Marvel NOW! Teasers Pay Off With Enigmatic 'Divided We Stand' Group Shot
This monthly look at three months ahead in the Marvel Universe was going to show the cover to the all new Gorilla-Man #1, but instead I went for the image you see on your right. Please click to embiggen and let’s all try to figure out what’s going on.
Yep, that’s Emma Frost … tonguing a forkful of pancakes while sitting on Scott Summers’ back. There’s a lot of things that boggle me in this picture (When did Emma’s hair get crazy long? Is Scott happy to be sway-backed under the weight of Emma’s California king-sized rump? What expression is that? Where did the Leno chin come from? Is this a repurposed Batman and Robin cover from the Distinguished Competitors?) but really, this all comes down to those shoes. Those human head-sized shoes on those twiggy ankles.
Where did she get those shoes?
In (somewhat) more sensible news, let’s go look at what Marvel has in store for us in the month of July. Women of Marvel seems to be rolling right along, there’s always the collector’s delight of the brand-new #1, and the start of some blood-drinking, non-sparkling threats to our heroes and pals…
P.S.: Thanks for bearing with our technical difficulties. Just like those ankles, my WordPress skills broke under the weight of my own thoughts! I still don’t know what Scott Summers thinks of all this.
So, let’s start with the easy stuff. Remember last month’s intro to Marvelman? Say you got a copy, read it and wanted to know more. Say you’re like a lot of eager comic fans and are just dying to get your hands on one of the important and dastardly rare comics in the medium’s history. Well, don’t fret: Marvel’s got your back in the form of a chronological hardcover with MARVELMAN CLASSIC VOL. 1 (regular and direct market covers) and a ‘best of’ series, MARVELMAN FAMILY’S FINEST #1 (of 6). No, don’t adjust your screen, both start at #25 because comics used to do that and both are reasonably priced despite their sweet, sweet content. These could have been easily and ‘Absolute’-ly way too expensive for the Comic Reading Joe off the street, but providing something for the collector and the interested show me at least that Marvel really means to share Marvelman with the masses. And with the HC priced at #34.99 (about the usual price for a Masterwork) and the best of series at $3.99, it’ll fit right into the current comic reading budget. Let’s face it, we’re all paying $3.99, why not get some quality history for your buck?
As you scroll down, you might pass over the usual bevvy of Deadpool books, but X-Men Origins: Deadpool caught my eye as the X-Men Origins series can be rather fantastic under the right hands. The Jean Grey issue was not only gorgeous, but explained the character to modern readers who might just know her as the revolving door of death. The Sabretooth issue reminded me that Jeph Loeb is a jerkface for getting rid of Wolverine’s traditional nemesis. The Phil Noto Iceman artwork was just too good, it should have been much larger and framed on my wall. Here, we’re getting a single issue of Deadpool that seems ready to explain the current Deadpool craze in a 48-page one-shot. This comic is for everyone that asks me “Why are there so many Deadpool books? Who IS this guy??” So I hope it’s good. And I hope it takes at least one pot shot at his Wolverine movie cameo.
Also, as Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth ends, we’re getting LADY DEADPOOL #1, so as one falls, another will rise to take it’s place! Five bucks says he gets into the oncoming Vampire storm! Anyhoo, Mary HK Choi looks to a be a rather popular pop culture journalist for a variety of sites as I looked up her name at a glance and I AM ALL FOR JOURNALISTS-TURNED-COMIC-WRITERS! *coughcough* That said, it seems Lady Deadpool is going to fight cable TV in a fun and violent ongoing series. I’ll give it a few issues as it sounds kind of delightful, but there’s no way that can beat the New Mutants Summer Special from 1990.
Ultimate Comics roll on out with two Avengers books and Ultimate X mysteriously absent. ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #12 threatens us with “Guess what? That ain’t Peter Parker!! But it is Peter’s worst nightmare. Someone has taken Peter’s place in the world, his likeness, his everything, and he is—well—he is doing some damage! You won’t believe the mayhem that goes down in this issue!” Looking at the cover, all I can think of is HA HA HAIRCUT! Oh thank god, all that’s over. Peter Parker’s emo hair made the book kind of laughable at times (for heaven’s sake, it was practically the same ‘do as Aunt May!) and considering how on his game Bendis has been here, it was a sad day with those anime bangs. Bring on the dopplegangers, nothing could be worse that Peter’s old hair.
ULTIMATE COMICS MYSTERY #1 (of 4) starts with the knowledge that Ultimate Enemy ended by telling our heroes the nefarious plans ahead for the Ultimate U, and now this series is going to search out the villain enacting said plan. I don’t know about you but this sounds ridiculously slow-paced, like you could just read the last issues of each mini-series in this line and get the same amount of story as you would by picking up the whole thing. Couldn’t they find out the Enemy’s plan, discover who he is then stop him before it’s too late in say… one mini-series? Eh, I guess that’s why the pay Marvel editors the big money.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #637 is going to be the last stand of the Kravens — oh, I’m sorry, that’s “THE LAST STAND OF THE KRAVENS! The Grim Hunt ends with a death in the family…but not the family you may think! Spider-Man’s about to learn a violent lesson… that nothing is forever.” Not the family you may think? OH MAN. Wouldn’t it SUCK if Aunt May had to die now? From a Kraven Hunt. The next page after Spider-Man holds her body and screams “NOOOOOOO!” to the sky would be Joe Quesada just flipping off the audience from his desk chair. Still this sounds like a pretty good read, the buildup has been awkward but well-intentioned, and with Joe Kelly and J.M. DeMatteis, I can only expect good things.
Spider-Man fans, this is the ONLY BOOK you need to read. Please, for your own safety, DO NOT read what comes next. Just scroll until you see the cover to Paul Tobin’s SPIDER-MAN #4, okay? It’ll be better for you this way.
Okay, everyone else? It’s O.M.I.T. time.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #638 & #639 will be the answers people have been clamoring for, the scab we just can’t stop picking at no matter how it bleeds and makes you cry. We’re going to go watch a wedding that ends in heartbreak the way some people drive just a touch slower by an accident and others tune into Celebrity Rehab. Four double-sized issues are going to settle this “Why aren’t Mary Jane and Peter Parker married?” business I hope once and for all.
Cue your rage for July, folks. I have to admit, getting this out this month might save Quesada from hearing about One More Day, but then again he might get get even more questions as to why he would have had Parker actively deal with a malevolent figure in the first place. Who knows? I’ve moved on with my life. I never had that absolute hate for the deal with the devil and the new status quo it’s brought, just the way the deal was handled and the arrogance of the editorial who handled it. But I just hate picking at scabs, so maybe this story should have been told a few years from now, not while people are still sore from the Mephisto screw job. How much time do people need to forget?
But as some good news, please note the honesty in issue content: there’s a notation that AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #638 will have “28 Pages of New Story” in its 48 page total. That’s new! Despite the salt in a sore wound, I appreciate them letting us know how much new content we get in an issue.
Ah, good ol’ Paul Tobin. Every issue he’s done since the Marvel Adventures days has been a delight to read an issue at a time. Just fun issues with light continuity, action and adventure. Here in SPIDER-MAN #4, the web-slinger will be going up against Bullseye and it’s a rather no-nonsense solicitation: “The battle with Bullseye begins, and it ends in heartbreak for Peter Parker as the Amazing Spider-Man finds that Bullseye is aiming for those he cares most about… and he does not miss.” That’s right, this is all ages, baby.
And speaking of character properties, we’ll be getting SIX Avengers titles this month not counting the extra TWO from the Ultimates line), so let’s just talk about a couple of them: NEW AVENGERS #2 is heading into territory that Joe Quesada’s threatened us with before, “All new Marvel magic by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen! The Avengers don’t even get a chance to move in to their new digs when a dimensional invasion tears right into the heart of the team. This is a story that will completely reinvent the rules of magic in the Marvel Universe and have long- lasting effects on a handful of your favorite Marvel characters.”
They’ve been talking about inventing rules to Marvel Magic for quite some time and I still think it’s a big mistake. Some writers totally get Doctor Strange or Damian Hellstorm or name your favorite mystical Marvel character here, some don’t. Reinvention won’t exactly make a character new, hip, or relevant; sometimes reinvention can tank a character more often than it helps. They just need a new set of eyes to see them through, or a dedicated writer willing to stay on for a chunk of issues who’s ready to bring that classic vision back to the masses.
Also, shouldn’t this be a Doctor Voodoo story? Is he a New Avenger? Which one of them is the magic guy on the team? Do you mean to tell me you fired Doctor Strange, hired Doctor Voodoo then, I don’t know, moved him to the mailroom so that the reinvention of Marvel Magic storyline can be handled by Ms. Marvel, Mockingbird and the Thing?
I got another five bucks that says that Wanda’s going to ruin it for everyone.
Allan Heinberg returns to the property that’s been waiting for him and he’s got a whole new set of challenges for them in AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #1 (of 9).
WELL IT’S ABOUT TIME. Really! The Young Avengers would have so much more steam and momentum as a team and as a Marvel property if it hadn’t taken Heinberg this long to return. The write-up sounds good, the interviews and articles we’ve seen on it say the mini is going to resolve a lot of stuff that’s been left in the wings for awhile and I, for one, am glad to see the Young Avengers get some good screen time for their own storylines.
The DEATH OF DRACULA #1 is a one-shot of all new pipin’ hot Dracula action, promising the “ultimate battle to control Earth’s Creatures of the Night unfolds, with the future of the vampire race – and possibly the Marvel Universe – at stake.” Vampire Jubilee starts here! Mark Millar’s tantrum starts here! Bad ‘stake’ puns START NOW.
Over in Daredevil, heroes making bad decisions continues as apparently, you don’t lead the Hand like you do a girl scout troop. SHADOWLAND #1 (of 5) will be a battle for the soul of a hero (and we’re not talking Jubes here): “Pushed beyond his limits, Daredevil faces off for a final time against his deadliest foe–Bullseye– in their most brutal battle ever with more than just Hell’s Kitchen is at stake. Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Punisher and more join forces to stop a war that is breaking out throughout New York, with Daredevil at the center. This event will change the streets of New York City—and the heroes that protect it—forever. Plus, a jaw-dropping final page that will have everyone talking for years to come!”
Not only that, but that bad decision seems to be getting the whole Marvel Knights crew in trouble as well! THANKS MATT. It’s not like Luke Cage didn’t have enough to do with a new baby, rehabilitating Thunderbolts and now saving your scrawny blind butt from whatever demon problem you let in. Yeesh. With that in mind, Andy Diggle is a great storyteller. Daredevil has been sinking lower and lower into the darkness of his decisions and where as normally, you get to complain that Daredevil has the worst stuff happen to him, this time he’s really sort of doing it to himself. This is going to have a terrible cost at the end.
No Incredible Hulk this month, not even Red Hulk, but we are getting WORLD WAR HULKS: SPIDER-MAN VS. THOR #1 & 2 (of 2) and WORLD WAR HULKS: WOLVERINE VS. CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 & 2 (of 2), both totally classified until the events of Hulk #22 and Incredible Hulk #608. Looking at those titles and the covers…. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they fight each other. OH NO CLASSIFIED.
Steve will be taking more of a agent-sized backseat in STEVE ROGERS: SUPER-SOLDIER #1, a book that looks like it’s going to be some breathing room from the main Captain America series and the Heroic Age. “Steve Rogers was America’s first Super-Soldier – Captain America – and he’s fought for his country since World War II. Now a face from the past reappears, a woman that cannot be alive because Steve watched her die! Steve has fought for so long, and lost so much — is his past coming back to haunt him now? Or could this be the plot of an old enemy who controls nearly everything he touches, including Steve’s mind.” Good! There’s a lot more to the Sharon Carter and Steve Rogers part of the story that we’ve been missing, plus the actual fallout from returning back from the dead that’s going to be given some consideration. I’m interested in seeing how long this series lasts; it’s not a one-shot, it is 40 pages, so let’s see what comes of it in a few months.
In Thor news, we have a League of Thors showing up in the Power Pack-Thor crossover (I’m sold!), Kieron Gillen as either a typo or actually returning to the book after Matt Fraction’s issue last month so he can send Thor to Hell, and then there’s a teen-marketed looking book with THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER #1 & #2. It’s by Roger Langridge (from the Muppet Show comics) and sort of reimagines him as… well, himself. Thor’s going to fight evil find romance, and get by as the Mighty Avenger. It’s like you have your everyday Thor and then your Thor you send to Hell!
On the X-Men side of things, we look to be wrapping up with the Second Coming storyline and starting off the next dire threat to the mutant race: VAMPIRES! Curse you, Stephanie Meyers!! We’re getting an all new, all different X-MEN #1 from Victor Gischler and Paco Medina to start up the next big threat as UNCANNY X-MEN #526 and X-MEN: SECOND COMING #2 work on the clean-up to the Second Coming. We’re also going to get a X-MEN: PHOENIX FORCE HANDBOOK and a new copy of the X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX SAGA in hardcover. Man, I wonder why we’ll need those?
There’s tons more to talk about, like the X-WOMEN #1 by Chris Claremont and Milo ‘Woo Woo!’ Manara seeing American print, the super-stupendous, amazing, spectacular all new CASANOVA #1 that’s finally come home to Marvel, the first Alex Maleev creator-owned property called SCARLET #1 that brings Bendis back to what he does best, the AVENGERS: THE SEARCH FOR SHE-HULK PREMIERE HC that I swear Marvel put back into print just to make me happy, all sorts of good stuff that’s going to be littered all through July like the best Christmas snow.
Take a look and tell me what I missed, what you’re dying for and what just sounds like a bad idea below. Excelsior!