SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
The next big thing for the Red Hulk, apparently, is to hand his book over to his daughter. As announced at Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel at Comic-Con today, the Jeff Parker-written Hulk series will turn into Red She-Hulk with issue #58.
The name and character shift follows on the heals of another comic written by Parker that recently changed its name and cast, the comic formerly known as Thunderbolts and now known as Dark Avengers. Parker told MTV Geek that the new status quo “will grow out of some ideas we were exploring in Hulk.”
Parker added “She may be the first Hulk who isn’t just angry, but is righteously angry and chooses to AIM her anger. She doesn’t resent her human side, she still thinks of herself as the same person when she transforms, like her father. But her Hulk form has no inhibitions or worries that she might be doing the wrong thing. Red She-Hulk acts upon what she wants, usually as soon as the idea or emotion hits her.”
No word on what happens to the Red Hulk, beyond “his expertise is required in another place.”
When I started hunting for reviews on Marvel’s latest Spider-Man title, Avenging Spider-Man by writer Zeb Wells and artist Joe Madureira, I wasn’t surprised that the reviews were good–Wells and Madureira are certainly up for the task–but I was surprised by how good they were. As a reader, I didn’t really have this book on my radar, but after seeing how much folks liked it, and how words like “fun” and “the team-up is back” were being thrown around, I decided to download it and read it myself. As the owner of near-complete runs of Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-In-One, I was pleased to find out that, indeed, as Chris Sims put it, “this comic is Marvel Team-Up, and with this issue, it’s earned the name.”
But not everyone gave it a flawless review, so let’s take a look at what people are saying about Spider-Man and Red Hulk’s big team-up …
Alex Zalben, MTV Geek: “Wells has been slowly building an impressive body of work at Marvel, from a Carnage mini-series, to an epic run on New Mutants that spanned the history of the Marvel Universe. Here, we’re getting Wells flexing his comedy muscles (the writer started in comedy shorts, and currently writes for Robot Chicken) in full force. Here’s a Spider-Man writer who is as funny as Spidey is supposed to be, and the book is better for it. One ‘pose’ page with Red Hulk and Spider-Man has one of the better riffs on an ‘80s juice commercial I’ve seen recently (you’ll know it when you see it). And even a poster has a gut-busting joke on it in the form of the perfect slogan for Mayor J. Jonah Jameson to use for the New York Marathon.”
So, yeah, it looks like Fantastic Four, one of the most important comics to come from the House of Ideas, will return for its 600th issue. A momentous occasion to be sure, as a little less than a year seems to be about enough time for people to understand Johnny Storm’s place on the team, what makes the Fantastic Four different without one of its founding members and, hopefully, we’ll all appreciate him a little more now that he’s … well, on the cover. Gotta wait for the issue to be super-sure, but let’s give the boys in the Bullpen the benefit of the doubt and say that the Human Torch is back to stay.
Technically, he’s been gone for nine months, an auspicious amount of time as the rest of his team has somewhat given birth to an absolutely new idea: the Future Foundation. A sort of in-house Illuminati, if you will; the same old adventuring team paired off with its greatest villains, looking to safeguard all their interests at once. The white-and-black uniforms don’t really do that idea justice, do they? That’s a lot of gray area to be working with. And in the end, it was all masterminded by a little girl named Valeria.
The Richards’ kids have their own plot, their own motivations and their own secrets to keep. These two supporting characters have taken a lot of the center stage, both in Future Foundation and even in Fear Itself (seriously, go read Book Five and tell me these kids don’t deserve their own title). Franklin’s been around for years, an interesting new generation that actually was born and grew into an independent character as we read. He’s like the child actor who grows up and gets his own prime-time TV show.
Tell me that’s not cool. Tell me that seeing background or supporting characters step into the foreground and, sometimes, even get their own books is not a masterful trick of storytelling. Writer Jonathan Hickman wasn’t telling the story of the Death of Johnny Storm, he was telling us of the Rise of Franklin and Valeria. And now when November hits, Future Foundation stories will have gotten their foundation, so to speak, and support themselves as their own title while the newly reformed FF can go have a different style of adventure.
More about character balance, the size of your supporting cast and M.O.D.O.K. fighting Nazis after the break …
As Marvel finally confirmed in San Diego, Hulk #25 is the first issue by the new creative team of writer Jeff Parker and artist Gabriel Hardman. Above is the cover by Ed McGuinness, which I think was previously released with a blacked-out Hulk. Now you can see Iron Man beat on Thunderbolt Ross’s alter ego in all its glory.
More art and a press release about the new creative team from Marvel after the jump …
Marvel announced yesterday at the “Marvel: The Heroic Age: Avengers” panel that a Hulk is returning to the Avengers — the Red Hulk, that is. According to the panel report by CBR’s Kiel Phegley, the Red Hulk will join the Avengers team November’s issue #7 at the start of the second arc.
The variant cover for the issue by Ed McGuinness is up top, and you can see the cover by John Romita Jr. on Marvel.com.
Consider this the nerdiest public service announcement ever. If you’re like me, you were vaguely aware that at some point in Jeph Loeb’s ongoing Hulk run, its semi-eponymous star, the villainous and uber-powerful Red Hulk, grabbed Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and delivered Ye Olde Smacke-downe on the God of Thunder. You’re also vaguely aware that this is more or less a total no-no — no matter how physically strong Rulk is, only those who are “worthy” are even able to pick the hammer up. And there aren’t very many such people: According to Wikipedia, you’re basically talking half a dozen dudes, consisting solely of people who’ve wielded Thor’s power itself, people who’d be present at a Thor family reunion, and Captain frickin’ America.
Last month at Emerald City ComiCon, Marvel teased its next Spider-Man event by handing out guitar picks at the Kirby Krackle/Joe Quesada show bearing the then-mysterious acronym “O.M.I.T.” Saturday at C2E2 saw another performance by Quesada and the Seattle-based “nerd rock band,” and the return of the guitar picks.
But this time — as seen on the Kirby Krackle Twitter feed — the picks depict Red Hulk on one side and www.bannerknows.com on the other. There’s nothing at the website address at the moment, but I’ll go out on a limb and guess it has something to do with the revelation of Rulk’s identity.
Update: Although www.bannerknows.com isn’t working yet, a reader points out in the comments there’s now a “BANNERKNOWS” video at Marvel.com featuring Senior Editor Mark Paniccia and writer Jeph Loeb.