Wow, is it that close already? The new year, a special 70th Anniversary for the House of Ideas and a new dark dark VERY DARK SO DARK IT’S A SECRET age are both nearly upon us True Believers, so let us enjoy this Secret Invasion Wednesday with a look ahead at people who are (hopefully) not Skrulls.
At least we hope their not as mighty nine titles hide their shame from us, leaving no picture and no words to accompany their title and creators. DARK AVENGERS #1, AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #21, DEADPOOL #6, INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #9, MIGHTY AVENGERS #21, MS. MARVEL #35, THUNDERBOLTS #128, WAR MACHINE #2 all run silent, run deep in the solicitations, showing us the infamous core books of the Marvel Universe. As ‘villainy’ seems to be a major theme, it would make sense that a guy like Deadpool and a team like the Thunderbolts are prominent in the mix, but you would think a book like NEW AVENGERS #49 as they come up on a landmark 50th issue might want to say a little more about themselves. The UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #2 at least gives us a pretty smokin’ picture of Emma Frost but this could mean anything, couldn’t it? Is she a member of this new ‘DARK Illuminati’ or is she playing a greater game at large? Oh the suspense!
What’s happening in the Marvel Universe that we can know about? Read on!
Surprise surprise, there is one book thematically counts in with the great Dark Reign of ’09 but still gives us information as to the content of their characters: DR. DOOM AND THE MASTERS OF EVIL #1. Written by Paul Tobin with art by Patrick Sherberger, this all new #1 starts us off with Doctor Doom getting some flunkies in the form of the Masters of Evil. Doom and a goon squad of some fan-favorite villains is kind of an interesting take, not to mention their first issue includes taking on both Iron Man and Doctor Doom. It still looks like a very cleverly disguised Marvel Adventures book, but carries with it some interesting weight towards what the Marvel Universe might look like in the new year.
In the non-kids (and kids-at-heart) area, we’re getting a little shuffle in our Punisher books: Punisher: War Journal is dropping the Journal and Punisher MAX is adding on a first and last name. Punisher: Frank Castle #66 keeps the numbering and includes a new tale from Duane Swierczynski and pretty much seems to be continuing the art of extreme justice sprinkled liberally with violence. The former War Journal on the other hand is being taken over by the Fear Agent crew to chronicle the new direction of the book that, yes, is tying in with Dark Reign. If a bunch of say, villains, are really taking over in the Marvel Universe, then it would make sense that Frank Castle (but not the MAX version) would head out to start a one-man war (but not Journaled) on the criminal element. This makes that cover with him shooting the Sentry rather interesting. Yeah! Remember him? He was seen months ago in Secret Invasion in a more ‘Void-ish’ appearance…
Speaking of darker characters, I just want to point out that the whole ‘Noir’ thing didn’t really interest me at first, considering that I’m a little confused by this very Elseworlds sort of take on three seemingly unconnected characters (well, Spider-Man and Daredevil but the X-Men? Really?). It seems more Annual fare, but in all honesty, the little solicitation blurbs for X-Men: Noir are practically their own series: ‘”Chief Detective Magnus had never seen Sebastian Shaw so angry before. The vein pulsating in the man’s forehead threatened to burst as he swept one arm around what remained of his looted Hellfire Club.
“‘Look at this!’ Shaw seethed. ‘Just look! They stole everything that wasn’t nailed down — and then they took the nails out of the rest of it and stole that, too!
“‘If you can’t catch these ‘X Men,’ Eric, I can just as easily shift my…support to someone who will…”‘ I don’t know about you, but I’m hooked in a few short sentences. Kudos, guys!
In related news, the look back on Bendis’s first mega crossover event ends this month with CIVIL WAR: HOUSE OF M #5 (of 5) – SPOILER: Magneto winds up ruling the world.
Speaking of X-Men, I try not to count the X-Books in my monthly deluge of Wolverine titles, as the Canucklehead continues to star in one-short after one-shot, mini-series after mini-series and court two ongoings. This month is kind of special though because Logan’s title is being taken from him! Yes, the man with the most books in the brand new year is the Brand New Day man himself, Spider-Man! A whopping seven Spider-Man books come out this month as opposed to Wolverine’s paltry six. Technically, they even star together in the new Spider-Man/X-Men mini!
A recent interview had J. Michael Stracznski apologizing for the lateness of his apparently phenomenal Thor run, citing important movie business that’s kept him delayed. Now, considering there’s a little something for the very phenomenal THOR #600 issue in January ’09, I have to be a little cynical and wonder if we’ll actually see this issue come out int he month we’re promised. Considering that Stan ‘The MAN’ Lee and Chris ‘Mini Marvels’ Giarrusso are bringing stories to the table with Mr. Stracznski I feel a little more confident in saying yes.
All in all, some pretty fantastic books, a lot of which I haven’t even touched (ooh, War of Kings starts!). Even the reprints are great as Warren Ellis’s extremely twisted series RUINS is seeing print again, along with DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE TRUTH, both in premire hardcover format. Also interesting is the printing of two forms of webcontent from Marvel.com: SECRET INVASION: HOME INVASION and the SUPER HERO SQUAD ONE-SHOT for the kids. Both of which were first available on the Marvel.com site and are seeing real paper for the first time; this is kind of an interesting trick for Marvel as they get a chance to test out how interest might travel from one medium to the next, possibly showing us a glimpse of the future. Sure, they are not the first to try out this format, but correct me if I’m wrong, they are the first of the Big Two.
What do you think? Take a look at what’s up and coming for the first month of 2009 and give a shout out to your favorite. Excelsior!