Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Marvel's June previews reviewed

Whose side is Peter Quill on? Who cares? Go back to space, Peter!
The big Marvel news for the month of June is the official launch of (sigh) Civil War II, which appears to be a sequel-in-name-only to the Mark Millar/Steve McNiven series, bearing nothing in common with the original save for the fact that it involves heroes fighting other heroes.

The original had its problems, certainly; in fact, it was actually little more than a series of storytelling problems illustrated and strung together in the shape of a comic book miniseries that the entirety of Marvel Comics would spend the next few years making sense of in all their other books. But, if nothing else, it was very much of its time, featuring various Marvel heroes coming down on different sides of the post-9/1l security vs. liberty zeitgeist (generally at random, since Iron Man's "security" side of the conflict involved building robot-clones of dead allies to kill other former allies for conscientiously objecting to the superhero draft and building an extra-dimensional Guantanamo Bay.

I suppose one could argue Civil War II is also of its time, at least in the way it reflects Marvel's current publishing priorities, like a tenuous connection to a previous storyline, trying to make Captain Marvel a thing and, of course, making it all about The Inhumans.

I suppose we'll see. Eventually. I was pretty engaged in the first Civil War, but having read like ten different event series like this written by Civil War II writer Brian Michael Bendis, I'm pretty confident that I'm not going to like it.

And on the subject of judging books by their covers (and the resumes and bodies of work of the people making them), let's look at what Marvel has planned for June! You can read their full solicits on Comics Alliance, and stay here for my unsolicited opinions on their solicitations...


THE ASTONISHING ANT-MAN #9
NICK SPENCER (W) • RAMON ROSANAS (A)
Cover by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO
• It's Ant-Man's Eleven! To pull off the job of a lifetime and stop a mastermind criminal, Scott has to pull together a new gang of... yeah, you guessed it. Criminals. It's a vicious cycle.
• Wait, are you allowed to count yourself in the eleven? This is confusing...
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


Hey, remember when Marvel published a "MODOK's Eleven"...? The title of the series was officially Super-Villain Team-Up, but that was a fun mini while it lasted. I assume this will be rather fun as well; at least, I've yet to read a bad comic written by Nick Spencer


CIVIL WAR II #1 (OF 7)
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (W) • DAVID MARQUEZ (A)
Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
CIVIL WAR II 1 BLANK COVER VARIANT COVER ALSO AVAILABLE (MAR160714)
CONNECTING VARIANT COVER B BY Kim JUng Gi (MAR160712)
TEAM CAP HIP-HOP VARIANT COVER BY TERRY DODSON (MAR160713)
VARIANT COVER BY DAVID MARQUEZ (MAR160711)
VARIANT COVER BY STEVE MCNIVEN (MAR160709)
SKETCH VARIANT COVER BY STEVE MCNIVEN (MAR160710)
VARIANT COVER BY MICHAEL CHO (MAR160708)
TEAM IRON MAN HIP-HOP VARIANT COVER BY RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE (MAR160706)
CHARACTER VARIANT BY PHIL NOTO (MAR160707)
Hot Wheels VARIANT COVER BY MANUEL GARCIA (MAR160705)
BATTLE VARIANT COVER BY CHRIS SPROUSE (MAR160704)
PARTY VARIANT BY YASMINE PUTRI (MAR160719)
IT'S HERE!
The explosive first chapter in the comic event EVERYONE will be talking about. And we come out swinging with a blistering double-sized first issue from the creative team behind last year's best-selling debut of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN and Miles Morales. A new Inhuman, with the ability to profile the future, emerges and the ramifications ripple into every corner of the Marvel Universe. Lines are drawn, bodies fall, and the Marvel Universe will be rocked to it's very core. The action starts here!
56 PGS./Rated T+ ...$5.99


Well, it will certainly have more variant covers than the original did! That's the "Hot Wheels VARIANT COVER BY MANUEL GARCIA" pictured above. I think. Or maybe that's the regular cover? Maybe that's how the Marvel heroes will settle things this time around? On the race track?

The premise, already explained more thoroughly elsewhere on the Internet, is here presented as the emergence of a new mutant Inhuman with the power to "profile the future." Is that a big deal? Can't they ask Cable, Bishop, Rachel Grey or someone to confirm whether or not the profiles are accurate before they go to war over them...?

Do note that death and changes to the Marvel universe are promised, so, you know, business as usual.

Maybe I'm just tired, but after Civil War, World War Hulk, Avengers Vs. X-Men, Axis and the past few years of Jonathan Hickman's Avengers and New Avengers, there have been a lot of stories in which the lines are drawn and heroes fight heroes. It's hard to imagine this coming anywhere near the scale of Hickman's "Time Runs Out" story arc, which filled four trade collections of his two Avengers books, as the stakes in those conflicts were as high as possible (all reality), and he presented every single player as a real character with an understandable, if not relatable, motivation consistent with their past characterization and core personality traits.

I...don't have a lot of hope that the writer of House of M, Siege, Secret War and Age of Ultron can top, match or even approach that, but, again, I guess we'll see.


CIVIL WAR II: CHOOSING SIDES #1 (OF 6)
DECLAN SHALVEY, BRANDON EASTON, CHAD BOWERS & CHRIS SIMS (W)
DECLAN SHALVEY, GORAN SUDZUKA & LEONARDO ROMERO (A)
Cover by JIM CHEUNG
VARIANT COVER BY DECLAN SHALVEY
CHARACTER VARIANT BY PHIL NOTO
YOUNG VARIANT COVER BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT COVER BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
If you knew something bad was about to happen, would you stop it? How far would you go? The line is drawn. Everyone in the Marvel Universe has to ask themselves: are you with Captain Marvel or Iron Man? Kicking off an all-new series, this first issue features Nick Fury, Damage Control and Night Thrasher!
40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$4.99


Wait a minute, doesn't Iron Man being the world's most consummate futurist mean he kinda sorta sees the future already...?


DEADPOOL #13
GERRY DUGGAN, CHARLES SOULE, & DAVID WALKER (W)
MIKE HAWTHORNE (A)
Cover by FRANCISCO HERRERA
VARIANT COVER BY ROB LIEFELD
VARIANT COVER BY RON LIM
DAREDEVIL VARIANT COVER BY KHOI PHAM
POWER MAN & IRON FIST VARIANT COVER BY CHRIS STEVENS
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT COVER BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
HIT-MONKEY VARIANT COVER BY Brent Schoonover
An all-new epic four-issue crossover in one package! This issue of Deadpool (lucky number 13) LITERALLY contains two issues of DEADPOOL, one issue of DAREDEVIL, and one issue of POWER MAN & IRON FIST! When Deadpool take a gig protecting a banker who betrayed his cartel partners, they seek the help of Assistant District Attorney Matt Murdock, who calls in the assistance (and fists) of Power Man Luke Cage and Danny Rand, master of the Iron Fist! A mega-violent, street-level, face-punching, gut-busting, kung-fuing, ninjitsuing crime story guaranteed to knock your teeth out! Bringing together the writers of the DEADPOOL, DAREDEVIL, and POWER MAN & IRON FIST series: Gerry Duggan, Charles Soule, and David Walker!
96 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$9.99


I find both the audaciousness of publishing a multi-part, multi-book crossover all within the same set of covers and the naked, cynical marketing opportunism of knowing they can get away with it here because it's Deadpool kind of admirable. Regardless of what one thinks of the character, he's maybe the only one who has the popularity and the semi-aware nature to make these sorts of cash-grab comics do-able for Marvel.

And they're probably right in thinking they can sell a hell of a lot more issues of a $10 Deadpool comic than they can sell of $4 Daredevil or Power Man and Iron Fist comics.

Actually, if it's 80-88 pages, that's probably a hell of a value, as if it were published in four separate, $3.99 issues, it would cost one about $16, the same price a trade paperback collection of the arc might cost.


I don't know much about SCUBA diving, but I'm pretty sure that's not how you use SCUBA gear.


MS. MARVEL #8
G. WILLOW WILSON (W) • TAKESHI MIYAZAWA (A)
Cover by Cameron Stewart
...
CIVIL WAR II TIE-IN!
• Kamala gets called to the frontlines of battle--but this isn't a fight she can embiggen her way out of.
• Idols are tainted and Kamala must face the world with new eyes.
• It's time to grow up, Kamala. Who will you become?
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


Here's an example of what the Civil War II tie-in covers will look like. It's not quite as striking as that of the original Civl War, which essentially cut the covers in half, featuring a horizontal illustration on the top half, and a solid color on the bottom half. I kinda like the strip along the top, but the logo at the bottom of the cover doesn't do anything for me.

I don't know. I guess we'll see what they look like on the racks, but they sure don't jump out in the way that the original Civil War's tie-ins did...


That's the cover of Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat, which might be the best comic book Marvel is currently publishing (that I've read). It's a tough call, because Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is, well, unbeatable. And, as the sign on the door says, that is Jessica Jones. Months and months late, Marvel seems to be attempting to maybe kinda sorta publish something with Jessica Jones in it, seeing as she had a much talked-about TV show and all. Weird that it's in the pages of Hellcat instead of a new Alias series or a Jessica Jones series, but what do I know?

I can't remember the last time I've seen an image of Jessica in a Marvel comic in which she is not holding a baby, so that's kind of cool.


SCARLET WITCH VOL. 1: WITCHES' ROAD TPB
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Penciled by VANESA DEL REY, MARCO RUDY, STEVE DILLON, CHRIS VISIONS, JAVIER PULIDO, CHLOE POILLERAT, JOSE GILES & MARC LAMING
Cover by DAVID AJA
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 Irish countryside, the former Avenger will face myths and legends from ancient lore, cure curses, and discover there's is even more to her complex family history than she knew. In Spain she will visit a church where witches like her were once burned at the stake -- and be haunted by the ghosts of the Spanish Inquisition! But will the powerful mage known as the Emerald Warlock be friend or foe to Wanda -- or the Uncanny Avengers? And as she solves magical crimes and pieces witchcraft back together, one vital question remains: Who shattered it in the first place? Collecting SCARLET WITCH (2015) #1-5.
112 PGS./Rated T+ ...$15.99


James Robinson's track record is pretty iffy, but there's no arguing with a list of artists like that. Have any of you been reading this series? What's the verdict? Is it worth reading in trade?


SPIDER-WOMAN #8
DENNIS HOPELESS (W) • JAVIER RODRIGUEZ (A/C)
• Even though, she's a mom now, Jessica Drew is still kicking ass and taking names as SPIDER-WOMAN!
• This time, she's tangling with the baddest fish in the sea – TIGER SHARK!
• FUN TIGER SHARK FACT: Did you know Tiger Shark has the DNA of both Namor the Submariner AND a tiger shark? Think about that for a second.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


"Think about that for a second"...? Why do you want me to think about Namor having sex with a shark, solicitation writer?

I just read the first collection of Hopeless and Rodriguez's run on Spider-Woman, which is labeled Spider-Woman Vol. 2 because Marvel is horrible at trade collections, and it was a really great read. I'll review it sooner or later, but if the post-Secret Wars relaunch was as good as the pre-Secret Wars issues, than I'll be quite pleased to read this issue in trade someday too.


SPIDEY #7
ROBBIE THOMPSON (w) • ANDRE LIMA ARAUJO (a)
COVER BY KHARY RANDOLPH
• Spidey comes face to face with the voluminous villain Klaw!
• Guest-starring THE BLACK PANTHER!!!
32 PGS./Rated T ...$3.99


I can understand the temptation to alliterate when one's talking about a Marvel comic, but "voluminous" refers to the amount of space taken up, or how many words one might use...it refers to that kind of volume, not how loud something is. So it's more of a word for Volstagg or Deadpool, rather than the sound-based Klaw.


Okay, this is weird...

TIMELY COMICS
They're the comics everyone is talking about, now is your chance to hop on board before you get left in the dust! Marvel is proud to announce TIMELY COMICS, a new imprint of titles specially designed to get you caught up with hot All-New, All-Different Marvel titles! Reprinting the first three issues of select titles at an introductory price point of $3.00, Timely Comics will take you on a path through the restored Marvel Universe! The forming of the Avengers, Daredevil's fight for Chinatown, the birth of the Totally Awesome Hulk and so much more! These titles sold out and burned up the charts, so don't miss out on them now. Your new favorite series awaits, so get three issues for the $3.00 this June with TIMELY COMICS!
TIMELY COMICS: INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1
Reprinting INVINCIBLE IRON MAN (2015) #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS #1
Reprinting ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS #1 (A STORY) and #2-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: ALL-NEW INHUMANS #1
Reprinting ALL-NEW INHUMANS #1
(A STORY) and #2-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: CARNAGE #1
Reprinting CARNAGE (2015) #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: DAREDEVIL #1
Reprinting DAREDEVIL (2015) #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: DRAX #1
Reprinting DRAX #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: DOCTOR STRANGE #1
Reprinting DOCTOR STRANGE (2015) #1
(A STORY) and #2-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #1
Reprinting MOON GIRL AND
DEVIL DINOSAUR #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: NEW AVENGERS #1
Reprinting NEW AVENGERS (2015) #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: SCARLET WITCH #1
Reprinting SCARLET WITCH (2015) #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: SQUADRON SUPREME #1
Reprinting SQUADRON SUPREME (2015) #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: THE TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1
Reprinting TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1-3.
80 PGS./Rated T ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: ULTIMATES #1
Reprinting ULTIMATES (2015) #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: UNCANNY INHUMANS #1
Reprinting UNCANNY INHUMANS #1
(A STORY) and #2-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: VENOM: SPACE KNIGHT #1
Reprinting VENOM: SPACE KNIGHT #1-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00
TIMELY COMICS: WEB-WARRIORS #1
Reprinting WEB-WARRIORS #1
(A STORY) and #2-3.
72 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.00


Okay, so cute repurposing of the word "Timely," which, of course, is the name of the publishing company that eventually became Marvel in the 1960s, here applying it to refer to the fact that these comics are literally "timely." I don't know if I understand this right, though; these can't really be 60+-page reprints of new-ish comics being sold for just $3, can they? Because that is crazy cheap; Marvel charged $12 for the first three issues of all these series the first time around just recently, and they're already selling them for just $3? Hell, just glancing at the list, I see that some of the books being sold in trade paperback this month are also being sold in these "Timely Comics" collections; you can get the first half of, say, the first Totally Awesome Hulk trade paperback collection for just $3?

That seems like too good a deal to be true. Am I completely misunderstanding what these things really are...?

If not, I wonder what these will do to the back-issue market. Like, don't most stores sell their un-sold stock of new-ish comics at a reduced price in a dollar bins a few months after they leave the new comics racks?


THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #9
RYAN NORTH (W) • ERICA HENDERSON (A/C)
• The comic that got TWO #1s in its first year now reaches a new milestone: its very first #9!
• In Part 2 of "I Kissed A Squirrel And I Liked It," Squirrel Girl's date with a chump gets interrupted by MOLE MAN, who is a man who lives underground and can't see that well! Hence the name!!
• Squirrel Girl is really good at empathizing with bad guys and talking them down, but what happens when she's TOO good at that?
• Buy this comic to find out, because we show exactly that taking place! Spoiler alert: there's punches AND jokes.
• Not a dream! Not an imaginary story! ONE the following three things WILL ACTUALLY OCCUR in this issue! 1) A pleasant visit to a coffee shop with friends; 2) A man with fishy powers suggests using fish to solve a problem, big surprise; 3) SQUIRREL GIRL USES HER TAIL TO KNOCK THE SMIRK RIGHT OFF A DUDE'S FACE!!
• Haha whoa I hope it's the third one
32 PGS./Rated T ...$3.99


Squirrel Girl vs. Mole Man. That's the sort of fight that, 30 years or so ago, a blurb on the cover would say "had to happen."


UNCANNY INHUMANS #10
CHARLES SOULE (W) • Kev Walker (A)
COVER BY Giuseppe Camuncoli
• A spotlight on everyone's favorite Inhuman, Reader!!
• After the events of issue 7, Reader's best friend has vanished.
• What lengths is he willing to go to save those he loves? Seeing is believing...
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


What? There's an Inhuman named Reader? And Reader is everyone's favorite Inhuman? That's weird. I thought Lockjaw was everyone's favorite Inhuman.


VOTE LOKI #1
CHRISTOPHER HASTINGS (W) • LANGDON FOSS (A)
Cover by TRADD MOORE
Variant Cover by VALERIO SCHITI
Loki is many things -- god, trickster, brother, liar, son, villain, even hero. Now he wants to add one more thing to the list: President of the United States. That's right, the God of Lies has set his sights on becoming the ruler of the free world, but is this just another scheme? One thing's for certain -- with Loki's winning smile and silver tongue on the campaign trail, this election just got a lot more interesting...
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99


Those fretting about the imminent demise of the Republican Party this year can breathe a sigh of relief. It looks like Loki will be providing movement conservatives and party insiders the third-party candidate they can comfortably vote for, without feeling they have to hold their nose and vote for Hillary Clinton or simply stay home this November.

8 comments:

Jer said...

Re: Timely Comics. Marvel announced this after DC announced Rebirth. To me it looks like an attempt by Marvel to grab some of the attention of comics readers ordering out of Previews to give books they passed on months ago another shot while they are considering yet another DC set of number 1s.

William Burns said...

Marvel seems to do well with villain series. Modok's 11 was good, Van Lente's Taskmaster series was good, De Connick's Osborn was good, Superior Foes of Spider-Man was good. Maybe they should stop doing superhero comics and just concentrate on the villains.

Scott Beattie said...

Caleb,

Not sure if you caught amidst everything else, but did you notice that the cover price of Civil War II #1 is $5.99? Yes, to be fair, it is 56 pages (although how many of those are ads?), but still, that's a ballsy move on Marvel's part.

Then again--and sorry to be a dick about this--anyone who's actually excited to read this probably deserves to pay $6.

Shriner said...

Scarlet Witch is -- OK. The rotating art teams doesn't bother me (though I thought they started with a weak first artist.) It's no "Vision", though.

SallyP said...

Civil War redux, is making me nervous. I pretty much gave up on Marvel for quite a long while after the first Civil War, and only the growing malaise at DC and books like Ms Marvel and Squirrel Girl have lired me back to the Marvel side of the aisle. Well, and Young Avengers and Loki, Agent of Asgard, which is why I will be happily reading Vote Loki.

Bram said...

One behind on Scarlet Witch and still undecided. It's got an overarching premise and supporting character that really help make it a new, good starting point for the character. The individual stories seem crafted … to let that month's artist show off. So each individual issue is an experience, but not sure if the whole's holding together.

Wouldn't be surprised if we skip on the Timelys at the LCS. Selling the same stuff a third way?

culturewarreporters.com said...

For my two cents, I actually think that Scarlet Witch is actually quite good. It's certainly the most interesting way the character has portrayed in the past several years, and it's great to see Wanda with her own sense of agency.

It's also really making the rotating artist work. Steve Dillon's issues were the best pages I've personally ever seen from him, and we're even getting Annie Wu in a few months! I'd definitely recommend checking out the trade, at least.

Riddering said...

I consider Spider-Woman to be the best book that Marvel is putting out right now. Every issue is packed with action, fun and great characters. I thought the pregnancy storyline would cause me to drop the book but Hopeless has written the hell out of it and given Jessica Drew all of the agency in her pregnancy. This is the opposite of the Ms. Marvel/Power Girl/almost every other surprise pregnancy!