Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Marvel's December previews reviewed

Written by Dan Slott
Art & Cover by Steve McNiven
Variant Cover by BRYAN HITCH
This is it, Arachnophiles!!!! Prepare for what promises to be the most pulse-pounding piece of four color fiction to be delivered unto the Mighty Marvel Minions in decades! You asked for more Spidey! You demanded it! And, by Buckley, you're gonna get it! After the devastatingly heartwarming events of ONE MORE DAY, Peter Parker puts the past behind him and sets forth on a BRAND NEW DAY! Starting with Amazing Spider-Man #546, you now have THREE times the action! THREE times the villains! THREE times the danger! Amazing Spider-Man – Now 3 times every month! Bank on it, buck-o! And if that weren't enough: ASM #546 goes double-sized to bring you back-up features that introduce you to the new players in the lives of Peter and his family!

Written by Dan Slott
Art & Cover by Steve McNiven
In this premiere month, Spidey's new status quo gets a swift punch in the gut as Dan Slott (SHE-HULK; AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE) and super-star artist Steve McNiven (CIVIL WAR) hit the ground running with new villains, new friends, and some familiar faces that promise to make Peter's life messier than ever before. This is where it's all happening.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: Same Old Power. Same Old Responsibility. Brand New Day.

Written by Dan Slott
Art & Cover by Steve McNiven
Dan Slott (SHE-HULK, AVENGERS:THE INITIATIVE) and Steve McNiven (CIVIL WAR) wrap up the first amazing month of Brand New Day with a deadly conflict and surprise revelation that promises to make Spider-Man's life much more difficult in the coming months. Listen up Spider-philes, three times a month won't be nearly enough for you!

I’m actually anxious about this. I think the tri-weekly format is a great idea, and it seems like Marvel has set it up to work in their favor, with different creators on different arcs, so that they’re publishing it at an accelerated rate, not creating it at an accelerated rate.

Plus, this first arc is by Dan Slott, who was born and bred to write Spider-Man*.

But there’s this whole “One More Day” business to get through yet, and it was off to one hell of a rough start. Some sort of reboot-age seems a certainty at this point. That cover, with JJJ raving about a masked menace and Spidey with a camera sure seems to imply that he’s not outted any longer.

I’m only a casual Spider-Man reader, so I really can’t process the conflicting information my brain’s getting here.

A magical continuity reboot says “Don’t Buy,” while Slott Spidey stories three times a month says “Buy!”

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Kind of disappointed in the artist choice too. I like McNiven’s stuff okay, but felt really burnt on Civil War. He seemed to be the main hold up, and really seemed to rush through the last few issues, making a flawed, poorly told story come across even worse .

Hey, wait a minute. There’s art up at Newsarama’s page of previews from three different artists, and none of it looks like McNiven. The middle’s definitely Phil Jiminez. Huh.

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #8 Written by DAN SLOTT. Pencils & Cover by STEFANO CASELLI. KILLED IN ACTION (Part 1 of 4) "Fresh Meat" Training is almost over for our cadets. Some will graduate. Some will washout. And, yes, some WILL die! It all starts here, in the Initiative's biggest story to date! And with the clock ticking on the first class of recruits, get ready to meet the next batch! Including new Marvels, old Marvels, at least one SKRULL, and...THE IRREDEEMABLE GIANT-MAN? Also, with the Gauntlet out of commission, just wait until you meet Camp Hammond's new Drill Instructor... he's a real Taskmaster!

And speaking of Slott…

I’m stoked to see Eric O’Grady on the cover, probably the first interesting looking cover of this so far excellent series. I think he’d be a perfect addition to an Avengers team, probably working better on a team than as a solo star actually, if only because tiny Ant-Man in group shots is a wonderful visual. And sure, he’s a total bastard, but I think he’s less irredeemable than the guy punching him in the face right there. I mean, O’Grady’s never built a murder clone of one of his friends to kill another of his friends before, has he?

She-Hulk, Hulk, Thor, Winter Soldier…is Iron Man just going around taking beatings from his fellow Marvel heroes as penance for “Civil War” now or what?

FANTASTIC FOUR: ¡ISLA DE LA MUERTE! ONE-SHOTWritten by TOM BELAND Art & Cover by JUAN DOE. Puerto Rico...island of beauty, intrigue and, for one ever-lovin', blue-eyed visitor…a pile full of danger! Ben Grimm has been keeping a secret from his teammates for years. But when Reed, Sue and Johnny investigate, the mystery brings them to the tropics, face-to-face with an old nemesis and a monstrous creature known as…EL CHUPACABRAS!! All we can say is, "¡¡QUE EL MÍO SEA MARVEL!!" 48 PGS./Rated A …$3.99

I don’t know those creators**, there’s not even a cover image to go along with the solicit, but The Thing? Chupacabras? A Spanish sub-title, upside down exclamation point and all?

Oh, I am so going to buy this.

GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS SPECIAL #1 Written by C.B. CEBULSKI, MATT YOCUM, DANIEL MERLIN GOODBREY, DOUGLAS NOBLE, T. CAMPBELL & SCOTT GRAY. Penciled by PAUL NEARY, BRIAN DENHAM, NELSON, DENIS MEDRI & ROGER LANGRIDGE. Cover by BRYAN HITCH. As the Avengers battle to take down the Serpent Society, the team recalls never-before-told tales of their past! Watch as: Spider-Man tries to integrate into a team and learns a thing or two about history, Luke Cage and Wolverine go toe-to-toe against a terrifying cosmic foe, Henry Peter Gyrich becomes an unlikely hero on an unlikely world, and Jarvis the butler cleans house…after some robot Vikings drop by unexpectedly. On top of all that—it’s the return of the critically-acclaimed Fin Fang Four by Scott Grey and Roger Langridge! That’s 55 pages of all-new comics, PLUS classic reprints from Avengers history!

Oh, thank God. There just aren’t enough Avengers titles on the shelves these days. With Mighty Avengers missing form the solicits, why, if it weren't for this special, all we'd have is New Avengers, Avengers: The Initiative, Avengers Classick, Marvel Adventures Avengers, House of M: The Avengers and Ultimates 3.

HULK VS. FIN FANG FOOM ONE-SHOT Written by PETER DAVID. Penciled by TBA. Cover by JIM CHEUNG. Prepare yourself for a showdown of epic proportions. The gamma irradiated goliath, the Hulk, faces off against the mighty Marvel monster, Fin Fang Foom. This action-packed double-sized one-shot will take two of Marvel’s BIGGEST… GREENEST monsters, and pit them against one-another. And you can be sure that when these big brutal beasts collide, ain’t nobody gonna be happy. So place you’re bets folks, cause this one’s going to make it into the last rounds…My money is on the FOOM! Plus, classic slugfests from the past!

They had me at “Fin,” because I assumed it would be followed by “Fang” and “Foom.” And it was!

Too bad about the Cheung cover. I like his art a little less each time I see it. I guess it’s because he’s doing all these not-very-interesting covers these days, instead of steady interior work. But they could wrap a Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom comic in poisoned barbed-wire and I’d probably still buy it.

MARVEL ADVENTURES FANTASTIC FOUR #31 Written by KIRSTEN SINCLAIR. Penciled by STEVE SCOTT. Cover by LEONARD KIRK. Cleanup on Aisle Four!!!! MAN, the FF just CAN’T catch a break! Even when they’re just going shopping, they gotta deal with evil geniuses that’ve created an entire STORE designed to destroy our heroes.

I really like this write-up, because it totally sounds like the sot of story I’d have written in my head while my mom took me shopping as a little kid.

Hmm, this cover is slightly less creepy than last year’s holiday special cover (which didn’t even make sense: Why is Hulk a grown-up, but the other Marvel’s kids?!), but this joke was much funnier when told it in a Mini-Marvels strip.






I got nothing. That’s just…huh. Yeah, nothing.

NEW AVENGERS #37 Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS. Pencils & Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU. It’s the throwdown of the year. The New Avengers versus the Hood's gang of super-villains, bloody, angry and shocking to the end. But still they have to ask: WHO DO YOU TRUST??

Well, one side has Luke Cage on it, and he’s known to a kick a woman right in the vagina. The other side has The Hood on it, and he’s known to shoot a dude in the groin repeatedly. Will anyone be able to reproduce when the dust settles?

Sooooo, Frog Thor, is it? This is not his/its first appearance? Where can I learn more about this intriguing concept?

OMEGA: THE UNKNOWN #3 (of 10) Written by JONATHAN LETHEM WITH KARL RUSNAK. Pencils & Cover by FAREL DALRYMPLE & PAUL HORNSCHEMEIER. Alex goes to school, the robots deliver some poisoned gifts, Omega gets a day job and The Unparalleled Mink goes a-courtin' in this third issue of the mysterious, absurd and poignant tale of the mute superhero from another world, a revival of the Gerber-Skrenes cult legend by novelist Jonathan Lethem.

Uh-oh. That’s three solicitations so far, and still no word about whether or not El Gato will appear. Color me worried.

PENANCE: RELENTLESS #4 (of 5)Written by PAUL JENKINS_Pencils & Cover by PAUL GULACY_Robbie Baldwin’s relentless quest continues as he travels to Latveria and faces off with none other than Doctor Doom! What is Doom hiding that Penance would do anything to get at…and what will he do when he gets it?

A time machine. Go back in time and try to stop the Stamford Disaster. Is there any prize involved with correctly guessing this stuff?

THE TWELVE #0 Written and Penciled by Charles Nicholas, Basil Wolverton, Will Harr, Maurice Gutwirth, Mike Robard, Sam Cooper& Chris Weston. This preview comic features the origin stories of Golden Age greats “Rockman” from USA Comics #1 (August 1941) by Charles Nicholas and Basil Wolverton and the never-before-reprinted “Laughing Mask” by Will Harr and Maurice Gutwirth from Daring Mystery Comics #2 (February 1940) and Phantom Reporter by Mike Robard and Sam Cooper from Daring Mystery Comics #3 (April 1940) along with character sketches and preview pages of the new series The Twelve by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Chris Weston.

I was pretty excited about this project when it was still being teased, but now that it’s been officially announced, my enthusiasm’s pretty deflated. It sure sounds like Watchmen with Marvel-owned pre-Marvels. By JMS. I think I’ll need a flip-through to see if this preview-y sounding thing is worth a purchase or not. Rockman is pretty sweet, after all.

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #49 Written by MIKE CAREY. Pencils & Cover by MARK BROOKS. t's the fatal final showdown with the reimagined Red Ghost! Racing through the frozen Russian tundra, caught between the Crimson Dynamo and the Soviet Super Soldiers, our fledging heroes ask: How can you defeat a foe who can’t be touched? Think you know these villains? Just wait until you see what writer Mike Carey (X-MEN) and penciler Mark Brooks (Ultimate Spider-Man Annuals) have done to them!

But…but…but the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes are perfect just the way they are.

(Above: The way they are)

How can you possibly improve upon perfection?

Have any of you guys been reading Carey’s UFF? I’ve tried and dropped the book repeatedly, but not since Carey’s taken over. This story arc kind of intigues me, as a previous cover had Thing fighting a bear on it, and now we’ve got the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes appearing.

ULTIMATES 3 #1 (of 5) Written by JEPH LOEB. Pencils & Cover by JOE MADUREIRA & CHRISTIAN LICHTNER. Gatefold Variant Cover by JOE MADUREIRA & CHRISTIAN LICHTNER.The countdown to Ultimatum begins here and when it's over, the Ultimate Universe will never be the same! And when we say that in the Ultimate Universe, you know we ain't fooling around! A year later, who are the Ultimates? After going through the tumultuous events of the past two volumes, the Ultimates find themselves operating out of Tony Stark's mansion in New York where, no longer working for S.H.I.E.L.D., they have to make it on their own. But, a terrible secret is about to tear them apart and bring about a murder at the mansion! One of Earth's greatest heroes will die and there'll be plenty of suspects! New Members! New Adventures! And New Secrets! All this and Ultimate Venom too! Join Eisner winner and Emmy-nominated writer Jeph Loeb (TV's Heroes, FALLEN SON) and the superstar team of Joe Madureira & Christian Lichtner (UNCANNY X-MEN, Battle Chasers) as they take the Ultimates on their wildest ride yet!

Oh hey, they’re releasing this after all. I just kind of assumed it would never actually be released, and that all this talk of futzing with the Ultimate Universe would involve canceling Ultimates 3 and 4. I don’t know why, I guess when you put a writer who’s known for lateness with an artist who’s known for lateness on a book known for lateness, well, readers might come to expect a little lateness.

Although I see it’s only five issues long, so maybe that helped get it released. I mean—wait, five issues? Five?! That’s not a volume, that’ a freaking story arc. A miniseries. Ultimate War, Ultimate Six and Ultimate Power were all longer than that. Not to mention the Ultimate Galactus storyline (Oh, I’m sorry, the Ultimate “Gah-Lak-Tus” storyline).

Oh and hey, check it out: a gatefold cover. Metallic inks and die-cuts and holograms? We just got one step closer.

ESSENTIAL POWER MAN AND IRON FIST VOL. 1 TPB Written by CHRIS CLAREMONT, EDWARD HANNIGAN, JO DUFFY, STEVEN GRANT & BOB LAYTON_Penciled by JOHN BYRNE, MIKE ZECK, SAL BUSCEMA, LEE ELIAS, TREVOR VON EEDEN, MARIE SEVERIN, KERRY GAMMILL, ALAN WEISS & GREG LAROCQUE_Cover by DAVE COCKRUM. A new era of greatness begins for the most unlikely team of all! From a Night on the Town to the Day of the Death Machines, Power Man and Iron Fist -- Heroes for Hire -- face the Living Monolith, El Aguila the Maggia and more! Guest-starring the Uncanny X-Men and the Daughters of the Dragon! Collecting POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #50-72 and #74-75. 520 PGS./Rated T+ …$16.99

Can’t…keep up…so many…awesome reprints…

*I'm assuming. I don't actually have any inside information into why Mr. and Mrs. Slott decided to have a child, and whether or not they raised him specifically to write awesome Spider-Man stories or not.

**That's not this Tom Beland is it?


Unknown said...


That's a comic just begging for Arthur Adams to do the art.

Kevin Church said...

Frog Thor showed up during Walt Simonson's seminal run on the book, as collected in the in-print-on-occasion Marvel Visionaries series.

And yes, it's that Tom Beland.

Alexa D said...

So, what have we learned from Ms. Marvel's solict? That Greg Horn thinks that all women's bodies are interchangeable? Silly children, we already knew that.

(Pelvises do not work that way! Good night!)

David page said...

I will be getting the twelve just for chris westons artwork. I have been a big fan of the guy since his 2000ad days

Mory said...

Regarding ASM's artists: You ought to know that McNiven is only drawing some of the arcs, just as Slott is only writing some of the arcs. The other preview art Marvel's showing are from later issues (Larrocca's, Jimenez's, and Bachalo's arcs), presumably to show off the range of styles that ASM will be using.

Unknown said...

Someone mentioned this in relation to Beta Ray Bill, but i can't see Marvel having the guts to do a change like "Frog-Thor" or Beta-Ray without a relaunch and internet breaking in two.

Maxo said...

I haven't been reading Avengers:Initiative, so I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, but IS THAT STINGRAY?!?

Caleb said...

Hmmm, I really need to buy those Simonson Thor trades some day, huh?


Thanks! I knew they'd be rotating artists, but I didn't realize those previews were from future arcs. That makes a lot more sense now.


Stinray appeared in exactly one-panel of Avengers: Initiative by my own (likely faulty) reckoning. There was a montage in an earlier issue showing various Marvels training recruits, and he was teaching CPR or swimming or something. So yeah, that's probably him.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Caleb, you really do need to read the Simonson Thor trades. It's arguably my favorite run of a Marvel series ever, and I say that having only discovered it when Marvel finally published the first trade a couple years ago.