SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
The Marvel year sort of ends in November, doesn’t it? Looking back, it seems like this is the month of fallouts from events, the rebirth of familiar titles, a new banner emblazoning our books, the loss of a few under-the radar hits. Everything changes, whether we like it or not, and the cycle begins anew right around the holiday season. I’m jumping back on the “Forward into the Past” arena with one of the more important times of year: August, when we talk about November like it’s January of next year. Confused? Me too. But hopefully if we just keep in mind how this usually goes, we’ll be able to fit right in as the old guard becomes the new guard and we lose Avengers Academy.
We should form a support group, you guys. That book has been my bright and shining star of Avengers hope for so long, I’m not sure what I’m going to do without it.
Hold back those tears! Let us forge ahead and see what these Days of Future’s Future might look like in Marvel’s solicitations for November.
The NOW! books are here and … well, there’s not much I can say about them that hasn’t already been said by smarter, handsomer people. Lots of thematic changes, our creative teams have been shaken up in a way that fits with the titles they’ll be working on (Greg Land will be up to his eyebrows in photo references for Robert Downey Jr.) and the hype seems to be measured and reasonable. No one’s getting all-new origins, titles are being retitled and renumbered rather than just renumbered, leaving you stuck trying to remember what volume this is and how it does or doesn’t relate to the previous (more on cover dress and title later). This is a fresh start that doesn’t look to wipe the slate clean and start over, everyone’s just getting new clothes for the school season. Did I go overboard in the metaphor? Anyways, my biased opinion in that Indestructible Hulk #1 will help humanity ascend to godhood and recognize infinity is in all of us and bring world peace to all good and noble hearts. Maybe that’s the metaphor I went overboard wit h…
THE RISE OF THE DESCENDANTS!
• The robots of the Marvel Universe revolt!
• The Avengers are taken down leaving only the Secret
Avengers to stop Father’s automaton invasion and the plague
of the Descendant’s contagious robot evolution!
• Why has Captain Britain just hurled mankind’s only hope of
salvation into the black heart of Earth 4680?
Something tells me there are going to be less heart-to-hearts over breakfast with Mr. Remender. A robot revolt and plague that could only be saved by something Captain Britain has thrown into another universe? Marvel NOW! has not slowed this man down in the slightest. Over in Uncanny Avengers #2 we’re getting:
• What are The Red Skull’s new powers? How did he become the
most powerful man on Earth?
• Can Havok and Thor defeat the spreading influence of
Honest John, The Living Propaganda?!
• Rogue and Scarlet Witch trapped on the Isle of the Red
• Wolverine & Captain America: uncover the truth behind the
worldwide mutant assassination epidemic!
It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside, but I am super-excited for the new Avengers books. I mean the new issues of Avengers comics not New Avengers, because it’s going to take four issues this month to say goodbye to the Bendis legacy. But there’s just something so dynamic and new (really new!) about this team that I’m on the edge of my seat to be able to purchase it, read it, then judge it mercilessly. Good luck, Mr. Remender!
Taking a look at the broader Avengers picture, we’re down to Uncanny Avengers, Secret Avengers, Avengers Assemble and then Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and new New Avengers (NOW!). Each one seems to have a solid purpose in the Marvel Universe (the alliance of mutants and superheroes, the out-there adventure that only a secret team can handle, a movie viewer-friendly book, and then the more classic titles with a broader world view). It’s still a lot of Avengers books, but I don’t think they are going to be too interdependent. If you like one team, idea or theme, you can catch up to it with all the Avengers action a reader could want.
And for the record, I’d like to thank Kelly Sue DeConnick for following Tumblr and probably delighting a bevy of fans by joining the book. Her first issue of Avengers Assemble includes in its solicitation: Two scientists. Two giant egos. One wears a tank. One is a tank. Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are SCIENCE BROS! Make sure to reserve your copy of Avengers Assemble #9 today.
The Bendis legacy will be ending in a dramatic way with two issues each of Avengers and New Avengers saying farewell to plot points and Jarvis-cooked meals. I kid, but the task at hand is huge. Just to take a look at some of the things he’ll be wrapping up in November, he’s got Spider-Woman front and center as her position in the Avengers (and still-slated romance with Hawkeye) is in the works. There’s the little matter of the Sorcerer Supreme considering they lost one on their watch, and Daniel Drumm did promise revenge. The Bendis legacy will end with a bang, for sure, but who knows what leftover plot threads will be handed down to the next Heroic Age. Say, the Ultron War?
We will be losing Avengers Academy in November, and I’m not sure I’m ready emotionally to talk about that loss to the Marvel Universe. For all we know, there might be another title waiting in the wings for the Academy grads, but right now … it’s bittersweet. We knew the kids were going to grow up, we just wish it didn’t have to be so fast.
THE END OF THE THUNDERBOLTS!
• Bid farewell to Ghost, Centurius, Man-Thing and the gang
• Jeff Parker and Neil Edwards plot a dark new course for
Earth’s Deadliest Heroes!
So are we keeping Toxie-Doxie instead of Moonstone? That seems weird. Then again, they did change the title on the cover and one can only be time-tossed for so long. There’s just something about this that doesn’t add up and as much hard work as Jeff Parker has put into the Thunderbolts crew (not to mention the distinctive art stylings of Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey), I don’t think the Thunderbolts legacy dies here. Keep on your toes, True Believers.
In another addition to the endings department is Defenders #12, a book I was just getting into! It took Fraction and Dodson some time and space to get their bearings, but with the most recent issues, I really do see a place for magical/high-science adventure with these heroes fighting their way to save the future from threats unknown. Maybe Marvel figured that theme was best handled with a money making Avengers logo on the front cover (read Secret Avengers!) and maybe Mr. Fraction needs to empty out all his pockets before attempting to pick up the massive responsibility that is the Fantastic Four and FF in Hickman’s wake. Either way, it’s been real.
Finally, after complaints both virulent and subtle, Marvel will have three titles with leading ladies. Captain Marvel paved the way, Red She-Hulk will take over her father’s title starting with Issue 59, and Journey into Mystery will be journeying with Sif for the time being. Will this change the status quo of gender poltics in comics as we know it? Probably not, but I like Sif, and Captain Marvel has been fun thus far and … all right, I’ll give Red She-Hulk yet another shot. I give the book flak, but it’s not like Jeff Parker has steered us wrong yet, and the idea of redesigning Machine Man is interesting as Parker looks to be keeping a lot of Red Hulk concepts. Things do not look good for ol’ Thunderbolt Ross, though.
Over on the X-Men side of things (Is there even going to be an ‘X-Men side of things’ any more? Aren’t they going to be more integrated into the Marvel U?), we have X-Treme X-Men #6 & 7 and X-Men #38 jockeying for that START HERE! dollar. Both books seem a little out of reach for your average Joe Comic Reader (one is a reality jumping team of mutants and the other … you know, I don’t know what the Adjective-less X-Men title does officially any more) and don’t bear the bright and exciting NOW! label as part of a new era. But I can say this: They both have spurred me to create a new rule for comic book reading: take the number on the cover and see how it divides into six or seven issues. If it divides evenly, it’s probably a good time to pick up the book because that means they’ve done enough to collect into a trade paperback and the next story arc is starting. Make sense? Yeah, it doesn’t work for X-Men #38 exactly, but it’s two issues off and may have more leeway in how large or short their story arcs are.
I don’t want to get too long winded, so please take a look at what Marvel is offering fans this November and let us know what you’re looking forward to or sad to say goodbye to. I know there’s a couple of trades and comics that seem a little random to be reprinted (I’m looking at you, X-Man #20-29 and accompanying tie-ins!) and the movie adaptation for Iron Man 2 seems a little on the late side, but let’s hear your thoughts. Excelsior!