Robot 6

The Fifth Color | Forward Into the Past with Marvel Solicitations for Sept. ’10

THOR_615Marvel editor and all-around snazzy guy Axel Alonso said something super-important at WonderCon this year. I’ve written it down and taped it to the inside of my wallet so I never forget these words of wisdom at the most crucial of times. With the $3.99 standard, reprints and the multiple titles you’re about to see, I wanted to pass this knowledge on to you. It may sound blasphemous, it may even be madness, but trust me on this one. These words could save your comic collection:

“You don’t have to buy all of them.”

Madness!  You’re going to be seeing a lot of repeat faces in here —  the obligatory bevy of Deadpool books, our masses of Avengers, the Shadowland tie-in that grows stronger every month, etc. But just remember this: You don’t have to buy them all.

Is it true? Stay sharp and come with me down the path to Marvel’s September comics. And may God have mercy on our souls.

Let’s take Thor, for example (because he’s awesome):

He’s got four titles out this month, not including Marvel Superheroes or Avengers. THOR #615, finally written by Matt Fraction and exquisitely drawn by Pasqual Ferry, THOR: FOR ASGARD #1 & 2 (of 7) from Robert Rodi and Simone Bianchi, THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER #4 with Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee, and THOR: FIRST THUNDER #1 (of 5) written by Bryan J.L. Glass with art from Tan Eng Huat. Each of these four books covers the spread: You have your ongoing Thor title; your big, sweeping painted epic in miniseries format; a sort of all-ages title for everyone to enjoy; and your Thor origin story for people just catching up. Each of these books could have elements of the other, but keeping them strained and separated, per se, gives the customer a way to find out which Thor is right for them so as not to be left out of the Marvel fun.

As fans, we don’t have to buy all of them. Well, we can (and might), but we don’t have to. We’re giving the buying market a chance to find something that interests them, to lure them into the rest of the Marvel Universe without having to catch up in trades or watch my one-woman performance of the origin of Thor at my local comic shop.

So Marvel hedges its bets by putting out titles designed for a specific reader’s demand. I’m for it, thanks to my magic words from Axel Alonso and because of how much I like to see people read Thor comics. Something for everyone!

Or something for that one guy, you know, you. Yes, you on the left. This is for you:  TASKMASTER #1 (of 4) from Fred Van Lente and Jefte Paolo! Having lurked around the fringes of the last four events or so, Taskmaster deserves his own book, as we’d been unintentionally following his rather self-serving lifestyle from title to title. The solicitation reads as follows:

Taskmaster has trained hench-thugs for every terrorist organization and criminal cartel in the Marvel Universe. So when the rumor starts that he’s turned traitor and now works for STEVE ROGERS, a billion-dollar bounty is put on his head, and every cadre of costumed fanatics — A.I.M., Hydra, Ultimatum, the Sons of the Serpent, everyone — looks to collect. Now Taskmaster has to fight hordes upon hordes of his psychopathic students while at the same time figuring out who framed him — which requires him figuring out who he really is! That’s right, the man with the photographic reflexes has no memory of his true identity — and you’ll learn the unexpected truth along with him!

An origin story! Everybody love an origin story, and the premise sounds lively and fun, along with being informative. In a similar vein is VALKYRIE #1, written by Bryan J.L. Glass and penciled by Phil Winslade. Man, that Mouse Templar guy is getting into the Asgard market, as not only will he be writing a Thor title this month, but he’ll have the Herculean task of explaining the when and the how of Valkyrie’s return:

In AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED, Ragnarok claimed the lives of the Asgardians, until they were reborn along with Thor himself…but when and how did the legendary shield maiden Brunhilde return? How does a murder mystery hold all the answers? And how can Valkyrie solve the riddle of her own death? Dare a glimpse into the soul of Marvel’s most misunderstood heroine, and witness her transformation from myth to Defender to Avenger!

Story continues below

As usual, we have our assemblage of Avengers titles, counting eight in all, with Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, Avengers Prime, Avengers Academy, Avengers: Children’s Crusade, Avengers & The Infinity Gauntlet, and I am an Avenger. Being that these are team books and there’s twice as many of them as there were Thor books, I’m starting to feel some title fatigue as the different groups vie for my attention and dollar. AVENGERS PRIME #3 promises “The team-up you never thought you’d ever see again! Steve Rogers and Tony Stark battle together to save each other and the life of their fallen friend Thor!” Which begs me to ask, Weren’t we all done with that after Civil War? Haven’t Tony and Steve gone through enough restart/reboots to effectively wipe that out-of-nowhere grudge and show them what really matters? And what the heck took down Thor like a damsel in distress?!

Over in NEW AVENGERS #4, they’ll be battling arcane forces more powerful that ever before.

With reality under furious attack by arcane power far beyond anything anyone on Earth has ever dealt with before, the Avengers have to start getting creative or forfeit all that we know. The rules of magic and mysticism in the Marvel Universe are about to change in a gigantic way and it’s all going to happen here!

This is why Doctor Strange handles the mystic arts. Because what he deals with on a regular basis isn’t what Wolverine handles and vise versa. Stephen Strange would look a little silly fighting, say Sabretooth, while Logan doesn’t strike me as the guy to gather lore and beat back the depths of the sanity-shrieking unknown with anything more than his claws. It’s taken some time, but this “gigantic change” is something that’s been coming for a long time and all I can ask is that it finally puts Stephen Strange back in his Sanctum Sanctorum so Wong can return from whatever vacation he’s been on and all will be right with the world.

By the by, Jason Aaron will be out to prove me wrong as the all-new WOLVERINE #1 with Aaron and Renato Guedes take Wolverine to Hell as well as to five different variant covers. You see, his soul will be in Hell while his body will be … doing something else. Maybe a wild Weekend at Bernie’s-like adventure? Unlike the Hulk’s, Logan’s offspring will be getting their own titles as well, with first issues for X-23 and DAKEN: DARK WOLVERINE. The family that variant-covers together …

Wait, speaking of Hulks … notice they’re suspiciously absent this moth? Nope, not a single solicit, unless you’re counting ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS 3 #2 (of 6), doing the best they can to have the worst title ever. UCA3 #2 (yikes) has not only Millar’s Vampire Story but what looks to be the Hulk on the cover, and that’s kind of all we’re getting in the Gamma department this September.

You know what we will be getting? VAMPIRES! Fangs, fangs, fangs as the X-Men resurrect Dracula (WHAT? See why Dr. Strange does this better?) to fight Drac’s evil son as opposed to his not-as-evil son. We’ll also be getting some grindhouse horror with X-MEN: CURSE OF THE MUTANTS – X-MEN VS. VAMPIRES #1 (of 2) which tosses its hat into the ring for worst title ever but includes a reprint of the first time the X-Men fought vampires back in X-Men #159. Also, the Science Club get another one-shot tie-in like the champs they are and Namor finds *gasp* SEA VAMPIRES!

Will it ever end?  So much is coming down the track for the month of September, we could be here all day but I’ll tell you what:  go take a look at Marvel’s Solicitations for September and let me know what you’re looking forward to, what I might have missed or what you might not be buying.  The power is yours!  Excelsior!



Actually, you don’t HAVE to buy ANY of them. And you shouldn’t. Because they all suck. Excelsior!

I like a lot of Marvel’s output, they are absolutely flooding the stands. Why do I need to buy 4 Thor books when the Rogers/Samnee book is the only want to read? Why should I buy all 6 Avengers books when Secret Avengers is the only one that interests me? Why should I bother with 5 Deadpool titles when Team-Up is the only one that’s ever good?

If they’re going to do this, they might as well go the ASM route and just make the main book weekly and get rid of all of the other unnecessary titles. It just saves everyone some time.

I think you must have skipped over the first few paragraphs, because Carla points out that Axel Alonso points out that you DON’T have to buy them all. And the reason they make that many books is answered by your own questions. If there was only one of those books do you think the Rogers/Samnee book would exist for you to want to read? How about Brubaker and Deodato’s Secret Avengers? They’re there for variety. And I’ve heard plenty of people disagree with you on which Deadpool book was the best, yet asked almost word-for-word in the way that you just did: “Why should I bother with 5 Deadpool titles when Merc with a Mouth is the only one that’s ever good?” People have different tastes. These books are for the people that want to read them.

If Marvel books were cheaper, I’d be hopping on board Invincible Iron Man and Thor in the post-Siege/Dark Reign stories, Incredible Hulk in the post-WWH story, and back on Captain America and Fantastic Four after dropping them at Reborn and when Millar’s run got too shitty, respectively.

If they were cheaper

I’m totally that guy over there on the left who wants to get the FVL Taskmaster mini.

Yeah, if there was only one Thor series, it would just be the Fraction one, not the Langridge one.

I’m getting rather sick of this. Marvel spits out titles left and right, and somehow they expect people to buy them. I’m interested in a lot of things that Marvel releases, but I can’t afford all of them. And what’s the point anyways? Do we really need Wolverine or Spiderman in every single thing out there? And why is there like 6 Avengers titles anyways?

If only it was like the 60’s when there was only 1 X-men book, 1 Fantastic Four book, 1 Avengers book, 1 Spiderman, and so one. People could actually collect most of them then.

Steven R. Stahl

June 18, 2010 at 7:27 pm

It’s extremely unlikely that the NEW AVENGERS arc will make any sense. Bendis, et al., are handling sorcery as badly in NEW AVENGERS #1 as they did in the “Search for the New Sorcerer Supreme” arc. Possession, as written by Bendis, is just a magical form of mind control and creates the same plotting bottlenecks that ordinary mind control does. Having the resident exorcists possessed makes the situation worse, not better.

Bendis is still insisting on treating the Eye of Agamotto as a talisman with power to be drained, when it’s nothing of the sort. I’m pretty sure that no one at Marvel can explain how the Eye would be useful to an extra-dimensional invader.

I doubt it’s occurred to anyone at Marvel that the deities Strange and others invoke reside outside the Marvel Universe. They’re not affected by anything that goes on within the universe, and the “rules of magic” would only change if they wanted the rules to change. There’s also the “War of the Seven Spheres” to consider. The 5000-year war effectively broke the Dr. STRANGE series for a long while; the editors eventually decided to ignore it and let Strange return to invoking the deities. However, the war locks the current system in place. Anything that altered the status of the Vishanti, et al., would affect the war, and break things again.


I never really understood the “too many titles” argument from the reader point of view. I definitely understand it from a retailer point of view, but as a reader, if there’s 5 Avengers books and only 1 of them interests me, then why should it bother me that the other 4 exist?

Marvel is kind of messed up now and they do put out a ridiculous amount of useless material. That doesn’t bother me, its the core titles that has troubled me. They went from trying to change everything about Marvel and now are trying to change it back somehow, not by an actual story but by once again saying ‘I quit’ and it’s ‘The Heroic Age’ which is probably the most empty title I’ve seen above their books in recent years. For example ‘The INitiiative’ which really wasn’t a story so much as a pointless concept. What was the point.

I picked up the Avengers #1 today. This about the third Avengers #1 that I have bought including the Heroes Reborn and the Heroes Return one from the 90s. That’s strange to me because after the absolutely correct ‘worst-issue-of-all-time’ stamp was put on Amazing Spider-man 545 I swore I never wanted to read Spider-man again, because he seems like the worst comic book character now and in the worst comic book. Look at himon the cover of Avengers #1, he’s a little guy in the back. You can barely see him. That review was right, what is Marvel now. For almost two years we were promised big stories that either never going to really happen or were so bizarre it didn’t seem to be Spider-man at all. I don’t know about you but I remember the part about SPider-man being able to come back to life in a cocoon. Who came up with that? Was it Lee or Ditko. Basically, they had a guy who didn’t know how to write Spider-man and they wasted the last big hype the series had with an Unmasking that all of us knew was a lie.Imagine how that would of been in the 90s, a real story about what happened if Spider-man’s identity had been revealed to the world. They didn’t do, wasted our time and then the writer went on to make a THor series which I’m sure was also bland as his new armor.

All I’m saying is ‘Bring back the old Thor’.

For the Thor books, the argument works–they’re clearly separate, be it in timeline or continuity. The Avengers books are all interrelated, sometimes sharing characters, and how long before they all get involved in a crossover again? Yeah, for the most part you can still read one book and understand it, but they’re designed so that you’ll feel you’re missing something.

I agree with Steven R. Stahl on the magic side of stuff. Big Changes have been happening/been promised for four-five years, and Bendis’s take on magic simply doesn’t work for me. Dr Strange became Sorcerer Supreme after studying the mystic arts for many years, and then the Ancient One still stuck around to guide him until the old guy’s death. Voodoo won the lottery, and that’s still how Marvel magic feels.

(Not to sound too negative. I’ll happily get my Magik in New Mutants, which, with Leonard Kirk on board, only looks to get better.)

Don’t need dork wolverine, he’s super lame. Looking fwd to taskmaster, missed him in avenger academy

I’m gonna be getting a lot of Marvel books in September, but these are the ones I’m looking forward to the most…

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #3 (of 5)
Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #4 (of 5)
Atlas #5
Hawkeye & Mockingbird #4
Fantastic Four #583
Invaders #1 (of 5)
Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall #1 (of 6)
Secret Warriors #20
Scarlet #2
Gorilla Man #3 (of 3)
Wolverine: The Road to Hell one-shot
Wolverine #1

Plus tons of other books, but those are the big ‘uns for me!

You guys are funny.


I’d rather too many great comics than too few. You can always get them in the dollar bins in a year or two or read them on Marvel Digital someday. But if they’re not putting out things like the Langridge Thor, then t’d just never exist.

Matt D:
Yeah, nerds will complain about anything.

Brian Griffin

June 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I think that with the cost of comics on the rise, my appetite and wallet will eventually wane.
But for now, it’s good to be a Marvel fan! I can always eat off the dollar menu.

Here’s what I’m intending to buy:

The people who stopped buying Amazing after the events of One More Day have really missed out. It took awhile to get back to the usual greatness but it hasn’t disappointed for some time now..

Change the name of the title, renumber them if you want, but I still love the Avengers

Captain America has been a prime example of what is being done right at Marvel. One of the best series and characters by any publisher.

INCOGNITO: Bad Influences #1
Marvel’s stable of writers doing their own stuff, some old, some new, all refreshing and a nice change from the hero stitles.

SHADOWLAND #3 (of 5)
Why it may not be vital to buy each of these tie-in issues to the summer event at Marvel, it doesn’t hurt when you get to see see things from all angles.

There hasn’t been a writer who has astounded me with his storytelling abilities since a certain Alan Moore walked into the DC offices. We’ve only witnessed the tip of the iceberg from Mr. Hickman.

INVADERS #1 (of 5)
TASKMASTER #1 (of 4)
Really looking forward to all of the mini-series and the sole one-shot. I’ve been clamoring for an Invaders series since the end of the Human Torch mini, It’ll be cool to see some solo work of the Taskmaster, Give me more Marvel Space Opera and give me more of the great Thanos! I’ll buy the Heroic Age for a nice light read.

Matt Fraction turned this series on its ear. I’m buying for the long haul!

If you want to read about the real Punisher, you’ve found it at Max. Franken Castle, as good as the reviews have been, certainly does not appeal to me and has cheapened the character.

THOR #615
THOR: FOR ASGARD #1 (of 7)
THOR: FOR ASGARD #2 (of 7)
Has there been a book as consistant as Thor has been over the past 2-3 years? It doesn’t matter which great writer is penning Asgard’s Greatest Warriors, it’s a winner.

X-23 #1
X-MEN #3
Second Coming should be nearing its finale by this time. It’s a new world (again) for the X-Men, new titles, new storylines, more mutant madness!

Honestly, complainers, if there’s not a market for the floor of books heading our way, they will not remain. If there was no marketable reason for “Astonishing Wolverine/Spider-Man”, it wouldn’t exist, but lo-and-behold there it is and I can only presume it’s selling like things that sell extremely well. The book stars arguably Marvel’s top-two Franchise characters, and a superstar creative team. Of COURSE there’s a market for this book, and again, if those “X-23″ and “Daken” books don’t sell well, POOF! They’re a mini-series suddenly, and they go the way of “MI:13″ and “S.W.O.R.D.”, two recent examples of this very same thing happening.

But to those whose gripe is that there’s too much good material bleeding our pockets dry, I feel your pain. But also realize Marvel understands many of us have shifted to trade-waiting, and so are supplying the market to make sure there’s as many trades as single comics at any given time available for purchase.

There were Hulk solicits for September, but they’re not showing up in the catalog. Weird.

Marvel has worked to make it so that you don’t need to buy everything in a line, what with recaps and linear storylines and what not. Some titles do still have a dependency on others, like my beloved X-men: Legacy, which came back to rejoin Fraction’s terrible Uncanny on “Utopia” and has since taken story cues from it. Some are explained, while others (like the return of Magneto) are given no explanation whatsoever, and someone who’s just reading that book will be confused. I understand Legacy is aimed at continuity buffs, but does that have to include current continuity? Ick.

Anyway, I’ll be picking up a ton of those Shadowland off-shoots, and a good amount of the “Curse of the Mutants” ones as well. Because I want to. One of those will definitely not be the Namor ongoing. Sorry, Submariner.


June 20, 2010 at 7:52 am

I will be getting the following Marvel Book in Sept

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #3-Issue #1 was alot of fun and the art was fantastic and isn’t that waht comics are supposed to be…fun??

Amazing Spider-Man #642-644-Brand New Day may have started off rocky but the last 6-8 months worht of stories have just been great.

Avengers #5
Secret Avengers #5
Avengers Academy #4
New Avengers #4
Young Avengers Children’s Crusade #2
Captain America #610

Shadowland #3-Have not read Daredevil in a while but will give this mini series a try

Fantastic Four #583-If you are not reading this masterpiece by Hickman you need to start…right now.

Invinicible Iron Man #30
Secret Warriors #20
Steve Rogers Super Soldier #3
Thor #615
Thanos Imperative #4
X-Men #3
Uncanny X-Men #528

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