Saturday, November 16, 2013

Marvel's February previews reviewed

Marvel's solicitations for February of next year look a little more impenetrable than usual, with issue numbers ending with ".NOW" and comic books that were just rebooted being re-rebooted (The first collection of the new Wolverine was just released in September, and they're relaunching it, but doing so with the very same creative team working in the same direction, and even picking up on what happened in the previous story arcs?  How hard is that series going to be to follow in trade, as if making sense of the byzantine Wolverine library weren't hard enough already?).

They also make me a little more sad than usual, as I don't see a new issue of Young Avengers being solicited (and with good reason, I guess), nor a new issue of the all-Allred FF, which will also have wrapped up by February. That's two of the five monthlies from Marvel I'm currently buying/reading serially as they're published, and a third of those five is apparently shipping its last issue this month. There are two new series I'll probably try out, but both seem like they might as well be stamped "Cancelled On Arrival," so I don't expect either to last that long and thus to fill the suddenly opening up space on my pull list. 

I see a lot of mention of "Animal Variants by Katie Cook," which is only exciting in that it includes the words "Katie Cook." Should be interesting to see what those look like, exactly. "Design variants" is a phrase that appears in a lot of the solicits too, but there's no name attached, so I can't even begin to guess what those might look like.

Anyway, to read the full solicitations,  you can do so here. Otherwise, here's what jumped out at me this time around, for good or ill...

(Oh, and yeah, I noticed that the fonts are screwed up on a couple of the solicits near the end. I did something wrong while cutting-and-pasting them, and I can't fix the HTML at this point because I am dumb, and devoting still more time to this blog post doesn't seem worth it, as this whole post will soon be forgotten anyway. So, um, sorry the post doesn't look as good as it should, I guess...?)




"Not Brand X"

• The All-New X-Factor is meant to help people..
• But one of their own has a secret.

• Hint: It's Gambit.

32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99
Wait, is that supposed to be Gambit on the cover of All-New X-Force? That's not Gambit, is it? Because they had his costume and look kind of under control during his own series. This looks like quite a jump backwards. Is that costume to punish him for failing to keep his own monthly series going...? 

The Astounding Final Issue!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

The astounding what now? I...think I might have missed an extremely important announcement. 


The world's greatest comics magazine begins anew with Marvel's First Family, the Fantastic Four! But as the brilliant MR. FANTASTIC, the compassionate INVISIBLE WOMAN, the ever lovin' THING & the hot-headed HUMAN TORCH embark on a strange mission, they aren't met with new beginnings, but an untimely end! As the family of cosmic explorers head towards their darkest hour, who could possibly be behind their downfall? And how is one of their oldest enemies, the sadistic dragon known as Fing-Fang-Foom involved? Prepare for the fantastic!

32 PGS./Rated T ...$3.99

This poor book seems a little over-rebooted—seems like I've tried out at least four drastic changes in direction and creative team since Civil War—and like the Cornel-written Wolverine, this book was just relaunched at the start of Marvel Now. I guess it's new #1 can at least be justified by the new creative team though, whereas Wolverine's reboot just seems arbitrary and weird (UPDATE: Carla Hoffman has some thoughts, of her own and of Tom Brevoort's, over at Robot 6).

At any rate, this is an interesting and pretty unexpected creative team. I'm sort of interested to see what Robinson can do now that he's not writing under the DC Comics of the Dan DiDio era (His pre-DiDio DC Comics were certainly a lot better than the ones he was writing since he returned to the company), and now that he's paired with such a strong artist for a collaborator (His Justice League of America writing struck me as extremely uneven, I think in large part because of the differences in his collaborators, their relative skill levels, and the general incompatibility of their art styles to one another). This is probably one I'll check out in trade, though. After I read Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman's runs in trade, first, of course.

The "compassionate INVISIBLE WOMAN"...? Oy.

Oh hey, check this out:
Alex Ross cover! Haven't seen him much at the Big Two lately; I was hoping he'd contribute covers to the All-New Invaders (also by Robinson)




Variant Cover by Art Adams

The legend has returned!
 Marvel Comics presents the all-new MS. MARVEL, the ground breaking heroine that has become an international sensation! Kamala Khan is just an ordinary girl from Jersey City--until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm, and prepare for an epic tale that will be remembered by generations to come. History in the making is NOW!

32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

Oh, is there going to be a new, teenage Muslim Ms. Marvel? I hadn't heard anything about this anywhere yet.

It's really too bad the book is getting all this media attention now, as the book's ready to be ordered by retailers, but consumers can't buy copies yet, and, come February of 2014, the story will likely be completely forgotten by "civilians" who might want to buy a copy just to see what all the hubbub on the TV news or Colbert Report or wherever was about (Hey, by the way, did Dust get this much attention when she debuted way back in 2002? I don't remember "Marvel teenage Muslim superhero" being that big a deal back then...)

I suspect the book will need the help, because G. Willow Wilson isn't popular enough a writer to sell a monthly superhero book on her own, Adrian Alphona isn't popular enough an artist to sell a monthly superhero book on his own and the Ms. Marvel character has struggled to support a monthly on and off over the last few years, and that was when it was the original character, and not a brand-new legacy character. (And ugh, aren't the Marvels complicated enough? The last Ms. Marvel is now Captain Marvel III or IV or V or something, of Marvel's Captain Marvel, not DC's Captain Marvel, who is now Shazam, and not to be confused with MarvelMan, who was based on DC's Captain Marvel, and who Marvel now owns, but they're calling MiracleMan. This is a brand-new Ms. Marvel, whose name might change at any moment, and probably will).

I generally like Wilson's comics writing (never tried her prose), and I really like Alphona's writing, and this is the rare Marvel book priced at the "try me" price point of $2.99, so I plan to give it a try, but I don't have a lot of faith in its ability to last even as long, as, say, Daredevil, FF or Young Avengers, the books I was buying from Marvel that are apparently going away, perhaps to be relaunched as new books with different creative teams, perhaps not.

The image above, by the way, is the Adams variant, not the Supergirl homage/rip-off one.





WARRIORS REBORN! Adventurers SPEEDBALL and JUSTICE have come together with a group of young heroes including NOVA, SUN GIRL, and HUMMINGBIRD (and even a couple of new faces) to stop the latest threat to the Marvel Universe—the Atlanteans, Inhumans, clones and hundreds of other so-called "superior" beings are living among the humans of the Marvel Universe, but not everyone is pleased about it. THE HIGH EVOLUTIONARY has raised an army to combat the evolution of humanity – and the New Warriors are locked in his sights!

32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99

Which character is Hummingbird? None of those characters look like someone named Hummingbird.

I really like Christopher Yost and Marcus To, but have no real interest in the New Warriors, Speedball or Justice.

And I have absolutely zero interest in a $3.99 book.

Maybe I'll check out the trade someday from the library, assuming it's easy enough to figure out which New Warriors Vol. 1 book collects this particular volume of the series...?

Hey, check it out! Richard Isanove's arc on Savage Wolverine features Wolverine turning into a Boat-a-taur. I think that's the proper term for someone who is a man from the waist up, and a boat from the waist down.




JENNIFER WALTERS IS...THE SHE-HULK! A stalwart Avenger, valued member of the FF, savior of the world on more than one occasion, she's also a killer attorney with a pile of degrees and professional respect. A 7-foot-tall drink of cool, emerald water, she's tough enough to knock out Galactus with one punch (possibly?) and has a heart bigger than the moon. But juggling cases and kicking bad guy butt is starting to be a little more complicated than she anticipated. With a new practice, a new paralegal and a mounting number of super villains she's racking up as personal enemies, She Hulk might have bitten off a little more than she can chew...but she just calls that that Tuesday.

32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

I really like the character She-Hulk in general, and particularly enjoyed the Dan Slott-written version of her book, which this one seems to be rather evocative of. Pulido sure is a great artist, too. I've read rather little of Soule's work but I haven't liked what I've read so far (the first two issues of Superman/Wonder Woman, a couple of the Villains Month one-shots for DC). But I do plan to give this issue a shot (Again, it's priced to try).

As with Ms. Marvel, this character's history doesn't suggest she'll have an easy time of maintaining a monthly for long, so I think much will depend on whether or not this turns out to be great enough to get a devoted, vocal following pretty much right out the gate. 



Cover by NIC KLEIN

• Peter Quill is Star-Lord once more, but will he embrace his legacy?

• The techno-organic Phalanx have overrun the galaxy, and it's time for Star-Lord and his ragtag team of cosmic cult favorites — including Bug, Captain Universe, Deathcry, Mantis, Groot and Rocket Raccoon — to suit up and become legends!

• But this no-win, no-tech suicide mission starts off bad and rapidly gets worse.

• As hordes of the Phalanx close in, one team member might have to make the supreme sacrifice!

• Relive the birth of the motley crew that became the Guardians of the Galaxy!

104 PGS./Rated T+ ...$7.99

So this is basically the four-issue, Annihilation: Conquest series during which writer Keith Giffen mixed-and-matched various Marvel cosmic characters and ended up inventing the current version of Guardians of the Galaxy; this book lead pretty directly into the Guardians of the Galaxy monthly series by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and company, which was just relaunched as a Brian Michael Bendis-written, movie cash-in comic.  I think it's pretty safe to say that were it not for this series, the next team movie from Marvel Studios wouldn't be Guardians of the Galaxy, but maybe New Warriors or something.

Anyway, if you haven't read this series yet, but are at all interested in these character, do check this out. Good, solid writing blending action with a sense of humor and excellent art. And at $7.99, you get 100 pages of great comics for the price of 40-44 decompressed, not-as-good pages of the current Guardians comic.



Penciled by STEVE LIEBER


It's a new sleeper-hit series starring some of Spidey's deadliest baddies! Boomerang and his fellow villains prove that with terrible powers come terrible responsibilities, and Spider-Man will soon learn that with superior villains come superior problems! Out on bail and aiming to stay out of jail, Boomerang must get his cronies on target — but does Frank Castle, the one-man army known as the Punisher, have them targeted already? The Foes have a plan and the means to pull it off, but they're about to learn the hard way that you can't steal the head of Silvermane without severe repercussions! Rising star Nick Spencer teams with Eisner Award-winning sensation Steve Lieber for a walk on the Spider-Verse's evil side! Collecting SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #1-6.
136 PGS./Rated T+ ...$16.99

I heartily endorse this product.

I kinda like this Thunderbolts cover by Julian Totino Tedesco. 


After the events of KILLABLE, Wolverine has something to prove. Before he can take on Sabretooth again, he'll need to build himself back up, get better and stronger than he's ever been...but it's not as easy as he thought, and he'll soon find himself turning to other means of revenge when the normal channels don't seem to be working fast enough. Can he fight back his demons, or is this the beginning of a Wolverine who's gone to the dark side?

See? How exactly "All-New" is this?

If they really plan to reboot the series with a new #1 every couple story arcs, they really should just cancel Wolverine and go the old Hellboy route of a series of miniseries...that way, they can do a #1 every 4-6 issues, and the trade collections would be a little easier to follow, you know?

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the new costume, if that's what Wolvie will be wearing now, but I guess it looks pretty good in that particular image.




• It's the end of the year for the Jean Grey school – but where do our graduates go from here? And who will have survived the experience?!

• Jason Aaron, Pepe Larraz & Nick Bradshaw bring the story of the Jean Grey school to a close!
32 PGS. (EACH)/Rated T ...$3.99 (EACH)

Oh. I was wondering how Jason Aaron was going to write two X-Men books with an overlap in cast members at the same time. I guess this explains how he'll manage writing Wolverine and The X-Men and The Amazing X-Men

I guess I can start reading WatXM in trade now, huh? Or should I just wait for an omnibus at this point...?

X-Men #10.NOW and #11
Brian Wood (W) Kris Anka (A)
AN ALL-NEW SISTERHOOD! The X-Men have taken down super villains, aliens and their own future selves...but never all at the same time! Lady Deathstrike has put together an all new Sisterhood, her own illuminati to take down the X-Men and take over the world. Recruiting the likes of Typhoid Mary and Enchantress, her cabal go on a global hunt for the most powerful of them enemy who holds the X-Men responsible for her almost-destruction. Meanwhile, M settles in and Rachel comes to terms with her relationship with Sublime.

32 PGS. (EACH)/Rated T+ ...$3.99 (EACH)

Sisterhood! This certainly isn't the forum to get into the whole Brian Wood thing (and if by "whole Brian Wood thing" you don't know what I mean, here's Heidi MacDonald recapping Tess Fowler's discussion of it and offering commentary, and here's Wood's response), in large part because I don't think anyone really cares what I personally think of the situation, but I did want to note the irony of reading a solicitation seemingly promoting Wood's X-Men comic as the "girl power" X-Men comic on the very same day I read Wood's statement on Tess Fowler's account of an encounter with him, and some of the attendant discussion (I guess "sisterhood" is, here, a proper noun, but, just scanning through and seeing the "AN ALL-NEW SISTERHOOD!" at the beginning, right after the all-lady line-up on the cover, it looks like Marvel again promoting this as the lady X-Men, despite Wood's repeated protestations that it's supposed to be just another X-Men book that happens to have a bunch of ladies in it).

It's sort of a shame, because I had just recently gotten over seeing Wood's name attached to a comics project and thinking, "Oh, the guy who always argues online about whether his comics sell better than the sales figures publishers release publicly or not" and had started thinking instead, "Oh, the guy who wrote that promising Star Wars comic that turned out to be kind of boring and the all-woman X-Men comic." But now I see his name and I think, "Oh, that guy who tried to pick up an aspiring comics creator in a way that was either super-sleazy and unethical or awkward and dumb, depending on whose side of the story is the most accurate" (Again, I don't know, and no one should really care what I think either way. It sounds like Wood didn't really do anything illegal or monstrous so much as sleazy and scummy, if there was an actual or just suggested or implied quid pro quo. What's weird is it sounds like the "casting couch" sort of scenario, which is super-weird in that Comics is no Hollywood,  and, even using that metaphor, Wood wouldn't be the comics equivalent of a studio mogul, director, producer, casting agent or star...maybe a character actor? And that's today, as the writer of the fourth or fifth most-important X-Men comic and a licensed Star Wars comic; in his statement, he says he had "very little professional power or industry recognition at the time," so maybe he would have been more of a TV movie actor in the Hollywood casting couch sceneario...?).

Anyway: Brian Wood—threat or menace?

I do wonder what sort of impact that story will have on sales of this particular title, as a large segment of its most ardent fans seem to be female readers, creators and aspiring creators drawn to the powerful female characters in its line-up and it's promise of an all-female cast. These are readers who are pretty engaged with the comics industry and how female-friendly or unfriendly it still is in the 21st century.


garik16 said...

Daredevil is being rebooted into a digital only series as part of the infinite comics line of Marvel.

Aki Alaraatikka said...

Yeah, but Samnee and Waid will conclude their run.


OH GOD!!!!

Wood also wrote two great volumes of DEMO. Illustrated by the fantastic Becky Cloonan.

SallyP said...

Great. No more Young Avengers and no more Waid/Samnee Daredevil? Dang it! Two of my favorite books.

Bram said...

Further complication to the Ms. Marvel timing — the retailers order due to Diamond at the end of November is actually for the batch of previews posted last month.

That means that someone walking into the LCS after reading this today is told that it's not going to see the light of day for three months. It's not even in the Previews that's in the shop now.

Anonymous said...

I've never cared much for Ross, but that is a top-notch painting. Excellent composition!

David said...

Hummingbird is Kaine's sidekick Aracelly. She's in the green/yellow costume and actually wore it in an issue of Scarlet Spider where Kaine had to infiltrate the X-mansion.

I think the "Hummingbird" name is because she's the incarnation of some Aztec god represented by a hummingbird. Also, her personality tends to the "light comic relief" end of the spectrum.

Shriner said...

I'm disappointed (but not surprised) that Fantastic Four is moving up to $3.99

It may no longer be Marvel's Flagship Book, but it still should be priced at a more wallet-friendly point than everything else.