Joshua Williamson Sends Winter Soldier and More on the Hunt for "Red Skull"
Marvel recently released Moon Knight Vol.1: From The Dead, collecting the first six issues of writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey’s run on their newly launched Moon Knight ongoing series. As it turns out, it also collects the entirety of Ellis and Shalvey’s run on their newly launched Moon Knight ongoing series, as the pair left the book after those six issues.
Under most circumstances, creators departing almost as soon as they started would be a pretty clear sign that something was wrong behind the scenes, and would, in general, be regarded as a very bad thing. And Ellis and Shalvey leaving the book so soon is a bad thing, if only because they did such terrific work on it.
As odd as it may seem, they’re not leaving any story business unfinished, and the trade reads complete as is — there’s no cliffhanger at the end, no dangling plotlines, no characters in the lurch. That’s because Ellis didn’t write the book as if it were an open-ended, superhero serial narrative, but approached each of those six issues as a done-in-one, complete story. In all honesty, Ellis and Shalvey could have quit after three issues, or two or one, and Moon Knight would still read as a complete narrative with a beginning, middle and end.
Anyone with even a passing interest in comics art and storytelling should set aside some time to read this A.V. Club discussion with three Marvel art teams — Tradd Moore and Val Staples, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, and Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson — about their approach to staging specific action scenes in their respective books All-New Ghost Rider, Moon Knight and Secret Avengers.
“I used a lot of panels here of varied sizes because I feel it gives the scene an undulating flow,” Moore explains of an All-New Ghost Rider page. “I do that a lot with fight scenes. Speed up, slow down, rise, fall. It’s kind of mesmerizing to me. To make a comparison to metal: The small panels are like a frantic blast beat, while the bigger, clearer panels are like a heavy breakdown or head-banging riff. I imagine viewers’ eyes speeding up and slowing down, widening and narrowing, as they scan across the page. I think it’s the kind of page that warrants multiple, extended views.”
[Editor’s note: Every Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss “The best in comics from the last seven days” — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s run on Moon Knight may be short, but boy has it been memorable.
This past Wednesday the duo’s penultimate issue came out, featuring what Ellis called “Our Definition Of A Tony Jaa/ RAID Boombastic Thai Style.” The plot of the issue is pretty simple: A young girl’s been kidnapped, and Moon Knight heads into a building to save her. What follows is nothing short of awesome, as our hero heads up the stairs and encounters all manners of obstacles in his quest to find the girl in what has to be the best-drawn fight scene of the week — heck, possibly the year so far — if of course we’re counting this issue as one long fight scene (which I am). Moon Knight takes on everyone from your regular run-of-the-mill punks with easily broken noses:
Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey have commented on Wednesday’s announcement that they’ll leave Marvel’s Moon Knight after August’s Issue 6, with the artist revealing he’s taking a break from monthly comics.
Part of the publisher’s All-New Marvel NOW! initiative, Moon Knight debuted solidly in March, landing in Diamond’s Top 20 and earning praise for both the characterization by Ellis and the art by Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire (she’ll remain on the series).
“Issue 1 went to three printings, and 2 and 3 went to two printings, and so I consider that a job reasonably well done,” Ellis wrote in his email newsletter. “The job has been, simply, reactivating Moon Knight as a productive property for the Marvel IP library. And, in personal terms, producing six single stories that held together, because I thought it would be amusing to provide a book that could be entered at any point and still give the reader a complete experience. Which goes against the grain a bit, because the modern commercial-comics reader has been very much entrained to expect long arcs rather than singles. I’m sure there are plenty of complaints out there about the lack of character arcs or long stories. But the book is still getting bought and reordered. So I guess we found an audience after all.”
This week’s new releases include three more series launching as part of the “All-New Marvel Now” initiative — Magneto, Moon Knight and Wolverine & The X-Men — but of those, I only want to discuss the first two.
That’s because they’re actually new series, rather than an existing series simply relaunching with a new #1 issue and a new creative team. (The previous volume of Wolverine & The X-Men, the one written by Jason Aaron, seems like it just ended. When was that? Let’s see, it was … last week? Marvel’s not even waiting a whole entire month to relaunch titles now?)
Those two books are also solo series featuring lower-tier characters, making them the exact sort of comics Marvel has been allowing creators to pursue riskier, quirkier, more idiosyncratic and interesting approaches on since the success of Mark Waid and company’s Daredevil and Matt Fraction, David Aja and company’s Hawkeye.
And, of course, they also both start with the letter M.
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Declan Shalvey’s friendship with Stephen Mooney stretches back nearly a decade, to before either Irish creator was well known in the United States. So when the Moon Knight artist pitched ROBOT 6 the idea of interviewing Half Past Danger creator Mooney about the hardcover collection, arriving Jan. 29 from IDW Publishing, we didn’t hesitate to say yes, thinking the conversation would offer terrific insight into their relationship, their careers, the Irish comics scene and, of course, Mooney’s Nazis vs. dinosaurs adventure.
As it turns out, we were right.
If there are Marvel fans who aren’t following Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso on Twitter, they’re missing out on a lot of previews of upcoming comics in various states of production. For instance, on Wednesday he unveiled a first look at a colored page from the first issue of Moon Knight, by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire.
Launching in March, the series returns Marc Spector to the streets of New York City, and places the focus on the character’s horror roots.
“The book is filled with oddities,” Shalvey told Comic Book Resources last month. “It starts with a man in a white suit and mask with big moon on his forehead, remember. I will say this: Moon Knight investigates the strange and dark corners of the Marvel Universe, and boy, there are weird things there.”
While much of the comics industry is caught in that bubble between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso is busy tweeting sneak peeks at art from a handful of titles, including the debut issue of Moon Knight by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey.
Among the other offerings are pages from All-New Ghost Rider #2 by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore, Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #1 by Rick Remender and Roland Boschi, and All-New Invaders #2 by James Robinson and Steve Pugh. Check them out below.
“The man is demented in more interesting ways than I think Batman ever was. [His] cape is actually a crescent moon and he goes out only at night and dresses in reflective white so you can see him coming. Now that’s nuts … I like that.”
Designed by Playdom, one of Marvel’s sister companies within the Disney media empire, the game allows players to assemble a team of Avengers from all corners of the Marvel U. to fight through various missions involving a host of villains. Recruitable heroes include everyone from Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Deadpool and the Fantastic Four to heroes with, um, lower profiles, like Union Jack, Black Knight and Thundra.
Debuting in 2001, Marvel’s MAX line was an attempt to draw a clear line between its vaguely older-teen comics and distinctly “adult” titles featuring some of the well, edgier, characters from its library. The imprint largely excelled at that, with the flagship Alias, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, and Garth Ennis’ takes on Nick Fury and the Punisher. However, in recent years it’s become a shadow of its former self, existing solely to carry Ennis’ recent return to Fury, and the noble but ill-fitting Wolverine MAX. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have a revival.
In today’s Six by 6, I look at six characters that straddle the fence separating “popular” from “popular enough to carry their own series in the long-term” that would do well to take a trip to the MAX line. Some are no-brainers, while others might surprise you.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15, I’d first do a two-fisted grab of this summer’s big event series Flashpoint #2 (DC, $3.99) and Fear Itself #3 (Marvel,$3.99). It’s required reading if you’re writing about comics like I am, and as a reader I’m intrigued by both. Two questions come out of this: 1. I wonder which one jiggered their release dates to come out the same week as the other event book, and 2. I guess DC will have to take off its “Holding The Line at $2.99” logo, or at least add some fine print. Next up would be Uncanny X-Force #11 (Marvel, $3.99); Rick Remender and the artists here have made this the best x-book on stands, hitting me right between the eyes by revisiting older storylines and characters and giving them a modern spin. Lastly, I would get Turf #5 (Image, $2.99), because I’m one of the biggest Tommy Lee Edwards fans out there.
Hello and welcome to a special “birthday bash” edition of our weekly “What Are You Reading” feature, where the Robot 6 crew talks about what books we’ve read recently. Usually we invite a special guest to share what they’ve been reading, but since today isn’t just an ordinary day for us, we thought we’d invite a whole bunch of special guests to help us out — our friends and colleagues from Comic Book Resources, Spinoff and Comics Should Be Good!
To see what everyone has been reading, click below …
Courtesy of the good folks over at Marvel, here’s a taste of Shadowland: Moon Knight #1 by Gregg Hurwitz and Bong Dazo. In it, Moon Knight enters the fray against the Man Without Fear, his deadly ninjas and a “new avatar of Khonshu.”
Check out the preview and book info after the jump. It comes out Aug. 25.
This past weekend Philadelphia welcomed Wizard World, while Charlotte hosted HeroesCon. Two East Coast conventions, separated by more than 500 miles and a couple of states. If you were away from your computer, then you may have missed some of the announcements that sprang from both venues:
• For years people have been asking for an “iTunes for comics.” Well, it looks like we might actually get one. Rantz Hoseley’s Longbox will be a free download available later this year for PC, Macs and Linux. Comics can be download for a suggested price point of $.99 per issue, with the potential for block and subscription pricing. BOOM! and Top Cow have already signed on.
• Marvel had a lot of announcements at the show. Spinning out of the Uncanny X-Men/Dark Avengers crossover that kicks off any day now will be a series of one-shots that fall under the heading of Dark Reign: The List. Basically Norman Osbourn starts making a list of everyone standing in his way who he needs to do dirty, nasty things to.
The eight one shots and the creators working on them are:
Dark Reign: The List – Daredevil by Andy Diggle and Billy Tan
Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic
Dark Reign: The List – Hulk by Greg Pak and Ben Oliver
Dark Reign: The List – Amazing Spider-Man by Dan Slott and Adam Kubert
Dark Reign: The List – Avengers by Brian Bendis and Marko Djurdjevic
Dark Reign: The List – Uncanny X-Men by Matt Fraction and Alan Davis
Dark Reign: The List – Secret Warriors by Jonathan Hickman and Ed McGuiness
Dark Reign: The List – Punisher by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.
The project was announced at around the same time both in Philadelphia and in Charlotte. For more info, check out CBR’s interviews with Bendis, Fraction and Remender, as well as Pak, Hickman and Aaron. Also, Aaron talks a little bit about his Wolverine one-shot on his blog; it will feature both Marvel Boy and Fantomex, as well as a new Weapon XVI.