Looking at a lot of the Marvel NOW! relaunches, I’ll concede that they’ve certainly done a good job of getting top talent on A-list characters. Of course, looking at some of these launches still has me scratching my head at what they were thinking. There’s also one that has a great idea for a mini-series behind it... except that it’s meant to be an ongoing. Lots of interesting stuff after the jump.
Indestructible Hulk #1: After revitalizing “Dardevil” Mark Waid sets his sights on the Hulk. The fact that he’s teamed with his “Superman: Birthright” collaborator Lenil Yu only sweetens the deal. Add in a great hook: Hulk and Banner together again and working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and you’ve got something that should be worth checking out when it arrives.
All-New X-Men #’s 1&2: That “great idea for a mini-series” I mentioned: this is it. Through some temporal conflux, the original X-Men, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel and Beast, find themselves thrust forward into the present day. Seeing them come to grips with what has become of Xavier’s Dream is a GREAT idea with a lot of potential in the way it aims to hold up a mirror for the state and direction of the franchise. However, the fact that this is listed as being an ongoing title means that this story is meant to go on indefinitely. A big deal may be made of seeing these past versions of characters interact in the modern day but it’ll never amount to much because we all know that they’re going to have to be sent back with no knowledge of their time here. Bendis is a smart enough man to have realized this, but it’s hard to see this idea having legs beyond the initial storyline. It is being drawn by Stuart Immonen, so at least its artistic merits won’t be up for debate.
Iron Man #’s 1&2: Right now, there’s really no title written by Kieron Gillen that I won’t buy. That holds true here even if it is being drawn by Greg Land.
Captain America #1: Rick Remender takes over with John Romita Jr. providing the art. The solicitation text promises “high adventure, mind-melting, tough-as-nails, sci-fi, pulp fantasy” so it’s going to be a marked change from the Brubaker era. Which is as it should be. It also makes it sound like we’ll be getting “Captain America starring in Fear Agent.” Considering that I’ve found both titles (recently, anyway) to be distinguished by not allowing their protagonists to “win” against the bad guys, here’s hoping those two negatives cancel each other out and we get a Cap title where he kicks the villain’s ass at the end of an arc!
X-Men: Legacy #’s 1&2: An X-Men B-title from lesser-known creators Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat focusing on Legion? Unless it’s “COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY FUCKING AWESOME!” I don’t see this lasting beyond twelve issues.
Fantastic Four #1 & FF #1: Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley on the main title sounds like a solid mix, but I was baffled as to why FF would be continuing. This title was launched as a continuation of Jonathan Hickman’s run before morphing into a book that spotlighted the supporting cast. It was very much the writer’s book, and while this clearly isn’t a continuation of that we may be getting something that allows its creators to put their own distinct spin on other aspects of the “Fantastic Four” mythos. While the main title serves up the sci-fi adventure that is the series’ stock in trade, here we’ll get something that plays to the creators’ weirder impulses. With that in mind, this also sounds like something destined for an early death; but, it features art from Mike Allred so it may just be quirky enough to survive. Of course, this is provided Fraction can deliver scripts worthy of the artist.
Wolverine: Back in Japan: This represents the end of Jason Aaron’s run on the character’s solo title. The man has written some of the best recent stories involving the Ol’ Canucklehead and I’m hoping this serves as a fitting capper to that. Of course, he’s not done writing the character thanks to “Wolverine and the X-Men,” which I’m still looking forward to reading -- in softcover.
Fury MAX: My War Gone By: I’m sure this would’ve looked great as a hardcover, but I’m just as happy to get it for less in softcover. Garth Ennis takes his mature-readers version of Nick Fury through some of the most notable hotspots of the 60’s and even takes a whack at assassinating Fidel Castro. The writer hasn’t done much for Marvel these past few years, but given his overall attitude towards superheroes, that’s probably for the best. Heck, for all I know this could represent the last thing he’ll ever write for the company. I mean, who else can you see him being able to take seriously at this point?
Incredible Hulk by Jason Aaron vol. 1: Aaron takes on the Hulk, and that should make buying this a no-brainer, right? Well he also has a killer premise for it too: Hulk and Banner have been split into separate entities, and after being freed from the influence of the former, the latter has gone into full-on mad scientist supervillain mode. Now it’s up to the Green Goliath to put the two back together. Though this sounds great, I have a friend who tells me that this particular setup doesn’t play out to its full potential. He didn’t say it was outright bad, but it does diminish my enthusiasm. Still, it’s Aaron so I’ll probably wind up getting it anyway.