Word on the street is that after decades of legal wrangling and acrimony, “Marvelman” may finally be coming back into print. Mark Buckingham, who drew the parts of Neil Gaiman’s stories with the character that saw print, appears to be optimistic about it too so it might be that Marvel has finally gotten all of their ducks in a row with this. I know they’ve been working with Gaiman on this part for years since part of the proceeds from “1602” and “Eternals” went to fund the efforts. Additionally, while I’m sure they’ll be duly feted for getting this great work back into print I’m fairly certain that doing so will finally give them the title they need to crack the bookstore market after all these years. They’ve been getting roundly trounced by DC, Image, and just about every manga publisher because they trade mainly in superhero stories and those aren’t the dominant kind in that market. Still, having one of such mythic repute (and let me tell you, that reputation is well-deserved) written by Alan Moore is certain to deliver some massive sales at first and may even turn into an evergreen property along the lines of “Watchmen” and “V For Vendetta.” Expect more news around the time of Comic-Con, and until then...
Guardians of the Galaxy #5: “Spawn’s” Angela makes her first non-crossover appearance with a hint of things to come in the solicitations. That’s because Bendis shares a writing credit this issue with Gaiman. It’ll be interesting to see how those two mix, because the only way I can imagine such a collaboration working is if Gaiman is either writing, or “very hands-on” with Angela’s dialogue. He does own the character, though, so I imagine that he’ll be involved in such a manner with all of her appearances. Hopefully that’ll keep a level of quality control to them as Gaiman’s a busy man and I can’t see him being involved to such an extent that would see the character become as overexposed as Wolverine. Knowing Marvel, I’m sure they’ll find some way around that.
Thanos Rising #4: The solicitation text reads, “Thanos kills a lot of people.” Now that’s how you do brevity.
Nova #6: Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness are out and Zeb Wells and Paco Medina are in. I’ve heard that the former team’s work on the title has been entertaining enough with most of the reviews noting that it’s just doing a good job of telling a familiar superhero origin story. They also note that simply doing this has put it above most of Loeb’s work for the company. Wells, on the other hand, is a wittier who does well with enlivening familiar superhero tropes. After all, we’re told that the one thing standing between Nova and being a real superhero is getting permission from his mom. I’m more optimistic about seeing Wells mine that kind of setup than thinking about what Loeb would have done with it.
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger -- So Fell Lord Perth: This is billed as the epic conclusion to Marvel’s “Dark Tower” saga as it tells an apocryphal tale from Stephen King’s universe. I’m honestly impressed that these mini-series and spinoffs lasted as long as they did, though it has been disappointing to see them fall from bonafide comic events to fodder for completists. Still, the first five volumes were entertaining enough and the only ones you’d want to concern yourself with if you ever decided to give this series of adaptations and extrapolations a shot.
Powers: Bureau #6 & Scarlet #9: Okay, someone needs to remind me in three months to check and see if these issues actually make it to the stands.
Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman Omnibus vol. 1: Collects the first six volumes of the writer’s epic run on the title. While I’m still waiting on the final two volumes to hit softcover, I can vouch for everything in this collection being worth your time. It does clock in at a pricey $75, but if you can’t find these volumes cheaper in paperback then you’d do well to pick this up.
Invincible Iron Man vol. 2: The Secret Origin of Tony Stark Book I HC: This will likely be a strange read for the unaware. Though the title promises the “secret origin” of Tony Stark, it also collects a story where he heads off into space to answer for his role in “Avengers vs. X-Men.” Those will certainly make for some strange bedfellows, as will the clashing art styles of Greg Land and Dale Eaglesham. Can writer Kieron Gillen achieve a peaceful reconciliation between all sides here? I’d like to think so.
Wolverine vol. 1: Hunting Season: I haven’t heard that writer Paul Cornell’s work on this title has broken the mold, but it has apparently proved to be a good example of what a “Wolverine” story should be. Yeah, I know that’s not a ringing endorsement, but then you throw in art from Alan Davis and it should be entertaining enough to justify the cover price.
Avengers vol. 5 & New Avengers vol. 5: After many years, Bendis wraps up his run with the franchise. I’m not expecting a whole lot with these titles, though. After all, he hasn’t really built up a lot of ongoing plot threads that need resolution and the previous volumes were crossover tie-ins with “Avengers vs. X-Men.” Still, I’ve gone into some of his work on these titles before with low expectations and found myself pleasantly surprised. Maybe that’ll be the key to enjoying myself here.
Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment: The 80’s were a crazy time. I mean, can you imagine any other decade that would have Mike Mignola working at Marvel? In addition to giving us Rocket Raccoon and “Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure” with Walt Simonson, Mignola teamed up with Roger Stern for this team-up of the two sorcerers as Strange helps Doom to rescue his mother’s soul from Mephisto’s clutches. I’ve heard great things about that story. Problem is that it’s a one-shot and the rest of the volume with some apparently random reprints. That they feature art from Kevin Nowlan and Gene Colan will certainly be a draw for some, but I’d have liked to know what else we’d be getting in this collection.