Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #1 (of 5)
I’ve heard of “Warhammer” over the years, of which “40,000” is its future sci-fi version, yet I’ve never really had a reason to really take an interest in it. Until now, as you may have guessed. That’s because in acquiring the “Warhammer” license from Games Workshop, Marvel has secured the talents of one of its superfans to write this inaugural miniseries and showrun the whole operation. The superfan in this case is none other than Kieron Gillen. As he’s a writer who routinely delivers on all of his projects, I’ll certainly follow him to the sci-fi wildlands of “Warhammer 40,000.” As for anyone who’s wondering who this Marneus Calgar is: He’s the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines and living legend within the universe of the game. As for how he became such a legend, that’s the story that Gillen and artist Jacen Burrows are going to tell. The solicitation doesn’t give us much to go on beyond the fact that Marneus is going to face a threat from his past, but when said past is said to include campaigns in something called the Black Crusades, it’s a safe bet to assume that whatever’s coming after him means business.
Amazing Spider-Man #50: Yes, Marvel is going for the double-anniversary bump after last month’s “Amazing” #850 reverts back to regular numbering for the 50th issue of this current run. However, this issue is advertised as the kick-off to the next major story in writer Nick Spencer’s run, “Last Remains,” which will apparently see Spidey finally (FINALLY) face the wrath of overly mysterious villain Kindred. It’s also worth noting that like the last big event storyline this title had, “Hunted,” we’ll also be getting tie-in issues with the “LR” sub-number. On board to help Spencer write these is Matthew Rosenberg, who has shown with his “X-Men” work and “4 Kids Walk Into A Bank” that he’s got the sense of humor that’ll work well on a “Spider-Man” title. I’ve enjoyed Spencer’s run so far, and I’m hoping this will be a good payoff for it. If it isn’t and the writer winds up having to leave town because of it, then Rosenberg would make for a pretty good replacement.
Spider-Man #5 (of 5): Marvel seems pretty confident that this final issue to the J.J. & Henry Abrams, and Sara Pichelli series is going to come out one month after the fourth one. We shall see about that…
Fantastic Four #25: There’s a lot going on in this anniversary issue. What with Victorious showing up in New York to put the moves on the Human Torch, a new character known as the Helmsman, and a special appearance by Doctor Doom. What I’m most interested in, for a change, is the new artist joining the title with this issue. R.B. Silva really knocked it out of the park illustrating “Powers of X” and I was looking forward to seeing him get more high-profile work after that. It may have taken a while, but this could be that bigger break for him.
Empyre: The Fantastic Four and the Avengers choose sides in a conflict that sees… angry tree aliens heading to take over the Earth? Has writer Al Ewing let the success of “Immortal Hulk” go to his head? Is he being puppeted by co-plotter Dan Slott? Are the two of them working under the idea that people will buy ANY Marvel event series because it’s an event, regardless of how silly the premise sounds? I’m betting on the latter, though it’s honestly pretty gratifying to see Ewing being handed the brass ring like this after years of solid work on great titles that no one bought. If he wants to write an event series about tree aliens that come to attack the Earth, then more power to him. More power to Valerio Schiti for having the guts to draw something like this, and to Pepe Larraz, R.B. Silva, and Sean Izaakse for pitching in. I’ll be picking this up for sure because I did buy some of those great-yet-under-read series that Ewing wrote and I’ve got faith he’s got a great plan for this.
Empyre: X-Men: Meanwhile, over in the “X-Men’s” neck of the woods, most of the current X-writing staff is pitching in for this four-issue tie-in miniseries. Aside from Jonathan Hickman, the credited writers consist of Gerry Duggan, Tini Howard, Benjamin Percy, and Leah Williams. Why did it take five writers to write this series? Because that’s what a plant-driven story about the Scarlet Witch (unintentionally) raising the former inhabitants of Genosha as zombies demands. Part of me hopes that the writers are treating this as a round-robin exercise in storytelling ala “Spider-Man: Full Circle.” A crazy-sounding story like this certainly deserves an equally crazy approach to how it’s written.
Thor by Donny Cates vol. 1: The Devourer King: It takes guts to try and follow up a run as long-running and successful as Jason Aaron’s was on “Thor.” Fortunately, that’s a quality I know Cates has in spades. As for what new threat that he and new artist Nic Klein are going to put the God of Thunder up against, all we know is that it’s called The Black Winter and it allows someone to glimpse the means of their demise. That sounds pretty threatening, as does the subtitle to this volume given that there’s only one other threat in the Marvel Universe that’s known as the Devourer…
Wolverine by Benjamin Percy vol. 1: Because I’m never not up for a good story involving the Ol’ Canucklehead. Especially if it’s illustrated by Adam Kubert. As to how excited I am for this volume… I’ll get back to you on that after I’ve read the first volume of its writer’s run on “X-Force.”
Hellions by Zeb Wells vol. 1: After “Fallen Angels” crashed and burned with its first arc, Wells and artist Steven Segovia take up the mantle of the title meant to unite the oddball residents of Krakoa. Which is why we’ve got Havok, Psylocke, Scalphunter, Wild Child, Empath, Nanny, and Orphan-Maker all on one team. Their job: Working for Mister Sinister (by cleaning up his messes). It’s a premise that sounds like it’s fully embracing Murphy’s Law, so I’m all for giving it a shot. Unless word gets back to me that this is just “Fallen Angels Redux…”
X-Men by Jonathan Hickman vol. 2: Vol. 1 wasn’t what I was expecting, but I liked regardless of that. Vol. 2 looks to promise more of the same kind of short stories as we learn about what the Crucible of Krakoa is, witness the return of the spacebound New Mutants, and see how the Summers family deals with their new lunar neighbors in a tie-in to “Empyre.” Lenil Yu returns to draw most of these stories while the very talented Mahmud Asrar joins in to pick up the slack. This should all make for another good read, even if it is just more table setting for future storylines.
Star Wars vol. 1: The Destiny Path & Star Wars: Darth Vader by Greg Pak vol. 1: Dark Heart of the Sith: The “Star Wars” comics move into the “Empire Strikes Back” era with these two volumes. Rather than take a look in the mirror, Vader decides to track down those who he thinks are responsible for turning his son against him. Meanwhile, Luke, Leia, Chewie, C3P-0 and R2-D2 are still reeling from the loss of Han Solo and their narrow escape from the Empire. Even if the Galaxy’s Greatest Scoundrel is out of the picture, new writer Charles Soule is bringing its Smoothest Smuggler to the table as Lando Calrissian joins the main cast. Neither of these titles may have launched with the fanfare of their original Marvel runs, but I’m expecting good things from Pak and Soule after their work on other “Star Wars” titles. Particularly in Soule’s case since it looks like he’s been working his way towards writing “Star Wars” proper for years now.