Miles Morales: Spider-Man vol. 1 -- Straight Out of Brooklyn
While Miles Morales has been written by other people in the past, his solo adventures were exclusively handled by co-creator Brian Michael Bendis prior to his departure from Marvel to DC. This volume represents the first time another creator will be writing Miles’ solo adventures. So who’s the lucky person who gets to follow in Bendis’ footsteps? That’d be Saladin Ahmed, who’s best known for writing the “Black Bolt” solo series that got axed last year. While writing an “Inhumans” spinoff might not seem like the greatest recommendation, “Black Bolt” was a title that was beloved by critics -- it even managed to score an Eisner nomination -- and the fans that actually read it. This is encouraging even if the individual stories described in this collection, which involve the Rhino and his minions, Tombstone, and “Miles’ Day Off,” don’t sound immediately compelling. Also encouraging is that Javier Garron is providing the art as his work on “Spider-Man” and “IvX” showed that he’s got some serious artistic chops.
One thing working in Ahmed’s favor is that while Bendis did a great job establishing Miles as a character, he did this mainly by putting him through familiar “Spider-Man” stories. There’s yet to be a definitive “Miles Morales” story in comics to really set him apart from the other Spider-People in the Marvel Universe. If Ahmed can deliver that, then we all win.
War of the Realms: War Scrolls #3 (of 3): I’m not saying that the cover to this issue displays exactly what I want from this crossover… But it’s like 80% of the way there. Does it have any relation to the actual contents of the issue? Well, the solicitation text mentions that the Kingpin joins the fight for New York. So it’s not like that cover is misrepresenting the contents of the issue. It’s just that if artist Alan Davis had replaced the Kingpin with Thor, then he’d have got to 100% in my book.
Superior Spider-Man #’s 7-8: To no-one’s surprise, this series is also tying into “War of the Realms.” Why? Because Otto Octavius took one look at the conflict and figured he could solve it single-handedly. Almost single-handedly since this issue indicates that he’s going to have to team up with the West Coast Avengers in order to do it. Which means that he’ll be butting heads with the one character in the Marvel Universe who’s almost as arrogant as he is: Quentin Quire. While I think that such a meeting would have the two mixing like oil and water, the solicitation text for #8 describes them as BFFs… Yeah, I’m going to have to start buying this series to see how this is going to play out.
Silver Surfer: Black #1 (of 5): While the title may make you think that we’re getting a darker, edgier take on the title character, it sounds like we’re getting a much trippier one. It turns out that in the current “Guardians of the Galaxy” series, Norrin Radd was thrown into a black hole. Now he’s got to fight his way out of oblivion courtesy of writer Donny Cates and artist Tradd Moore. Most of what Cates has done for Marvel has been pretty good, but Moore’s presence really seals the deal for me here. After his work on the “Luther Strode” trilogy and the first volume of “All-New Ghost Rider,” the artist has shown that he has an unparalleled skill for displaying over-the-top action and insanity. Showing us what happens to the Surfer when he’s inside a black hole seems like the perfect excuse for the artist to go completely off his chain.
Incredible Hulk: Last Call #1 & Wolverine: Exit Wounds #1: Two one-shots which feature some great creators working on some of the characters most closely associated with them. The “Hulk” one-shot features Peter David and Dale Keown giving us a story about a Bruce Banner who is just plain tired of his life’s situation, until the fight of a lifetime for the Hulk comes along. The “Wolverine” one-shot has two of Ol’ Canucklehead’s most well-known writers, Chris Claremont and Larry Hama, giving us some new stories with the character featuring art from Salvador Larroca and Sam Keith. While the “getting the band back together” approach has some appeal to a longtime fan like me, you’ve probably already guess that I’m probably going to pass on picking these up. Unless they’re offered together with some equally compelling content in an upcoming collection.
Age of X-Man: Apocalypse and the X-Tracts #4 (of 5): From the solicitation text: “You think this ‘A’ on my forehead stands for ‘America?’” I see what you did there Tim. Well played.
Conan the Barbarian vol. 1: The Life and Death of Conan Book One: Jason Aaron is a great writer and a huge fan of “Conan.” That’s reason enough for me to be excited about seeing him take on the character, regardless of how Marvel plans to exploit publishing his new adventures in comics. This volume also features art from Mahmud Asrar and Gerardo Zaffino, and their presence is a plus too. The only big question mark I have for this volume is regarding what it’s going to be about since its subtitle manages the trick of telling you everything and nothing all at once. Fortunately the solicitation text is a little more helpful as it mentions that Conan will be going up against an all-new foe, the Crimson Witch. (No evil kids yet, but I’m sure Aaron will get around to doing a storyline about them before long.) So there’s that, which means that I’ll likely be going into this volume mostly blind about what to expect. Something I’d like to go into more volumes expecting, actually.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man vol. 1: Secrets and Rumors: While I wasn’t looking to add another “Spider-Man” title to my reading list, this one comes from “All-New Wolverine” writer Tom Taylor. That’s a good recommendation even before you toss in the fact that this first volume features art from Juann Cabal, who illustrated the best story in Taylor’s run, “Orphans of X,” and further demonstrated his incredible talent in the first volume of X-23’s new series. These are creators I’m willing to open my wallet for, though the fact that Cabal looks to be taking some time off after this volume doesn’t really give me a good reason to stick around past this one. Unless those “Secrets and Rumors” turn out to be really interesting.
Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham: The Complete Collection vol. 1: Yes, I realize that the only reason we’re getting this collection now is because of “Spider-Verse.” I’m still more surprised that the film’s success prompted a collection of both “Spider-Man: Noir” miniseries.
Marvels: Eye of the Camera: The original “Marvels” series was a self-contained work that wasn’t crying out for a sequel at all. That said, Marvel being Marvel wasn’t about to turn down a sequel co-written by original writer Kurt Busiek. The end result, featuring co-writer Roger Stern and new artist Jay Anacleto, turned out to be… Well, I really have no idea. This sequel series came and went without making much of a blip on the comics-reading landscape. Which means that it’s clearly not as good as the original, nor a “Dark Knight Strikes Again”-level misstep. Where does it fall on the quality spectrum? I’m honestly kind of curious to find out now…