Friday, July 29, 2016

Marvel's October previews reviewed

Marvel's turn:

Hey, look! It's Hayley Atwell's Agent Peggy Carter, as drawn by Marcos Martin! With James D'Arcy's Edwin Jarvis and Dominic Cooper's Howard Stark in the background. This is, sadly, not the cover of a comic book, but some dumb-sounding guide to the Marvel Cinematic Universe thingee (Actually, the official title is apparently Guidebook To The Marvel Cinematic Universe—Marvel's Agents of SHIELD Season Two/Marvel's Agent Carter Season One #1), part of a series of which I have never actually seen in the wild. Are they just like old Official Handbook comics, or something?

Anyway, I don't have anything to say about this, other than "Hey, look!" I'm pretty bummed there's not going to be a season three of that show, but I hold out hope that Marvel is eventually going to devote at least a movie or three to the founding of SHIELD, which seems to be the foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which would of course mean a big, juicy, starring role for Atwell.

(I'm also totally okay with an Invaders movie or a Secret Avengers movie starring Atwell and the first Ant-Man and Wasp during the Cold War.)


ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #13
TOM TAYLOR (W) • NIK VIRELLA (A)
Cover by DAVID LOPEZ
...
“ENEMY OF THE STATE II” STARTS NOW!
WOLVERINE: MURDERER!!! Laura has fought so hard to be something other than what she was created to be, but the fight is over. Wolverine has blood on her hands. In the wake of an unspeakable tragedy, dark forces have Laura’s life under their control. Will Laura be able to defeat demons on the outside and from within? Or will she be forced to give up the hero’s life she’s built for herself?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Hmm. So, this is a sequel to a 2004-2005 Wolverine story arc by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., in which an alliance of nefarious organizations essentially reprogram Wolverine into an ultimate killing machine and set him loose on the rest of the Marvel Universe, so that he fights and takes down the Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Daredevil and so on. Of course, he doesn't actually kill any of them--maybe Northstar, temporarily--so it was basically just a big, dumb fight comic which allowed Millar to put in silly Hollywood moments (Wolverine fights a great white shark!) and JRJR to draw everyone.

"Enemy of The State II" will have a different writer, a different artist and a different lead character so, I'm not sure how direct a sequel it can really be. Sounds more like a Road House 2 or Kindergarten Cop 2 than, say, The Godfather Part II or The Empire Strikes Back.What? Yes, of course those movies are real movies. I would not, hell I could not make up Road House 2 or Kindergarten Cop 2.


CAGE! #1 (of 4)
GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY (W) • GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY (A/C)
...
From the Award-Winning creator of Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Hotel Transylvania! On the mean streets of Harlem, shoes are big, shirts are large, bottoms are belled and crime is rampant! But in the heart of the city, the world’s hardest-working, smack-talking, chain-wearing super hero is on the street and on the case! And his rates are reasonable! He’s CAGE! and he’ll save your behind. Dig it!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Well it's about damn time. It's been so long since Marvel first announced this series that I had actually completely forgotten about it until the solicitation surfaced. I suppose we have the imminent arrival of a Luke Cage TV show on Netflix to thank for this book finally seeing release, which is actually pretty weird when you think about it. Like it really shouldn't take something like a mass-media adaptation to get a publisher to release a comic book written and drawn by a creator of Tarakovsky's stature, especially considering what a name he is in mass media (They don't mention it, but in addition to the TV shows and feature film name-dropped in the solicit copy, Tartakovsky is also the guy responsible for the best Star Wars film-making ever.

I do find it slightly curious that they are choosing to go ahead and release it serially as a four-issue miniseries instead of as an original graphic novel, since I imagine anyone eagerly awaiting this series as I once was can stand to wait an extra four months for the trade at this point, but then, I don't really understand the economic decisions that go into what gets published in what format, and I'm assuming Marvel has people that do.


CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #14
NICK SPENCER (W) • PAUL RENAUD (A)
Cover by MARCOS MARTIN
...
“TAKE BACK THE SHIELD” STARTS NOW!
The world has received an ULTIMATUM: Peace in our time...or face the fury of The Flag-Smasher! Amid cries of “#TakeBacktheShield”, Sam Wilson stands against a rising tide. But he is not alone! Guest-starring in this issue – Steve Rogers: Captain America! Only, Steve has a secret…
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99


I'm not going to lie--I love Flag-Smasher.

That is the Champions variant cover by Mike Deodato, which has a few of the new champions and a few of the old Champions. It is suspiciously Captain America-free though, for the cover of a Captain America comic.

I really don't like the way Deodato draws Kamala on this cover.


CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #6
NICK SPENCER (W)
JAVIER PIƱA (A)
Cover by Paul Renaud
...
PROSTATE AWARENESS VARIANT COVER BY Greg Hildebrandt
CIVIL WAR II TIE-IN!
• With the Marvel Universe at war, Steve fights for peace.
• Guest-starring Captain Marvel!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


"Prostate Awareness Variant Cover" is something I never, ever expected to see in the solicitation copy for one of The Big Two comics publishers, but, well, there it is. Does the fact that such a thing exists say something about the aging demographics of the direct market, super-comics readership?

I am assuming the above image is Javier Pina's regular cover, as nothing about the image really says anything about prostrate awareness to me, but then, I can't imagine what such a cover would look like (Wait, that's not true. I am imagining it right now. It involves Dr. Strange, Night Nurse and Steve Rogers).


CHAMPIONS #1
MARK WAID (W) • HUMBERTO RAMOS (A/C)
...
Following the fallout of CIVIL WAR II, Avengers Ms. Marvel, Nova and Spider-Man strike out on their own — joined by Cyclops, Viv Vision and the Totally Awesome Hulk! Six young heroes determined to change the world — and they’re only the beginning!
48 PGS./Rated T …$4.99


So I guess that Marvel found a way around whatever it was that was stopping them from using the team name "Champions" as the title of one of their books some years ago, back when the Matt Fraction/Kitson comic The Order was named The Order late in the development process, rather than The Champions.

That's great, as it means we're one step closer to a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie starring the best team that is not The Defenders, whose name is being appropriated by The Marvel Knights of Netflix.

I think the top of the covers of this particular comic book is a pretty weird place for that title to appear, however, as it appears to be the junior members of the current "All-New, All-Different Avengers" teaming up with other teen heroes. So I guess the most obvious title for a new book starring these young Avengers and their fellow young heroes might be, oh, "Young Avengers," which, like "Champions," isn't currently being used. But given that the young Avengers are burning their Avengers membership cards on the cover, I have to imagine there's a story reason why they aren't calling themselves "Young Avengers," or why they're no longer on the Avengers team.


CHAMPIONS: NO TIME FOR LOSERS #1
Written by TONY ISABELLA & BILL MANTLO
Penciled by DON HECK, GEORGE TUSKA & JOHN BYRNE
When fate calls, a sensational super-team answers! The avenging Angel! Hercules, Prince of Power! The deadly Black Widow! Ghost Rider, Spirit of Vengeance! And the amazing Iceman! When the Champions come together, it is legendary! So much so they’ll face the mythological might of Cerberus, harpies, Amazons and Greek gods — all culminating in a wedding-stopping assault on Olympus! This mixed-up band might just be the heroes Los Angeles needs. And with the best headquarters Warren Worthington III’s money can buy, and Darkstar added to the ranks, they’ll be ready for the most uncanny of evils — like Swarm, Nazi scientist turned lord of killer bees! Only one group can stop the City of Angels from feeling his sting. They are the Champions — and they’ll keep on fighting ‘til the end! Collecting CHAMPIONS #1-3 and #14-15.
96 PGS./Rated T …$7.99


Highest possible recommendation! While certainly not the best way to experience this title, what with the five issues being split between the first three and then the fourteenth and fifteenth, that's a great price point at which to sample the title featuring a Marvel superhero team so ad hoc and random it makes The Defenders look like The Fantastic Four.

Oh, and while "Nazi scientist turned lord of killer bees" sounds pretty cool, I've found the best way to describe Swarm to be "a Nazi scientist made out of bees."


I like The Jackal's new look, as seen here on the cover of The Clone Conspiracy as drawn by Jim Cheung (I think). It's much better than his previous look, which wasn't particularly Jackal-y.


DEADPOOL #21
GERRY DUGGAN & IAN DOESCHER (W) • MATTEO LOLLI & TBA (A)
Cover by MIKE HAWTHORNE
Shakespeare VARIANT cover by MIKE MAYHEW
...
“IT’S NOT A TUMOR” STARTS NOW!
You can’t keep a good Madcap down! First, this massively oversized issue brings you the return of Deadpool’s greatest nemesis. He’s back (in the most horrific way possible) and he’s out for revenge! Then, say hello to SHAKESPOOL, THE MERCENARY OF VENICE as Deadpool goes Shakespeare for an all-new 60-page tale by Ian Doescher (William Shakespeare’s Star Wars series). Those old plays you were supposed to read in English class just got a lot more interesting. Don’t say we never taught you anything!
96 PGS./Parental Advisory …$9.99


Huh. Is it juts me, or is a regular issue of an ongoing monthly series a weird place to run a 60-page "back-up" story, written by a moderately popular (in certain circles) author of real books...? Doesn't it seem like Shakespool should be a one-shot, rather than seeing print alongside 20 pages or so of the regular Deadpool monthly, the price of which is jacked all the way up to $9.99 to accommodate all those extra pages...?

Granted I don't really understand the economics of the Big Two within the direct market, especially when it comes to Marvel and even more especially when it comes to Deadpool. This sort of defies logical publishing practices, but it must make some financial sense.

On the other hand, were I a regular reader with Deadpool in my pull, and a $10 issue showed up at random, I would be pretty damn irritated.

That said, "Shakespool" has potential. I only read the first of Doescher's Star Wars books, and while there's only one real joke to them (which is why I didn't read the other, what, five?), his ability to write Shakespeare and translate pop culture into that format and that style was pretty damn impressive. I'd certainly be interested in seeing how it works in comics (the Star Wars books were in the format of plays, obviously), and if Deadpool can be Shakespeare-ized as easily or elegantly as Star Wars.


DEADPOOL V GAMBIT: THE “V” IS FOR “VS.” TPB
Written by BEN ACKER & BEN BLACKER
Penciled by DANILO BEYRUTH
Cover by KEVIN WADA
Gambit: one of the smoothest, best-looking operators in the world of the X-Men. Deadpool: one of the most annoying, ugliest dirtbags in the world of everything. But do you know what they have in common? A secret history of working together to pull con-jobs! That’s right — the grift is on as the Regeneratin’ Degenerate and the Ragin’ Cajun begrudgingly take on one last scam together. Swindling an object of mythical power out from under a Chinese businessman sounds easy, right? Spoiler: It doesn’t go according to plan. Can Wade and Remy talk their way out of this one? Or maybe fight their way out? Would you believe cook? Plus: Who or what is the Scrambler? The pen may be mightier than the sword — now find out whether the playing card is mightier than the katana! Collecting DEADPOOL V GAMBIT #1-5.
112 PGS./Parental Advisory …$16.99


The sub-title made me laugh.


DOCTOR STRANGE & THE SORCERERS SUPREME #1
ROBBIE THOMPSON (W) • JAVIER RODRIGUEZ (A)
Cover by Rafael Albuquerque
...
DESIGN VARIANT COVER BY JAVIER RODRIGUEZ
...
An ancient evil threatens to unravel the fabric of reality, and one Sorcerer Supreme may not be enough. Doctor Strange must unite past, present and future Sorcerers Supremes to stem the coming darkness – Merlin, the Ancient One, Wiccan, and more! But Strange should watch his back, not all of these Sorcerers have his best interests in mind…
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


What's this? A second Doctor Strange ongoing? I know there's a movie coming out and all, but given the difficulty in keeping one Doctor Strange book going in today's market, that seems a little...optimistic on Marvel's part. It reminds me of when DC launched Aquaman and The Others a few years back, which might as well have been published with a blurb reading "Guess How Many Issues Until Cancellation!" on the cover of the first issue.

Of course, the speed with which Marvel reboots and relaunches these days, this could very well be meant to only last six to twelve issues anyway...

(Is "Sorcerers Supremes" really the plural of Sorcerer Supreme...?)


INFAMOUS IRON MAN #1
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (W) • ALEX MALEEV (A/C)
...
There is a new Iron Man in town and his name is VICTOR VON DOOM. The greatest villain of the Marvel Universe will try something new. Where Tony Stark failed, Doom will succeed. What is Doom’s Master Plan?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Hmm. I know Doom has been appearing in Bendis' Iron Man book, but this still seems sort of surprising, particularly because Marvel has already done a handful of bad guys-being-good guys books, and even did something similar recently, with the "inverted" Tony Stark in Superior Iron Man. That and, armor aside, Doom's archenemy isn't Stark but Reed Richards.

I know Reed's MIA at the moment, but isn't trying to be better than Tony Stark setting his sites a little low...?


JESSICA JONES #1
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (W) • MICHAEL GAYDOS (A)
Cover by DAVID MACK
...
She is back after a decade! A lot has changed in the Marvel Universe and there are still many secrets hiding in the shadows. Secrets only a special woman like Jessica Jones can hope to uncover. Discover the haunting secrets from Jessica’s past in this blistering new series. Alias Investigations is open for business.
32 PGS./Rated PARENTAL ADVISORY …$3.99


Great timing guys, launching a new Alias Jessica Jones months after the popular, acclaimed TV series based on the comic debuted on Netflix, and years before a second season could debut.

Of course, the trade collections were all re-published when Jessica Jones hit Netflix, so I suppose the plan is to get a few more trade collections worth of Jessica Jones comics ready for whenever a season two is released.

I just hope Bendis doesn't feel the need to do anything horrible to Jessica in order to get her back to a place where doing a series makes sense for him again like, I don't know, killing off her child or anything like that.


MOSAIC #1
GEOFFREY THORNE (W) • KHARY RANDOLPH (A)
Cover by STUART IMMONEN
...
SPECIAL OVER-SIZED ISSUE!
Professional basketball player and world renowned celebrity, Morris Sackett, gains extraordinary abilities, at the grave cost of his own mortal body. Imbued with the ability to jump from person to person like a ghost, he controls the bodies and memories of those he inhabits. With his own body destroyed, the one-time superstar athlete must rely on others to survive. The saga of the newest Marvel Inhuman MOSAIC begins here!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99


So the newest Marvel Inhuman is DC's Deadman then...?


PROWLER #1
SEAN RYAN (W) • JAMAL CAMPBELL (A)
Cover by TRAVEL FOREMAN
...
“CLONE CONSPIRACY” TIE-IN!
Even a super hero’s life can get boring. Double-check your gear. Patrol the city. Save the innocent. Report back to your boss, The Jackal. Wait, what? Why is Prowler working for The Jackal? What does the resurrected Madame Web have to do with him? And what has Prowler already done that may have compromised him?!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Oh wow, they managed to make The Prowler's already fairly terrible costume even worse...? Impressive!

And The Prowler better be working for a villain, if not a villain himself, because purple and green are villain colors. Everyone knows that.


I like this cover.


SOLO #1
GERRY DUGGAN & GEOFFREY THORNE (W) • PACO DIAZ (A/C)
...
The “One Man War on Terror” will get the job done! That’s right — James Bourne, A.K.A. Solo, is on his own, right where he belongs! Deadly alien weapons are making their way into the hands of ordinary thugs – and Solo is going undercover to locate the source. Things are heating up, and Solo might just wish he had some backup! Deadpool was just the beginning. You haven’t seen anything till you’ve met Solo!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99


Say, Solo's real name is James Bourne? I wonder if this book might not sell better under the title Bourne, given the popularity of those movies then...?

1 comment:

londonkds said...

Well, a MCU SHIELD origin story would have to include Peggy recruiting a bunch of unrepentant Science Nazis to set up the events of Winter Soldier, so I don't think we'll see it.