The finale to “Age of Ultron” ships this month with an ending so secret, they had to get someone else to illustrate it. In addition to Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco, former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada comes onboard to draw a sequence that will have people talking about for years. No, really. All we know about it now comes from (who else but) Rich Johnston who has apparently used his sources to piece together that this final issue will involve “a special guest star” being added to the Marvel Universe. An intriguing proposition to be sure, though the first thought that came to my mind was, “Is it Mickey?” That would be hilarious. It could also be the rum talking.
Avengers #13 & 14: Nick Spencer comes on as a co-writer with Jonathan Hickman. Nothing’s been announced yet, but could we be looking at a situation similar to when Sam Humphries came on to co-write “Ultimates” with Hickman before taking over the series? Spencer’s more of a known quantity to me thanks to “Morning Glories,” though Humphries has done solid work on the title he inherited. Of course, if Hickman is going to be moving off “Avengers” to give more time to his creator-owned titles, then I don’t have too much of a problem with whoever takes over for him here.
A+X #9: Adam Warren returns to Marvel with, and I quote, “an amazing short story so chock full of awesome that we can’t even attempt to sum it up in one sentence!” Much as I’d like to gripe about why he’s not using this time to get us the next volume of “Empowered” at a faster pace, I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for anything he does. Between this and Kieron Gillen’s Kid Loki/Mr. Sinister team-up story from earlier in this title’s run, I guess I’ll be getting the first two volumes of this series when the issues are collected.
Avenging Spider-Man #22: Okay, I’ll admit that I am curious about what Frank Castle thinks about the new Superior Spider-Man. Curious to actually put down money to find out? Keep watching this space for the next few months. Uh... please?
Ultimates #25 & 26: So, six issues after taking care of the storyline he inherited from Hickman, Sam Humprhies is given the boot for Joshua Hale Fialkov. As I said when it was revealed that he’d be taking over two of the “Green Lantern” family of titles, I haven’t read enough of his work to have a definite opinion as to whether or not this is a good or bad thing. That said, at least the “Green Lantern” gig came with the feeling that this was a fresh start for the family where this feels like Marvel is grasping around for a new direction for this title. Further proof of that can be seen in this arc’s title, “Ultimates Dissasembled.” I submit this as further proof that the “Ultimate” line is going to be dissolved in the near future with only Miles Morales to be one of the few survivors of it.
Wolverine & The X-Men #31: Part one of the “Hellfire Saga” where it appears that the kids from the Jean Grey School are kidnapped and sent to the Hellfire Academy to learn how to be proper supervillains by the likes of Mystique, Sauron, and Mojo. It sounds ridiculous, but that’s keeping within the established rules and limitations of this title. Of course, what I’ll be looking forward to from this arc is seeing Quentin Quire start acting like a proper superhero just to piss off the instructors here. Yes, he’s always been supervillain material, but that’s because he’s rebelling against all of the moral characters he’s surrounded by. Now that he’ll be forced to be a bad guy, expect him to lead the student’s resistance against their captors.
X-Factor #257 & 258: The first two parts of “The End of X-Factor.” After a hundred issues, I’ve wondered when Peter David would be wrapping up his run on this title. I guess I have my answer.
The Tower Chronicles: GeistHawk Premiere HC: Uh... wasn’t this being published by Legendary Comics? While I’m never averse to getting more stories from the likes of Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley, this was originally hyped as one of the company’s key titles. One of the others being Frank Miller’s not-that-great “Holy Terror.” So if Marvel is publishing this now, does this mean that Legendary has quietly exited the industry? The Magic 8-ball says that, “I fucked your mom last night,” which is no help at all. Even so, 288 pages for $35 is still a decent deal by Marvel’s standards these days. I’ll probably pick this up at some point in the future.
Inhumans by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee HC: One more for the, “If you haven’t bought this by now...” category. Next to Ennis & Dillon’s “Punisher,” this was probably the best thing to come out of the Marvel Knights imprint. It was a dark, character-driven take on characters I had no familiarity with and an ending that at first glance comes off as terribly anticlimactic, but subsequently becomes ingenious the more you think about it. Highly recommended and seeing this here makes me want to go back and re-read it again.
Daredevil: End of Days HC: I certainly agree with the idea of Bendis writing the story about Matt Murdock’s final adventure, given his run on the character’s solo title, but David Mack as a co-writer? Yeah, I enjoyed, “Parts of a Hole” but I heard his “Echo” series that was inserted into the middle of Bendis’ run to give the writer a break wasn’t all that great. Still, given his current run on “Daredevil,” Mark Waid would be a more appropriate choice here... given that Frank Miller will never likely work with Marvel again
Uncanny X-Force vol. 7: Final Execution Book II and Uncanny X-Force vol. 1: Let It Bleed: Confused? The former is Rick Remender’s last volume of the series finally arriving in paperback while the latter is from the Marvel NOW! relaunch courtesy of Sam Humphries. Personally, I like the fact that Marvel is now being more judicious with what titles it gives the “premiere hardcover” treatment to and the fact that we get two “Uncanny X-Force” volumes in one month is just a bonus. Or, at least it seems this way now. Remender has set a rather high bar to meet with his run on the title, so we’re going to find out very quick if Humphries is up to the task here.
Captain America by Ed Brubaker vol. 4: The writer’s lengthy run on the character reaches its conclusion here. It started out great, but has become very uneven in recent volumes so I’m hoping we’ll be going out on a high note here. Well, I’m buying it regardless so I hope that it ends well for that reason alone.
The Mighty Thor/Journey Into Mystery: Everything Burns: Speaking of endings, I’m getting two endings here for the price of one! The only problem is that I’m only reading one of these series. I can only hope that Kieron Gillen’s resolution of Kid Loki’s journey of self-discovery and snarkiness is enough to balance out the (expected) dullness of Matt Fraction’s take on Thor.