Since DC recently had a creative summit, Marvel had to at least match them by just having one too. While there’s still a lot of rumors that will likely be dripping out from these meetings over the next few weeks, one from the Marvel side of things caught my eye. It turns out that (at least one of) Marvel’s big events for 2014 will be “Avengers vs. The Ultimates.” Not only will this be the first large-scale clash between the two universes, it’s also said that this will mark the end of the Ultimate one as a publishing concern. Does this bother me? No, because it’s hard to get worked up about something you’ve seen coming for quite some time finally happen like this. If I’m going to make one prediction, it’s that Miles Morales and his family will likely make it into the regular Marvel Universe more or less intact. Yeah, I know. THAT’S an obvious one too, as will the fact that he’ll still be written by Bendis... for a little while. With the universe ending, I also have a feeling that the writer may see that the writing on the wall has come for his time with the character and decide to pass the reins over to someone else. That’s less likely, but still within the realm of possibility.
Age of Ultron: #’s 7&8 (of 10): One other storyline rumored to be spinning out from this event is “The Death of Wolverine.” Potential causes for this involve Ol’ Canucklehead finally going too far and needing to be put down, or having his healing factor pushed to the limit by the time-travel shenanigans of this event. I hear all this and go, “Really?” DC let Grant Morrison “kill” Batman in “Final Crisis” but there was no real drama to it because you couldn’t suspend disbelief for a second that he wouldn’t be brought back almost immediately. Same goes here, though they couldn’t title it “The Death of Wolverine” because there’s already a collection of the same name out there. It collects one of Jason Aaron’s best stories involving the character and a very misguided story from Marc Guggenheim involving the re-adjustment of his healing factor. That’s worth picking up if you can’t find Aaron’s story by itself.
Avengers #11: From the solicitation text, “Cannonball and Sunspot play craps with a bunch of AIM Agents. AND WIN!” Now this is the right way to build interest in an upcoming issue. They could’ve just said that they lose, which would lead to more fighting, but now I want to know what they’ve won. It could be something as simple as bullets, propelled at dangerously high speeds towards them, or the A.I.M. scientists could give them some special scientific knowledge that benefits all of mankind... until it doesn’t. So yeah, all of these outcomes essentially lead to the same destination (punching, kicking) but winning strikes me as the more interesting way of getting there.
Iron Man #’s 258.1-258.4: Billed as “Armor Wars 2” from writer David Micheline and artist Bob Layton, part of the team that brought you the original “Armor Wars” way back in the day. If I recall, the original “Armor Wars 2” was done by John Byrne and had very little connection to what continues to stand as one of the definitive “Iron Man” stories. Now they’re back to give you a proper sequel to it just in time for the new movie. What’s it going to be about besides simply being a sequel? WE HAVE NO CLUE!
Kick-Ass 3 #1 (of 8): This is billed as the last-ever Kick-Ass story. One can only hope.
Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero HC: From the screenwriter of the movie with Guillermo Del Toro’s hands-on supervision. If this does ship in May, then Marvel will have timed this just right to appeal to people interested in the movie. Plus, if the movie is as good as I’m expecting it to be then you’ll have a whole new audience of people ready to snap it up after seeing it. We’ll see if it works out as well as they’ve planned it.
Marvel 1602 10th Anniversary Edition: Ten years already? This just makes me feel old(er). In case this is unfamiliar to you, “1602” was Neil Gaiman’s first major work for the publisher after hitting it big with “Sandman.” While there was a lot of speculation about what the title “1602” meant before it hit the stands, it turned out that was just the year the story took place. It essentially involved nearly all of Marvel’s characters re-imagined to exist in the Elizabethan/Jacobian era of England and why that happened in the first place. Most of it worked out very well as many of the characters (Nick Fury, Daredevil, Black Widow, Dr. Doom, and Thor -- with the nature of his existence being the book’s high point for me) proved to be quite adaptable to the setting. Others (well, really only the X-Men)... not so much. Even if it didn’t add up to much in the long run, it was still a lot of fun and featured some very impressive art from Andy Kubert with digital painting from Richard Isanove. I’m not sure I’d say you should rush out and buy this hardcover, but it’s worth checking out in paperback.
Wolverine: First Cuts: Yes, I realize that Marvel wants to get even more material featuring the character out ahead of the move, but to put out a collection that only gives you HALF of the original Claremont/Miller series? That makes this the equivalent of those teaser issues the company puts out to hype upcoming storylines in the hopes of getting you to buy them. Why buy those when you can just wait to see if the story is any good? Avoid this like the plague.
Ultimate Comics X-Men by Brian Wood vol. 1: Uh... this is actually the next five issues of his run after the six he did for the “Divided We Fall, United We Stand” crossover. Sooooooooo... I guess I will have to pick up that collection and the issues of “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” it didn’t collect before I get this.
Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman vol. 6, Invincible Iron Man vol. 11: The Future, Punisher: Enter the War Zone: All of these are wrapping up acclaimed runs by Hickman, Matt Fraction and Greg Rucka, respectively. I’m expecting great things from all of them too.