Remember what I said last week about the possibility of a $4.99 monthly price point for Marvel or DC comics? Also how the only way they could pull off such a thing would be by offering a corresponding increase in value (read: page count)? Well, there’s a lot of that going around in the comics being solicited this month by Marvel. Big events, big prices, big page counts as well. I’ll certainly concede that this is the right time to relaunch “Amazing Spider-Man” with Peter Parker, with the new movie arriving the following month, but it’ll be interesting to see how long they can keep up the hype for these special issues before the shine wears off. Then what form will the company’s efforts to boost sales and get more money out of its fans take? Interesting times indeed.
Superior Spider-Man #31: Of course, before Peter can return in “Amazing” there’s still the matter of how to deal with Doc Ock’s mind in his body. This is billed as a “series finale” so we’re actually going to get some real closure on this particular storyline. It’s a given that we’ll see how Peter’s methods were and always have been the best, but writer Dan Slott faces a tricky challenge in trying to sell that idea without throwing everything we’ve seen in “Superior” under the bus. Given that the series has been very well planned out through now, I’m willing to remain optimistic and think that he’s had this finale in mind from the very beginning. Best of all is that even if the outcome has been spoiled, the way they’re going to get there is still unclear and ready to surprise.
Original Sin #0: Then we have Marvel’s next big summer event. A cosmic superhero whodunit emerges when the Watcher is… Wait, that’s next month. This is the prologue to the main event written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Jim Cheung as they use the new Nova give us some background on the Watcher to show us why he matters. As they’re trying to get you to care about the big bald guy, you can probably guess what the big event revolves around without me needing to tell you here.
Iron Fist: Living Weapon #1: Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker did the impossible and got a lot of people who had written Danny Rand off as a character to care about him with their “Immortal Iron Fist” series. Duane Swierczynski also pulled off a similarly improbable feat in crafting two more stories that followed up on this run that were just as good as what had come before. Now writer/artist Kaare Andrews is taking a crack at the character and… I’m ambivalent. The man is a fantastic artist with a style all his own, yet his work as a writer isn’t on the same level. This is the man who, in his “Spider-Man” series “Reign,” revealed that the character’s radioactive spider-sperm killed Mary Jane. Yeah, that was a thing that happened. I certainly hope he’s learned a thing or two, or had them impressed upon him, since then.
Also worth noting is that the second volume of the Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection is solicited here as well. This collects Swierczynski’s stories as well as the “Immortal Weapons” miniseries that followed them. They’re all good reads and are certainly worth your time.
Nightcrawler #1: Uh… haven’t we been here already? The last attempt at giving this character an ongoing series lasted only twelve issues that were only memorable for having art from Darick Robertson. Now we’ve got legendary X-writer Chris Claremont and artist Todd Nauck giving it another go in the wake of Nightcrawler’s resurrection in “Amazing X-Men.” It’s been revealed that Claremont has been under an exclusive Marvel contract where he’s still paid even though he’s not producing anything. One wonders if this is a carefully managed attempt by the company to get some of their investment back; and if it is, if this is something Claremont is significantly interested in or if he’s just going to go through the motions here with a “greatest hits” act. If nothing else, I’ll be looking forward to seeing what Paul O’Brien has to say about it all.
All-New Doop #1 (of 5): Now this, on the other hand, is far less likely to feel like its creators are going through the motions. It’s not that Peter Milligan hasn’t done that on occasion, but here he’s dealing with his signature character in the Marvel Universe and one that he created. Even if Mike Allred isn’t providing the art, David Lafuente is a fine ideosyncratic choice to bring the insanity to life. As for the plot? All that we’re told is that we’re about to find out why Doop is the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe, which sounds like a loose enough premise to allow Milligan to run wild if he so chooses.
Deadpool #27: At first, one wonders why Deadpool is getting a special 100-page $10 wedding issue which features contributions from every significant writer in the character’s history. Then they cap off the solicitation with the bit, “It’s the most important issue 27 in the history of comics!” and it all becomes clear. Still trolling “Detective Comics” and DC by extension is old hat by now. Let’s see if they can deliver something genuinely funny here.
What If? Age of Ultron #1-5: In comparison to previous “What If?” miniseries, this one takes a rather unique approach. Rather than tell a single story, each issue spotlights how history would have changed if another Avenger died instead of Hank Pym. Spoiler warning: None of them are for the better.
Ultimate Spider-Man #200, All New Ultimates #1, Ultimate FF #1: So that’s how it is. I honestly don’t know what Marvel expects to get from this latest relaunch aside from diminishing returns, but I’m not all that impressed here. Yes, more “Ultimate Spider-Man” is always nice but after his work on the last volume of “Ultimate Comics Ultimates,” I can’t say that I have any interest in seeing Josh Fialkov’s take on the Ultimate Future Foundation. Getting Michael Fiffe, an indie creator behind the well-liked series “COPRA,” to give us a street-level “Ultimates” has potential. After all, Bendis was in much the same league when he took on “Ultimate Spider-Man.” Not having read “COPRA,” I can’t say whether or not this is a good thing, but I do appreciate the out-of-the-box thinking that Marvel is displaying here. It won’t be enough to save the imprint from its latest slow death, but I appreciate it.
Fire HC: Speaking of Bendis, this was his first significant work as a writer/artist and paved the way for “Goldfish,” “Jinx” and “Torso” with his mainstream career springing from those. It’s loosely based on actual government reports of the C.I.A.’s activities in the 80’s and focuses on one unassuming college student’s journey into their world. I remember liking it when I read it, but seeing this solicitation here makes me want to go back and re-read my copy now. Which, by the way, had a cover price of $10 in comparison to the $20 hardcover edition Marvel is offering with no new content advertised. Yeah, I’ll be sticking with my edition.
X-Men: No More Humans OGN: Not a “What If?” take on the Scarlet Witch’s immortal words from “House of M.” (At least, I don’t think it is.) Here we have writer Mike Carey teaming up with artist Salvador Larroca to give us a story about what happens when the X-Men wake up one day to find that every human on Earth has disappeared, leaving it to be inherited by the mutants. Some see this as a mystery to be solved while others feel that it’s a sign their time has finally come. Given the creators’ respective track records with the “X-Men,” this looks like it should make for a satisfying read. Maybe not the mainstream breakout Marvel is likely hoping for, but satisfying nonetheless.
Miracleman Book 1: A Dream of Flying: $30 for 154 pages? I don’t care, it’s “Miracleman!” The fact that this is finally back in print is a miracle unto itself and worth a little price gouging here. One does wonder if the high price point is directly related to the amount of legal wrangling the company had to go through in order to get this back into print. It would not surprise me if it was.
Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand HC: Well, as you saw above, it’s not really their last stand. Then again, given that a lot of the usual suspects were missing from those solicitations, there’s likely to be a fairly high body count stemming from Galactus’ invasion of the Ultimate Universe. Given all that I’ve been writing about this, you can definitely expect a podcast with my thoughts about this collection when it arrives.
Age of Ultron: Do I really need this? Beyond the fact that it introduced Angela to the Marvel Universe and sent Galactus to the Ultimate one, was there a story worth reading here? It’s by Bendis, so it can’t be terrible. Still, I think I can give this a pass until I find it in a convention’s bargain bin.
Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe: Yeah, I’ve liked Peter David’s take on the character in “X-Factor,” but this comes to us courtesy of Christopher Hastings. He’s the demented genius who gave us “The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.” This isn’t likely to be as insane since he’s working within the constraints of the Marvel Universe, but I think he’s found a character that’s well-suited for his brand of humor. I’ll be looking forward to this.