Instead of doing a line-wide relaunch and rebooting the continuity for (nearly) all of its titles as DC did last year, Marvel is going with a different approach. The “Marvel NOW!” initiative has them doing a rolling relaunch where a new #1 issue for a major title and from an A-list creative team (though that’s a relatively subjective topic these days) debuts every week for the next few months. It would appear that Marvel wants to keep the relaunch momentum going for as long as they possibly can, and on one level I have to admire their chutzpah for doing so after some of these titles were only relaunched a year or two ago. (Relaunches for the other “Avengers” titles and “Uncanny X-Men” haven’t been announced, but rumor has it that they’re in the offing.) I’m sure this “never ending relaunch” will be big for a while, but it appears that we’ve well and truly reached the point where a title can’t sustain itself without some kind of relaunch at some point. Or, unless it happens to be really good -- like Mark Waid’s “Daredevil.” Man that first volume was worth the wait!
New Avengers #31: This issue’s art comes from Michael Gaydos, best known around here as the artist on Bendis’ “Alias,” which introduced us to Jessica Jones and is probably the best thing the writer has done in the mainstream Marvel Universe. Though that title wrapped up several years ago, the writer and artist have teamed up a few times since then, for the last arc of “The Pulse” and some of the “Secret Invasion” tie-in issues for “New Avengers,” and have done a good job of recapturing the magic from that title each time. No, really. I’m surprised that they’ve been as successful as they have with their post-”Alias” collaborations. Gaydos’ presence here indicates that this should be another such return, though the solicitation text makes no mention of Jessica or Luke Cage. Let’s hope the magic continues even if it isn’t another return to the well.
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #16 & #16.1: The former is being drawn by “TBD” while the latter is by, I guess you could call him “reoccurring” artist as opposed to “regular,” David Marquez. Remember when this title had the most consistent art on the stands? Me too. Those were good times.
Daredevil: End of Days #1 (of 8): This has been a long, LONG time in coming. How long? Remember when Marvel started putting out a series of mini-series and one-shots titled “The End” which showed how various characters from the Punisher, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four would face their last days? Well, this is a hangover from that time. It also had the good fortune to be almost completely forgotten about these past few years because it comes off as a pleasant surprise rather than something that should’ve been delivered years ago. This is being co-written by Bendis with David Mack which strikes me as an odd collaboration. I know that the two are buddies from their indie days, but Mack’s contributions to the character haven’t been as definitive as his co-writer’s. They consist of: writing “Pieces of a Hole” and introducing us to Echo, providing the art for Bendis’ first story “Wake Up,” and writing and drawing “Echo: Vision Quest” a lukewarmly-received solo project featuring the character that allowed Bendis and Alex Maleev to take a few months off during their acclaimed run. I’m more inclined to think “Why him?” and not someone like Ed Brubaker who had a much longer run with the character. We’ll probably never know, and I think I’ll wait for the reviews to filter in before I make a decision about whether to pick this up.
Wolverine MAX #1: Another mature-readers series featuring the character and written by the guy who did Vertigo Crime’s “The Chill?” NO THANK YOU!
Brilliant vol. 1: It’s the first creator-owned title from Bendis and his longest “Ultimate Spider-Man” artist Mark Bagley. Here, smart college kids crack the formula to unlocking superpowers. The rest of the solicitation text feels like hyperbole. I’m always up for some creator-owned Bendis material and his announcement that he’s going to be dialing back his superhero writing to focus on stuff like this in the next year is welcome news. That said, I’m still hoping to see more “Powers” in the future. To be perfectly honest, I’m still not convinced that the new “Powers: The Bureau” series is going to launch at all given Bendis and Michael Oeming’s dismal track record with producing the series over the past year and the fact that they’re already committed to “Takio” as well.
Spider-Men HC: This may be the “AMAZING SPIDER-MAN EVENT OF THE YEAR” but no title is good enough to get me to pay $25 for five issues of content. Now if Garth Ennis wants to write more “Punisher” or Grant Morrison makes a surprise return to the “X-Men” then we’ll talk. But not before then!