Friday, May 31, 2019

Marvel's August previews reviewed

Well, now that the "War of the Realms" line-wide crossover event story is all done, Marvel is turning its attention away from over-sized event storytelling and returning their focus to high-quality, individual, done-in-one stories perfect for brand-new readers who--

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #1 (OF 4)
DONNY CATES (W) • RYAN STEGMAN (A/C)
Variant Cover by ARTGERM (Virgin Version Also Available)
Action Figure Variant Cover by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
Variant Cover by RON LIM
Variant Cover by NICK BRADSHAW
Codex Variant Cover by ADI GRANOV
Connecting Variant Cover by TBA
Cult of Carnage Variant Cover by GABRIELLE DELL’OTTO
Hidden Gem Variant Cover by MARK BAGLEY
Party Variant Cover by MIKE DEODATO (B&W Version Also Available)
Premiere Variant Cover by RYAN STEGMAN
Young Guns Variant Cover by AARON KUDER
Blank Variant Cover Also Available
After turning Venom’s world upside down a year ago, DONNY CATES and RYAN STEGMAN are about to put the Sinister Symbiote through hell again, only this time CARNAGE has come calling, and everyone who’s ever worn a symbiote is dead in his sights! He’s skirted the periphery of the Marvel Universe for months, but Cletus Kasady at last stands poised to make his grand return to New York in a blistering 60-PAGE story… and he wants to paint the town red!
72 PGS./Rated T+ …$7.99


JK! This August the publisher kicks off their Absolute Carnage story line with an $8, 70+-page issue that comes with no fewer than 13 covers. The main series is just four issues, two of which ship in August, but there will also be five separate three-issue miniseries launching in August, as well as a tie-in issues of Venom.

If you can't get enough symbiotes and have $57.88 to spend on comics this August, has Marvel got some comics for you!

Oddly, Amazing Spider-Man was able to escape, and it doesn't look like Spider-Man Prime has a role to play in Absolute Carnage, not even in a miniseries, but maybe Peter Parker was mentioned in one of the miniseries solicitations and I just missed it, because my eyes can sometimes glaze over when reading about symbiotes the same way they can when I read the word "mutant" too many times in one sitting...


AGENTS OF ATLAS #1 (OF 5)
GREG PAK & JEFF PARKER (W) • GANG HYUK LIM & CARLO PAGULAYAN (A)
Cover by JUNG-GEUN YOON
...
PROTECTING EVERY CORNER OF THE MARVEL U.!
By popular demand, ATLAS debut in their own series as AMADEUS CHO, SILK, SHANG-CHI, WAVE, JIMMY WOO and all your favorites defend the cross-Asian portal city of Pan against the science-magic threat of one of Marvel’s classic villains! Classic science-magic super hero fun combined with young and old heroes from multiple lands clashing with one another, fighting monsters and maybe saving the world along the way! And who is ISAAC IKEDA, the Protector of Pan? PLUS: Where are the original AGENTS OF ATLAS? Namora, M-11, Gorilla Man and Marvel Boy in an all-new top-secret mission!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99


Hmmm...I'm glad to see the original Agents showing up alongside the new team, which seems to have simply appropriated the team name, as Jimmy Woo is the only holdover. Of course, maybe the "classic villain" they are fighting is The Golden Claw, in which case the name might be a bit more appropriate...?

It's difficult to tell from the wording of this solicitation copy, but I get the sense that this miniseries will have a lead feature by Grg Pak and Gang Hyuk Lim starring the new Agents, and a backup by Jeff Parker and Carol Pagulayan featuring the original team.

Personally, I think I would find a new team consisting of a super line-up of both iterations combined more engaging, in much the same way I kind of wish that Marvel launched a Defenders book combining a classic line-up (Doctor Strange, Namor, The Hulk, The Silver Surfer, maybe Hellcat and Nighthawk and/or a Valkyrie) wit the Netflix-inspired team that starred in the last book to bear that title (Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones).


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #27
NICK SPENCER (W) • KEV WALKER (A) • Cover by RYAN OTTLEY
...
• There is a new Sinister Syndicate!
• Beetle, Electro, Lady Octopus, Scorpia and White Rabbit have come together for one reason: TO HUNT BOOMERANG!
• Spidey knew having Boomerang as a roommate would come back to bite him, but not like this.
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

Wait, Lady Octopus...? Like Olivia "Doctor Octopus" Octavius from Into the Spider-Verse...? Is she a real, preexisting character, or did the movie's success lead to her canonical existence in the Marvel Comics Universe...?


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: VENOM 3D #1 (POLYBAGGED)
Written by DAVID MICHELINIE • Penciled by TODD MCFARLANE
Cover by TODD MCFARLANE
Spider-Man’s first encounter with his deadliest foe leaps off the page like never before! The lethal Venom looks a lot like Spidey’s black costume — only bigger, stronger and with a killer smile! Worse still, thanks to the symbiotic suit, Eddie Brock knows all of Peter Parker’s secrets! Venom has already terrorized Mary Jane — so it’s just a matter of time before he comes face-to-face with Spidey. And Eddie knows just the right place to battle the wall-crawler! Can Peter figure out a way to survive? And if he does, maybe it’s time to go back to a more friendly neighborhood outfit! It’s one of the greatest issues of David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane’s fan-favorite run, with the superstar artist’s stunning pages presented for the first time in eye-popping 3D! Reprinting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #300.
48 PGS./Rated T …$7.99


Shiver!

Sorry; the word "polybagged" just makes me shudder involuntarily.

So shortly after I first moved to Columbus in 2000 or so, and suddenly had access to the many, many trade collections that the Columbus Metropolitan Library had and the Ashtabula County Public Library did not, I started seeking out many of the comic books that I knew from being around comics for so long were extremely popular, but I had just never actually read myself. Like, for example, Todd McFarlane's Amazing Spider-Man comics. Granted, this is now almost 20 years ago now, but I remember being shocked at how poor the comic was. I think I made it maybe one issue into the collection before giving up, but maybe I didn't even make it that far.

I don't know; I read a good eight issues or so of Spawn, so I know there is (or was) something appealing about McFarlane's art, but his Spider-Man just seemed completely unreadable to me. Maybe you had to be there at the time...? (I similarly never really "got" Rob Liefeld or Jim Lee's art from that era, although I do think the latter's work has improved tremendously over the decades since his X-Men was all the rage...)


Nice, evergreen Doctor Strange cover by Alan Davis.




FANTASTIC FOUR: 4 YANCY STREET #1
GERRY DUGGAN (W) • GREG SMALLWOOD (A/C)
...
• The first of a series of regular essential releases expanding on the ongoing legend of the Fantastic Four and their world!
• The FF are now living on Yancy Street, but not all of their neighbors are happy about that.
• The Thing investigates a nasty piece of vandalism that conjures up painful old memories as he takes a trip down memory lane through the Lower East Side and it’s made all the more dangerous by…THE TERRIBLE TRIO!
40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T+ …$4.99


FUTURE FOUNDATION #1
JEREMY WHITLEY (W) • WILL ROBSON (A) • Cover by CARLOS PACHECO
...
A BRAND-NEW SERIES STRAIGHT FROM THE PAGES OF FANTASTIC FOUR!
When the Richards family is called back to Earth to be the Fantastic Four again, they left behind the Future Foundation — a think tank of the most brilliant young minds in the universe — with one mission: to find the pieces of and rebuild their friend Molecule Man. But that’s proved harder than imagined as this crew of young geniuses, Atlanteans, Mutants, Moloids and androids have run into every problem in the Multiverse. Now, with the leadership of Alex and Julie Power and a little extra firepower from guest professor Yondu Udonta, the team will undergo their most dangerous mission yet — a PRISON BREAK! Jeremy Whitley (UNSTOPPABLE WASP) and Will Robson (GREAT LAKES AVENGERS; Spawn) take the Future Foundation on a heart-pounding journey across time and space!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99


These both seem broadly appealing, and I like and/or respect the work of most the creators attached to these books. That said, it seems like maybe not the best idea in the world-to start pumping out more series featuring a particular franchise almost as soon as its been deemed a mild success (although, that is basically Marvel's publishing strategy in a nutshell).

I mean, we went years without any Fantastic Four series, and now that the title has been back for a trade paperback or two's worth of single issues, Marvel is launching a new ongoing spin-off in Future Foundation and a one-shot that is "the first of a series of regular essential releases"...plus an Invisible Woman miniseries (below).


This is Amanda Conner's variant cover for Mark Waid and Mattia De Iulis' Invisible Woman #2. I've been thinking about it, and I think I've decided that the cover would look slightly cooler if Conner had not drawn the invisible force field, but instead just drawn all the projectiles bouncing off of it. There are enough of them that you should be able to "see" it without it being visible.


Nice cover for Ironheart #9 by Stefano Caselli.


MARVEL COMICS #1000
...
THIS IS THE BIG ONE! In celebration of Marvel’s 80th Anniversary, we have gathered together the greatest array of talent ever to be assembled between the covers of a single comic book! Names from the past, from the present, and even the future! Every page is filled with all-new work from this cavalcade of comic book luminaries!
There is a mystery that threads throughout the Marvel Universe — one that has its origins in MARVEL COMICS #1 and which unites a disparate array of heroes and villains throughout the decades! What is the Eternity Mask, and who is responsible for the conspiracy to keep it hidden? And what new player will make their startling debut as these secrets are peeled away?
Featuring the entirety of the Marvel Universe of characters!
96 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T …$9.99
PERFECTBOUND FORMAT!


This irritates me in several different ways, starting with the randomly chosen very high number, which seems at least in part to try to get in on that Action Comics and Detective Comics action.

I'm still going to buy and read it though...mostly out of curiosity.


MARVEL MONSTERS #1
CULLEN BUNN (W) • SCOTT HEPBURN, SUPERLOG, Becky Cloonan, Gerardo Zaffino & MORE! (A)
Cover by NICK BRADSHAW
...
THE MONSTERS ARE COMING!!!
Someone is doing terrible things to the Marvel Monsters, and only Kid Kaiju can stop it! But that’s not all! A murderers’ row of artists like Becky Cloonan, Gerardo Zaffino and others are on hand to provide awesome monster splash pages, accompanied by cross sections from superstar artist Superlog! It’s the big, bold, beautiful celebration of all things Monstrously Marvel that you won’t want to miss!
40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Parental Advisory …$4.99


Oh wow, it's like half my favorite Marvel characters, all on a single cover!

Artist Nick Bradshaw's art reminds me a lot of Arthur Adams' art, and this cover is a good example of that; Bradshaw is every bit as good at drawing monsters as Arthur Adams is! (Note Fin Fang Foom's shorts in the image, too; they are rendered really well).

The details on the contents of this are pretty sketchy, and given the fact that splash pages are specifically mentioned, I'm curious how many panels will actually be in this. Also, "& MORE" isn't generally an encouraging sign when discussing a creative team. Even still, Man-Thing and a bunch of Kirby and Lee's monsters? Yes, I will pay $5 to hang out with them.


MARVEL TEAM-UP #5
CLINT MCELROY (W)
IG GUARA (A)
Cover by ANNA RUD
• Before Carol, there was Mar-Vell. And now he’s back…or is he?
• Captain Marvel and Kamala are up to their knees in Kree nonsense. Who is the mysterious Wastrel, and why is he stockpiling enough Kree tech to build a doomsday device?
• And more importantly…how do the Kree feel about what he’s planning?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Ms. Marvel's new costume is not growing on me. In fact, it's doing the opposite.


PUNISHER KILL KREW #2 (OF 5)
GERRY DUGGAN (W)
JUAN FERREYRA (A)
Cover by TONY MOORE
HAVE GOAT, WILL TRAVEL!
• The Punisher stole Thor’s goat and is traversing the Ten Realms on a mission of vengeance.
• But the first stop is…Counter-Earth???
• Frank’s picked up some unlikely allies. Now if only he can keep them alive…
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99


I can't believe that whoever wrote this solicitation wrote "The Punisher stole Thor's goat" and not "The Punisher got Thor's goat"...or "The Punisher has gotten Thor's goat."

That is a really nice drawing of a goat though; nice goat art, Tony Moore!

Say, didn't he have two goats...? Where's the goat that is not this goat?


SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN: SELF-IMPROVEMENT #1
PETER DAVID WITH RANDY SCHUELLER & TOM DEFALCO (W)
RICK LEONARDI & RON FRENZ (A)
Cover by MARK BAGLEY
• In honor of Marvel’s 80th Anniversary, we’ve uncovered a hidden gem!
• Fan Randy Scheuller submitted an idea of Spider-Man donning a black suit before SECRET WARS, but his story was never printed.
• So we tasked SPIDER-MAN legends PETER DAVID and RICK LEONARDI with bringing it into the light!
• Then read a story by two of the creators who told the first printed stories of the black costume, TOM DEFALCO and RON FRENZ!
48 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T …$4.99


This sounds like a fun idea.


SHE-HULK ANNUAL #1
ALEXANDRA PETRI (W) • ANDY MACDONALD (A) • Cover by MIRKA ANDOLFO
...
ACTS OF EVIL!
• Bullseye being hired for an assassination? Just another Tuesday. But when he decides to pin it on She-Hulk? Bad idea.
• Strap in as everyone’s favorite lawyer-slash-Hulk, Jennifer Walters, takes on the mad marksman in a classic case of character defamation…with a heaping helping of SMASH.
• Plus: Robots! Why? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see…
40 PGS./Rated T …$4.99


Huh. I'm always running about six issues behind with Marvel comics now, but unless something has happened in the pages of Avengers or Immortal Hulk in the last few months, I assume that this is set in the past, as that version of the Jennifer Walters Hulk look a lot different than the ones we've seen stomping around since Civil War II. Or perhaps cover artist Mirka Andolfo just chose to draw her in her more familiar, "Sensational" iteration than the more current one, which will be the version appearing inside...?


SPIDER-MAN: THE MANY HOSTS OF CARNAGE TPB
Written by DAVID MICHELINIE, TOM DEFALCO, HOWARD MACKIE, TODD DEZAGO, ZEB WELLS, KEVIN SHINICK, CULLEN BUNN & DAN SLOTT
Penciled by MARK BAGLEY, JOE BENNETT, JOHN ROMITA JR., SAL BUSCEMA, CLAYTON CRAIN, STEPHEN SEGOVIA, KIM JACINTO, STUART IMMONEN, HUMBERTO RAMOS & MORE
Cover by MARK BAGLEY
ON SALE SEPTEMBER 2019
A whole host of hosts! Serial killer Cletus Kasady isn’t the only one who’s bonded with Venom’s sadistic offspring, Carnage — and they’re all here! First, Jonah’s son John Jameson succumbs to the symbiote until Ben Reilly offers a more tempting meal — becoming Spider-Carnage! But the Silver Surfer may prove the most appetizing host yet! Dr. Tanis Nieves takes a turn then joins the fight against Kasady when he transforms a whole town into Carnage, U.S.A.! Even the Avengers fall prey to symbiosis — but who will be the Superior Carnage? Karl Malus? The Wizard? Or Norman Osborn, whose perverse partnership transforms him into the Red Goblin! Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #361, #410 and #431, SPIDER-MAN (1990) #67, SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #233, CARNAGE (2010) #3, CARNAGE USA #1-5, SUPERIOR CARNAGE #3-5 and ANNUAL #1 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2015) #798-800.
480 PGS./Rated T+ …$39.99
ISBN: 978-1-302-91964-1

I didn't even know Carnage had ever had more than one host. These symbiotes really get around.


THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #47
RYAN NORTH (W) • DEREK CHARM (a)
Cover by ERICA HENDERSON
BRAIN DRAIN IS MISSING!
• Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
• Let’s do the good news: It’s the start of a new Squirrel Girl arc! BRAIN DRAIN is missing! A sinister face from the past returns! And the hitherto UNBEATABLE Squirrel Girl will have to face CERTAIN DEFEAT to save him!
• Now the bad news: While this is the start of a new Squirrel Girl arc, it’s the start of our LAST Squirrel Girl arc! We’re going out on a high note. You have been amazing, and making this book has been amazing, but sadly in four months, THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL will end with issue #50. I KNOW.
• Now the good news again: Because it’s our last story ever we’re making it COMPLETELY HUGE AND AMAZING and it is going to BLOW YOUR MIND!
• It’s the start of the most nuts Squirrel Girl story ever as lives hang in the balance, narrative threads are resolved, and shocking reveals are made!


This has consistently been Marvel's best comic book for...well, well over 47 months now, and the fact that it is ending--as all good things eventually must--is genuinely bumming me out. I'll try to console myself with the thought that perhaps Ryan North, Erica Henderson and/or Derek Charm will return to do more Squirrel Girl original graphic novels, one-shots or miniseries in the future (I realllly want to read a Squirrel Girl vs. Namor story some day, for example, and I have a feeling Koi Boi would like such a thing to exist as well; oh, and I really want an Unstoppable Wasp vs. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comic, so we can find out what happens when an Unstoppable force meets and Unbeatable object).

That, and the fact that if Tom King is leaving Batman to write a new Batman/Catwoman limited series, that means there's a non-zero chance that DC Comics is going to announce that Ryan North and Derek Charm are the new Batman team any day now.

This title was more than successful enough to put Doreen Green front and center--or at least near the front, and not too far from the center--of the Marvel Universe over the last few years, so it's certainly quite possible that Marvel will launch a new Squirrel Girl comic of some sort in the near-ish future.

When she has appeared in other books though, like the Avengers series I have already forgotten the name of, her characterization and depiction has varied, and her appearances in other comics are sometimes good and sometimes bad, but almost never like they were in her own book. I suspect that is because North has such a particular writing style and sense of humor, and he has written the book long enough to have made the character his to such a degree that non-North Squirrel Girls could sometimes scan as Not Squirrel Girls.

That said, there are other writers it easy to imagine taking on a new Squirrel Girl book, and capturing a similar spirit to that of North's run--Unstoppable Wasp's Jeremy Whitley, Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat's Kate Leth, the Squirrel Girl prose novelist team of Shannon and Dean Hale, mmmaaaybe that Zdarsky guy--but I think I would prefer the character and the book get some time off before someone tries to relaunch it too soon, when it would simply be in the shadow of the North run.*




X-FACTOR #87 FACSIMILE EDITION
Written by PETER DAVID
Penciled by JOE QUESADA
Cover by JOE QUESADA
Get inside the heads of one of the most uncanny mutant teams of all in an acclaimed classic from the stellar creative team of Peter David and Joe Quesada! Havok, Polaris, Quicksilver, Wolfsbane, Multiple Man and Strong Guy — plus X-Factor’s government liaison, Val Cooper — are all under “X-amination” by super hero psychiatrist Doc Samson! And the revelations are hilarious, heartbreaking and character-defining! Learn how frustrating it is for the super-fast Pietro Maximoff to live in a normal-paced world! Discover Guido Carosella’s hidden pain! Explore Alex Summers’ insecurities! And join Rahne Sinclair in confronting her deepest feelings! Plus: More secrets from the psychiatric couch! It’s one of the all-time great Marvel comic books, boldly re-presented in its original form, ads and all! Reprinting X-FACTOR (1986) #87.
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99


Speaking of popular comics artists from the 1990s, as I was a few inches up after looking at that polybagged McFarlane comic, I actually prefer Quesada's old, '90s style to his current style.

As I've said before, I really genuinely disliked Jim Lee's artwork from that period, but I think he's grown better and better over the years, and now I'm actually kind of fond of Lee's artwork from the last 20 years or so, but with Quesda, it's the opposite. Granted, I haven't read a whole lot of interior work from Quesada either  back in the day--Batman: Sword of Azarael may be it, actually--or more currently, so I am basing this mostly on cover images and pin-ups, I guess.

The above cover has a lot of energy to it, and the style of figure work is super-weird but still sort of engaging, even if the costumes are so repulsive it hurts my eyes just to look at them too long. Like, who the fuck is that guy with the big dopey X on his forehead? God, that costume is really poor looking, even  by '90s X-Men costume standards...



*Although, maybe if North contributed the footnote-like gags to the pages of the next writer's comics, that would help.

5 comments:

Centipede Damascus said...

Re: Thor's goats, I believe one of them got killed within the last few years, so he only has one at the moment.

Bram said...

OK, wait, is She-Hulk by that Alexandra Petri?

Jose Gregorio Bencomo Gomez said...

"Wait, Lady Octopus...? Like Olivia "Doctor Octopus" Octavius from Into the Spider-Verse...?"

No, that must be Carolyn Trainer, who briefly took over the Doctor Octopus identity when he died in the nineties, and later she went by Lady Octopus after his return. She's been around since the nineties.

The guy with the big X on his forehead in that X-Factor cover is Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man.

Rob J said...

That X-Factor was a fun issue during great (if abreviated) run by Peter David. The run (as highlighted in this issue) is responsible from taking Quicksilver from a character I loathed, to one I loved (at least for awhile).

Kevin McHugh said...

goodness the thought of Ryan North's Batman is too much to handle