Immortal Hulk vol. 5: Breaker of Worlds
Collecting issues #21-25, the last of which is also featured in these solicitations. It’s also given a rather final-sounding solicit as the story is described as taking place at the heat death of the universe. No points for guessing who’s there to see the Ninth Cosmos off. I may not be into this series as much as everyone else, but I can appreciate its fresh take on the character. Also, the fact that its success may finally (FINALLY) vault Al Ewing into the ranks of A-list Marvel writers is enough for it to receive my eternal gratitude.
That final-sounding solicitation however, does raise a specific question: Are we headed for a relaunch next month? Given that this title has been outselling “Batman” in recent months, you’d think that’d be reason enough to not upset the cart. But you can never underestimate Marvel’s love for a quick buck when it comes to relaunching a buzzworthy series with a new #1. I’m fully expecting to see a new “Incredible Hulk #1” next month with the advance word being that the story of the “Immortal Hulk” is over and now Ewing has a new tale to tell us. Which I’ll be onboard for because, hey, it’s Ewing.
X-Men #1: Jonathan Hickman formally takes over the “X-Men” and Lenil Yu is onboard for the first issue, and arc I would assume. The initial hype didn’t make it clear that he was going to continue on after “House of X” and “Powers of X” so I was glad when I heard word that he was. Make no mistake, however cool the ideas he’s introducing in those series are, the only way he was going to make them stick was if he stuck around to show how they were meant to work. See also: Grant Morrison on “New X-Men” which is still being stripmined for ideas over 15 years later. Hickman hasn’t disappointed me yet, so I’m convinced that all I need to do is just sit back, put my feet up, wait for the magic to happen, and then read about it as this new series is collected.
Excalibur #1 & Marauders #1: Oh, and there are also other “X-Men” books launching this month as well. “Excalibur” features a new female Captain Britain fighting for Otherworld alongside Rogue, Gambit, Rictor, Jubilee, and… Apocalypse? Not quite sure the team of Tini Howard and Marcus to is strong enough to get me to find out how they’re going to make that work. Meanwhile, Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli give us the pirate X-Men team we didn’t know we needed. Backed by Emma Frost and the Hellfire Trading Company, Kate Pryde, Storm, Pyro, Bishop, and Iceman sail the high seas to save mutantkind from oppression. I like the setup, but I’m still waiting for the complete “Infinity Wars” to see if Duggan is worth following as a writer again.
Absolute Carnage: The Immortal Hulk #1: More “Immortal Hulk” madness this month as the body of Thunderbolt Ross has disappeared. While that may not sound like the worst thing in the world, it bears remembering that not only was he possessed by the Venom symbiote at one time, but that he’s one of the Gamma-enhanced. If someone dug up his body because they were aware of both of these things, then we’re all in for a bad time. Good thing the Immortal Hulk is on the case, with regular writer Al Ewing and artist Filipe Andrade on hand to do some potentially disturbing digging into the complicated relationship between Banner and Ross.
Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle #1: Do we really need another random “Spider-Man” one-shot? When it’s written by Nick Spencer, Jonathan Hickman, Gerry Duggan (uh…), Al Ewing, and Chip Zdarsky, and features art from the likes of Chris Bachalo, Greg Smallwood, Michael Allred, and Cameron Stewart, then I’d say the answer is YES! The story involves Spidey going on a S.H.I.E.L.D.-sponsored world tour for reasons that involve a guy in a box. I’m sure there’s a good reason for that, which I’ll find out whenever I get around to reading this story physically or digitally.
Ghost Rider #1 & Avengers #25: On one side we have the next installment in the saga of brothers Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch. The former is now the King and Warden of Hell for as long as it lasts. Meanwhile on Earth, Danny is now the full-time Spirit of Vengeance regardless of whether or not he actually wants to be. Hang on a sec, where does that leave Robbie Reyes? He’s been speeding around Hell in this latest arc of “Avengers” called “Challenge of the Ghost Riders.” Has there been any coordination between “Ghost Rider” writer Ed Brisson and “Avengers” writer Jason Aaron? There just might be, considering how I’ve seen more footnotes in Marvel comics telling me to check out other issues for plot-relevant happenings. We’re probably just going to have to wait to see if the writers are actually telling two interconnected stories as they should be here.
Fantastic Four: Grand Design #1 (of 2): Note to self: Get around to picking up “X-Men: Grand Design” at some point. Tom Scioli follows in the footsteps of Ed Piskor as he tries to condense a few hundred issues of “Fantastic Four” continuity into six(?) oversized issues. Word has it that Piskor actually succeeded. Now it’s up to Scioli to show the viability of this franchise so we can see how far this “Grand Design” thing can go. All the way to “Howard the Duck,” maybe?
Doctor Doom #1: Sure he may have co-created “Halt and Catch Fire,” but it wasn’t until he did “She Could Fly” that Marvel actually tried to get Christopher Cantwell to write a comic for them. Probably another reason you should check that miniseries out. Cantwell is working with Salvador Larroca to give us the first ongoing “Doctor Doom” series (he may have starred in “Infamous Iron Man,” but it didn’t bear his name). The good Doctor is still struggling with heroic impulses as he’s warning the world against a trillion-dollar global effort to create a black hole, only to find himself framed for an act of terrorism. It sounds straightforward enough, so I guess we’ll have to wait for the actual first issue to see how well Cantwell succeeds in getting under the Doctor’s mask.
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #37: Oooooh, new storyline “A Rogue’s End.” Sounds final. Let’s see what the Doctor’s up to… OH WHAT THE HELL MARVEL?! I can’t remember the last time I was spoiled for a major plot development in a series in its solicitation, but that’s what we have here. And I’m not talking about tradewaiters like me. If you’re reading “Doctor Aphra” as it’s coming out in single issue form, DON’T READ THIS SOLICITATION. Unless it’s a really heavy-handed bit of misdirection, it spoils the outcome of the previous arc. That said, if Aphra thought working for Triple-Zero was bad, she’s probably reconsidering that now…
Marvel Zombies, Marvel Zombies 2, & Marvel Zombies 3: For the record: The shockingly good bestselling miniseries from Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips that started a franchise. The fine but not as good sequel that did its best to recapture the magic. And the second sequel which, thanks to Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker, managed to hail from the land of “Far Better Than it Has a Right to Be.”
Thor vol. 3: War’s End: Collecting the “War of the Realms” tie-in issues and the one (or two) which come after and lead directly into “King Thor” it would seem. There’s no new issue of “Thor” this month so it would seem that this is the penultimate volume of Jason Aaron’s long, and frequently excellent run on “Thor.” Prepare for the end of an era in a few months.
War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men: In case you’re wondering how to read this, it goes in between the two proper volumes of Matthew Rosenberg’s solo run on “Uncanny X-Men.” From what I heard, it also involves a lot of mutants dying needlessly to punch up the drama. Said deaths also appear to have been reversed by the reveals on who’s starring in the latest round of relaunches tied to the “Dawn of X” initiative. My guess here is that somebody told Rosenberg that they were going to bring back whoever he killed and he decided to go to town with it. Maybe not the best idea, unless Xorn/Zorn winds up biting it for good along the way. In which case I say that it was all worth it.