We all knew it wouldn’t last, but I think we were at least hoping it would last longer than this. What am I talking about? Well, word is that a certain Ol’ Canucklehead will be making his way back to the land of the living early next year. Just in time for his latest movie, in fact. There’s no specific evidence to this theory as of yet. It’s all rumor and hearsay based on how Marvel likes to time things like these to big events -- remember how Peter Parker finally took back his body from Doctor Octopus right around the time “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” came out? Also, there’s also a number of “Wolverine”-related issues being solicited for a dollar and word that the final issue of “Old Man Logan” may be in the offing as well. Maybe his return will tie into the “Inhumans vs. X-Men” series as well. But why would Marvel do that when they can probably get bigger numbers publishing a “Return of Wolverine” miniseries instead?
Still, this is all just speculation at this point. I’m hoping it all turns out to be wrong and Logan stays in the ground for at least another year. That would help to further entrench Laura Kinney in the role and maybe give Jeff Lemire time to wrap up the story he’s telling with “Old Man Logan.” Plus, there’s the fact that he just hasn’t been gone all that long. There’s no doubt that the Wolverine we all know and love will be back at some point. It just doesn’t seem like March 2017 is the right time for that to happen.
Kingpin #1: Wilson Fisk gets his own ongoing series from writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Ben Torres and he’s all set to make his mark as a titan of (legitimate) industry. There’s just the matter of image rehabilitation that he needs to take care of first. Was anyone clamoring for an ongoing series featuring this character? Was his “Civil War” miniseries from Rosenberg even that good? If this series wasn’t greenlit in light of recent political events, then its timing is certainly fortuitous. There’s not a better time for a series about an obvious crook trying (and succeeding) to convince the public he has their best interests at heart. Forget this ongoing series, are you all ready for “Fisk 2020?” Because it’s all too plausible now...
He’s not the only “Daredevil” supporting character to get an ongoing series this month. “Elektra” is getting one from writer Matt Owens and artist Alec Morgan and “Bullseye” is getting a miniseries from writer Ed Brisson and artist Guillermo Sanna. Out of all these projects, “Bullseye” sounds the most interesting as it’s described as showing us what the assassin does for fun when he’s down in South America. “Elektra” has her facing off against “X-Men” villain Arcade, which is at least different, but doesn’t really give us an idea as to what we can expect from this new ongoing. Seeing Bullseye murder some (hopefully deserving) people south of the border on a lark sounds like the kind of thing that can sustain a five-issue mini.
Doctor Strange #1.MU: “Sex Criminals” artist and all-around irreverent Chip Zdarsky writes the Doctor’s tie-in issue to “Monsters Unleashed.” All we know about this is that Doctor Strange’s powers are at all-time lows thanks to the events of “The Last Days of Magic” and now he’s up against some monsters. You know, I have this image of Zdarsky as someone who can’t take anything seriously thanks to his work on “Sex Criminals.” I actually have no idea how he translates that kind of sensibility to the Marvel Universe. Maybe I should go check out his “Howard the Duck” series to see if I can get any answers from that.
Darth Maul #1 (of 5): Now here’s a character who has been long regarded as one of the highlights of the Prequel Trilogy. Before he was unceremoniously dispatched at the end of “The Phantom Menace” anyway. Yet Maul is fondly remembered for his fearsome look, double-bladed lightsaber, and impressive fighting skills. We don’t really know much more about him than that. Uh, I mean that “I” don’t know much more about him since I haven’t read any of the books that he’s been featured in or seen his return on the “Clone Wars” TV series. I did get his miniseries from Dark Horse that came out well over a decade ago, but that just had Maul slicing and dicing his way through the ranks of Black Sun.
Where was I going with this? Writer Cullen Bunn is giving us a story about Maul’s time as Darth Sidious’ apprentice when he first encountered the Jedi. It’s a decent enough setup, and hopefully artist Luke Ross will be having one of his better days when he provides art for this mini. More insight into the mind of this character sounds nice, mainly because I’m too lazy to seek it out elsewhere.
Powers: The Bureau Saga HC: Seriously? They’re calling this a “saga?” It was just twelve issues and two arcs that Bendis and Oeming couldn’t deliver on any kind of reasonable schedule. If you’re expecting a self-contained high point for the series, this isn’t it. The status quo shift these volumes signified for the series had promise, but it didn’t deliver in the end.
Deadpool: Bad Blood HC: I was wondering what had happened to this “Deadpool” original graphic novel. Chris Sims from “Comics Alliance” had mentioned that he was going to be co-writing this with his partner on “X-Men ‘92” Chad Bowers with “Deadpool” co-creator Rob Liefeld providing the art (and apparently co-writing this as well according to the solicitation). It’s worth mentioning because Sims has had an evolving opinion of Liefeld’s career over the years. He started out as a hater, but has since gone on to express an unironic appreciation of the controversially talented Image co-founder. As someone who has followed Sims’ writing at “Comics Alliance” for an extended period of time, I think this is because he’s someone who can recognize genuine passion and sincerity. I find Liefeld to be really wrongheaded about a lot of things as a creator, but I don’t doubt that he has a complete belief that whatever he puts down on the page is awesome. On that note, I hope all the creators had fun working together even if my interest in this OGN is mainly that of morbid curiosity.
Death of X: The prequel miniseries to “Inhumans vs. X-Men” is collected. Cyclops has been MIA since the Marvel Universe’s time jump from the end of “Secret Wars.” It has also been intimated that he did something really bad before he disappeared. Now we get to find out what that was courtesy of co-writers Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule. As I write this, a good chunk of this miniseries has been spoiled for me and I’m worried that my commitment to following the ongoing adventures of Marvel’s Merry Mutants is going to lead me to a brick wall here. Check back in February to see if that’s the case.
Night Raven: From the Marvel UK Vaults: He’s a masked vigilante in a pulp-era world, stalking the streets of New York and branding criminals with his mark. Why are his adventures being collected now? Because some of them were written by Alan Moore. That’s… pretty much it.
Wolverine vs. The Punisher: On one hand, it’s pretty obvious what you can expect from a collection with a title like this. On the other, this also collects stories from Garth Ennis and Peter Milligan. So if you’re expecting a collection full of straightforward team-ups and/or violent differences of opinion between Frank Castle and Logan then these stories will likely stick out like a sore thumb. Particularly when Ennis’ involves Castle blasting the skin off Logan’s face and then running him over with a steamroller after their fight against an army of violent midgets. Milligan’s is just pleasantly absurd as the two anti-heroes wind up in a legendary jungle hideout for criminals. Fans of these writers will likely enjoy these stories, and anyone who isn’t one is probably going to be deeply annoyed by them. I already own the issues in question, so I can safely pass on the rest of what’s being offered here.