Sorry for the delay on this week’s article, folks. A little computer trouble has me coming in a little late with things, but I promise it’ll look great in the trade!
It’s Wednesday, the new Previews is out, so why not take a look at where things are headed for the Marvel Universe? Please note that these are just things that caught my eye and aren’t particularly ranked or anything.
Best Five Books That Hearken Back
A little look back at the way things were.
AGENTS OF ATLAS #4 (OF 6) A quirky little idea that apparently spawned from What If? #9 I hear, we get a quote to describe what awaits us when this issue brings back the Golden Age Namora. From the solicit: “Most of us don’t realize when we’re experiencing pivotal history…Today I did. I knew I was witnessing the return of a legend. “ – S.H.I.E.L.D. Subdirector Derek Khanata, from his report on NAMORA. Not to talk about the dead too soon, but Namorita was just a clone of Atlantis’s Avenging Daughter so would this be another clone or perhaps they kept her body after she was poisoned? How did we get Namora back? I’m curious. AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES II #1 & 2 (of You can tell people miss the Avengers when we get little way back when stories like these. The first series was an interesting behind the scenes look at how the whole team got started and I have to admit, it was kind of a clever revisit. This time, we’re getting Goliath, Wasp, Hawkeye, The Black Panther, and Vision, with a little highlight on each for this era of Avenging plus an ‘untold tale’. WHAT IF? AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED, WHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN: THE OTHER, WHAT IF? WOLVERINE: ENEMY OF THE STATE Yep, looking all the way back to… just months ago! It’s it amazing that these have become seminal Marvel stories and they’ve all happened with one year? A lot of them haven’t even resolved just yet (Spider-Man: the Other repercussions slated for after Civil War, Avengers: Disassembled still frankly going on as a stable team has yet to be found). Seminal enough for a few What If? one-shots, it seems. So we’re going to get to see what life would be like if the Scarlet Witch had been … even crazier (from the solicit: It was the darkest day in Avengers history. Heroes died, the Mansion was destroyed, and the team came to an end. But was the real problem solved? What if the greatest threat had gone undetected?, if Peter Parker had become more spider than man and gone ‘bestial’ (sounds kind of gross) and if Wolverine hadn’t stopped his superhero killing spree. Yow.Best Five Book That Will Have to be Seen to be Believed
Either we’re not sure where they are going or something so outrageous is promised, it’s going to have to be flipped through at least…
FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #14 The return of Deb Whitman! No, really! Hinted at previously, it seems one of the few people to figure out Spider-Man’s secret identity on her own is rather bitter about the entire experience and is going to write a tell all. From the solicit: … the Vulture has been set loose from prison to scavenge for Spider-Man, but who’s behind his release and what nefarious scheme do they have up their sleeve? NEW AVENGERS #26 And they said it wouldn’t happen. Yes, this is the big hype up for the return of the Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye, something… well, not even really hinted at since the end of House of M. Maybe they were hoping we’d forget. Well, at least Doctor Strange didn’t since he’s guest starring and I have a feeling he might be the right guy to go to for post Big Event clean-up. WOLVERINE #48 From the solicit: Logan’s survived a plane crash, near-decapitation and being burned alive. The question is… HOW? Wow. Well, I’m sold! I want to see how he did it, too. HELLSTORM: SON OF SATAN #2 (of 5) A Max Hellstorm series, this is something I have to see. Marvel does not shy away from making our world the Marvel Universe as the Son of Santa goes to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, looking for demons amongst the misery. Social commentary or fictionalize horror? This should be interesting to see. ONSLAUGHT REBORN #1 (of 5) Because if the reprint wasn’t enough to make your jaw drop, here comes trouble in the form of Jeph Loeb and Rob Liefeld. Not only is Onslaught back, but he’s bringing bits of the Heroes Reborn-verse with him. As if good ol’ 616 didn’t have enough problems going on right now. Wow. From the solicit: A significant portion of the proceeds from ONSLAUGHT REBORN #1-5 will be donated to The Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund.”Best Five Best Civil War Books
This is it, let’s see where the big event goes next…
HEROES FOR HIRE #4 From the solicit: Following her escape from prison, criminal mastermind Celia Ricadonna sets out to systematically assassinate the HEROES FOR HIRE, starting with Tarantula! Meanwhile, Shang Chi leads the investigation into the Skrull organ transplants and the mysterious corporation behind them. Hrm. Not too Civil War-y sounding, but more tied into the Daughters of the Dragon mini. Was that secretly tied into current events? IRON MAN #14 A hardcore Civil War tie-in from the man who could be said to have started it all. From the solicit: In this Civil War issue, it’s not just about whose side he’s on… it’s about what kind of a man he is. THUNDERBOLTS #108 Not only is this another Civil War tie-in on the Thunderbolts, but it seems to be finally getting the culmination on Zemo’s continued orchestration of events. From the solicit: Civil War has fractured the superhuman community — but are they willing to band together for one brief moment — to give ZEMO the ultimate power he needs to save the world — even if it could also mean sacrificing the planet to the mysterious Guardian Protocols? Something tells me that Genis might be involved in all this. CAPTAIN AMERICA #24 Not only will Brubaker continue to rock your world with his run on Cap, but he’ll throw in some Civil War too! I think he can juggle a bowling ball and a chainsaw too, but maybe I’m going a bit overboard. From the solicit: This stunning conclusion of DRUMS OF WAR sets the stage for the next year of Captain America stories that will have everyone talking! SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #32 Finally! A Mary Jane spotlight I’ve been anxious to see since Spidey came out of the Hero Closet and unmasked! Considering Joey Q’s open opinion on how he thinks being married to a supermodel (does she even model anymore? She’s an actress now, right?) hampers Peter Parker, let’s see some interest in the marriage while it’s still around. From the solicit: The first of three one-shots focusing on the women in Peter Parker’s life post-unmasking! So that’s MJ, Aunt May and…?Best Five Entry Level Fun Books
Worn out from Civil War? Need a book for the kid in your life? Look here.
SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE #12 I am such a sucker for this book. It relates to my memories of high school to a T and includes a lesser seen side of the Spider-Man mythos than we normally get by showing us how having a Friendly Neighborhood Web-Slinger affects how a high schooler might live. I am always surprised and amazed on how Sean McKeever hits every mark without having been a teenage girl. SPIDER-MAN AND POWER PACK #1 (of 4) Say what you want about Power Pack, but if your were six years old, getting superpowers with your little brother or sister would be pretty cool. I’ve read a few of the other ones and find them great to recommend to parents of the younger set who are deathly afraid of getting ‘the wrong thing’. AVENGERS NEXT #1 & 2 (of 5) Now, I liked what I’ve read of Spider-Girl and the book always seems to have a hefty helping of guest stars, so… why not pack an Avengers Next with the launch of Amazing Spider-Girl? Sounds fair and they have a great flair in the writing style in that Mighty Marvel Manner. From the solicit: The time has come for the next generation of Avengers to choose a new lineup, but first they must battle zombie versions of themselves! Zombies are the new black. FRANKLIN RICHARDS: HAPPY FRANKSGIVING! These things always go quick at the store, so make sure to grab a copy of pure and simple science fun. The stories are like candy, short and sweet, and have been a hit with all ages. MARVEL ADVENTURES THE AVENGERS #7 Sometimes Civil War is really depressing. Sometimes the X-Men books are just too complicated and out there from what you remember. Sometimes, comics seem to have lost that edge of fun to have a mature audience looking for real world truths. So, when you’ve had enough and need a break, we have Marvel Adventures. To the point fun action with that gives you that ‘I just learned something’ aftertaste, whether it’s the value of teamwork or a little on sea life. There are tons of ‘big kid’ in jokes in there as well, with last issue having Spidey reference ‘Air Wolf’. Go check one out.Best Five Books That Will Make You Want to Cook Outdoors or Work on Your Car
You want action, violence and testosterone? BAM!
ANNIHILATION #4 (of 6) WAR! Real live war where heroes fight against overwhelming odds for the highest stakes possible! I know it hasn’t gotten a lot of press in the wake of Civil War, but really, this is not to be missed. From the solicit: Left behind, can Drax survive… Thanos takes action… and Nova sets course on a suicide mission. Bottom line, no Marvel Cosmic fan will forgive himself for missing THIS ISSUE! BLACK PANTHER #22 Last leg of Storm and Black Panther’s ‘World Tour’ leads them right into the thick of, you guessed it, Civil War! From the solicit: When T’Challa last saw his former Avengers teammate, his attempt to play peacemaker exploded in his face. Is that all in the past…or do the two men have unfinished business…? My money’s on fisticuffs. PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #1 Back in the Marvel Universe, this is going to be a Frank Castle we haven’t seen in awhile. I wonder if we’ll recognize him without his Garth Ennis-ness. From the solicits: Until now, this wasn’t Frank’s war. But when Spandex-clad baddies start carrying badges…well, lets just say that’s something the Punisher can’t abide. Tough talk, let’s see if they’ll walk the walk. INCREDIBLE HULK #100 I’ll admit I’ve been kind of disappointed in the lack of Hulk in this ‘Planet Hulk’ saga as it seems like he’s just sort of walking along through this amazing backdrop of aliens and events the author’s really into. But, since it’s the 100th issue, it sounds like we’re going get a step in the right direction to making this more of a Hulk book after all. From the solicit: Plus, a 12-page back-up featuring the return of one of HULK’s greatest artists, Gary Frank, as someone discovers that the Illuminati were responsible for sending the Hulk into space! Hoorah! MOON KNIGHT #7 This book has been truly horrendous with the damage inflicted and the dark depths to which we get to see Marc Spector wade through and it looks like this issue has the other heroes taking notice of Moon Knight’s return. From the solicit: But the heroes–them you don’t expect. Popping up to give you the eyeball and make sure you’re toeing the line. … The eyeball? Oh! Oh, eyeball as in ‘keeping an eye on him’. Considering the violence level in this book, you never can be too careful.Best Five Books with Guest Stars
Perfect for the book that needs a little something or a long forgotten character
DOCTOR STRANGE: THE OATH #2 (of 5) Guest staring… NIGHT NURSE! From the solicit: He’s a hero who just wants to be a surgeon, she’s a surgeon who just wants to be a hero. Night Nurse is just like icing on the big birthday cake that is another Doctor Strange book, even if it is just a mini-series. ETERNALS #6 (of 6) Guest starring… the Avengers! Now, this is interesting because not only is this current Avengers as the book took a wild turn into Civil War and, as I know, there isn’t any current Avengers team as they’ve all split up for their differences in the Superhero Registration Act. So, who is Gaiman going to write in here? GHOST RIDER #5 Guest starring… Satan! That’s just a fun thing to get to say. The series has been pretty solid and looks to be set for smooth sailing when the Ghost Rider movie comes out. Now back on Earth, Johnny has one last chance to reconcile his life before he has to immerse himself in death. MS. MARVEL #9 Guest starring… Rogue! Is she looking for her old power set back? From the solicit: And what does Ms. Marvel’s old call sign “Warbird” have to do with ANY of this?! Call sign? Wasn’t that her codename? Are we getting a little extra back story for our buck? STAN LEE MEETS SILVER SURFER Guest starring… well, you figure out who the guest star is. A comic character in his own right, Stan Lee’s latest little exploration of the universe he helped create is making him a part of it all in celebration of his 65th year at Marvel, but what I’m looking forward to is the Paul Jenkins ‘homage’ to The Man in what looks to be a back up story about his life and career.Best Five Firsts
Always something new from the House of Ideas…
WHITE TIGER #1 (of 6) I completely missed the White Tiger issues in Daredevil but boy am I interested in the mini. I’ll admit, it’s mostly because of the writer, Tamora Pierce, but it has a very Marvel Knights vibe to it that should make a nice read next to the likes of Daredevil. From the solicits: Armed with mystical amulets—and finally in costume—White Tiger demands answers! But will she survive long enough to ask the right questions? FANTASTIC FOUR: THE END #1 & 2 (of 6) Now, the best ones of this series so far have been the shortest ones. Hulk and the Punisher? Incredible. The X-Men? Ran waaaaay too long. The Fantastic Four is six issues which kind of makes me nervous. What events could have caused the FF to go their separate ways, and how does their disbanding set the stage for a conflict that will send shockwaves across the galaxy and beyond? That sounds cosmic enough to make me feel a little less edgy. THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST #1 So, this looks to be a revamp of the Iron Fist origin, dealing more with the costume as if to explain why a man would want to wear yellow slippers. This is just a guess, mind you and it is an ongoing series, which is surprising since he’s technically already in one over at Daredevil. Unless something’s going to happen between then and now…? BULLET POINTS #1 (OF 5) For want of a nail… With the idea that one event can domino into a million other events, we get this sort of What If? tale from J. Michael Straczynski. And as we all know, What Ifs rarely end happily. From the solicit: But when a deadly bullet kills Dr. Erskine along with his bodyguard, M.P. Ben Parker, Steve’s destiny—and that of the Marvel Universe—is changed forever. WISDOM #1 (of 6) Now, personally I don’t think the character has the same vibe in the hands of other writers than Warren Ellis, but I’m willing to trust a Doctor Who writer. Paul Cornell wrote a rather touching episode of last season’s Doctor Who called ‘Father’s Day’ that had a good mix of science-fiction and heart, so now he’s got Pete Wisdom killing fairies in the England’s name. I’ll buy it.Best Five Trades
Let’s see how it looks altogether…
NEW X-MEN OMNIBUS HC Now in Omnibus format, some of the most whacked out X-Men stories you’ll ever read. Phenomenally good, subtle and strange, you have to admit Morrison’s work is still used to this day. And now you got the whole she-bang in one pricey, but well worth it blow. From the solicit: Regarded as the most innovative thinker of the current comic-book renaissance, Morrison proceeded to turn the mutant-hero genre on its ear. Yeah, sounds about right. But what’s the example they give? Gone were the gaudy spandex costumes – replaced by slick, black leather and an attitude to match. Seriously, folks, it’s more than just the fashion. MARVEL HOLIDAY DIGEST I’m a sucker for holiday stories like this and getting a good handful of them in digest format is just too good to pass up. A little of everyone in the Marvel Universe from a little of everyone at the Bullpen and more. It looks like we may get some Hanukkah hijinks from Ben Grimm and an Ultron that thinks its Santa. From the solicit: Finally, webcomics superstar Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic) joins indy comics legend Roger Langridge (Fred the Clown, MARVEL MONSTERS: FIN FANG FOOM) for just the sort of insanity they’re known for! Hoorah insanity! X-MEN FAIRY TALES TPB These were such a neat idea. The X-Men can be really confusing for some readers (and writers for that matter) so while i celebrate collecting the most tripped out mutant tales over with the New X-Men Omnibus, I also give props to the stories that got to the heart of who the X-Men are through myth and folklore. A nice slim paperback with some beautiful artwork for a nice price. ESSENTIAL MAN-THING VOL. 1 TPB Ever wondered about the Man-Thing but were too afraid to ask? Fear no more as Marvel’s sliding us one of those cool essential books. From the solicit: Whosoever knows fear will see just how much there is to know in this compilation of staggering swamp sagas! Explore the heights of the cosmos and the depths of the soul with the mindless Man-Thing! Guest-starring the Fantastic Four! Ka-Zar! Daredevil! Korrek the Peanut Butter Barbarian! And featuring the first web-footed steps into adventure of Howard the Duck! SHANNA, THE SHE-DEVIL TPB I’d say the art is good enough to pick up in the hardcover format but if you’re looking for something a little lighter, here’s the softcover edition of Shanna, the She-Devil, written and drawn by a guy who really loves his job on this book.Best Five Books in My Heart
Where my money goes…
SPIDER-MAN FAMILY FEATURING SPIDER-CLAN for no other real reason than I really like Scottie Young. His artwork on the New Warriors mini was so lively and kinetic, I’m sure I’m the only one who really liked that book so I’m putting up money to see more of Young’s artwork in print. NEXTWAVE: AGENTS OF H.A.T.E. #10 If you don’t like this book, please sit back down. The rest of us will be doing a celebratory dance for the latest issue of drop dead funny kicking and explosions. This book doesn’t care about your children. This book doesn’t care about making a higher point. It just wants to give you what you want when you reach out to the new comic stands and boy, does it deliver. Does it matter what is going to happen this time? Not really. It’ll be good, so just tune in. RUNAWAYS #22 One of the most consistent books out from Marvel, you can count on Brain Vaughan (when did he lose the K?) to give you a complete story that remembers where it came from. From the solicit: Still reeling from the events of YOUNG AVENGERS/RUNAWAYS, the teenage heroes must now confront a horrific new enemy who threatens to tear the team apart. See? No information is thrown away and all of it is used for a complete and complex story. My guess is Ultron might pop back up since ‘Kid Vision’ and Victor has issue in the current Civil War crossover. NEW X-MEN OMNIBUS HC I gotta go back up and give a shoutout to the Grant Morrison collection. Like it or hate it, you have to admit that was an important set of books on the X-Men we’ve come to know and love today. Not sure how I’m going to work that $99.99 price tag, but I’m sure I don’t need this kidney… ULTIMATE X-MEN #76 Anyone remember the old Fox X-Men cartoon show? Yeah, that was my first real introduction to Cable and I remember distinctly thinking he was cooler on TV than he was in the books. Now, mind you, I’m older and rather enjoy the direction he’s taken in Cable/Deadpool, but for those just starting out in the X-Verse, I think having an ‘Ultimate’ Cable and Bishop might make things a little easier to explain. From the solicit: But that’s not all—there’s also the sudden arrival of another time traveler—Ultimate Bishop, who’s been on the trail of Cable for a reason that will blow you away! We kid you not. Plus, they’re not kidding.Click here for the full list for November ’06!