are tied in to very specific "What If?" premises or storylines from previous or particular time periods, few if any of which seem like anything more than miniseries (Marvel just doesn't seem to be calling them miniseries...?).

I kind of want to read, or at least look at, all of 'em. Well, not all of them, but a lot of them, but I'm not sure what conceivable entry point there is, exactly, nor do I know how they might ultimately be collected, since the length of all these weird-ass new series seem to be indeterminate at this point. As I can't afford to read, let's see...any Marvel comics serially, I trade-wait everything they publish (buying a few series, borrowing most from the library), so I imagine it will be a long time before I have to decide which I want to read and how.

It's just weird how weird the event, and its affects on their line, look from the outside. It appears as if Marvel editorial just asked for everyone's most insane pitches, and picked those that looked to be the potentially most profitable and a few of the most insane-looking ones.

If Marvel announced the exact nature of their June variants, and had examples to show somewhere, I missed it, but, after reading their solicits repeatedly to put this together, I finally figured out what all those weird variants with odd words beginning with the letter G referred to. I guess there's a Spider-Gwen inspired variant program, where they will have covers showing the Gwen Stacy version of various Marvel heroes, like Gwenverine, Gwen The Duck, Gwoot and so on...?

That could be hilarious or ridiculous or hildiculous...I'm eager to see them.

As always, for Marvel's complete solicitations, you can visit Comic Book Resources. Otherwise, read on...


DAREDEVIL VOL. 3: THE DAREDEVIL YOU KNOW TPB
Written by MARK WAID
Penciled by CHRIS SAMNEE
Cover by CHRIS SAMNEE
The end begins here! Mark Waid and Chris Samnee start the slow build to the shocking climax of their beloved, Eisner Award-winning run with the return of one of Matt Murdock’s oldest and (now) scariest enemies. But who? A mystery that’s been building since the very beginning starts to pay off big as Daredevil’s recent traumas have him coping in an unexpected way! Writing his own life story has forced Matt Murdock to face his darkest demons — and it’s changing him. Kirsten and Foggy don’t like the man Daredevil is becoming — and neither do the San Francisco police! As the Owl sets his machinations into motion, another old foe waits in the wings to blindside Daredevil. Matt must make some hard choices — but is he going off the deep end? Guest-starring the Stunt-Master! Collecting DAREDEVIL (2014) #11-15.
112 PGS./Rated T+ …$15.99


Say, that volume number doesn't look right...

Did Marvel honestly re-start the volume numbering of their collections of Mark Waid's Daredevil along with the re-numbered single issues? I know the publisher relaunched Daredevil by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee with a new #1 (and higher price point) for the slightest of reasons—that Matt Murdock moved from New York City to return to San Francisco—but I didn't realize they would do the same with the collections as well.

So, if I tried to recommend Mark Waid and company's Daredevil to someone, how do I do so? "By the way, there are two volume ones, two volume twos, two volume threes and maybe doubles of some other volumes; just remember that one of the volume ones comes after the last volume collecting the first volume of Waid's Daredevil run, oh and I mean 'volume' as in "volume of the series,' not volume of the collection, obviously."

Aaaa!

I had planned on catching up on the second volume—that is, the relaunched Daredevil—at some point, as I dropped it when the re-set the dial on the numbering and raised the price, but now I wonder if I'll even be able to figure it out...?


That's Ian Bertram's cover for the Chris Burnham-written (!), Ramon Villalobos-drawn E Is For Extinction, which seemingly tackles the Grant Morrison-era of The X-Men (Note the cover's homage to New X-Men). Too bad Bertram's not doing interiors too; he's a perfect guy for a book based on Frank Quitely designs and art. One interesting thing about this event is how many goddam X-Men books there are, seemingly one for every era of X-Men. I don't even like the X-Men all that much, and there are two X-Men books here I can't wait to read. (The other one's at the bottom, and is based on that horrible cartoon that introduced me to the X-Men, and made me fear and hate them...while stoking my curiosity).


DARTH VADER #6 & 7
KIERON GILLEN (W) • SALVADOR LARROCA (a)
Cover by ADI GRANOV
• The Emperor’s machinations revealed!
• Everything changes for Vader!
• The tale of Vader’s transformation from A New Hope to The Empire Strikes Back continues!
32 PGS. (each)/Rated T …$3.99 (each)
Star Wars © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved. Used under authorization. Text and illustrations for Star Wars are © 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd.


I recently listened to the audiobook version of James Luceno's novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (shut up I like listening to pyew pyew blaster noises and light saber sound effects while driving long distances is that a crime?), and, at the end of it, Obi-Wan is having second thoughts about leaving baby Luke on Tatooine, given that Anakin's last living relatives live there and it would be, like, the first place he might go looking for his son if he suspected he had one. But then the ghost of Lian Neeson assures Obs that Vader will never return to Tatooine, as it holds so much pain for him, and baby Luke is totally safe there.

But in this comci book series, Vader is on Tatooine! Did the Force ghost of Liam Neeson lie, or make a mistake?

I mentioned this at a comics shop recently, and was told by a knowledgeable man that Luceno's novel is no longer canon; only the films, the Rebels cartoon, the new Marvel Comics and a few of the newer novels count now. It's like the New 52 all over again! All is confusion!


GHOST RACERS #1
FELIPE SMITH (w) • JUAN GEDEON (a)
Cover by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
...
FURIOUS RACE FROM HELL IN A BLAZING ARENA OF HORROR!!!
• Welcome to the scorching-hot track where cursed souls race at the speed of sin, anything and everything goes and the only rule is no rule--it’s the spectacle known as the GHOST RACES; the most hellish “entertainment” known to BATTLEWORLD!
• 1st place prize: Temporary freedom from the ARENA, but what happens to the unlucky and unholy losers?
• It’s all-out, high-speed warfare among the most bizarre and vicious GHOST RIDERS of the MARVEL UNIVERSE. Expect MANY familiar SKULLS!!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99


I'm sorry, I'm not sure if I'm seeing that cover right. I think I'm overdue for an eye exam. Would you guys mind taking a look and telling me, is...is that a centaur Ghost Rider on that cover...?


GROOT #1
JEFF LOVENESS (W) • BRIAN KESINGER (a)
Cover by DECLAN SHALVEY
GWOOT VARIANT COVER BY TBA
VARIANT COVER BY TBA• For the first time ever, the most famous talking-tree-thing in the Marvel Universe is starring in his own series! You might recognize him from Guardians of the Galaxy, the biggest movie of 2014.
• When Rocket and Groot are on an intergalactic roadtrip and calamity strikes, the two get separated – and for the first time in years, Groot’s on his own!
• Written by comedic ace Jeff Loveness (Jimmy Kimmel Live!) and drawn by Marvel Comics newcomer Brian Kesinger (Disney Animation), get a front row seat for EXPLOSIONS, SPACE SHARKS, ALIENS, AND INTERGALACTIC HITCHIKING (YEAH, BABY! YOU READ THAT RIGHT.)!
• Whatever may be coming Groot’s way, one thing’s for sure -- it’s going to be a GROOT adventure!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99


Rocket, Star-Lord and now Groot? Looks like all of the Guardians of The Galaxy are getting their own books. At least, all of the ones that don't have green skin. Interesting. I guess it's like Kanye West once said, Alex Alonso doesn't care about green people.


HOUSE OF HEM
FRED HEMBECK with JIM SHOOTER (w)
FRED HEMBECK with RON WILSON, JOHN BYRNE, MICHAEL GOLDEN, AL MILGROM, JOHN BUSCEMA & MORE (a)
Cover by FRED HEMBECK
• For over thirty years, cartoonist Fred Hembeck has been poking fun at Marvel’s mightiest heroes. Now, some of his greatest works are collected in a giant-sized one-shot that’s bursting with belly laughs!
• Fred relentlessly roasts the Fantastic Four with the help of an all-star cast of artists!
• Fred wipes out the Marvel Universe in the tale they said couldn’t be published (and almost wasn’t)!
• Even Spider-Man and the Hulk are no match for Hembeck’s trademark wit!
• Plus: a cornucopia of side-splitting short strips from the pages of Marvel Age — and an all-new introduction by the man himself!
• Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR ROAST, FRED HEMBECK DESTROYS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN DIGITAL COMIC #16 — and material from HULK ANNUAL ’99; and MARVEL AGE #50, #52, #54-55, #69, #97, #122-123 and #130-131.
104 PGS./Rated T+ …$7.99


That's a very cheap price point for a book that big, so I'm assuming this has staples, ads and no spine, being more of a huge-ass comic book than a comic book book. I'll probably get it anyway though, as I can't imagine it will reappear with a spine later.


HOWARD THE DUCK: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL. 1 TPB
Written by STEVE GERBER
Penciled by VAL MAYERIK, FRANK BRUNNER, JOHN BUSCEMA, GENE COLAN, SAL BUSCEMA & MORE
Cover by FRANK BRUNNER
Get the full story of how Marvel’s most notorious movie star became trapped in a world he never made! Howard the Duck takes an adventure into fear when he’s plucked from Duckworld and finds himself on Earth, bill to proboscis with the melancholy muck-monster Man-Thing! Stuck here on a planet of hairless apes, the furious fowl forges a future for himself in, of all places, Cleveland. But the would-be Master of Quack Fu will have his wings full hanging out with Spider-Man — and waging “waaaugh” with madcap menaces like the Space Turnip, the Cookie Creature, the Beaver and Doctor Bong. Will that earn him a spot on the Defenders? Better yet, Howard for president! Collecting FEAR #19, MAN-THING (1974) #1, HOWARD THE DUCK (1976) #1-16 and ANNUAL #1, MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #12, and material from GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #4-5.
456 PGS./Rated T+ …$34.99


Now I really regret not picking up The Essential Howard The Duck immediately upon release, rather than putting it on my "To Buy" list. If I knew Marvel and DC would start phasing out their Essential and Showcase Presents collections, I probably would have bought them all upon the week of release and just hoarded them until I could find time to read them.


MS. MARVEL #16
G. WILLOW WILSON (w) • ADRIAN ALPHONA (a)
COVER BY KRIS ANKA
•When the world is about to end, do you still keep fighting?
•From the moment Kamala put on her costume, she’s been challenged, but nothing has prepared her for this: the Last Days of the Marvel Universe.
•Fists up, let’s do this, Jersey City.
•Plus a VERY special guest appearance fans have been clamoring for!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99


Leave Ms. Marvel alone, Secret Wars!

Oh hey, Adrian Alphona's back. That's cool.


OLD MAN LOGAN #2
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (w) • ANDREA SORRENTINO (a/C)
GWENVERINE VARIANT COVER BY CHRIS SAMNEE
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
• He may be an Old Man, but never before has the world needed Logan as much as it does now.
• The people he loved have become mere memories. The world that he loved has decayed, becoming a festering Wasteland.
• But in a world devoid of heroes, even someone who is the best there is at what he does may find themselves overmatched by evil.
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99


Huh. Bendis picking up a ball Mark Millar left. I haven't seen that since...Ultimate X-Men, I guess. Which is to say, forever ago.


RUNAWAYS #1NOELLE STEVENSON (w) • SANFORD GREENE (a/C)
VARIANT COVER BY PHIL NOTO
• The best and brightest teens from all corners of Battleworld are chosen to attend a prestigious school on the planet’s capital!
• But what does the new class do when they discover the school’s beloved headmaster is actually a diabolical super villain? RUN AWAY!
• A SECRET WARS story like none other from the remarkable minds of Noelle Stevenson (LUMBERJANES) and Sanford Greene (UNCANNY AVENGERS)!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Stevenson is such a great artist that I get a little disappointed when I see a comic she's working on where she's not also drawing it, even when the artist involved is also an awesome artist, like Sandford Greene, for example.

I'm particularly curious about this weird-looking Secret Wars tie-in series, as it has the name of a Marvel comic I liked a lot, but the cast seems missing. Well, I'm pretty sure that's Molly on the above cover, but I don't recognize any other characters, and the Phil Noto variant appears to show Valeria Richards on the cover.

Meanwhile, Nico and Karolina are on the covers for the all-female Avengers Secret Wars tie-in book, A-Force.


SECRET WARS #3 (OF 8)
JONATHAN HICKMAN (w) • ESAD RIBIC (a)
Cover by ALEX ROSS
VARIANT cover by ESAD RIBIC
Connecting cover by SIMONE BIANCHI
VARIANT cover by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT COVER BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
DR. GWENDGE VARIANT COVER BY NICK BRADSHAW
VARIANT COVER BY BOB MCLEOD
ALL THE DEVILS DANCE!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

SECRET WARS #4 (OF 8)
JONATHAN HICKMAN (w) • ESAD RIBIC (a)
Cover by ALEX ROSS
Connecting cover by SIMONE BIANCHI
VARIANT COVER by ERICA HENDERSON
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT COVER BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
AGWENGERS VARIANT COVER BY CHRIS SAMNEE
VARIANT COVER BY ESAD RIBIC
VARIANT COVER BY Jim Starlin
ALL THE ANGELS SING!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


"All the devils dance!" and "All the angels sing!"...?

You know, I don't think it would be possible for Marvel to tell us less about these issues. I mean, sure, they could have just put "CLASSIFIED!" in there instead, but then, that at least says something; namely that there is content in this book, but we can't tell you what it is, as its surprise nature is what makes it noteworthy.

Those meaningless metaphors though? They say less than nothing, poetically: Not so much "something secret happens" as "something vague, nebulous and ultimately meaningless happens"...


1602 WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #1
MARGUERITE BENNETT with KIERON GILLEN (w)
STEPHANIE HANS with MARGUERITE SAUVAGE (a)
Cover by STEPHANIE HANS
...
GWENGELA VARIANT COVER BY TBA
• In the altered realms of BATTLEWORLD, Angela and Sera are WITCH HUNTERS, the scourges of King James’ England, 1602.
• In a land beset by magic and monstrosity, they seek a new and seductive evil—not witchbreed, but deal-making FAUSTIANS, who bargain with ancient creatures for unnatural power!
• Moral ambiguity? Fancy allusions? Marguerite making the most of that English degree?
• – try 1602 WITCH HUNTER ANGELA #1!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Okay, that's kind of clever. They've stuck the Neil Gaiman-created—and gifted to Marvel—character Angela in the setting of Gaiman's best-known Marvel work, 1602.


SPIDER-WOMAN #8
DENNIS HOPELESS (w) • JAVIER RODRIGUEZ (a/C)
• A knockdown drag-out bout between Spider-Woman and a dangerous new foe – LADY CATERPILLAR!
• AND Spider-Woman’s first joint-investigation with Ben Urich comes to a close!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


I just read the first issue of this series last night—and by "the first issue" I actually mean #5, because when deciding whether to re-number a series or not, Marvel apparently figures out which would be most logical, and then does the opposite—and was really surprised by how much I liked it. And I liked it purely on the basis of the quality, as I have no real affection for or even interest in the character. It was just really well-written, really well-drawn, all-around well-done comic book making.


If I were artist Erica Henderson, I would definitely pick Invisible Woman as one, because I am lazy and she looks particularly easy to draw.


X-MEN ‘92 #1
CHRIS SIMS & CHAD BOWERS (w) • SCOTT KOBLISH (a)
Cover by PEPE LARRAZ
...
THE X-GWEN VARIANT COVER BY RYAN STEGMAN
...
• Everyone’s favorite version of the X-Men from the ’90s is back!
• When Baron Kelly charges the Clear Mountain Project and it’s mysterious new director with “mutant rehabilitation,” it’s up to the X-Men to investigate!
• PLUS: Free Range Sentiels?!?
40 PGS./Rated T …$4.99


I'm pretty excited to see that Marvel hired one person that readers can rest assured has watched, re-watched and thought long and hard about every single episode of the X-Men cartoon to handle this series. If you only know Sims' writing from Comics Alliance, he has written or co-written a whole mess of comics, although the only one I've read (because I don't do digital, because I am an old man) is the Oni Press-published original graphic novel Down, Set, Fight. Which was awesome. His co-writer on that book was...let's see...Chad Bowers. Oh good. This should be pretty awesome then, too.

As I've said about Marvel's Star Wars books previously, I hope they incorporate musical greeting card technology into this book, so that when you open the cover the theme song starts playing.

3 comments:

Saint Godard said...

That Morrison riff Bertram and Burnham are working up looks perfect.

Bertram drew my fave single ish of the year to date, Zero #15, so I'm *definitely* gonna check this.

I mean, Beak...!

Bram said...

Not only is that a centaur Ghost Rider, he's got guns.

Starpaw said...

http://comicsalliance.com/ghost-racers-designs-juan-gedeon/