Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Marvel's October previews reviewed

And now, it's Marvel's turn. You can see their October solicits here, and you can find my reactions here.

The advent of HeroClix has pretty much ruined the villain-playing-chess-with-other-characters comic book cover forever, huh?

ESSENTIAL WEREWOLF BY NIGHT VOL. 2 TPB Written by DOUG MOENCH, DON PERLIN & BILL MANTLO. Penciled by DON PERLIN, VIRGIL REDONDO, YONG MONTANO & FRANK ROBBINS. Cover by GIL KANE. Jack Russell's struggles against his long-time curse pale before his determination to save his beloved sister from a similar doom! Vicious vigilantism, muscled madmen and intergalactic intrigue highlight the second volume of one of the seventies' strangest sagas! Fear, fate and family – Werewolf style! Guest-starring the Frankenstein Monster, Morbius and others from Marvel's Legion of Monsters! Collecting WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #21-43, GIANT-SIZE WEREWOLF #2-5, MARVEL PREMIERE #28.


Um, that’s all I have to say about this. Just “Yes!” Which I’ve now said. So we can move on.

Seeing this shitty cover for Fantastic Four #551 reminded me that I didn't see a single Michael Turner cover in yesterday's DC solicits. Turner if finally off JLoA covers! That means I'm only reading one book which will continue to be marred by his bad and getting worse covers every month! And this one, well, it's another Michael Turner cover, isn't it? I guess it's nice to see that the FF have finally gotten out of that burning building they've been posing in for most of Turner's run on covers. Now they seem to be hanging out in...a time warp? A dance club? A screensaver?

HOWARD THE DUCK #1 (of 4) Written by TY TEMPLETON. Pencils & Cover by JUAN BOBILLO. Grab your guns and camcorders and start shooting, it's DUCK SEASON! Marvel's favorite furious fowl, Howard, and his faithful friend with benefits, Beverly, begin their journey to destroy the internet, radio and television, in this all new mini-series by Ty (She-Hulk) Templeton and Juan (She-Hulk) Bobillo. SEE Howard face mighty hunters with mighty guns on MeTube! SEE Beverly in nothing but fig leaves! SEE grown men dressed as bunnies! And who is that giant headed guy taking A.I.M. at our heroes? HINT: It starts with "MODO—" Just when you thought it was safe to read comics again…and Marvel has to do THIS?!?

I kinda wish Templeton was drawing this as well as writing it, as I really like his art but rarely get to see it, but this sure looks like a lot of fun.

IMMORTAL IRON FIST VOL. 1: THE LAST IRON FIST STORY TPB Written by ED BRUBAKER & MATT FRACTION. Penciled by DAVID AJA & TRAVEL FOREMAN. Cover by DAVID AJA_Many years ago, in the mystical city of Kun’ Lun, young Danny Rand stared at a suit behind glass -- the garb of the "Immortal Iron Fist” -- and knew that he was destined to wear it. But where did this costume come from? Why did it wait for Danny all those years like a shadow of his future? The answer to those questions will stun both him and his readers, as Danny Rand leaps from the pages of his breakout hit in DAREDEVIL to his own history-spanning kung-fu epic that will shatter every perception of what it means to be the Immortal Iron Fist! Brought to you by top-ten writer Ed Brubaker and breakout talent Matt Fraction (PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL), with action-packed art by David Aja (DAREDEVIL, GIANT-SIZE WOLVERINE). Collectng IMMORTAL IRON FIST #1-6.

Man, I cannot wait for this book. I dropped the monthly three issues in because, ironically, the art was just too good (It launched during the last quarter of last year, back when Marvel was putting ads opposite almost every single art page). I loved what I saw though, and have been literally counting the weeks until this thing came out.

MARVEL ADVENTURES THE AVENGERS #17 Written by TY TEMPLETON. Penciled by RONAN CLIQUET. Cover by TOM GRUMMETT. Ok, you’re a super hero. And you’ve got to fight a robot. But while the robot can punch and blast you with lasers, YOU can’t touch him. That’s a problem, right? That’s what the Avengers are up against when they encounter THE VISION!

If you’re older than ten, the main reason to read this title is writer Jeff Parker…who doesn’t seem to be writing this issue. Damn. Still, Templeton’s no slouch himself.

Man, Namor is pissed at those fish!

NEW AVENGERS #35 Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS. Pencils & Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU. The Hood makes his play for the big time by gathering the most ruthless rogues gallery of evil the Marvel Universe has ever seen. What does a guy who wants to be the “Kingpin of all super-villains” do to make his point? You have to see it to believe it. Guest-Starring Tigra. Poor Tigra. Poor, poor Tigra.

Hey, have an army of Venom-like symbiotes ever taken over all of the Marvel heroes, at least the more popular ones, like Wolverine? Because that seems like something they would have done in the early ‘90s. And if not, they should have.

This is the last issue of the less-than-impressive New Avengers/Transformers crossover series, and it's the first one with a nice cover. The other three are pretty uninspired and, in at least one case, featured a one of the worst drawings of Wolverine I'd ever seen.

OMEGA: THE UNKNOWN #1 (of 10) Written by JONATHAN LETHEM with KARL RUSNAK. Art by FAREL DALRYMPLE & PAUL HORNSCHEMEIER. The story of a mute, reluctant superhero from another planet, and the earthly teenager with whom he shares a strange destiny -- and the legion of robots and nanoviruses that have been sent from afar to hunt the two of them down. Created in 1975 by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, the original Omega The Unknown lasted only ten issues but was a legend to those who recall it -- an ahead-of-its-time tale of an anti-hero, inflected with brilliant ambiguity. One of Omega's teenage fans was award-winning novelist Jonathan Lethem, who has used the original as a springboard for a superbly strange, funny, and moving graphic novel in ten chapters.

I fairly recently read the original series, and was pretty blown away by it. It was a book far, far, far ahead of it’s time, and I would heartily recommend anyone check it out—even though the current trade collection of it is kinda overpriced (Or maybe I’m just used to reading Marvel Comics from the ‘70s in cheap Essential editions).

That said, I’m really looking forward to this version, particularly because of the art team, which consists of two artists one wouldn’t imagine working for Marvel, particularly on a superhero book.

As for the writing credits, I’ve never read one of Lethem’s novels (I did read a prose essay of his in Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers! ), but then, writing good prose and writing good comics are two entirely different things. Having suffered through eight issues of Brad Meltzer’s JLoA and one issue of Jodi Picoult’s Wonder Woman, I’m pretty confident I’ve read the absolute worst work novelists can do in comics, and that even if Lethem proves totally awful, this book should still prove more readable than JLoA and WW.

I find the last bit of the solicit particularly interesting, the "graphic novel in ten chapters" part. Obviously, the Big Two have been creating their monthlies for the trade for years now, but it's generally something nobody ever admits (or, to use a less charged term, talks about). But here they're openly advertising the fact that this thing is being written for the trade, it will be a trade, so you might as well wait ten more months—you've waited this long, haven't you?—and you can read it all in one sitting, sans dumb-ass ads for Spider-Man fishing rods and Old Spice fellatio.

PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #12 Written by MATT FRACTION. Pencils & Cover by ARIEL OLIVETTI. With WORLD WAR HULK in full swing and New York shut off from the outside world, who's left to protect those left behind? Frank @#$%!@!* Castle, that's who -- and he's none too thrilled. As the insatiable MUNG THE INCONCEIVABLE rampages through lower Manhattan, Frank and Clarke help a small band of refugees hold back his relentless onslaught. The Punisher? World War Hulk? Alien Invasion, Manhattan in ruins? This is the book Ariel Olivetti was born to draw.

I became disenchanted with this title pretty quickly. Olivetti’s art is nice, but lacked much in the way of detail or imagination, and Marvel and/or Fraction did a pretty piss-poor job of making those first few issues match up with Civil War, which is kind of important when the stories they were telling were Civil War tie-ins. Even still, Punisher vs. the Hulk? That sounds so stupid I don’t think I’ll be able to not buy this issue.

SPIDER-MAN AND THE FANTASTIC FOUR: SILVER RAGE TPB Written by JEFF PARKER. Penciled by MIKE WIERINGO. Cover by MIKE WIERINGO. Two great tastes that taste great together! The world's greatest super hero and the world's greatest super team collide for an adventure set nowhere near a Civil War (and upon which we will not put a CIVIL WAR tie-in label)! After a visit by the Impossible Man, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is faced with a dangerous new alien threat for which he has only one recourse...call in the Fantastic Four. Separately, Spidey and the FF are the foundation of the Marvel Universe. Together...they just may save it! Collecting SPIDER-MAN/FANTASTIC FOUR #1-4.

This miniseries has been a ton of fun, and if you missed out, this trade looks great—it’s only $10.99! Man, I kinda wish I would have missed out now, just so I could get the affordably priced trade.

If this cover had Red Sonja reclining on the hood of a sports car and Wolverine playing electric guitar in the background, it would be absolutely perfect. Still, Venom with a sword is certainly a good start.

SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #41 Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI. Pencils & 50/50. Cover by JOE QUESADA. 50/50 Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC. “ONE MORE DAY” Part 3. The most-talked about – and controversial – comic event of the year continues, brought to you by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada! Brace yourself, Spidey fans, after this, nothing will be the same for Peter Parker! The stakes have never been higher. At his darkest hours – and he's had plenty – Peter has always had one shoulder to lean on, one person who'd remind him who he is, who he was, and who he can be. Now he's about to lose that person. What would he do...what would you do, if you only had "One More Day?"

I think a comic book has to actually be released before it can be considered the “most-talked about” and/or “most…controversial.” It’s true I’ve heard some talk about the “One More Day,” storyline, but certainly not as much as, say Countdown or World War Hulk. And most controversial? It’s got a looooong way to go if it wants to take that crown from Heroes For Hire #13, the one with the tentacle rape cover, which I don’t think has come out yet either.

And speaking of covers, I don’t think Quesada’s really the best guy to be handling these covers. His artwork just doesn’t really match up to the old school, classic Marvel aesthetic that the layout and the text evoke. Wouldn’t John Romita Sr., who recently did a Daredevil cover, or John Romita Jr., or maybe Mike Allred been a better choice for covers?

You know what would be awesome? If the Thing fought a bear. You know what would be even more awesome? If it could maybe be some kind of monster, Frankenstein-looking bear. I've been resisting my curiosity about Mike Carey's UFF for a while now, thinking I'll maybe check it out in trade some day, but I don't know—Ben Grimm vs. a Monster Frankenstein Bear sure looks like it will be worth $2.99, doesn't it?

Written by JEPH LOEB
Pencils & Cover by GREG LAND
The final chapter in this lauded limited series finds the two teams—the Ultimates and the Squadron Supreme poised for the cataclysmic climax that will decide the fate of two worlds! And the ending is more than mortal minds can imagine!

Three things. One, is this series seriously “lauded?” Because I can’t recall ever seeing anyone anywhere saying anything remotely nice about it, and I do kinda make a habit of searching the Internets for people talking about comics. Two, Ultimate Wasp is fucking Asian! This is, like, the third time I’ve seen her looking all Caucasian in a Land drawing of her. Three, am I the only one who doesn’t like to see the word “climax” right below a Land image?

WORLD WAR HULK #5 (of 5) Written by GREG PAK. Pencils by JOHN ROMITA JR. Cover by DAVID FINCH. ariant Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. The millennium's most massive Marvel smashfest careens towards its cataclysmic conclusion! Four so-called Marvel "heroes" shot the Hulk into space. Their exploding shuttle destroyed his people and pregnant queen. And the Hulk has taught them what their arrogance has wrought. But now the Hulk faces the puny humans' greatest champion. And as the terrible battle rages, who will stand revealed as the hero – and who will be proved the monster? Who knows the difference between vengeance and justice? And who will pay the terrible price of anger?

Man, the only person I’d like to see get beaten to paste by the Hulk more than Tony Stark at this point is probably the Sentry because, well, I’ve always hated that guy, but he’s so powerful that there just aren’t that many opportunities to see someone beat him to paste. But if anyone can, it’s the Hulk. Go get him big guy! Give him one for me!

WHAT IF? PLANET HULKWritten by GREG PAK. Penciled by RAFA SANDOVARL & CAFU. Cover by CARLO PAGULAYAN. Last year, a group of Marvel heroes decided the Hulk was too dangerous for Earth, tricked him into a shuttle, and shot him into space. After the Hulk rose from slave to gladiator to conquering emperor on the savage planet of Sakaar, the shuttle exploded – destroying the Hulk's people and his pregnant queen. And the entire Marvel Universe knows what happened next as the Hulk returned to wreak his terrible vengeance in the pages of "World War Hulk." But what if the Hulk had landed on the peaceful planet the Marvel heroes originally intended? What if Banner had landed on Sakaar instead of the Hulk? And what if the Hulk's warrior bride Caiera the Oldstrong had come to Earth seeking vengeance instead of her husband? Get ready for three shocking tales of what could have been from the writer of the "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk" epics.

Wow, that was fast.


Anonymous said...

Ultimate Wasp is Asian? Huh. I just thought Hitch was trying to differentiate her look from the other females. I never thought she was Asian. Seriously? Maybe keeping the Van Dyne surname wasn't the best way to clue people in to the fact they had changed the character's race. You're sure?

Tony said...

Ty Templeton's taking on two Steve Gerber properties this month, huh?

Anonymous said...

Mike Turner is off JLA covers, but is Ian Churchill really that much better? 'Cause, personally, those two guys are the top of my "ick, look away" list of comics artists.

Caleb said...


I'm 99.9% sure she's Asian. I'll scan a panel or two later this week. I almost included an asterisk saying I haven't been reading Ultimate Power, so far all I know she could be Wasp II or the Supremiverse's Wasp or something. But it just caught my eye because in UFF Land did the same thing...actually, he just drew normal Wasp, costume and all.

I'm not a fan of Churchill's either, but what they've shown of his JLA covers so far, he at least has the characters doing things other than standing around lookng blankly at the viewer in front of abstract backgrounds, so I think it's at least a step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Ultimate Wasp is totally asian. When they're playing the casting game, Fury casts Lucy Liu as the Wasp, and Janet's upset by what she sees as racial typing.

I always figured her van Dyne surname meant she was Dutch-Malaysian. There's Dutch ancestry all over Southeast Asia.

Matthew said...

You hate the Sentry? Caleb, I think you just became my Internet enemy.