Welcome to the unknown in December, True Believers!
You know, as annoying as it is to see a big CLASSIFIED on your solicitations, there’s only 8 books that seem to be so effected you’ll never know their hidden secrets until the end of Secret Invasion. Indeed, it looks like the core of the Marvel Universe seems a little smaller than expected with plenty of other titles that may or may not be effected moving right along and managing to describe themselves to retailers and readers without resorting to black labeling. There’s a whole new interest in theme variant cover business as we’ve moved from zombies to Skrulls to monkeys to now ‘villains’… whatever that could mean.
The only ones we really have to worry about are the new one-shots that are clearly going to be nothing we should know about, the title books for War Machine, Ms. Marvel, Iron Man and what appears to be the Avengers books minus one Mighty Avengers. Also missing it appears is the Fantastic Four, the details of a ‘Cosmic Special’ for them so under wraps that all we know is that it’s cosmic and drawn by ‘Matt’. Considering Reed’s involvement in the Skrull invasion, think Marvel’s first family is going to make it out intact. I mean, more intact than they were after Civil War, since that also divided them up pretty good.
Ever get the feeling Reed Richards took the last cruller out of the doughnut box and now the Bullpen’s got it in for him and the Fantastic Four? Maybe they’re on the payroll of Doctor Doom.
So while no one can know that Darth Vader is Spider-Man’s real father (SPOILER!!), let’s see what else the Marvel Universe is doing for the month of December.
WARNING: Crack Pot Theory on Secret Invasion/Dark Reign inside!
First off, let’s look at Marvel’s other fare, the ‘literary’ comic. it’s big business for the House of Ideas to take popular novels and find them an illustrated home among their ranks and not only do we have three comic adaptations (featuring the most amazing Wonderful Wizard of Oz mini with art by Skottie Young!), but five takes on popular novels by the merry band at Marvel. Technically, these too are adaptations aside from Dark Tower, which is all new material, but the fact remains that novel adaptation is nearly becoming its own imprint at this rate.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a Punisher X-Mas Special (X is for X-TREME!) and this time, he comes packing with not only a MAX Special but the gift of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon as well! Revisiting their start with Marvel Knights, it’s four whole issues for the holidays of Frank Castle vs. Ma Gnucci, leaving us $3.99 poorer each week or so one would assume, since we’re getting 4 of the 6 issues right off the bat. I’m as glad as anyone to see the pair back on the character, but $3.99? Really? For a weekly?
In other #1 news, we’re getting the prelude to War of Kings with X-Men: Kingbreaker #1, the start of a new Inferno with X-Men; Infernus #1 and the return to the beloved Marvels series with Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1 with a proudly touted Jay Anacleto. Skipping the Dark Reign obviously, there’s enough to get your feet wet here into the great big Marvel Universe if you’re looking for a big story.
One-shots haven’t stopped in the slightest either if you’re not looking for a big story and just want a little one. Maybe a reprint. There’s Hulk Family with the Jade Giant, his three kids (Woof, he gets around!) Skaar and the child that resulted from the Raging Thunder one-shot, not to mention Thundra herself apparently, plus Scorpion from the Amazing Fantasy books, someone they never got around to giving you the full story on. As if to make up for not being included in the gamma family photo here, She-Hulk gets her own one-shot on a cosmic scale, featuring her lady Liberators and the women of Guardians of the Galaxy. I bet they have a sleepover.
Trade paperbackly, we have some interesting choices for presents this year: a Daredevil: Man Without Fear Premiere HC seems to be the best idea for a gift, while personally I’ll be getting at least one copy of Avengers: First to Last Premiere HC for a pal. It’s a collection of not just Avengers Classic #1-12 which is an awesome read right there for the start of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but a personal favorite of The Last Avengers Story by Peter David. They’re also releasing an Infinity Crusade vol. 1 trade for that white elephant gift at the office Christmas party.
Also on the release list is a Hulk: Giant-Size TPB collecting the one-shots they’ve done somewhat recently: Giant-Size Hulk #1, Giant-Size Incredible Hulk #1, Hulk; Raging Thunder and Hulk vs. Hercules: When Titans Collide. Now, if I remember correctly… a lot of those had thick amount of reprint material themselves so it makes me wonder if their going to reprint the reprint issues in the reprint trade.
What Ifs make a rather loud return with their own series of one-shots actually loosely tied together this time by a backup story “What if the Runaways had become the Young Avengers?”. We’ll be getting grand What If arcs for most of the more recent Marvel events (excluding Secret Invasion, ’cause… you know. Spoilers.): House of M, Spider-Man; Back in Black, ‘Newer’ Fantastic Four, Captain America; Fallen Son and a big call back to Secret Wars; note the plural as this’ll be taking us back to Battleworld rather than Latveria for Bendis’s Secret War.
Hrm, I’m just going to throw this out here: the Fantastic Four seem to be missing, we’re not taking a look back at Secret war which has a lot more impact on current Marvel history than the Beyonder’s Secret Wars, it’s called Dark Reign suggesting some sort of rulership, all the variants are ‘villain’ covers… anyone think Doom might have something to do with this?
Anyhow, crackpot theories aside, I would personally be remiss if I didn’t mention my Christmas present this year: THOR: GOD-SIZED #1 GOD-SIZED, people! The more Matt Fraction shows us his hard rock stylings on the God of Thunder, the more I wonder when he’s just going to out and out conquer the regular title. Maybe riding a chariot. Or a Blood Colossus.
Obviously, we’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg here (and not just because the iceberg has a huge CLASSIFIED banner at the bottom) as Marvel is bringing you all sorts of tales from their new Noir minis to Brubaker’s entirely intriguing Incognito series (see, people who aren’t reading Criminal because it’s not your thing? THIS ONE HAS SUPERHERO STUFF!). Go take a look for yourself at the December Solicitation list and start writing Santa today!