Saturday, September 19, 2015

Marvel's December previews reviewed

I was a little surprised to see that there was another Inhumans book launching in December, All-New Inhumans, which will join the in-progress Uncanny Inhumans. Obviously Marvel has been pushing the Inhumans concept for some time now, and maybe I'm not the best person to comment on the subject of Inhumans popularity (I've only ever liked their dog), but two Inhumans books seems like at least one too many to me.

The publisher is in a particularly weird place right now, having canceled just about everything to make way for Secret Wars and then relaunching everything, even books that were only a few issues old, with new #1s, but, with the Inhumans franchise, it seems like they're in a perpetual state of relaunching. Maybe I just don't pay close enough attention (although I do read the solicitations every month), but I never really hear anyone talking about any Inhumans comics; I can't name a creator that's been heavily involved, or a particular storyline or event that garnered attention. In fact, it seems like that long-ago Marvel Knight series by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee was the last time I actually heard any buzz about an Inhumans comic.

Nevertheless, Marvel will now have two ongoing Inumans titles as of December, not to mention a solo book for Inhuman Karnak (and written by Warren Ellis, no less!), plus various characters will be appearing in various books, from A-Force to Uncanny Avengers.

The size of the Inhumans franchise is nowhere near that of the Guardians of The Galaxy, another unlikely franchise that doesn't even seem like it should be a franchise, but, to put things in context, here's the shape of Marvel's franchise books as of December of this year.

AVENGERS: 4 (A-Force, All-New, All-Different Avengers, New Avengers, Uncanny Avengers)

X-MEN: 3 (All-New X-Men, Extraordinary X-Men, UNCANNY X-MEN, plus 1 solo title in All-New Wolverine)

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: 2 (Guardians of Infinity, Guardians of The Galaxy, 3 solo books in Drax, Star-Lord and Venom: Spaceknight)

INHUMANS: 2 (All-New Inhumans and Uncanny Inhumans, plus 1 solo book in Karnak).

FANTASTIC FOUR: 0

So while Marvel has been trimming down its ungainly Avengers and X-Men lines to something more manageable, they've also been publishing way more Guardians and Inhumans books than one might think are even sustainable. (Meanwhile, there are team books featuring The Ultimates and The Illuminati, but not The Defenders, Champions or Invaders! What a world, what a world...)

For a full listing of what Marvel intends to publish in December of this year, click here; if you've already read those, then hey, stick around here and let's talk about them, huh?


A-FORCE #1
G. WILLOW WILSON (w) • JORGE MOLINA (A/C)
...
A-FORCE, ASSEMBLE! From the ashes of Battleworld, Marvel's newest hero SINGULARITY has risen and entered the Marvel Universe. But she didn't make the journey alone. To combat the most fearsome threats from across the multiverse, Singularity will summon the world's mightiest team of Avengers to her side: SHE-HULK. CAPTAIN MARVEL. DAZZLER. MEDUSA. NICO MINORU. Together, they are A FORCE to be reckoned with!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


I'm not entirely sure I understand what the solicitation is saying; are the heroes that Singularity is summoning the heroes from the "patchwork" world of Battleworld, or the "real" versions from the prime Marvel Universe (The "616" Universe)...? The Dazzler design seems to be the one from recent issues of Uncanny X-Men, rather than the first issue of A-Force (er, the last first issue of A-Force), while Nico looks way off of her 616 designs. And the bit about "fearsome threats from across the multiverse" makes this sound like the heroes might be from across the multiverse, and that this might be sort of Exiles-y, no?

In addition to her new style, I'm not too terribly comfortable separating Nico Minoru from the rest of The Runaways characters, either.


CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE #5 (of 5)
Jeph LOEB (W) • Tim Sale (A/C)
•This is it! The long awaited finale to Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's epic Captain America story!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #4
NICK SPENCER (W) • PAUL RENAUD (A/C)
• Danger on Wall Street...
• It's the venomous return of THE SERPENT SQUAD!!!
32 PGS./Rated T ...$3.99

Ugh, putting the titles and cover images right next to each other like that doesn't help White seem any less...poorly-timed, does it?



CARNAGE #3
GERRY CONWAY (W) • MIKE PERKINS (A)
Cover by MIKE DEL MUNDO
VARIANT COVER BY YASMINE PUTRI
MARVEL '92 VARIANT BY MIKE DEODATO
• Trapped down in a mineshaft with Carnage, the situation for the FBI's symbiote squad gets HAIRY when John Jameson loses his cool.
• You won't want to miss th -- AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


I am interested in a Carnage vs. Man-Wolf comic book. Don't judge me!


DAREDEVIL #1 & 2
CHARLES SOULE (w) • RON GARNEY (a/C)
...
Back in black and on his home turf, Daredevil begins again in New York City as a new enemy emerges. Meanwhile his alter ego, Matt Murdock, is on a new side of the law in the District Attorney's office. Fighting crime in the shadows, prosecuting bad guys in the light, it's a whole new chapter for our man without fear -- including the arrival of the devil's advocate. Welcome to Hell, Blindspot.
32 PGS. (each)/Rated T+ ...$3.99 (each)


I like the creative team individually and I like the costume (the Netflix series really should have used something closer to that, given the fact that Daredevil spent some 11-12 episodes in black; his dumb, red, Ant-Man-looking costume in the last episode or so was literally the only thing about the series I didn't like...even the Ben Affleck movie had a better Daredevil costume in it).

I've no idea how they're going to bring DD back to NYC, but then, I haven't been following the series after the first trade set in San Francisco, and I imagine it's possible Secret Wars will include some minor reboots, like un-disbarring Matt Murdock...? I don't know; I guess we'll see.


Say, should I know who this "Blindspot" person is...? Is he the guy on the cover who looks like a half-undressed Gambit...?


GUARDIANS OF INFINITY #1
DAN ABNETT & JASON LATOUR (w)
CARLO BARBERI & JIM CHEUNG (a)
COVER BY JIM CHEUNG
...
WHO ARE THE GUARDIANS 1000?!
Defending the galaxy is a good gig, but Drax isn't thrilled with the combat hours (not enough of them) and Rocket isn't thrilled with the compensation (not enough of it). They're off on an adventure to supplement both, and Groot is happy to come along. But instead of the perks they want, they're about to get more trouble than they can handle. Good thing the Guardians 3000 are on hand to help! But what about...THE GUARDIANS 1000??!!
Also in this issue, Latour and Cheung tell a one-off story of Ben Grimm and Rocket Raccoon, stuck on a planet where culture is based on Earth-style professional wrestling...but the stakes are life and death! THIS AIN'T KAYFABE, BROTHER!
40 PGS./Rated T ...$4.99


Oh good, another new #1 for a Guardians of The Galaxy-related book. That's exactly what that franchise, maybe the hardest to read in trade of anything Marvel's publishing these days, needs! This, by the way, isn't the relaunch Tom Spurgeon was talking about the other day when he wrote that "The whole thing seems exhausting to me...It's like carrying an umbrella when you know it's going to stop raining in 120 seconds." That comment was actually regarding the relaunch of Guardians of The Galaxy; this is apparently the launch of a sister title featuring a new-ish team that is made up of many of the same characters as Guardians of The Galaxy...?


It had to happen!


GWENPOOL SPECIAL #1
GERRY DUGGAN, CHARLES SOULE, CHRISTOPHER HASTINGS, VARIOUS (W)
DANILO BEYRUTH, LANGDON FOSS, GURIHIRU, VARIOUS (A)
COVER BY KRIS ANKA
...
• AN ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL!
• She-Hulk throws a holiday party and invites the entire Marvel U!
• Deadpool teams up with both Hawkeyes -- Kate and Clint -- to...stop a pickpocket?!
• Ms. Marvel takes on her most dangerous threat yet: the holiday blues!
• And then there's the reason for the season(al special): GWENPOOL!
• Yup, you read that right -- Gwen. Pool. C'mon, you know you're curious.
50 PGS./Rated T ...$5.99


That's a hell of a name for a holiday special...


HERCULES #2
DAN ABNETT (W) • LUKE ROSS (A)
Cover by CLAY MANN
...
• Creatures of ancient myth still linger in the world, but they are on the brink of extinction. The Modern Age has no place for them. But Hercules has moved with the times--only he can protect them against the crushing weight of the future. Except he is part of the old age too, born in ancient times before the risk of civilization, the world's first super hero, a champion through the ages. If he fails in this struggle, he dies with them. Forever.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


Well that doesn't sound very funny at all.


INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #4
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (W) • DAVID MARQUEZ (A/C)
VARIANT COVER BY YASMINE PUTRI
• Tony is knee deep in trouble from enemies both old and new. But here comes MARY JANE WATSON AND HIS WORLD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


I like Putri's variant cover (above) over Marquez's. Putting MJ in an Iron Man comic is intriguingly weird, although I think this is an instance where it would be more dramatic had Marvel not re-booted the Spider-Man franchise, as putting Spidey's ex-wife in notorious lothario Tony Stark's orbit would likely incense Spidey more than putting his ex-girlfriend there, and I'm not sure if or how MJ and Tony's history has been affected by the Spider-Man re-boot. Like, she lived in Avengers Tower/Tony's Place with her husband for a while during the "Iron Spidey" phase of Spidey's career, leading up to Civil War and, as I recall, she wasn't that crazy about Stark during that time.

I'm pretty out-of-the-loop when it comes to Iron Man, having not read his book since Matt Fraction's run ended, and only seen him in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers and New Avengers and the crossover/event stories.

I suppose I'll be reading this in trade some day. I know I talk a lot of trash about Bendis, but his comics are usually worth reading. He's probably the best, most-talented writer who regularly produces bad comics working regularly for one of the Big Two.


PATSY WALKER, AKA HELLCAT! #1
KATE LETH (w) • BRITTNEY WILLIAMS (A/C)
Variant by SOPHIE CAMPBELL
Variant by GEORGE PERÉZ
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
Variant by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Hip-Hop Variant by JAVIER PULIDO
PATSY WALKER has managed to escape her past, her enemies and Hell itself (literally), but nothing compares to job hunting in New York City! Between trying to make rent and dodging (literal) bullets, Patsy barely has time to deal with her mother's exploitative romance comics about her childhood resurfacing, much less how they start to interfere with her work and dating life. As she goes from living a double life to a triple, what the Hell is Patsy Walker supposed to do? Raise your (literal) claws for PATSY WALKER, AKA HELLCAT!
32 PGS./Rated T ...$3.99


I like Patsy Walker. And I like, no love, the work of, let's see...all of the variant cover artists listed above (with the possible exception of Christopher, who is just doing the goofy action figure variant they do for so many Marvel comics now), so it looks like if I buy this series it will definitely be in trade, where all those variants are likely going to show up. I mean, I'd be comfortable passing over George PEreze for Sophie Campbell, maybe, but you can't make me choose between those two and Marguerite Sauvage and Javier Pulido. I mean, that's some real Sophie's Choice shit.*



RED WOLF #1
NATHAN EDMONDSON (w) • DALIBOR TALAJIC (a)
COVER BY JEFFREY VEREGGE
...
ONCE UPON A TIMELY IN THE WEST...
Frontier boomtown Timely has more than its share of scoundrels: it takes a hero to keep them in line. Red Wolf -- the Cheyenne who crossed the desert and stood up to Mayor Wilson Fisk in Secret Wars' 1872 -- is the only man who can fill fallen Sheriff Steve Rogers' boots. As an outsider and an honest man, Red is going to need all his wits, and both his fists, to serve and protect. The tale of how Red Wolf wins the West starts in 1872, and will take him farther than he could ever imagine!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


I like the first cover 1,000 times more than the second one. It looks like this is going to be set in the year/universe of 1872...? Is that so? If so, it's interesting, as neither DC nor Marvel really like to set ongoings outside of their core universes, as they don't seem to last that long (Well, I guess DC's Earth 2 has been going on for a few years now, but it also seems like it's been in a constant state of relaunch for much of those few years too).

Is there a reason we're not supposed to like Nathan Edmondson? I feel like there is, but I don't know what that reason is, as I've only heard people talking about the fact that he is or has done something bad, but not what the bad thing is.


SPIDEY #1
ROBBIE THOMPSON (w) • NICK BRADSHAW (a/C)
...
Think you know everything about Peter Parker's early days? Think again. It's action, adventure and a rip-roaring romp in classic Marvel style as SPIDEY swings onto shelves this winter! Featuring adventures from throughout the web-slinging wonder's younger years, it's a return to the days of overdue homework, not knowing how to talk to girls (or anybody, really) and just a plenty of danger. Witness some of Spidey's earliest tangles with the likes of DOC OCK, SANDMAN and a host of other unexpected guests!
32 PGS./Rated T ...$3.99


Like books set in alternate dimensions, book's set in the past of a character don't always sell so hot either. On the other hand, this is Spider-Man, and that's about as perfect a creative team as one could hope for on a superhero title.


SCARLET WITCH #1
JAMES ROBINSON (w) • VANESA DEL REY (A)
COVER BY DAVID AJA
...
VARIANT COVER BY KEVIN WADA
Witchcraft is broken - and the SCARLET WITCH is on a journey across the globe to fix it. From the back alleys of Manhattan, to the serene Greek Isles, to the bustling streets of Hong Kong, Wanda will have to face down her foes and find out who her true friends are. But as Wanda solves magical crimes and pieces witchcraft back together, the most important question remains: Who is the mastermind that broke it in the first place? Written by Eisner Award winner JAMES ROBINSON, with covers by Eisner Award winner DAVID AJA with the first issue drawn by fan-favorite VANESA DEL REY!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


Well, I like Kevin Wada's variant cover showing off the new costume quite a bit. I don't care for the headdress, but then, I've never liked or even understood Scarlet Witch's headdress in the past. This, wile kinda dumb looking, at least looks like something that might exist in the real world, so I guess that's something.

I'm curious why David Aja is being name-checked as the cover artist, but Del Ray is only mentioned as the artist of the first issue. Are there going to be rotating artists, on an issue by issue basis? If that's the plan, then it seems like something the solicitation for the first issue would mention.


STARBRAND & NIGHTMASK #1
GREG WEISMAN (w) • DOMO STANTON (a)
Cover by YASMINE PUTRI
...
Two former Avengers with tremendous power -- and almost zero life experience -- are on their own, trying to find their place as HEROES, COSMIC ENTITIES and...COLLEGE STUDENTS? What meal plan will cover a cosmic metabolism? Can two all-powerful entities share a dorm room the size of roach motel? Can you safely teleport to Mars after partying all night long at your first kegger? Find out in Starbrand & Nightmask!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


Probably the most unexpected new title from Marvel, at least from where I'm sitting. It really sounds like the superhero sitcom premise more than that of an ongoing superhero comic, so that alone makes it kind of interesting.


THE TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1
GREG PAK (w) • FRANK CHO (a/C)
...
THERE'S A BRAND NEW HULK IN TOWN, AND HIS NAME IS AMADEUS CHO!
Get ready for the craziest Hulk story of the millennium as a kid genius decides he's gonna be the best Hulk ever -- and just possibly brings the entire Marvel Universe crashing down into chaos! Totally awesome beach day! Massive monster mayhem! She-Hulk and Lady Hellbender! Massive heart and ridiculous action brought to you by PLANET HULK writer Greg Pak and superstar artist Frank Cho! Is it possible for us to fit in one more exclamation point? YES!
40 PGS./Rated T ...$4.99


I really like the Amadeus Cho character from his days as Hercules' kinda sorta sidekick, and that's a great creative team; Frank Cho is actually a fantastic superhero comics artist, particularly when the story is light on female characters, and the cheesecake doesn't threaten to overpower the comic itself (I recently re-read the first story arc of Mighty Avengers he did with Brian Michael Bendis, and it was some very solid comics-making...except for the fact that there were like six characters who all looked like standard Frank Cho pin-up ladies, only with different costumes and hair colors).

That said, Cho's not a monthly artist, so expect a second artist to come on as soon as this first arc is over (if not sooner). This should be a lot of fun, and I look forward to reading it...in trade.

I do wonder where Bruce Banner is now. It seems like he's not The Hulk as often as he is The Hulk these days, doesn't it...?


UNCANNY X-MEN #1 & 2
CULLEN BUNN (w) • GREG LAND (a/C)
...
In a world that's never hated or feared mutants more, there is only one constant: BIGGER THREATS REQUIRE MORE THREATENING X-MEN. Refusing to accept one more mutant death, the most ruthless mutants on Earth have banded together to proactively mow down their enemies. But with a team populated by relentless killers, one question applies above all others: Can they stay away from each other's throats long enough to sever their targets'?
32 PGS. (EACH)/Rated T+ ...$3.99 (EACH)


So this is basically going to be the new version of X-Force, only with the title that has most often been applied to the main X-Men book? Interesting.

I like Magneto's new costume, and–Oh, woah, woah, woah HOLD UP. Greg Land? Seriously? Man, fuck this book.


Huh. I don't think I've ever seen Venom look cool before.



*Er, no it's not. That's probably pretty offensive, huh? It's the first metaphor that jumped into my mind. If I think of a better one before I finish writing this, I'll insert it. If not, sorry!

5 comments:

SallyP said...

I adored the old Hercules book with Amadeus Cho, because it was light-hearted and fun. The new one sounds a tad depressing.

And I am with you on the Inhumans...I only ever liked the dog.

Evan Dawson-Baglien said...

I recently read the "Future Imperfect" Secret Wars tie-in that Land drew and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't great artwork, but the characters were less obviously traced and lacked that uncanny valley vibe that Land's work in the previous volumes of Uncanny X-Men had. The backgrounds actually had some detail, they weren't just photos put through a filter. The character's facial expressions usually matched the emotions the script seemed to indicate they were feeling.

Maybe Land is actually taking some of the criticisms to heart.

Brian said...

If anyone read, for example, BIRDS OF PREY back in the 1990s, you'll recall that Greg Land used to actually draw. He was actually a good artist who switched off with Butch Guice on Chuck Dixon's books for DC. As far as I can tell, he was always an artist with an extensive 'morgue' of reference (a good thing), but he got more and more into using magazine reference and then basically outright tracing of figures in order to speed up his work when he moved to Marvel and the publisher switched to a 15+ book/year schedule (so that he could actually pencil each of the books in the given title each year by taking more and more extreme shortcuts in references – the caveat being that he didn't steal from from other artists or owner-photographers; his references were work-for-hire muscle mags and such). Over time there's been the odd bypass where fans groan at seeing Land's name but Marvel seems to see him as a artist who is dependable to work with. If he indeed (as the publisher eases back to a proper monthly schedule and less glossy art) is getting back to more of his freehand nineties style, that's a good thing. I sometimes think of what the old Greg Land would have been like had he kept doing what he did instead of changing tacts (looking at Guice and similar post-Adams, post-Aparo artists like Mike Perkins, I could imagine an old-fashioned Land as part of the rotating artists on Ed Brubaker's CAPTAIN AMERICA, for example)...

Arion said...

I think I'll read at least the first issue of Cho's new Hulk.
Spidey looks like fun, maybe I'll pick it up.

David Charles Bitterbaum said...

I vaguely recalled there was apparently something rotten being hinted about Edmondson in the comic industry too. I looked around and the most definitive thing I could find was this:

http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/news/133145-why-are-people-angry-at-nathan-edmondson-the-new-writer-of-marvels-red-wolf.html

and this article still seems unsure just what dirty secrets Edmondson has, but that they may be a doozy.