Thursday, June 19, 2008

Marvelously Unsolicited Opinions

A day late and several dollars short, here's my take on the Marvel Comics for September.
Written by DAN SLOTT
Pencils & Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR.
Monkey Variant by MIKE MCKONE
It's the Spider-Fight of the century: SPIDER-MAN versus VENOM versus ANTI-VENOM! Who will be the last web-slinger standing? The guy with radioactive spider-blood? The man with the original symbiote? Or...hold on...just who or what is Anti-Venom anyway?! Also: a regular Spidey cast member falls prey to Menace! And Aunt May sees a suspiciously secret side of the F.E.A.S.T. center...
32 PGS./Rated A ...$2.99

Um...isn't the Anti-Venom just Spider-Man? Since Venom is the anti-Spider-Man? Seems like this ends up like Zibarro, the Bizarro Bizarro, where he's basically Superman (though strangely minus powers, apparently).

Written by Zeb Wells
Pencils & Cover by Angel Medina
When a man claiming to be the Sin-Eater -- the serial killer tormenting Spider-Man and all New York City -- contacts the young Eddie Brock at the Daily Globe, Eddie takes his shot at career-making news. Who cares if the story’s full of holes? Watch the corruption that poisons Eddie’s soul until it’s as black as a certain alien symbiote...and witness the creation of one of Spider-Man’s great foes! By writer Zeb Wells (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and artist Angel Medina (SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN)!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

A Venom origin miniseries? One, why is this necessary? After all, his origin has already been told and is available in TPB form. Two, why is this coming out now, as opposed to during the lead-up to "Spider-Man 3"?

BIG HERO 6 #1 (of 6)
Pencils, Cover & Variant Cover by DAVID NAKAYAMA
The astonishing return of Big Hero Six! Who, you ask? Why none other than Japan’s top heroes, defending the land of the rising sun in the name of the Emperor! Come join Hiro (the smartest boy in Japan), Baymax (his trusty robot companion), Honey Lemon (with her all-containing handbag), Gogo Tomago (somersaulting into an unstoppable energy ball)... plus, who are the Six’s two new members? When unknown super-villains strike Tokyo, BH6 is on the scene, and the stage is set for new adventure and a new series!
48 PGS./Rated A ...$3.99

Awww, Chris Claremont's trying to be Grant Morrison. It's almost cute.

Penciled by ANDREA DI VITO
The biggest House of M story is finally revealed: how did Magneto take over the world? He began life as a penniless refugee, but rose to conquer the entire planet...and now Christos Gage (Thunderbolts, House of M: Avengers) and Andrea Di Vito (Annihilation) show you how the Master of Magnetism did it! Witness Magneto's first battle with the Sentinels...the tragic end of his marriage...and his fight against Apocalypse for leadership of all mutants! The secret history of the
House of M unfolds here!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

A "House of M" tie-in, three years and three universe-wide events after "House of M." I think this comic may have missed the boat a little. Unless there are actually people nostalgic about "House of M" at this point.

And there, I think I just threw up a little.

Man, the Zombie Variant covers are gonna be ROXXORZ!MARVEL APES #1 & 2 (of 4)
Written by KARL KESEL
Pencils by RAMON BACHS
Variant Cover For Marvel Apes #1 by RAMON BACHS
Variant Cover For Marvel Apes #2 by PHIL JIMENEZ
Flingin' feces, True Believer-- the entire Marvel Universe has gone APE!
Just when he thinks life can't get any worse or weirder, Marty Blank – a.k.a. that lovable loser, the Gibbon -- finds himself and the brilliant-and-beautiful Dr. Fiona Fitzhugh transported to a world where monkeys rule and humans don't exist!
SEE the spectacular simian city of Monkhattan!
MEET the hominoid heroes and villains – SPIDER-MONKEY! DOC OOK! IRON MANDRILL! SIMIAN TORCH! THE APE-VENGERS! And more!
THRILL to the return of Speedball!
CONTAINS No-Ads, as we are thrilled to present you backup tales exploring the Apeiverse!
LEARN the dark secret of the primate planet!
WORRY that the fate of the entire universe is in the hands of the Gibbon!
Not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story - just the most not-to-be-missed mini-series of the season! If you only buy one (well, two) comics this month about super-powered, intelligent apes-in-capes, it must be MARVEL APES!
40 PGS.(each)/ Rated T+ ...$3.99 (each)

Just so you don't think I'm being totally negative, I'm psyched about "Marvel Apes." Honest and true, if only because it features the Gibbon, who rocks. I just hope this goes more the way of "Marvel Monsters" than "Marvel Zombies;" I'd hate to see this run into the ground and pummeled into pulp.

Note to self: buy "JLApe" at convention.

Variant Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU
Sketch Variant Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU
EMBRACE CHANGE! With these words, the Skrulls have made their intentions clear but not everyone thinks they sound all that bad. Which heroes and icons are hell-bent on defending the Earth from the invasion, and who thinks a new era has dawned for mankind? The final double-page spread of this issue will send chills down your spine, and that is a promise!!
The blockbuster event of the year heads towards its shattering conclusion by Bendis and Yu.
32 PGS./Cardstock Cover/Rated T+ ...$3.99

"Secret Invasion" didn't really grab me until the third issue, but now I'm in it for the long haul. I'm curious what the Skrulls are offering that the world might consider...peaceful coexistence? This might end up being the shades-of-gray story that "Civil War" desperately wanted to be.

Pencils and Cover by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
The Secret Invasion hits Asgard...and Broxton, Oklahoma, isn't spared! As the Skrulls arrive and begin their massive assault on the Norse gods, Dr. Donald Blake has his hands full in a middle-school basement delivering a baby. Can Balder the Brave and Beta Ray Bill marshal Asgard's forces long enough, and fight back hard enough, to hold the line until the God of Thunder joins them? And can anybody survive the Skrull's secret weapon...?
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

I'm torn...I don't really want to get in the habit of buying "Secret Invasion" tie-in miniseries (after all, I have seven issues of "Civil War: Frontline" taking up valuable space on my kindling pile), but this boasts an appearance by Beta Ray Bill, fighting a legion of Skrulls in Asgard. If Volstagg were in the blurb, there's no way I'd be able to resist.

Um, Xavin? You've got something on your chin.RUNAWAYS #2
Written by TERRY MOORE
Pencils & Cover by HUMBERTO RAMOS
The kids are back in town, and LA will never be the same. They’ve set up new digs in Malibu, but will they be able to keep it from being destroyed the first day? The remains of Runaway Karolina’s alien race has come to Earth to get revenge for the millions who died on their homeworld. And they’re pointing their fingers at Karolina and Xavin. All this from comic legend Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, Echo) and superstar Humberto Ramos (X-MEN, SPIDER-MAN)!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

I'm not sure about the new "Runaways" series. The book hasn't been on time the same since Vaughan left, and while it's been late decent, it doesn't really feel like I can remember what's going on from issue to issue due to the incredible lag it's going anywhere. With what unpleasant things unpleasant things I've heard about Terry Moore recently, it seems like this might be a good time to drop the title.

And what is it with giving all the teen-friendly titles (this, "Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane") to Moore? There are other writers. I wouldn't mind seeing a Fred Van Lente "Runaways" myself.

Penciled by MARCO TURINI
Cover by GREG LAND
Monkey Variant by Paulo Siqueira
Meet Arachnophilia—she’s the kind of girl who always hoped the neighbors would describe her as “a quiet girl, who kept to herself”...right after she took out her homeroom with an automatic rifle. But now that this teenage outcast has found herself endowed with spider-like might just be looking up. Elsewhere, Ultimate Nick Fury learns why four astronauts returned to Earth transformed into something eerily familiar...and utterly fantastic. Meanwhile—Nighthawk takes this opportunity to make his dramatic return!
Part 3 (of 6)
32 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$2.99

Wait, so now "Squadron Supreme" is a parody of the Marvel Universe? When did that happen? Better yet, why?

At long last, Magik is returning to the Marvel Universe! But in what form will she return, and to whom will she owe her allegiance? In a touching tale of death and acceptance originally presented in X-MEN UNLIMITED #13, the X-Man Colossus continues to mourn the loss of his beloved sister, the telepathic mutant mystic known as Magik. Meanwhile, in a story from NEW X-MEN #37, Magik’s origin is explored — and her former master, the demon-lord Belasco returns! Fighting his way through hostile terrain and vicious demon hordes, Belasco will stop at nothing to wrest control of Limbo. But the evil sorceress standing in his way bears a striking resemblance to his former protégé. And finally, from X-MEN: DIVIDED WE STAND #2, Magik has indeed returned — but she’s trapped in Limbo, a slave to Belasco! Illyana yearns for her freedom and family, but she must find the lost pieces of her soul, the bloodstones, if she is to escape and defeat Belasco once and for all!
40 PGS./Must Have One-Shot/Rated T+ ...$3.99

I put it to you, True Believers: which character's return do you care less about, Magik or Archangel?

For me, it's gotta be Archangel, especially given the years they've spent trying to make Warren less of an angry cyborg Smurf.

That's it for solicits; what are your thoughts?


Jason said...

A few thoughts:

1. The only reason I'm happy about Marvel Apes is that it spurred DC to bring out a trade of JLApe. I actually hope that Marvel Apes is good, just that it doesn't sell. If it's a hit, we'll be up to our armpits in apes variants for the next six years.

2. Why are they turning over their teen titles to Terry Moore? Wouldn't it be smarter to give all of their younger skewing titles to a brain trust of Fred Van Lente, Jeff Parker, Paul Tobin & Dan Slott?

3. I always thought Squadron Supreme was supposed to be a satire on the JLA? Didn't Chaykin get the memo?

4. House of M - let it go Marvel, everyone else has...

5. Still no Essential Rom solicited, our long national nightmare continues....

Tom Foss said...

The only reason I'm happy about Marvel Apes is that it spurred DC to bring out a trade of JLApe.

When and where? There's a "DC Goes Ape" TPB in August, but it doesn't collect the JLApe annuals. Sadly.

Why are they turning over their teen titles to Terry Moore? Wouldn't it be smarter to give all of their younger skewing titles to a brain trust of Fred Van Lente, Jeff Parker, Paul Tobin & Dan Slott?

Touché, I think. Still, I'd like to see more variety on the "teen comics" front.

Still no Essential Rom solicited, our long national nightmare continues....

We've got to take it one month at a time, Jason.

CalvinPitt said...

There's a much better chance I would buy the House of M: Civil War thingie than the Marvel Apes. I just don't get what the big deal is about apes as far as entertainment value (in comics or elsewhere).

That being said, my chances of buying the House of M thing are next to zero, after I felt disappointed by House of M: Avengers (I think Gage tried to cram too many characters in it).

I always kind of thought of Carnage as the Anti-Venom. Spider-Man's a good guy, taking responsibility for mistakes he's made. Venom made mistakes, the Sin_Eater situation among them, but doesn't accept responsibility, and when given power uses it improperly while trying to excuse it. Carnage on the other hand, doesn't use his power responsibly, but doesn't try to rationalize what he's doing. They're all like funhouse mirror versions of each other.

All of which is a really long-winded way of saying we didn't need an "Anti-Venom".

Will Staples said...

I've gotta be honest, even as a Marvel-hating Johnny DC, from what I've seen Big Hero 6 appeals to me a whole lot more than Morrison's ideas. Perhaps it's because they actually have a history in the Marvel Universe whereas Morrison's characters are just gimmicks he plucked out of thin air.

Reggie White Jr. said...

Marvel Apes might have a Spider-Man that doesn't suck, which is reason enough for me to be interested in the title.

BTW, Tom nice blog. I checked it out a few weeks ago. Thought I'd start leaving comments now.

SallyP said...

Well, I'll be picking up Thor. That's probably about it, except for the Incredible Hercules and Ultimate Spider-Man. I...I just can't find it in me to care about Civil War, or the Skrulls anymore.