Why The Russos Are The Best Thing to Happen to the MCU Since Joss Whedon
Marvel announced on Monday that as part of its “Original Sin” event, the fate of the original Nova, Richard Rider, finally will be revealed in August’s Guardians of the Galaxy #18, by Brian Michael Bendis and Ed McGuinness. The character last appeared in 2010; since then, the mantle of Nova has been held by Sam Alexander, who’s yet to win over vocal fans of the original Human Rocket.
Green Lantern fans are probably having a ’90s flashback right about now. While Richard Rider wasn’t turned into a homicidal villain, he and Hal Jordan both were summarily shuffled off at the climax of a big event to make way for a younger replacement. Longtime readers initially hated Kyle Rayner, but DC Comics stuck to its guns, as over the following decade he remained the primary Green Lantern in the DC Universe. While a vocal minority never relented, the work of writer Ron Marz and others attracted a new following for the character, and converted some old fans too. Rayner remains a major character in the Green Lantern titles today, even after the return of Jordan in 2005.
This week Sam Alexander, a.k.a. the new Nova, joins a small group of characters (like Harlequin and Firestar) who made their debut on television before jumping onto the printed page. Alexander made his debut on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated show, then showed up last year in the big Avengers vs. X-Men crossover comics event.
Now he’s got his own ongoing series by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Does Nova once again soar, or does he fizzle out in his latest attempt at an ongoing series? Here are a few opinions on the first issue from around the web:
David Pepose, Newsarama: “Those who have met Sam Alexander through Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, you might be a little bit surprised by this comics incarnation — Loeb brings a surprisingly dark edge here as he dives into the dynamic between Sam and his father Jesse. In a lot of ways, the Southwestern locale, the space angle and the focus on family reminds me a bit of Keith Giffen’s Blue Beetle, but the laughs don’t quite make it over here. Unlike the happy-go-lucky character on the TV show, Sam seethes with resentment—both for covering for his father’s alcoholism, and for enduring his larger-than-life tales as a member of the Nova Corps.” (7/10)
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 buy the leading contender for best ongoing series this year, Saga #10 (Image, $2.99). I loved the last issue focusing on the Will, but I’m excited at the prospect this one teases of Izabel returning – although in a red-tinged, seemingly evil demeanor. After that I’d get another creator-owned gem with Francesco Francavilla’s The Black Beetle #2 (Dark Horse, $3.99). I love the latitude Dark Horse is giving Francavilla in the design packaging here – that cover is something special — and luckily, the insides have the promise of being even better given what happened last issue. Third and last in my $15 haul this week would be Dark Horse Presents #21 (Dark Horse, $7.99). Criminally underrated and consciously mind-blowing, this issue promises three new serials debuting plus a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Paul Chadwick about alien saucers. Why isn’t this a top-selling book?
If I had $30, I’d make it a Dark Horse trifecta with Conan the Barbarian #13 (Dark Horse, $3.50). How does Brian Wood do it, finding such great artists that no one else knows about like Mirko Colak? This time, Conan tries to conquer the desert. Then I’d do a Marvel trifecta: Avengers #6 (Marvel, $3.99), Nova #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Thor: God of Thunder #5 (Marvel, $3.99). Avengers has seemingly the origin of my formerly most favorite D-list hero in the Marvel Universe, Captain Universe – until she upgraded to the A-list as an Avenger. Then Nova has a spirited, seemingly kid-friendly romp by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Then Thor … Thor. This thoroughly dark and mythic story has made Jason Aaron’s beard even more ominous than before.
If I could splurge, I’d get Alter-Ego #115 (TwoMorrows, $8.95). Normally a magazine about comics, in this issue they collect some lost gems – namely the stereoscopic comics (3-D!) – of the 1950s. 3-D glasses included, this issue contains work by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Curt Swan (!!), George Tuska and more. Truly a highlight of the week.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.
As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
G.I. Joe #1: As if G.I. Joe wasn’t entirely in my guilty pleasure wheelhouse already, IDW Publishing relaunches the title with Fred Van Lente as writer and the tease of social and media commentary as the team is forced to go public in its fight against Cobra. Seriously, that’s just unfair, people. (IDW, $3.99)
Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon TP: One of the best-looking comics around, thanks to David Aja (and Javier Pulido, on a couple of the issues contained herein), and something that I suspect I’m going to want in a collected edition to give to friends wanting some fun, fast-moving action stuff to read. Best thing Matt Fraction’s done in a long time, too. (Marvel, $16.99)
New Tales of Old Palomar HC: Continuing my Love and Rockets education, a chance for me to pick up Gilbert Hernandez’ return to Palomar in this new collected edition of his Ignatz series. This is definitely my favorite of Beto’s work, so I’m happy to see more. (Fantagraphics, $22.99).
The Sixth Gun: Sons of The Gun #1: A new spin-off series from Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s spectacular horror western? Why, I really don’t mind if I do, thanks very much. For added benefit, having Brian Churilla show up for art duties is pretty sweet, as well. (Oni Press, $3.99)
Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine’s Day Special #1: Even if I’m feeling less than enthused about the majority of DC’s superhero line lately, I have to admit, the idea of a Valentine’s Day special one-off is just far too tempting for me to ignore. (DC Comics, $7.99).
Now that more books are out and more of the lineup is being revealed, letting us know what’s in store, we’re in a better position to understand Marvel NOW! This week was a big one as All-New X-Men hit the stands with Fantastic Four, Thor: God of Thunder and the possibly underrated X-Men Legacy. The two X-books are important. and I might talk a little about the books as we go along, but the reason why is because, before today, I had no idea what on Earth Marvel’s Merry Mutants were going to be doing. We knew the school was intact, but … that was it? What about this semi-villain team that Scott’s in? He seems to want mutant unity, but has he crossed the line into superiority? Is he just the bad guy now or are we getting two “social justice” stories, two ways of handling the issue of being hated and feared? We may not have gotten all the answers, but there’s a lot more to go on than what we had by the end of AvX: Consequences.
We’re going to be waist deep in Marvel NOW! by the end of the month, so the questions about the new landscape can be more specific instead of just “Wait and see the first issue!” Looking at the solicitations, we start to put what we’re seeing this month with what will be happening three months from now and, like focusing a telescope, stories and characters are becoming more clear.
Despite being in a better position, there’s still going to be a lot of questions and some I’d even like ot pose to you, Dear Reader, as we take a stroll through February 2013 and see what Marvel will be putting to the printed page. Let’s take a look!
While I was enjoying my time at APE up in San Francisco, the New York Comic Con was raging on with announcements and such. Before I get into a rundown of the comic-related news coming out of the East Coast today, let’s jump back to yesterday real quick so I can update one of the items from my Friday round-up. I mentioned that Dark Horse would publish a comic based on the upcoming video game The Last of Us, but I didn’t know at the time the most important part — the always awesome Faith Erin Hicks is co-writing AND drawing the comic. That’s a “Stop the presses” moment if I’ve ever seen one.
Ok, now on to Saturday …
• Apparently space is the place at NYCC … following DC’s announcement of Threshold yesterday, Marvel officially announced the return of two of their cosmic titles — Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova. Guardians, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Steve McNiven, comes out in February and apparently will feature Iron Man, or at least someone in his armor. Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness are the creative team for Nova, which features Sam Alexander, the Nova from Avengers vs. X-Men.
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from Big Two stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Among the various adaptations, though, is an overlooked veteran who has fueled some of comics biggest successes on the big and small screen: Marv Wolfman.
With this year marking his 43rd year in the comic industry, Marv Wolfman has done it all: he’s been editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, wrote one of the defining event series of all time in Crisis On Infinite Earths and created memorable characters such as Blade, Black Cat, Nova, Deathstroke and the New Teen Titans. He pioneered the idea of inventory stories at the major publishing houses, and as a creator he was the catalyst for companies to start crediting creators by name in comics. He’s been one of the key figures in comics adaptations in video games and animation, scripting episodes of Teen Titans, Batman: The Animated Series, Transformers, Spider-Man, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs and even some non-comics hits like Jem and The Garbage Pail Kids.
Marvel’s first major Hollywood success came thanks to the Marv Wolfman & Gene Colan creation of Blade, and his work on The New Teen Titans was one of the pillars of successful Teen Titans cartoon. But with all that work out there, comics still has a lot of Wolfman gems to offer movie producers. Here’s a highlight of some natural born hits coming from the mind of Wolfman and his collaborators.
Recently promoted Marvel Associate Editor Ben Morse moonlights as a blogger at The Cool Kids Table, where he posted an amazing piece of art he received as a wedding anniversary/birthday gift from his wife Megan.
Spouses of comic fans take note: Ben’s wife commissioned comic artist Todd Nauck to draw them from their wedding photos, surrounded by Ben’s two favorite characters Nova and The Flash. Swooping in from above is Miss Martian, who Megan identifies with. Captain America was thrown in to balance out the DC/Marvel split.
Original comic art and commissions are a great gift for any husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or family. It’s unique, and you can even personalize it like this.
CBR posted a preview of one of Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day offerings earlier this week, which features a tale by Paul Tobin and Craig Rousseau starring Iron Man, Nova and a brand-new Marvel U. character named … Kate McMillan:
As it turns out, “Kate McMillan” is also the name of our own Graeme McMillan’s wife. Coincidence? It turns out no, it isn’t. “Kate McMillan is a supporting character-cum-heroine in Paul Tobin’s FCBD book from Marvel,” Graeme said. “I saw the script way back when, Douglas Wolk showed me the finished comic on Saturday. It’s hilarious, if only because it really kind of looks like her. I have to ask Paul if he sent the artist reference.”
I knew she was a great web designer, but I had no idea Kate was the keeper of the Super Apes when they weren’t out causing trouble. The things you learn in comics …
This week we got a sneak peek at one of our ever-growing spectrum of Avengers books, in this case the Secret ones. As was spectacularly introduced by a website of dazzling intellect and phenomenal taste (and they’re all snappy dressers there too!) the Secret Avengers will be the team that no one can know about … but everyone will talk about! The irony!
So let’s break some rules here and talk about them because, by God, no advertising slogan is going to tell me what to do (unless it’s The Dew)! The line-up thus far is Nova, Valkyrie, the Beast, War Machine, Moon Knight and a suspicious-looking blond-haired man in a funny, but familiar looking costume. Astute readers (who are also snappy dressers) have noted the uniform’s similarity to the Fighting American, a character more known for how much looking like Captain America gets you in a court of law than any particular storylines of his own. So we can make our assumptions and say that blond guy is Steve Rogers in an homage get-up. You can kill the man and give his job to someone else, but you can’t really take the job out of the man.
Looking at the roster, aside from a couple exceptions, you could surmise that this is a ‘Kooky Quartet Reborn'; this is an odd bunch of characters who are in it for the justice and perhaps some personal absolution from the Sentinel of Liberty himself. Maybe he believes in Moon Knight or knows enough about War Machine to want him on his side when things get ugly. Maybe Beast is just looking for a solid sense of justice and some heart, maybe Valkyrie doesn’t have anywhere else to go. Maybe there’s a few more people on this team that will make their true purpose come to light.
And then there’s Nova.
Marvel announced today that not only is Thanos coming back in the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy, but he’s bringing another cosmic event with him.
In an interview with Marvel.com, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning talked about The Thanos Imperative: Ignition, a one-shot due in May that will kick off their next cosmic epic.
“The Thanos Imperative: Ignition is a great place to jump aboard and you won’t need any prior knowledge,” Lanning said. “But if you’re a devoted reader, there are rich seams of pay-off to enjoy. The threat of the Fault, a huge rip in time and space left by the War of Kings, is something we’ve been exploring in the Realm of Kings stories that run into The Thanos Imperative. This is the moment where Magus, a very serious bad guy in his own right, takes control of it and galactic disaster follows! This epic story forms a climax to many of the tales we’ve been spinning in the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe for the last three years.”
He said that the event will include Nova, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Silver Surfer and Quasar, as well as villains like Magus.
Who wants a double shot of Nova? Heck, who doesn’t! Courtesy of Marvel Comics, we have some pages from the next two issues, Nova #33 and #34. They feature a whole bunch of friends and foes from Nova’s past, some of whom are dead, right? Right? Well, with the Sphinx involved, time has no meaning …
Check out the pages and the solicitation text after the jump.
Marvel.com posted a couple of videos yesterday related to two recent announcements about their digital comics efforts. First, here’s a sneak preview of the PSP Digital Comics service announced earlier this month:
Marvel also recently announced a partnership with a company called Aniboom, a “virtual animation studio” that will give animators “the opportunity to create unique motion comics based on comic book stories starring such renowned Super Heroes as the Hulk, Wolverine and Nova.” Basically it’s a contest where contestants create a Motion Comic based on a Wolverine vs. Hulk story or a Nova story. The grand prize is $10,000.
You can check out a promotional video about the contest after the jump.