Apparently Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter is so incensed at the terms of the deal struck between the company and Fox that allows the latter to make films involving the “Fantastic Four,” that the comic series would be cancelled in the run-up to the new film arriving next year. This has been denied by several people at Marvel, including senior editor Tom Brevoort. Brevoort’s denial was also given a very entertaining going-over by Rich Johnston to expose the many ways it didn’t actually deny that the basic story was true. Given how Matt Fraction’s relaunch of the series misfired badly and James Robinson’s take hasn’t set the world on fire -- yet, anyway -- one would think that taking the title off the stands for a while and then relaunching it later would be a good way to build interest in the Fantastic Four again. After all, that seems to be the company’s plan for Wolverine this month.
Death of Wolverine #’s 1-4: After years of overexposure due to his membership in the X-Men, Avengers, Uncanny X-Force, and multiple solo titles, Marvel has decided that the ‘Ol Canucklehead needs to be benched for a little while so that we can learn to appreciate him all over again. Or, if you choose to believe the solicitations, this is actually the culmination of everything that has been building in his solo title(s) since Paul Cornell came onboard last year. Except that Cornell isn’t writing this -- Charles Soule is. Deaths of major characters always have a certain amount of cynicism built into them these days since they’re still one of the few things that can guarantee a massive sales spike for the titles involved. The best way to get around that cynicism is to show that the death was part of a larger story, such as when Jonathan Hickman “killed” Johnny Storm during his run on “Fantastic Four.”
With Cornell absent from this miniseries, the event feels like an editorially-driven mandate given form. If the writer who has been building up to this event isn’t involved, then how can it be part of anyone but editorial’s plan? Soule’s first volume of “Swamp Thing” was decent enough, and Steve McNiven is providing the art, so there’s a chance this could turn out alright. Hell, unless it’s utterly abysmal, I’ll probably get it anyway once it hits softcover.
Oh, and each extra-sized issue of this event miniseries will set you back $5. Just because Marvel can get away with charging that kind of price for this thing doesn’t mean they should. From here, it looks like one more step on the company’s road to pricing their comics right out of business.
New Avengers #24 & Avengers #35: Speaking of which, these 40-page issues will also set you back $5 each. They’re also the start of the “Time Runs Out” event which looks to be the climax of Hickman’s tenure on these titles. The big thing here is that “New Avengers” and “Avengers” will be jumping eight months ahead of the rest of the Marvel Universe, which will be catching up over the corresponding amount of time. As I am thoroughly invested in the story the writer is telling with these titles, I’ll be picking them up in hardcover and sidestepping the price debate for now. Of course, I’m quite curious as to why Thanos is on the cover to “New Avengers.” If anyone was wondering what happened to the Mad Titan after “Infinity,” it looks like you’ll have your answer in September.
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #15: Advertised as being “Still not cancelled!” That’s good to read. We’ll see if that’s still the case after this next arc.
All-New Ultimates #8: If getting “Copra’s” Michael Fiffe to write this title wasn’t enough of an indication that Marvel wanted this book to have the feel of an indie comic, then the artist for this issue should make it unmistakably clear. That’s because it features Giannis Milonogiannis, of “Prophet” and “Old City Blues” fame, making what I believe is his Marvel Comics debut. His style is very much outside of what you’d expect from a Marvel title, and I’m interested in seeing what he does with it now that he’s working on a mainstream superhero comic.
Moon Knight #7: So it appears that #6 was the last issue for Ellis and Declan Shalvey. Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood take over starting with this issue. Considering how Wood’s run on the adjectiveless “X-Men” title hasn’t been up to his best work, maybe something like this off in the margins of the Marvel Universe will allow him to make a return to form.
Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three -- The Prisoner #’s 1-2 (of 5): I thought that the steadily declining sales of this series-of-miniseries meant that it was over and done with. Apparently not as the company is giving it another go with an adaptation of the second volume of the “Dark Tower” series. Regular writers Peter David and Robin Furth return, with art provided by “Sex’s” Piotr Kowalski. This is noteworthy because this means Kowalski is either the rare breed of artist who can handle having two monthly books at a time, or that “Sex’s” schedule is about to get a lot more erratic, or that all five of these issues are in the can as I write this. The fact that I’m speculating about this instead of the actual comic should tell you all you need to know about my interest in it.
Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #0 (of 5): I guess something needs to fill the gap while the Fraction/Aja “Hawkeye” title gets back on schedule.
All-New X-Men #32: According to the cover, Miles Morales joins the team!
...That’s fine by me. Considering that Bendis recently put forth a very good reason for shutting down the Ultimate Universe, I have no problem with seeing Mr. Morales take up residence over here.
Original Sin Companion HC: Collecting all of the tie-ins for the crossover. Unlike the “Avengers vs. X-Men Companion,” the amount of tie-ins here do not appear to add up to volumes of the titles I read. Toss in the fact that it costs $25 more than the “AvX” one for about 200 pages less, and I’ve got no problem with leaving this on the shelf.
Miracleman Book 2: The Red King Syndrome: In which the title character faces off against his nemesis Dr. Gargunza and witnesses the birth of his daughter. Who has superpowers of her own. We also get to witness her birth in all of its glory, so this isn’t going to be for the squeamish. However, given how the first volume read after all these years, I’m expecting this one to be even better as the narrative picks up momentum.
Deadpool & Cable Omnibus: Meanwhile $125 will get you all 50 issues of this title plus the “Deadpool/GLI Summer Spectacular.” That’s over 1200 pages of content, so take that “Original Sin Companion!” I’ve actually read the fifty issues collected here (minus the “Summer Spectacular”) and writer Fabian Nicieza was telling a good story about Cable trying to make a better world on his own terms with Deadpool providing comic relief and a voice of reason. Honest! Nicieza even makes it a believable part of his character. That’s how it was until two-thirds of the way through when Cable was pulled out to rejoin the X-Men and it basically became a Deadpool solo title. It was a fun solo title, but not the reason I started reading this book. Anyway, if you’re a fan of both characters and don’t already have this series in your library, this would be the way to do it.
Moon Knight vol. 1: From the Dead: Everything I’ve read about the issues collected here makes me disappointed that Ellis pulled one of his six-issues-and-done runs here. Couldn’t he have at least given us a twelve-issue stint like we got for “Nextwave,” “Thunderbolts,” and “Ultimate Fantastic Four?”
All-New Doop: Peter Milligan returns to the only character to survive his run on “X-Statix.” What’s on the character’s agenda here? Apparently behind the scenes of the “Battle of the Atom” crossover, Doop pulls Kitty Pryde into his world to confess his unrequited love for her. ...Okay. It certainly sounds bizarre enough for a Milligan story, and David LaFuente has the chops for illustrating this kind of crazy. The writer’s last go-round with “X-Statix” turned out pretty well with the “Dead Girl” miniseries, so I’m hoping for the same kind of results here.
All-New Ghost Rider vol. 1: Engines of Vengeance: After his manga “Peepo Choo,” I was all set to see what writer/artist Felipe Smith would be doing next in Japan. I’m assuming things didn’t go the way he was expecting, as this represents the most substantial work I’ve seen from him since that title was completed. Though I’ve never been big on the character of “Ghost Rider,” save for Jason Aaron’s run, he’s been re-imagined here as a street-racing demon who has chosen young Robbie Reyes as his host. Smith is working with Tradd Moore of “Luther Strode” fame, so the expectation here is for some over-the-top racing action that demolishes substance in the name of style! I’ll just hope for seeing if working within the confines of the Marvel Universe reins the writer’s excesses in and gets him to focus more on the characters and story than freaking out the reader.
Ultimate FF: Strangest Ever: Yeah, I think I’ll be passing on this one. Not only has writer Joshua Hale Fialkov’s writing for the “Ultimate” titles not impressed me, he apparently had to bow out of writing the final issue in this collection due to illness. So even if Stuart Moore’s issue turns out to be the best one in the book, it’ll just disappoint me to see that’s all we’re getting from him.
All-New Ultimates vol. : Power for Power: It feels weird to see the “Ultimates” re-imagined as a street-level team made up of teenagers. Given how the title started out as one that helped define “widescreen” superhero action, this would seem to be a reductive approach. However, every attempt to recapture the glory days of those Millar/Hitch issues, even by Millar himself, has resulted in diminishing returns. So maybe this new approach is for the best. I’ll be finding this out for myself come September.