Alright, let’s see if I can get through this with a minimum of bitterness, cynicism and sarcasm.
… I’ve already failed, haven’t I? Oh well. There’s still stuff in here I’m looking forward to even if the cost/page ratio is skewed somewhat unfavorably.
Thunderbolts #’s 1&2: You’ll notice that the Punisher is now a part of this team which has traditionally featured villains working to be heroes, or masterminding some grand scheme that forces them to act as such. I mention this because this was done without the input of current “Punisher” writer Greg Rucka who is now the former “Punisher” writer as a result. That’s Marvel’s loss as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, this version of the team also features Red Hulk, Deadpool, Elektra and Venom who have the mandate of “terminating the biggest threats in the Marvel Universe with extreme prejudice.” This comes to us courtesy of the “Wolverine: Origins” team of Daniel Way and Steve Dillon. Much as I like Dillon and am happy to see that he’s continuing to get high-profile work like this at the company, I’m still waiting for the day that his contract expires and he can get back to working with Garth Ennis on a regular basis or give us some non-superhero work instead.
Cable & X-Force #’s 1&2: I know that I should be more concerned with the fact that this is the second monthly X-Force title, and represents Cable’s return to the franchise. However, looking at that cover I can only think, “What the hell happened to Dr. Nemesis?” Best known as the dapper, irascible scientist and former nazi hunter in the write suit (and clear favorite of every writer who has featured him in a story), he looks like he’s been beaten with a “bad 90’s design hammer” here. Is there actually a reason for this -- fallout from “AvX”? -- or is artist Salvador Larroca just having fun? A bigger question is, “Will I be able to resist buying the collected edition just to find out?” Ask me again in six months.
Avengers Arena #’s 1&2: It’s “Battle Royale” with the younger characters of the Marvel Universe. So if you’ve wanted to see the casts of Runaways, Avengers Academy, and also (for some reason) Darkhawk fight to the death on Arcade’s Murderworld, then this is the title for you. That being said, as someone who likes seeing what creatively macabre scenarios the likes of Ennis and Ellis cook up on a regular basis, this sounds thoroughly morbid to me. Unless there’s some sort of trick, and there very well could be, having the teenagers of the Marvel Universe kill each other off like this just doesn’t seem right. This also isn’t solicited as a mini-series, so the killing is apparently scheduled to go on for quite some time...
Amazing Spider-Man #700: … Man, that is a sweet cover from Marcos Martin. Also, this is the last issue, so expect a new #1 next month.
Fear Itself: The Fearless: I’ll admit that I’ve been morbidly curious about how they could put out a mini-series about the fallout of Marvel’s latest event that was even longer than the event itself. It’s also reasonably priced at $30 for 278 pages. That said, I didn’t think much of the event in question, so I can’t really think of a good reason to read a follow-up about Valkyrie and Sin hunting for hammers all over the world.
Fantastic Four (by Jonathan Hickman) vol. 5: FINALLY! This has been described as the “climax” of Hickman’s run, where he pulls everything from the beginning of his run together and we get to see the scope of his master plan. You could probably see this coming, but after everything I’ve read from the writer so far, I’m expecting nothing less than greatness with this volume. Will I be disappointed? “Keep watching this space.”
Ultimate Comics Ultimates vol. 2: So you mean that I don’t have to wait until February, as it says on Amazon, to find out what happens next? I sincerely doubt I’ll read better news all day.
Ultimate Comics X-Men vol. 2: Vol. 1 arrived last night and I’ll see about getting a review of it up sometime in the next week. What’s worth noting here is that Marvel apparently realized that vol. 1 was apparently priced too low for a six-issue collection and have raised the price here accordingly.