WonderCon will have wrapped up as I post this, but not as I’m writing. Who knows, by the time I come back to this on Sunday maybe I’ll have some interesting Marvel news to write about here. As it stands, on this Friday evening, all we have are a couple panels of creators extolling the virtues of their current and upcoming series. Meh. At least there’s news from IDW that they’ll be publishing the first print collection of the new “Bloom County” online strips later this year. That’s something to look forward to. C’mon Marvel, you’ve got to give me more than this!
[Post-WonderCon Edit: Nope, they didn’t. Though the new “Jessica Jones” comic later this year should be something to look forward to.]
Civil War II #’s 1&2 (of 7): Bendis takes on another project that was originally done by Mark Millar after “Old Man Logan.” Sure, the dialogue will be better here, but I’m not so sure about the core premise. While the original “Civil War” tapped into the always-relevant hot-button issue of civil liberties, this one centers around the problems of “Minority Report”-style pre-crime when an Inhuman gains the ability to see the future. Now the Marvel Universe is torn between those who want to protect the future as we know it, and those who want to use this knowledge to change it for the better. Which is a moot point because Kang will eventually show up (maybe even later in this miniseries) and ruin all this for everyone. I dunno, even if it’s Bendis working with his “Ultimate Spider-Man” collaborator David Marquez, I can’t seem to get excited about this. Maybe I’ll read all the spoilers first to see if there are any that will get me to pick this up in hardcover (or even softcover for that matter).
Civil War II: X-Men #1 (of 4): Of course, with every crossover comes the tie-in issues and miniseries. Just like the first “Civil War,” there are a truckload of them to be had here. Not that you can’t do interesting stuff within the context of an event like this. Such is the case here as the new future-profiling Inhuman is seen by Magneto as a further threat to mutantkind from the Inhumans. Now the Master of Magnetism is preparing to go to war against a kingdom for the sake of his people. Or is it just for his own glory? This is coming to us from “Magneto” and current “Uncanny X-Men” writer Cullen Bunn, so it’s not an unfair question considering his take on the character. Regardless of my feelings about the core event series, I’ll be picking this miniseries up when it’s collected.
Vote Loki #1: This current presidential election cycle has been quite… unconventional, to say the least. So the fact that we’re getting a [one-shot(?), ongoing(?)] about Marvel’s resident trickster god running for the highest office in the land doesn’t faze me at all. In fact, it even seems like the next logical step here. As this is coming to us from “Dr. McNinja” writer Christopher Hastings, and artist Langdon Foss it’s likely going to be a good read. Hastings in particular seems well-suited for this kind of story. However, there’s no indication as to which party Loki will be trying to secure a nomination from. Surely the God of Lies isn’t so foolish to think that he can run as a third party candidate in this country? He’s just setting himself up for disappointment with that approach.
Howard the Duck #8: The solicitation text reads, “Howard finally goes home, but is there such a thing for him anymore?” You know, I didn’t think Chip Zdarsky (who’s still writing this series) could actually do maudlin. I mean, his style starts at “irreverent” and never clicks out of gear from there. Keep reading to see if he can actually demonstrate growth or if this series turns into a trainwreck of melodrama.
Star Wars: Han Solo #1 (of 5): You know, I’m honestly surprised it took us this long to get a miniseries about Han Solo from Marvel. I almost want to congratulate their restraint here. Anyway, the miniseries revolves around the scoundrel undertaking a secret mission for the Rebellion to rescue a number of informants and spies using an infamous starship race as cover. Problem is that Han has wanted to compete and win this race for most of his life, so things have just become exponentially more difficult for him. Marjorie Liu writes and Mark Brooks illustrates after years away from interior art with his (admittedly great) cover work. The first volume of Liu’s “Monstress” will be out before this volume is collected, so I’ll have a better idea of how excited I should be for this miniseries after I read it.
Avengers: Standoff HC: The event before “Civil War II” gets collected just in time for everyone to get caught up. Here we have S.H.I.E.L.D.’s latest questionable plan of action preparing to blow up right in its face, and those of several Avengers teams along with three men who have been Captain America at different points in their lives. Man, that S.H.I.E.L.D. Can’t they do anything right? You’d think that someone would’ve disbanded them long ago, but a competent international peacekeeping force would be anathema to drama in the Marvel Universe. So they’ll keep doing questionable things and the heroes will be on hand to clean things up when they go wrong. It’s a vicious cycle that has resulted in a decently priced collection at 384 pages for $35.
Inhumans/X-Men: War of Kings Omnibus: In case you missed it the first time around, it now comes with extra “Emperor Vulcan.” The saga of the third Summers Brother is captured almost in full here as this omnibus collects the Abnett/Lanning event, but the Ed Brubaker-written “Rise and Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire” arc from “Uncanny X-Men” and “X-Men: Kingbreaker” miniseries that set it up. It’s all good reading and while the cover price for this is $100, you’re getting over 1,300 pages of comic books for that amount.
The Vision vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man: In which the title character settles down, builds himself a family, and tries his best to be ordinary. Being an incredibly powerful synthetic being, now with similarly powerful wife and kids, in the Marvel Universe you can probably guess how well that’s going to go. While no one was really clamoring for a Vision solo series, word-of-mouth has it that writer Tom King has delivered something really special here. So special that DC snapped him up as an exclusive writer soon after this series started. King will be seeing this series through to its end with issue #12, though, and I’ll be interested in seeing how much of the hype is justified with this first volume.
The Ultimates: Omniversal vol. 1 -- Start With the Impossible: With Hickman taking a break from Marvel for the foreseeable future, where can people who liked his big ideas on an epic scale go for their fix? How about this Al Ewing-written series that has the title team trying to solve the problem of Galactus once and for all and trying to solve the whole “spacetime is broken” business that Bendis started all those years ago. Normally I’d be wary of a writer trying to pick up on threads like this, but Ewing did the near-impossible in providing a worthy follow up to Kieron Gillen’s “Journey Into Mystery” with his “Loki: Agent of Asgard” series. I’m willing to give him a shot to see if he can make lightning strike twice with this title here.
Starbrand & Nightmask: Eternity’s Children (Attend University): Speaking of Hickman, while his takes on the two characters here worked well in the context of the story he was telling, I don’t think that anyone was really clamoring for them to have their own series. Even one from “Gargoyles” and “Kanan: The Last Padawan” writer Greg Weisman. Yet we got one anyway and it lasted all of six issues. Still, the idea of cosmic superheroes trying to fit in at college sounds like a fun idea and one that’s right up the writer’s alley. Even if a successful ongoing series was too much to ask from these niche characters, maybe a collected edition of their adventures will allow them some measure of cult success.