I always liked that idea, as I like when the most familiar and iconic characters get their costumes radically redesigned on a temporary, event-specific basis: Like Batman gets a Green Lantern ring, for example, or, for a decades-old example, when various DC heroes were "eclipsed" by Eclipso. With Venom, they probably should just get black and white versions of their own costumes, maybe with the some spider-legs attached to their icons or logos (as The Punisher did in that one What If...? special, but whatever, these are just covers, so if a Hulk gets a green symbiote or Man-Thing doesn't get a long tongue, it's no big deal.
Here are some favorites, although there are others as well (Dig the "What If...Venom Had Possessed Tippy-Toes?" one).
That top one is Spider-Man Peter Parker; not sure why he gets four arms and scary-feet, other than to distinguish him from Venom-Venom. You can probably figure out all the others; the bottom two, in which groups are Venom-ized, are of The X-Men and The Champions.
You know, this looks like a pretty okay idea for a nice, basic, uncomplicated Marvel line-wide event/series: A bunch of Venoms possess, like, half the Marvel heroes, and the other half have to rescue them.
But enough about covers, Marvel is also publishing some comic books of interest this March. Comic books like these:
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25
DAN SLOTT, CLASSIFIED, HANNAH BLUMENREICH,
CALE ATKINSON (w)
STUART IMMONEN, CLASSIFIED, HANNAH BLUMENREICH,
CALE ATKINSON (a)
COVER BY ALEX ROSS
• STUART IMMONEN (STAR WARS, AVENGERS) takes the artist reins of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and joins Dan Slott for a 40-page main story!
• Then don’t miss a super-secret short story by Dan and Giuseppe Camuncoli!
• TOP-SECRET BONUS CREATIVE TEAM!!!
• Hannah Blumenreich makes hers Marvel, making her Spider-Debut!
• Cale Atkinson brings another story of the A-May-ZING SPIDER-AUNT!
88 PGS./Rated T …$9.99
Huh. Keeping content, including characters and even titles "classified" or "top secret" isn't all that unusual, but keeping a creative team secret is. I can't imagine why they might be doing so here, especially since it is so often the case these days that the creative team sells the book to the sort of engaged readers who pay attention to solicits, but for whatever reason Marvel decided to do so here.
It would be weird to do this with a very good team, as a shocking team that is popular--Geoff Johns and Jim Lee?--would boost sales, which Marvel needs to make now, not when the dang thing hits the stands (and at $10 I have to imagine many retailers are likely to be extra-careful about not frivolously ordering extra copies of this just in case that teams is President Barack Obama and Bansky).
On the flip side, why bother keeping a terrible creative team secret?
Curious. I wonder if I'll still be curious in March of next year, or if I will have completely forgotten about this by then...
GABBY RIVERA (W) • JOE QUINONES (A/C)
At last! Everyone’s favorite no-nonsense powerhouse, America Chavez, gets her own series!
Written by critically-acclaimed YA novelist Gabby Rivera (Juliet Takes A Breath) and drawn by all-star artist Joe Quinones (HOWARD THE DUCK), Marvel Comics’ brand new AMERICA series shines a solo spotlight on the high-octane and hard-hitting adventures of the one and only America Chavez!
America has always been uncontestably awesome, and as the newly appointed leader of the Ultimates, she’s now officially claimed her place as the preeminent butt-kicker of the Marvel Universe! But while leading a team of heroes and punching out big bads is great and all, it doesn’t really leave much time for self-discovery… So what’s a super-powered teenager do when she’s looking for a little fulfillment? She goes to college!
She just has to stop an interdimensional monster or two first, plus shut down a pesky alien cult that’s begun worshipping her exploits!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
This one is a little unexpected, given that Ms. America/America Chavez has always been a team member rather than a solo-star. I'm unfamiliar with the writer, but Quinones is a great artist (The above cover isn't his, those; that's the variant by Jamie McKelvie). I lost track of America, if that's what we're calling her now (Ugh, I prefer Ms. America, for the sake of legacy if nothing else), after the "controversial" Secret Wars miniseries A-Force, so I'm not sure what she's been like in the A-Force ongoing that followed or the pages of the post-Secret Wars version of The Ultimates. It's worth noting that the original version who appeared in 2011's Vengeance miniseries and the one who appeared in the last volume of Young Avengers were fairly different-ish in portrayal, so I guess it will be interesting to see which America shows up.
BLACK PANTHER #12
TA-NEHISI COATES (W) • BRIAN STELFREEZE (A/C)
A NATION UNDER OUR FEET: EPILOGUE
• The dust settles, and peace comes to Wakanda once again.
• That is, if her political leaders can come to terms….
• T’Challa finds himself in the last place he ever expected: A republic.
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99
Whaaaaat...? The kingdom of Wakanda has become a republic rather than a hereditary monarchy? That is a shocking development! Although 20 pages of pulse-pounding political intrigue doesn't sound all that promising, does it?
I have a confession to make. I bought the first collection of Coates and Stelfreeze's new Black Panther series, and I couldn't even finish reading it. I made it through three of the four issues, if I'm remember the content correctly, went to bed for the night, and it's been unopened on my nightstand ever since.
Coates does a fine job at writing comics, evidencing none of the often annoying ticks or tells of a writer new to the medium, and the art is fine, but I just found the book boring. To my own surprise really, as I can and do read terrible comics all the time. This just seemed to fall somewhere completely outside the normal scale between terrible and great, I guess, landing in some not-at-all-entertaining category for me personally.
I do hope to give it another try eventually and write a formal review of it here, but to my own great surprise I found Black Panther to be very Not For Me.
BLACK WIDOW #12
MARK WAID & CHRIS SAMNEE (W) • CHRIS SAMNEE (A/C)
IT ALL LEADS TO THIS!
• All the secrets…
• All the lies…
• All the vengeance…
• It all ends here.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
I've been reading Marvel trade collections a lot faster than I've been writing about them, and therefore haven't gotten to blogging about the first volume of Waid and Samnee's Black Widow comic yet. But it's very good. There's not a whole hell of a lot too it, but it's a very fast-paced action and intrigue comic that is pretty much flawlessly executed.
CLASSIFIED PRELUDE TPB
Written by CLASSIFIED
Penciled by CLASSIFIED
Cover by CLASSIFIED
Find out what’s in store for the Marvel Universe in this definitive prelude to the next TOP SECRET event! You won’t want to miss a moment of this major story — and it all starts here!
248 PGS./Rated T+ …$34.99
Wait a minute, is this real? This isn't a joke? Because it seems ridiculous when Marvel does this for a regular old $3.99 comic book, but for a 250-page $35.00 graphic novel? How on earth does a retailer even approach this?
Does one order it like it's Secret Wars or Civil War II or Monsters Unleashed or IVX or AVX...? "Event" has a pretty broad definition, after all.
I guess whatever it is, it's going to be built around some pre-existing story, or, more likely, series of stories that are somehow bound together, but weren't such a big deal that it or they would have already been published under its/their own title, and can thus be published under that of "__________ Prelude."
Are only clue seems to be the fact that it's "Rated T+", so given that and everything else that's going on this month (i.e. the "ResurreXion"-branded X-Men franchise re-focusing), I'm going to randomly guess that this is the resurrection of Wolverine storyline (the old Wolverine, not the All-New Wolverine...Oh, but not the one who is literally an old man either. Well, I mean, he is an old man, but not as old as...Jeez, comics are hard to talk about sometimes).
That would mean this would be full of individual issues of various X-Men and Wolverine comics leading up to whatever they end up doing to bring him back from the dead. Or "dead."
That said, I suppose it could also be the
GWENPOOL, THE UNBELIEVABLE #13
CHRIS HASTINGS (W) • GURIHIRU (A)
Cover by GISELE LAGACE
• Gwen’s been thrown by Arcade into…a world of Fantasy Roleplaying?!?!
• It’s Swords & Sorcery, Gwenpool-style!
• Watch out, or this LARP is gonna become a DARP!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
I spent an embarrassingly long time trying to recall what DARPA stood for before I realized that this was just a dumb joke, turning the L-for-Live in LARMP (Live Action Role-Playing) to a D-for-Dead (Dead Action Role Playing). (DARPA stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, if you're trying to remember now).
INHUMANS PRIME #1
AL EWING (W) • RYAN SOOK (A)
Cover by JONBOY MEYERS
RESURRXION BEGINS HERE!
In the wake of the awesome events of IVX — what will become of the Inhumans? In this oversized special issue — the trial of Maximus! The coming of Marvel Boy! And what is the dark secret of Black Bolt? A special bridging issue between the past of the Inhumans and their future — on Earth and in the stars!
40 PGS./ One-Shot /Rated T+ …$4.99
Oh man, I thought IVX was gonna get rid of these guys forever.
Hey, did you know this is one of the books with a Venom-ized variant cover? Hopefully it just features Lockjaw possessed by Venom. Oh man, how awesome would that be? Wouldn't you rather read "What If...Venom Had Possessed Lockjaw?" instead of learn about the fate the Inhumans?
IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON — THE COMPLETE COLLECTION TPB
Written by KAARE ANDREWS
Penciled by KAARE ANDREWS
Cover by KAARE ANDREWS
A one of a kind, kung fu action epic directed by the inimitable Kaare Andrews! Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist, is haunted by the consequences of choosing death over life. But when he receives a message from his mystical homeland of K’un Lun, he must return and relive his blood-soaked origin of betrayal and vengeance! The mystical city will be reduced to ruins, while Rand Tower will face a hostile takeover — very hostile! With the wolves at the door and the villain behind it all terribly close to Danny’s heart, will he be broken beyond repair? Or can he summon up the will to once again render his shattered hands like unto fists of iron? Hope is reborn with talons and fire, but revenge is a weapon that cuts both ways. Will Danny survive the bloodletting? Collecting IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON #1-12.
272 PGS./Rated T+ …$34.99
I'm a big fan of Kaare Andrews' work, and I was genuinely surprised that I didn't enjoy the first trade collection of this short-lived series more than I did. The art was predictably amazing, but the mood was a little too serious, I think. Perhaps the Matt Fraction/Ed Brubaker version of the character just ruined more serious takes for me...?
R.L. STINE (W) • GERMAN PERALTA & Daniel Johnson (A)
Cover by TYLER CROOK
MARVEL WELCOMES R.L. STINE!
Beloved writer R.L. STINE (Goosebumps, Fear Street) brings his special brand of horror to MAN-THING!
After working for years, MAN-THING has regained his ability to speak and has taken Hollywood by storm…But when an ancient and mysterious danger threatens the swamp, Man-Thing is going to have to choose between his new life and celebrity, and the world he used to call home…
PLUS! A bone-chilling new horror story, written by the master himself, R.L. STINE, and illustrated by the incomparable Daniel Warren Johnson!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99
MAN-THING #2 (of 5)
R.L. STINE (W) • GERMAN PERALTA & CHRISTOPHER MITTEN (A)
Cover by TYLER CROOK
THE MUCK RUN AMUCK!
• Back in his old swamp, MAN-THING is visited by an ally from his past, while struggling with his new status in life.
• But the swamp is less than welcoming, with every creature seemingly out to get him! Crocodiles, bats and mosquitoes – oh my!
• Will Man-Thing be able to restore the balance of the swamp and the cause of this calamity? Or will the forces that are affecting the swamp prove to be beyond his control?
• PLUS! Even more horror for your dollar! A terrible tale of ROAD RAGE, as told by R.L. STINE and CHRISTOPHER MITTEN.
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99
Man, R.L. Stine is a hell of a "get" for Marvel. I honestly wasn't entirely sure if he was a real person really writing the millions (or is it billions now?) books published under his name now or not. As a fan of of Man-Thing, I'm pretty excited about this series (or it's eventual trade collection, to be precise), although I'm not so sure how I feel about the thought of a talking Man-Thing, as that kinda kills the mystique of the character.
Also, I didn't know he had a mouth.
MONSTERS UNLEASHED: MONSTER-SIZE HC
Written by CULLEN BUNN
Penciled by ADAM KUBERT, GREG LAND, SALVADOR LAROCCA, STEVE McNIVEN & LEINIL FRANCIS YU
Cover by STEVE McNIVEN
It’s all hands on deck with the AVENGERS, CHAMPIONS, GUARDIANS, X-MEN and the
INHUMANS as they clash with monstrous hazards that threaten to destroy every corner of the Marvel Universe. Who are the LEVIATHONS? Who controls them? How can they be stopped before Earth becomes another tragic barren world in their wake? Collecting MONSTERS UNLEASHED #1-5.
168 PGS./RATED T+ …$50.00
Trim size: 14-1/4 x 21-1/4
Fifty dollars?! There damn well better be a human-size collection of this thing too...
GERRY DUGGAN (W) • PEPE LARRAZ (A)
Cover by ADAM KUBERT
• The fight to stop the Red Skull spills out of Avengers Mansion and into the streets.
• Rogue’s gambit works. When the Red Skull gains the upper hand, Deadpool gets help from a few pals.
• And it’s lights out for one Avenger…
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Oh my God, these guys have been fighting The Red Skull forever now. Like, years and years.
I really love how bananas that big, bobble-headed Red Skull looks on Adam Kubert's cover, though.
AL EWING (W) • PACO MEDINA (A/C)
• Do you HATE tie-ins with a fiery passion, True Believer? Well, this isn’t one! It’s a COMPLETE EPIC EVENT —
IN 20 PULSE-POUNDING PAGES!
• In the wake of Monsters Unleashed — EVEN MORE MONSTERS!! Because you probably will have demanded it!
• RED HULK! AMERICAN KAIJU! VANDOOM, the man who made a creature! And wouldja believe — DEDD-PUUL,
THE MERCENARY THAT WALKS LIKE A MAN?!?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
I will always demand more monsters.