Robot 6

The Fifth Color | Forward into the Past with Marvel in September

Fear Itself #6

They're breaking up Superman and Lois Lane?!?

What’s the point?

This is like hosting the best block party for three months straight, and then suddenly the guy next door rents an outdoor projector and starts playing “Best of the Web” YouTube videos on the side of his house. People just can’t help but turn their heads. Is it a wise idea? Aren’t these just constant clips of low-rent YouTube versions of Jackass? Why can’t I look away?

So here we are, minding our own business, when the Distinguished Competition comes out with a hefty announcement for their September line-up. It’s bright and shiny and controversial and loud, and maybe this is what the other half feels like every time Marvel announces that they are going to create a studio to make their own movies, make a push for trade paperbacks, support digital comics or kick off a whole new universe where characters are younger and more movie-savvy for the modern comic reader.

Yeah! So let’s look at September, people! Let’s face front to the future and remind ourselves that no matter the number on the cover, it’s the content that counts. What’s Marvel bringing to the fore in September?

The major events we’re looking at in September are Fear Itself (reaching #6 of 7 this month), Spider-Island (a more general “part three” and “part four”) and X-Men: Schism (which will be at #4 of 5, bringing us to the announcements made this week).

Fear Itself: the Monkey King #1

Fear Itself: the Monkey King #1

Fear Itself is bringing in a new title late in the game with FEAR ITSELF: THE MONKEY KING #1. Based on the character in Iron Man 2.0, he is very much in line with the Immortal Weapons and probably is one himself. To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised he debuted in Iron Man 2.0 rather than, say, an Iron Fist book, so I haven’t caught up with the character just yet. So while the rather well-received, modern-day Iron Fist languishes in New Avengers, the new Immortal Weapons hang out with Rhodey and the newest one gets his own one-shot. It still seems a shame not to get a new Iron Fist series out of this opportunity.

A taken opportunity is getting an Alpha Flight series in with the great Fear Itself machine. Sadly, September’s issue is ALPHA FLIGHT #4 (of 8), so Marvel still doesn’t have the confidence to run a regular Alpha Flight series. All in all, we’re looking at 21 titles by now for Fear Itself, most of them just regular books with a “fear” theme or one of the Worthy trashing their stuff inside. The train is winding down, we’ll be pulling into the final station next month with the last Fear Itself issue and all the aftermath we can handle.

Amazing Spider-Man #670

Amazing Spider-Man #670: you know you're reading it

Spider-Island seems entirely opposed to the above framework; normally for an event, there’s a main book, some sub-books, a few minis but most importantly, an end. We know when Fear Itself is over because there will be an issue that says so. Other books that went along for the ride will go back to their own lives and all the minis that did the dirty support work will fade off, like Brigadoon if Man-Thing, Silver Surfer and two different She-Hulks were cast in the production. Spider-Island, on the other hand, seems to be starting off with a concept rather than a main series (What if everyone in NYC had spider-powers?), then a majority of concept minis rather than regular books to help pull it off. Obviously, Amazing Spider-Man is the main book if you want to find out what’s going on, but if you’re just interested in playing “_____ with Spider-Powers!” you’re probably better off just grabbing the mini-series of your choice. There will be books like SPIDER-ISLAND: AVENGERS #1 to tell you what the Avengers would be like with Spider-Powers, and SPIDER-ISLAND: I LOVE NEW YORK CITY #1 to tell what the average Joe is doing with Spider-Powers (also: the Punisher). I guess logistically it doesn’t look like an event book because I don’t see that clear and defined point where nothing will ever be the same AGAIN! Instead, it’s a concept that will meander through the books until they’ve done enough and then slowly exit the stage. Kind of weird for a “banner” storyline, but hey. They’re trying to get Cloak & Dagger and Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu ushered in through the hype, so good luck.

Story continues below

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man vol. 1

Stranger things have happened: is that Miguel O'Hara?

Speaking of taking an idea as far as it can go and then quietly exiting stage right, there are two new Ultimate Comics titles out this month: ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #1 (and #2) which is both listed as polybagged and classified, so let’s never talk of that again, and ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #1 with Nick Spenser and Paco Medina. FINALLY. No offense to Jeph Loeb or Art Adams, but Oh MY Stars and Garters that book was a wreck. Ultimate Comics X was pretty interesting in parts, completely maddening in others, mostly because when it wasn’t on the shelves, you forgot it ever came out and then only got a snippet of story and a hint at something to come. I’m not saying that Ultimatum was a HUGE mistake for the Ultimate Universe and the very idea they gave Jeph Loeb anything to do with it afterwards was an affront to everyone who had made that line a success to begin with, but … you know.

Still, two new titles, one could be the Ultimate inclusion of Miguel O’Hara from the 2099 universe, the other an interesting use of all the mess Ultimatum left behind, written by the guy who does the critically acclaimed Morning Glories series. Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic are taking readers for a ride in the shiny new ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #2, so I think things are looking good for the Ultimate universe.

X-Men: Schism is last on our list, and while Fear Itself and Spider Island follow an idea if not a formula, then the X-event is looking like an afterthought. Not only is there just one book tie-in (serious, it’s just X-MEN: SCHISM #4 (of 5) and GENERATION HOPE #11), but the solicitation for X-Men: Schism says that the events of this event “have launched the world into turmoil.” Did Schism start all the other events that are still wrapping up somehow? Because even the other X-books are busy getting involved with them, not to mention their own storylines and plot points. While everything seems on the brink of danger over here, there’s entirely other dangers that don’t even want to get involved with the first. I love the idea that Colossus is threatening to make a deal with the Cytorrak in UNCANNY X-MEN #543 for Fear Itself and it’s awesome that UNCANNY X-FORCE #15 is really running with the Dark Angel Saga and even X-MEN #17 & #18 have the X-Men fighting dinosaurs in the Bermuda Triangle with the FF, it’s just that if Schism is really going to be this big serious thing, then maybe make the transition from everything it’s going to be to everything as it WILL NEVER BE AGAIN!! a little easier?

But that’s my opinion. Every week, I’m lucky enough to have you share yours in the comments. So open up a window, look through the Marvel Comics solicitations for September 2011 and tell me what you think! How do you feel about big event plotlines? Looking forward to a fresh start with the Ultimate universe? Amazed and excited to see Roger Langridge John Carter of FREAKIN’ Mars? Curious as to what Wonder Man’s Revengers team is going to bring to the mix in NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #1? Or did you just catch that the solicitation for DAREDEVIL #4 promises the “THE DEATH DEFYING DEBUT OF MARCOS MARTIN!” Let me know! Excelsior!



Personally, I couldn’t care less about any of these. They look even more uninteresting than DC’s product.

Is Spider-man the same guy who can come back to life a cocoon? Is the same guy who cheats his way out of things on a cosmic level and never lives up to his responsibility?

Marvel just doesn’t seem to care. that’s their main good guy character and they refuse to acknowledge what damage all that did. It’s not an anti-hero thing. It’s a pathetic loser thing. Plus why didn’t they hire all those writers before hand instead of telling readers they had a bunch of new stories they couldn’t and didn’t do anything with?

It’s too bad. BEcause I could of seen myself buying Amazing if that hadn’t gone down.

Ultimate seemed like a great Spider-man, but they are killing him.

Looks like you and the ‘House of Ideas’ buried the lead here, Carla…I mean,

Marcos FREAKIN’ Martin’s Daredevil!?!?!?

Who do I give my $ to?

I know I should know this, but who drew that Spider-Man’s back image at the top of the article? It’s beautiful.

That’s apparently Mike McKone, colored by Morry Hollowell.

Nah I believe it’s McNiven, look at the faces on the tv, really looks like his style

Iron Fist is in the Iron Man 2.0 arc with the Immortal Weapons. And yeah, the Monkey King rules. He’s like Immortal Weapon Larfleeze.

Absolute garbage from the house of no new ideas. HEY, WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE AT MARVEL NOW! TOSS IT ALL OUT AND START AGAIN! But this time do it right! Are you people NOT doing a Crisis-like reboot because DC did it first!? I firmly believe a total re-boot should happen about every 10 to 15 years. DO IT NOW!

honestly, i can’t get seriously jazzed about any of this…

You’re right to say Spider Island is not an event, it goes under the category of “New Status Quo” like the following.

The initiative (What if super powered beings had to register and every state had a super hero team?)

Dark Reign (What if the villains were in charge of that initiative?)

It’s a new landscape to tell stories, usually bridging the gap between events….usually

I’m actually relieved that Schism is a contained important moment. I’m all for a big story (by a good writer) but I have no desire to read all the Fear Itself tie-ins that are actually showing/explaining the story.

hope there will be an ongoing ALPHA FLIGHT still (just for me, yes)

Monkey King rules

How can one overlook the All-New! All-Excellent! new arc of ‘Casanova’? That, and Batwoman #1 from DC give me hope that creative excellence can win out over hype and publishing stunts.

Marvel’s beating DC in September, at least for me.

So, while DC’s Big September Event is basically “everybody is new!” with no apparent story running between all the titles, Marvel’s answer is to have THREE crossovers running at almost the same time?

I remember the days when not only both companies did less events (only once or twice a year each) but they scheduled them so they didn’t directly compete with each other. Less pressure on what to buy that month for the reader.

I’m actually curious about the Spider-Island psuedo-event and may pick up some of it,(Shang-Chi and Cloak & Dagger certainly help)
Fear Itself while interesting has become somewhat “Meh”, doesn’t help that I was expecting more of a “greatest fears comes true” angle like the teasers posters. As for Shcism, I pretty much don’t care. I’m still waiting for them to prove that Bishop was wrong about the whole Hope thing.

You’re not the only one hoping for an Alpha Flight ongoing Ian.

i’ll read what ever Mark Waid, Judd Winick, Robert Kirckman, and Dan Jurgens writes. everything else is weak or sucks. Oh yeah, i can’t wait to see how they massacre Alpha Flight :)

I’m pretty excited for the monkey king because of the game enslaved and it looks interesting so i will check it out.

alpha flight is on my pull list so its cool but now I’m pissed that they aren’t making it ongoing.

spider-island is a cool idea so im buying it or checking it out and im a fan of the post brand new day spidey and dan slott’s writing and the other web heads work on him. In retrospect it suffers from the same dilemma that geoff johns recent runs on flash, gl, aquaman etc suffer from. Did we really need the changes they made to have those storylines work. For example Blackest night, brightest day and flashpoint could have worked the same with kyle raynor, wally west, donna troy, and garth rather than their mentors at the helm.

The new books for the ultimates could signal the rising of the ashes for the ultimate line and i wanna see how they do.

Schism seems like a cool event so im in.

I agree with Marvel still not making any effort giving Iron Fist his on-going series. Even an iron fist and immortal weapons series will be great.

alpha flight 0.1 debuted at #75(ish) on the top 100 list. it might get a bump from the fear itself tie-in, but I don’t see it as long for this world (via them shifting it to an ongoing)

Im psyched for schism, I think it might be the best story in a while, but its all an expectation based upon aaron’s continued quality work.

and yea daredevil previews look great so far. Has waid’s run been limited? I kinda hope so, I think it’d make the story stronger.

I generally buy DC, but these two series have me rethinking that

I don’t even care about Marvel anymore. It’s DC or bust for me, starting in September.

You obviously do still care about Marvel. You’re reading articles about them and posting on their talkback…..

The Curious One

June 20, 2011 at 7:49 am

I know that the Monkey King is a famous Chinese Legend.

So I have a question guys, Is the monkey King a Chinese Marvel hero? Because it would be great if Marvel would allow minorities to star in a marvel comic book.

LOVE everything Spidey right now. Could care less what happens over at DC. Even starting over won’t make their universe interesting.


June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm

How can you call Spider Island a non-event? look at all of those tie-in’s!
I’m holding onto Hulk and T-bolts because of Parker, but my enthusiasm is dwindling.
Daredevil and Deadpool Max are the only titles I’m excited about. I’ll pick up funny mouthed Cap later (cause it’s not worth $4) and Cap&Bucky down the road for cheap.
I currently get 2 DC titles, (DEC and Thunder Agents) I’m very interested in 9 DC titles and I hear TAgents is returning in Oct.

Rufus Firefly13

June 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Spider Island has been on my radar for a long time. Slott has been doing great things with Spidey, i.e. Big Time, New Ways to Die, etc…

I will be picking up Fear itself in trade just like every one-shot or mini for Flashpoint.

Now Schism is my cup of tea. Give me Logan vs Scott any day, especially when it involves who leads the X-Men! When Logan believes someone has gone too far with their aggression then something isn’t right. Watch out Scott, SNIKT! ;)

Yeah none of this sounds very interesting. I’m down to just a handful of Marvel books.

New Mutants
X-Men Legacy
Avengers Academy

DC will be dominating my pull list for the foreseable future.

Matty Macomber

June 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

@The Curious One: Well, if the Monkey King is the one from chinese myths and legends, I probably wouldn’t classify him as the american definition of “minority”… he ain’t human (ain’t even hominoid) and probably doesn’t have Chinese citizenship.

Actually, even if his secret ID was a chinese man, he technically wouldn’t BE a minority: of the billion-plus citizens of China, the vast majority of them are ethnically Chinese.

However, if the Monkey King is a monkey and a god with Chinese citizenship, I guess he could be a minority.

Now, if by “minority” you mean that it’d be great to have a series that doesn’t revolve around a white American man with even more privilege and powers, I think Lyra the second She-Hulk might qualify.

And yes, I am just pedantically joking since I am a gay asian guy that can count on no fingers the number of superheroes that are of my ‘kind’.

The Curious One

June 23, 2011 at 12:12 am

Sorry Matty Macomber, your trolling techniques will not work on me. Try Harder maybe next time you will succeed.

Anyway I just read the issue where Sun Wukong first appeared on Iron-Man 2.0. And thank God Marvel did the right thing by making him an Asian(Chinese) superhero, like what he’s supposed to be.

I’m actually relieved that Schism is self contained. Like Age of X was.

Not that I do anyway but I wouldn’t want to feel like I need to buy Schism: New Avengers Lmtd Series 1-4.or Schism Frontline 1-5 and so forth. Nor would I want to have to figure out “Oh well what happened in that sideline issue is what so and so is talking about here so NOW, eight months later that one panel and the rest of that story makes sense.”

Yes for self contained events.

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