Saturday, July 22, 2017

Marvel's October previews reviewed

October will be a pretty big month for Marvel, as it is the beginning of their "Legacy" initiative, which, I confess, I don't quite understand.

Some of it is merely cosmetic, like the return of character boxes in the upper left-hand corners, where they used to help readers tell which comic was which when most comics were shelved on grocery store spinner racks.

They are also doing special variant covers, which are basically "cover versions" of previous famous covers, that will be recognizable to fans, like the Ben Caldwell cover for America #8above, an homage to the 1966 John Romita Amazing Spider-Man cover (Although, if we're being honest here, you have to be a pretty hardcore fan to really "get" all of these. For my part, I recognize many of the poses and the characters who appeared in the original images, but I couldn't tell you, like, which particular title, or the number of which particular book, the covers reference; I actually had to do some Googling to see what year that ASM cover was from, and if it was Steve Ditko or John Romita who drew it).

And then there's the numbering, which I don't get at all. Cognizant that the diminishing returns of relaunched books with new number one issues on an increasingly regularly basis have now gotten so diminished, they are actually a negative rather than a positive, Marvel has decided all (well, most) of their books again...? Only this time with a completely randomly high number that is essentially meaningless (Well, it's not completely random, there is a nonsensical method in which, say, to get to the numbering for Incredible Hulk, they add up all the issues of all the previous Hulk series. Which...isn't really how issue numbers work on comic books).

But those cover-versions of covers are hardly the only variant covers! The solicitations list the following types of variants:
Design Variant
How-To-Draw Cariant Cover by Chip Zdarsky
Jack Kirby 100th Anniversary Cover
LH Variant
Legacy Headshot Variant
1965 T Shirt Variant
Trading Card Variant
Now not every issues will have all six types of variants, but most of the books seem to have between one and four of 'em.

Finally, the books will also feature "Primer Pages," which sound like they are meant to be something between the "Previously In..." prose synopses you find in many Marvel comics and trades, and those two-page origin stories that ran in the back of DC's 52 series. Of all of this business, these seem like the only things that might actually entice a new reader to try jumping-on to any of these books.

Which books? Well books like these, of course...

LH Variant Cover by KRIS ANKA
DAKEN, the enigmatic son of Logan, has been kidnapped and it’s up to the ALL-NEW WOLVERINE to find him. But when the trail leads Laura, a genetic clone of the original Wolverine, back to the FACILITY where she was created and tortured, she will find new horrors waiting for her. Who are the ORPHANS OF X and what do they have in store for the children of Logan? PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and art by Mark Bagley!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Perhaps the All-New Wolverine can find Daken's shirt, while she's at it!

This sounds...the exact opposite of what I thought we would be getting after I finished the most recent All-New Wolverine trade. It really seemed like Taylor was ready to move on, and let the character move on, from all this facility and cloning and torture business.

Cover by ALEX ROSS
LH Variant Cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
Following the events of GENERATIONS comes the long-promised clash between the Avengers and the Champions! The countdown has started as the High Evolutionary, a twisted scientist determined to create a better world at all costs, sets the Earth on a collision course with destruction! The Avengers and the Champions are ready to meet this threat — but will their first cataclysmic clash deter them from Changing the World? PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and a TBA artist!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

I do so love when Mike Allred draws superheroes...!

This Avengers vs. Champions story could be fun, and the two teams look surprisingly well-matched at this point. I really like when Marvel teams fight one another like this, and it's not, like, such a big deal it needs a line-wide event, just an issue or two or four of Marvel heroes hitting one another.

It will never happen, but one of my dream Marvel movies would be an Avengers/Defenders War using some iteration of the MCU's current line-ups, with maybe Namor thrown.

CABLE #150
ED BRISSON (W) • Jon Malin (A)
Cover by JON MALIN
LH Variant Cover by ROB LIEFELD
The time-traveling mutant known as Cable has made it his one-man mission to preserve all of time itself. But when a disturbance in the timestream sends Cable back to the recent past, he’ll find a mutant killer he won’t be able to handle alone. Cable’s led teams of X-Men before and he’ll have to turn to some old allies and new friends to stop this deadly threat. Get ready for the newer New Mutants! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and art by Mark Bagley!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

I like "Newer Mutants" as a story title, and I think it would be an even better title for the series. I'd be much more likely to read a Newer Mutants or Cable and The Newer Mutants series than I would a Cable series.

Personally, I've grown to prefer the black costume, but Marvel neglected to ask for my input on the matter.

Cover by JESúS SAIZ
Sam Wilson – winged warrior, avian Avenger and one-time sentinel of liberty – takes to the skies again, reborn and recommitted as the fighter for freedom, THE FALCON! Engaged in an all-new assignment while training his new partner THE PATRIOT, Sam Wilson soars high and sees all. But Sam’s new mission finds him on a collision course with an enemy way out of his weight class—the demonic BLACKHEART! Writer Rodney Barnes (THE BOONDOCKS) joins artist Joshua Cassara (SECRET EMPIRE: UNDERGROUND) to challenge Sam Wilson as never before! From the stratosphere to the streets, the Marvel Universe now has a high-flying hero circling above them ready to strike! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and art by Mark Bagley!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Hrrm. Well, I can't say I like the idea of Sam Wilson giving up the shield and title of Captain America to return to being The Falcon; that seems like a major step backwards for the character, personally, and I'm not sure how it can be spun or sold within the comics so as to make it seem like a positive choice for Sam Wilson (Writer Nick Spencer often presented Wilson's being Captain America as a real pain in the ass, but more in a burden-I-proudly-bear than a God-I-hate-my-job kinda way).

This also has a domino effect to it, as new character Joaquin Torres had taken up the name of the Falcon, so if Sam takes the name back, what becomes of Joaquin...?

Unless...that's not Joaquin on the shield/hoverboard cover, is it? There's already a character named The Patriot, from Young Avengers (although I haven't seen him in so long, maybe he's dead at the moment?), but I don't think that's him; if it is, then they gave him a much, much worse costume than the one he usually rocks.

Of course, they've given Sam a much worse costume, too. The red and black color scheme is perhaps preferable to the red and white (or the green!), but the cape feels off. I think I'd prefer that, if he must quit being Captain America, he just kept that costume with a red and black color scheme, taking the star and other American signifiers off it.

Also, in some of those images it looks like The Falcon's penis has long red wings.

HULK #11
JEN WALTERS here, asking you to kindly pre-order your copy of HULK #11…or else I’ll come into your shop and rip up all of your issues of ASTONISHING X-MEN #1! That last-page reveal won’t be so revealing when it’s in shreds on the floor…What? No, I’m not deflecting. Yes, the events of the last arc WERE challenging, but I’m fine…Listen, I just told you, I AM FINE. If you keep asking me, you’ll make me mad…and you won’t like me when I’m mad…
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

So, um, what on earth is going on with Marvel's She-Hul/Hulk book, exactly? I was surprised and confused by this post , which indicated that Marvel was either changing the name of the book back to She-Hulk, or, at the very least, were collecting it in trade under She-Hulk rather than Hulk. Either way though, isn't the numbering remarkably low for the publisher's dumb-ass "legacy" initiative? I guess they folded all the (He-)Hulk book numbers into the new Incredible Hulk book, but, at the very least, shouldn't this Hulk book take on the numbering of all the various She-Hulk series there have been over the decades? Or is it excused for some reason?

Don't get me wrong, I think just-not-relaunching-constantly is a better method than randomly-adding-hundreds-of-issues-from-other-series, but it seems like Marvel is applying their legacy numbering rather haphazardly. Shocking, I know.

SINA GRACE (W) • Robert Gill (A)
ICEMAN, one of the most powerful mutants within the Marvel Universe, discovers his powers and his outlook on life evolving. He needs to lead the charge with a team who stand proudly by his side in the war to “protect those who can’t protect themselves.” Hercules, Ghost Rider, Black Widow, Darkstar, and Angel re-unite with Marvel’s fearless frozen fighter setting ICEMAN on an all-new path. As more unexpected enemies emerge, can Bobby mature into the warrior he’s destined to become? Hope he survives the experience! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and a TBA artist!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

While I've certainly read plenty of comics featuring various Avengers and X-Men teams, it was the other Marvel teams I always had more affection for, teams like The Defenders and The Champions, with their ad hoc line-ups that don't make any sense at first glance...and never make more sense even when you read the comics they star in.

So I'm actually kinda jazzed about this story arc. I hope these Champions meet the other Champions at some point, too.


You know, I'm genuinely kinda surprised that Iceman is still wearing a red-and-black onesie. I know it won't last forever, as so few superhero costumes ever seem to, but that one was so dumb-looking I expected it to have a very, very short shelf life.

Tony Stark has vanished! The mystery deepens as Stark friends and foes must decide, finally, who will wield the power of Iron Man! All the contenders are in position, and all the armor is polished. There can only be one Armored Avenger! The path to the most startling Iron Man story ever begins here! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and a TBA artist!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

So, Battle For The Cowl, but with Iron Man...? Oh wow, I'm sorry I even typed that sentence, because the very thought of it depresses me. Well, it can't possibly be that bad; Bendis is a better writer than Battle's Tony Daniel, and Caselli's a better artist than Battle's Tony Daniel.

I remain completely fascinated by what age Jessica and Luke's daughter Danielle is supposed to be, as she is constantly sliding up and down the spectrum between newborn and toddler, depending on who is drawing her.

This is David Mack's cover for Jessica Jones #13, by the way. So in terms of "Legacy" numbering, they seem to have left this book alone too, and not factored in the Alias issue numbers.

After the earth-shattering events of issue #23, Moon Girl needs a new partner! Lunella takes three candidates for a test drive, but who will be the lucky hero to become her newest sidekick? Guest stars galore! Ghost Rider! Daredevil! The X-Babies!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

I say Daredevil, because at least he's got a "devil" in his name. Otherwise, she should probably just go shopping around the Savage Land or Mole Man's kingdom; surely there are other dinosaurs and/or Kirby-created monsters she could team-up with.

By the time the Punisher was born in Vietnam, Frank Castle had already become a dark legend of the battlefield. Stories about him were told in whispers, if at all. Now the legendary Punisher team of Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov (PUNISHER MAX, FURY MAX) brings the first of those stories to light: the tale of Frank Castle’s first command, and his first kill. Don’t miss this epic new series!
32 PGS. (EACH)/MAX/Parental Advisory …$3.99 (EACH)

Huh. Garth Ennis. Back on The Punisher. I didn't expect to see that. I'm not unhappy that I did, though.

Variant Cover by KEVIN WADA
The RUNAWAYS are back, but are they ever, ever, ever getting back together? Did Chase and Gert’s love survive their time apart? Have Karolina and Nico’s feelings made their friendship impossible? What emotional land mines lie in wait to DESTROY the Runaways?! And should we be more worried about those, or about the shadowy scientist watching them from a distance?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Maybe I'm shallow, but what I'm most worried about is the presence of their dinosaur.

Wait, is Old Lace not hanging out with The Runaways anymore? Because, if not, Moon Girl is looking for a new dinosaur pal...

A dead angel. A silver bullet. A kept promise. For ages, the war between Heaven and Hell raged in the unseen corners of society, both sides in delicate balance that could topple if the right weapons were in the wrong hands… When an undercover angel is murdered, Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider, must find the killers and punish them…But this time he won’t do it alone: A deadly team must rise from the darkest depths of the Marvel Universe to form an unholy alliance – HELLSTORM! SATANA! BLADE! They are the SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and a TBA artist!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

I like all these characters, so I'll look forward to this miniseries in trade. I'm not crazy about Daimon's street-clothes look here, though. No one has designed or drawn Daimon in a suit as well as Nick Dragotta in the apparently-forgotten 2011 miniseries Vengeance (Which, I should take this opportunity to remind you, is the best thing ever).

LH Variant Cover by CHRISTIAN WARD
Legacy Headshot Variant Cover by MIKE MCKONE
The U.S. Avengers have a new mission—to find their missing teammate! Squirrel Girl, Red Hulk, Iron Patriot, and more head into outer space to find Cannonball! The search leads them to strangest planet of all…Glenbrook, U.S.A.! Home — and fiefdom — of Ritchie Redwood, America’s best loved teen! What shocking events will lead the U.S. Avengers to uncover the secrets of the seemingly idyllic planet of Glenbrook whose teenagers keep disappearing? And how will this lead them to Cannonball? PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and a TBA artist!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

I've totally lost track of Ewing's ongoing Avengers adventures since the conclusion of his New Avengers, but I'm looking forward to catching up. This sure looks awesome.

Oh my God look at Venomized Rocket!!!!

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