Later this year, writer Charles Soule and artist Steve McNiven are giving us “The Death of Wolverine” which is said to deliver exactly what it promises in the title. I find it hard to work up much excitement for such an event, but it at least has a fairly low bar to clear thanks to the last story the promised the same thing. (That collection is only worth reading for the Jason Aaron story inside and if you do read it, you’ll understand why he wound up writing the character’s solo adventures for as long as he did.)
Focusing on this month, these solicitations included some mysterious “100th Anniversary” specials that had creative teams attached to them, but no descriptions. What exactly were they celebrating the “100th Anniversary” of? As it turns out, these are issues meant to show what the Marvel Universe will be like in 2061, 100 years after it was founded. The whole thing strikes me as a giant ploy to cheese off DC with their “Future’s End” series, but it does have at least one reason for me to be interested: James Stokoe. The creator of “Orc Stain” will be writing and illustrating the “Avengers” issue and writing the “Fantastic Four” issue. While he has done covers for the company in the past, I believe these will mark his most substantial contribution to the company as a writer/artist. I’ll buy them if they’re on sale at Comic-Con and I hope they sell well enough for him to get more work at Marvel and boost his profile enough so that he can deliver issues of “Orc Stain” on a more frequent basis than “annually.” Hey, it’s worked for Hickman, Gillen, Fraction and Brubaker so let’s see Stokoe utilize Marvel’s resources to boost his creator-owned profile.
Rocket Raccoon #1: I like how the solicitation text bills the character as “The only ‘Guardian of the Galaxy’ you actually care about!” It’s not entirely true, but it’s pretty close. Skottie Young writes and draws this series which means that it’s going to have a very distinct, and likely appealing, look to it though I don’t know what to say about the writing. There was going to be a variant by Mike Mignola, but that didn’t quite pan out the way people were expecting. This first issue does have a notable variant by another distinguished indie creator: “Mouse Guard’s” David Petersen, and I’d say that’s an impressive catch by the company in itself..
Spider-Man 2099 #1: “The book you’ve been demanding for months finally hits the stands?” Really? I felt somewhat differently after reading about the adventures of time-stranded future Spider-Man Miguel O’Hara in the next-to-most-recent volume of “Superior Spider-Man.” Even so, this is being written by Peter David, so the chances that it’ll turn out to be “good” (as opposed to “brilliant” or “total ass”) are in its favor. I certainly hope that the title’s artist, Will Sliney has stepped up his game after I last saw him illustrating MacGyver’s comic adventures.
Storm #1: Though the solicitation here is “CLASSIFIED” it was revealed over the weekend that writer Greg Pak and artist Victor Ibanez’s take on the character will have her becoming a proactive globetrotter. That is to say she’ll be using her powers all over the world to help mankind and promote a more positive image for mutants. It was pointed out that whenever the likes of Wolverine or Cyclops become more “proactive,” it usually winds up with them employing a “means justify the ends” or a “killing bad guys before they kill us” approach. This is obviously different and I’m more interested in reading about Storm’s efforts to spread goodwill than I was simply wondering what this “CLASSIFIED” tag was hiding.
Alias Omnibus HC: Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos launched Marvel’s MAX imprint with this series about self-destructive private investigator Jessica Jones. Over the course of the 28 issues collected here we saw a person who was at her lowest ebb in life crawl back up to humanity through her own strength and that of her friends. I already own the trade paperbacks that collect the main story here; but, if I didn’t then picking this up would be a no-brainer. (I’m certainly not going to buy it just because it also collects the “What If: Jessica Jones Joined the Avengers” since that strikes me as being utterly superfluous to the collection, even if it’s also by Bendis and Gaydos.)
Hawkeye vol. 3: L.A. Woman: Judging by the issues collected here, one would be tempted to put the title’s scheduling woes down to artist David Aja as he’s nowhere to be found here. In fact, neither is Clint Barton as the “Hawkeye” being featured in the issues collected here is Kate Bishop (with Pizza Dog in tow). Annie Wu and Javier Pulido provide the art, so I’m not worried about the visuals for this volume being lacking in any way. Also, it says that Madame Masque is looking to get some payback for what Kate did to her back in vol. 1., and that should be something to see.
X-Force vol. 1: Dirty/Tricks: After trying to make “X-Force” a mini-franchise within the X-titles misfired, we’re now back to having the team serve as mutantkind’s “black ops” squad. For this incarnation of the team we’ve got Cable, Psylocke, Fantomex, and Marrow on board -- which sounds like an appropriately dysfunctional and violent group. Si Spurrier is writing and he’s got a very quirky style that’s in line with Peter Milligan’s. So this is either going to wind up being an offbeat triumph or go down in flames so fast and hard that they’ll have to retire the “X-Force” concept for a few years. Given that Spurrier has shown himself to be the only writer to get good material out of “Crossed” aside from Garth Ennis, and that his “X-Men: Legacy” series turned out to be better than I expected from a title that sounded like commercial suicide, I’ll pick this volume up to see what it’s like.
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man vol. 2: The Crime of the Century: Well, this is surprising. Originally this volume was solicited as collecting issues #7-15. Such a large collection led many, including myself, to speculate that the title would be ending with that issue as well. Given that this volume is now advertised as collecting issues #7-11, it makes you think that the title is being given somewhat of a reprieve and will continue on for longer than expected. As issue #13 is being solicited here as well, everyone who doesn’t want to see it come to a premature end would be advised to start spreading the word about it now.
Runaways and Uncanny X-Force: Complete Collections vols. 1: Two more for the “If you haven’t bought them by now…” pile.