War of the Realms #’s 1&2 (of 6): I’d say that Marvel’s big event series of the year has arrived, but the way they’re running things these days you can bet it’s just the first of them. The odds are even that they’ll launch the next one before this wraps up. Cynicism aside, there’s good reason to be excited for this one. Mainly because it’s the first event series since “Secret Wars” to emerge organically from one of Marvel’s ongoing titles. Or rather “runs” in this case since Jason Aaron has been building to this ever since he brought back Malekith in the pages of “Thor: God of Thunder” during his first run on a monthly “Thor” title. (He’s currently on his fourth.) The crafty dark elf has been racking up win after win in Aaron’s “Thor” books to the point where nine of the ten realms are already under his control. There’s only one left for him to conquer: Midgard, home of nearly all of the superheroes in the Marvel Universe. Expect Malekith to steamroll over the competition at first before their superhero resourcefulness turns the tide along with some timely last-minute intervention by Thor himself. I’m not complaining, that’s been the general structure of pretty much every superhero event ever. All I really want from this event is to see Malekith’s gnashing and wailing as his plans are ruined by Thor. Hell, I’ll settle for seeing the dark elf escape at the end only for Loki to stab him in the back afterwards. I just want to see Malekith LOSE after enduring his smug winning streak for so long!
War of The Realms: Uncanny X-Men #1 (of 3), Punisher #1 (of 3), & Venom #13: As you probably expected, there are a whole lot of tie-ins to the big event this month. Notably, the regular “Uncanny X-Men” and “Punisher” titles are exempted from the events and are running tie-in miniseries instead. “Uncanny” has the advantage here as it’s by regular writer Matthew Rosenberg and features Dani Moonstar, the mutant who is also a valkyrie. “Venom’s” tie-in arc is a bit more interesting to consider as it’s by guest creators Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello. My guess here is that regular creators Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman needed a few months off to catch up and someone had the smart idea to run a tie-in arc to “War of the Realms” with a new creative team. So we can look forward to a refreshed and re-energized “Venom” after the big event is over.
Thanos #1 (of 6): The Mad Titan may be dead at the moment, but that’s not going to keep him from starring in more comics! This latest miniseries looks to explore part of the character’s history that hasn’t been covered in great detail (recently at least). That would be his relationship with Gamora, the little girl who grew up to be the deadliest woman in the galaxy under his training. What was that time like for the both of them? Writer Tini Howard and artist Ariel Olivetti look to give us some answers here.
Major X #’s 1&2 (of 5): You know, I can respect Rob Liefeld for what he’s accomplished in his comics career and feel a certain amount of sympathy towards how he’s been constantly dunked on by pretty much everyone in comics. Does that mean I actually like his writing and art and want to read comics where he does one or both? No, it does not. Which is why I’ll be passing on this new miniseries that he’s writing (and providing art for at least the first issue) which promises to introduce a significant new character to the Marvel Universe. I feel confident in doing this because we’re a long way out from the 90’s when Liefeld’s appeal was at its height and the promise of introducing a major new character (who appears to be little more than a ripoff of Liefeld’s second-most popular character, Cable) to the Marvel Universe could actually kinda sorta be counted on to mean something.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: City at War #2 (of 6): The only reason I’m mentioning this adaptation of the “Spider-Man” PS4 game is because of its writer. I’ve read a bunch of comics from Dennis Hopeless over the years and while I always thought that he had a funny last name, I never remarked on it in my reviews because I figured that would be rude. Now the solicitations are crediting him as “Dennis ‘Hopeless’ Hallum” and my mind is just blown. You mean that his last name wasn’t really Hopeless!? Why did he have a pseudonymous last name!? Why would anyone pick “Hopeless” as a pseudonymous last name!? …Now that I’ve got that out of my system I’ll have to remember to check out more comics from Dennis Hallum in the future because he’s written some good ones in the past and I’d like to have some with his real full name on my shelf in the future.
Star Wars: Tie Fighter #1 (of 5): You think the fighter pilots of the Rebellion had it tough? Imagine going out to fight their ships encased in a little metal ball with two square wings on each side and no shields. That’s what every tie fighter pilot had to deal with and it’s why you saw so many of them shot down in the original trilogy. This miniseries from Jody Houser, who did a great job on the adaptation of “Thrawn,” and Roge Antonio looks at what it was like to be one of those pilots in the waning days of the Empire. Expect lots of drama as they slowly realize that they’re on the wrong side of history, unless one of them turns out to have been a Rebel spy all along.
Marvels: Monster-Sized HC: Have you ever thought about Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ classic miniseries and gone, “Yeah, it was pretty good. But it’d be even better in a gigantic oversized format?” Then this is the version for you. That said, Marvel is currently reprinting an annotated version of the miniseries, which means that you’ll be able to enjoy it in three different varieties: vanilla, gigantic oversized, and annotated. Unless they come out with a gigantic oversized annotated version then I think I’ll just stick with my vanilla edition.
Killmonger: It’s worth considering that it took the $700 million-dollar-success of the “Black Panther” movie to get us this miniseries. So if you want to see more miniseries about characters relating to “Black Panther” then you’re probably going to want to pick this up. As for me, the movie did a really good job in making Erik “Killmonger” N’Jadaka relatable so I’m interested in seeing what writer Bryan Hill and artist Juan Ferreyra have to say about his origin. As well as how they’re going to work Kingpin and Black Widow into it as well.
Fantastic Four vol. 2: Mr. & Mrs. Grimm: Okay, I’ve said before that I’m looking forward to reading Dan Slott’s take on Marvel’s First Family. The issue here is how few of them are in this second volume. You’ve got the oversized issue #5, the “Wedding Special” and issue #8 from the original Lee/Kirby run. Yeah, this is a paperback which collects three issues, only two of which are actually new. It is of average collected edition size, 128 pages, but I can’t get over the fact that this feels like Marvel is trying to get as much money as they can from me by putting the first five issues and “Wedding Special” in two volumes rather than one. Probably because they are.