How Lee & Kirby's "Fantastic Four" Birthed the Marvel Universe, Part 1
The summer is ending, and we’re not so bad off, are we? There’s a cosmic war, Spider-Man’s re-reinventing himself again, there’s an event book with an oncoming slew of tie-in titles, but it all doesn’t feel like the years of yore. There’s no pressure to keep up with any of this; instead of seeing a Broadway production, we’ve got tickets off Broadway, so it’s a little experimental, a lot less expensive and not the main stage. But, in a way, just as important.
This is indeed the week we look at the future and what Marvel has in store for us, but it’s nice to know that from where we are now, the holidays look to be rather pleasant. There’s no great drop to be looking at as the year ends, just more changes and more stories and for some reason, that’s a lot less pressure.
Unless you’re a Thor fan, then you’ve got eight titles to sort through. Yeesh.
Let’s take a look at November and see what’s ahead for the House of Ideas, shall we?
Okay, it looks like November’s theme is gods and monsters, as the really big events deal in Vampires, Demons and Gods. Vampires are still on the loose in both the Ultimate universe and the Adjectiveless X-Men title, and both present the final steps in their master plans; ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS 3 #4 (of 6) has an incredible amount of numbers in the title as well as a letter: Vampire X! From the solicitation: “With Cap bitten, the super-soldier is turning into a super-vampire and the stakes are even higher. Blade finally reveals Vampire X’s true intentions, but can the heroes stop this mysterious enemy- – or are they one bite closer to an eternity of immortal behavior?” Love him or hate him, Mark Millar does big wide-screen action like no one else in comics today, so I’m pretty sure that he can escape the current ‘vampire tropes’ haunting our pop culture to bring you something worthy of his previous Ultimates series.
Over in 616, the Vampires also have turned a hero to their side, but they go one further and dare to think they’ve turned a villain too. From the solicitation for X-MEN #5: “The Vampire Nation’s army is unleashed on Utopia, with vampire Wolverine leading the charge – and, boy, does he have a bone to pick with Cyclops! Meanwhile, the newly resurrected Dracula is nowhere to be found. So why is Cyclops smiling?” Because he thinks Dracula’s going to be the wildcard that gives him enough breathing room to turn the tide of battle. Or maybe because Wolverine’s healing factor has gotten so ridiculous of late, he’s only pretending to be a vampire so that he’ll be the one to turn the tide. Either way, the entry-level X-Men book keeps rolling along. Compare and contrast the two books at your leisure in November.
Shadowland will be infuriating everyone by ending the DAREDEVIL title with issue #512. “Hell’s Kitchen lies in ruins, and it is up to the people of New York to start anew and begin rebuilding. In this last chapter of his story, will Matt Murdock at last find final redemption for the events of SHADOWLAND?” Personally, I hope not. There’s only so many ‘the hero’s gone crazy, but in the end we forgive him and get back to normal’ stories one can read and really, the cycle should end. Give Daredevil that happy ending he should have had at the end of Born Again. Sure, he won’t be walking down the streets of Hell’s Kitchen with Karen Page, but can we at least get him a Hawaiian vacation? Two tickets to a day spa?
In both the God and Monster categories is THOR #617, as an unspeakable evil crawls its way down Norse mythology: “THE WORLD EATERS continue their rampage down the World Tree on an unstoppable blitz to Asgard. The magnificient residents of the nine worlds flee their rampage… coming to Asgard for protection. Can the Fallen City protect the exiles of seven worlds from an unimaginable evil?” I’ll admit it right now: I’m going to be a mark for Matt Fraction’s Thor so consider my reviews anything but reasonable. so, while this pulse-pounding issue is will most certainly cure cancer and bring peace across the globe, what I want to look at is something up in the credits: the “Tron Variant” cover with artist TBA. Now yes, we’ve got a longboatload of Thor books this month and it’s Deadpoolian in the depth and breadth, but why are they putting out all these books? The movie buzz. So that leaked trailer that made the rounds on the Internets for a half an hour? Go get your Tron in theaters on December 17th to see it on the big screen.
So we have Thor, the God of Thunder this month, plus the demi-god of the ’90s: Thunderstrike. Holy crap, they’re bringing Thunderstrike back. Holy crap, they’re giving Tom DeFalco another book besides Spider-Girl! From the solicitation: “Has the time finally come for someone else to follow Eric’s journey and take on the mantle of Thunderstrike? Join us as the Marvel Universe welcomes back the everyman Avenger, THUNDERSTRIKE!” Now, while debatable (I’d say it was Hawkeye), the idea of the everyman Avenger is fantastic in a world filled to the brim with Avengers and Avengers accessories. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes should have a rookie/schlub/guy-with-a-bow so that those who have fantstic powers seem more fantastic without losing the reader’s perspective. While Thunderstrike isn’t my first choice, Tom DeFalco is definitely my first choice to bring some old school Avengers stories back into the reader’s spotlight with THUNDERSTRIKE #1.
Now mind you, there’s God and Monsters all over November (Bill Willingham on a Warriors Three title, the end of the Thanos Imperative, your Chaos War, etc.), but there’s also the 150th issue of Ultimate Spider-Man (feel old with me and celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Ultimate Comics imprint!), a brand-new and somewhat all different Spider-Girl title, Kelly Sue DeConnick on an Osborn mini-series, and most important: the return of DOCTOR BONG! Despite the lack of a major event wrap up or senses-shattering finale, the holiday season maybe just as exciting (if not more) than past years. Maybe we don’t need major crossovers and universe changing moments to put out a ton of books that will hopefully find an audience. And that, my dear reader, is the brightest day we could have.
Go and feast your eyes on the House of Thor and friends here with the big list of Marvel’s November 2010 solicitations and make not eof what you’re marking your calenders for in the comments. Excelsior!