Now, on to the main event. But first: An editorial.
I know Marvel scored big with its movie announcements, promises of Winter Soldier, Falcon, and more Thanos (and, remarkably, still no talk of Avengers 2). But on the comic book front, their panels were underwhelming and underinformative. And why, with all these movies, do they never mention comic books? Why is there no kid-holding-a-comic in a Marvel movie? Why no advertising their print line in a little during-the-credits bump? I actually though Jonah Hex—a terrible movie by any standard—did one thing right: In the opening credits, his origin was told using panels from the comic book.
Here’s my fear: Marvel’s A-List talent either goes to the screen where the money is (see: Brian Michael Bendis, Jeph Loeb, Joe Casey, others) or decides to go indie (see: Ed Brubaker, Paolo Rivera, Matt Fraction), and Marvel starts giving away its comics like pamphlets used to promote movies. Kinda like what Mark Millar is basically doing, writing 5-issue comic storyboards for films.
Marvel: Remember who made you (and, frankly, who keeps making you—without comic fans and bloggers, you’re toast). Invest, promote, and produce the best comic books. Like you always have, frankly.
I guess I’m just nervous.
Hit the break to find out what’s news for Marvel’s properties…
MARVEL NOW! Marvel announced that the “616 black Nick Fury” a.k.a. Nick Fury, Jr., a.k.a. “let’s make a Nick Fury that the guys who saw the movie will relate to even though the guys who read the comics completely understand that the movie isn’t the comic” will be a critical player in the new Marvel Now! Universe. In other pandering news, future movie stars Nova, Rocket Raccoon and Ant Man will also play major roles, with Rocky joining an Avengers team. And Cable will be important too, because guys with massive guns are cool.
MARVEL THEN! (i.e., the cancellations to come from Marvel Now!). Marvel revealed that as part of its rebranding (i.e., slapping on #1s) of its major titles, it will cancel nine titles: Captain America, Fantastic Four, FF, Incredible Hulk, Invincible Iron Man, New Mutants, The Mighty Thor, Uncanny X-Men and X-Men Legacy. The only real surprise here is the cancellation of New Mutants and Fantastic Four. We all already knew that Matt Fraction was leaving Iron Man and Thor, that the X-Men were getting new titles to replace some existing ones, and that Hickman would be a major part of it all (hence the cancellation of FF). We also knew Brubaker was leaving Cap, who currently has three regular books a month (including Winter Soldier, which is really about Bucky Cap). But Fantastic Four is the oldest Marvel title with its original numbering. I like seeing numbers in the 700s—I’m sad to see all these #1s coming along. Makes me feel less a part of something big and legendary. But I recognize I’m in the minority on this, and that #1s sell books.
DEAPOOL: THE COMIC. Daniel Way is quitting as the writer. Finally! Don’t let the door hit you in the ass, dude.
WOLVERINE: MAX #1. It’s coming in October, written by a crime novelist (Jason Starr).
AVENGERS VERSUS X-MEN FALLOUT. Two new titles announced…
- A+X. Joe Quesada promoted this new post-AvX title, with a creative team of Jeph Loeb, Dan Slott, Dale Keown and Ron Garney, and a cover for issue #1 featuring Iceman, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Warbird, Falcon and Doop. While including Doop will be nice, do we really need another Spider-Man book? I’m assuming this is some kind of post-AvX team up of mutants and non-mutants book. If that means neat little done-in-one (or two) stories like the great ones we’ve seen in Avenging Spider-Man, I’m all for it.
- AvX: Consequences. Some kind of wrap-up book. Because Marvel hates to put a period at the end of a sentence if there’s still money on the table. It’ll be 5 issues, with writing by Kieron Gillen and art by Dale Eaglesham, among others.
A-BABIES VS. X-BABIES. The only question: Will this suck as hard as X-Babies did? I hope not, because Marvel’s done some very good, very funny kid-type books (Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius and Mini Marvels come to mind). The cover is awesome, anyway….
PUNISHER WAR ZONE. The underrated Greg Rucka/Marco Checcetto team will take on a Punisher 5-issue miniseries. The regular book will be cancelled. Storywise, it’s basically Avengers vs. Punisher. Frankly (pun intended), if the Avengers can fight the entire X-Men, how is it that one unpowered human causes them 5 issues worth of trouble? As ridiculous as the premise may be, though, I’m still looking forward to it. Also, Thomas Jane has returned as Frank Castle in this 10 minute film, “Dirty Laundry,” which features Ron Perlman.
IRON HULK. As part of Marvel Now! the Hulk is getting armor. Because it didn’t suck enough when they did this to Spider-Man.
RED SHE HULK. Make it stop. Please.
DAREDEVIL: END OF DAYS. Long promised, this miniseries by Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack, Bill Sienkiewicz and Klaus Janson (4 of the top 10 Daredevil creators of all time) will arrive in stores in October. It will be a “possible future” story about an investigation by Ben Urich into the murder of Daredevil. Elektra, Kingpin and Bullseye will appear, along with the many women who have slept with Matt Murdock (he’s the Captain Kirk of the Marvel U). The series is being compared to Frank Miller’s “Batman: Dark Knight Returns” based on the fact that it is an alternate future and it’s very, very dark. I am so excited to see this…
THE RUNAWAYS. Kinda. Some of the characters, who recently made a solid appearance in the wonderful Avengers Academy comic, will be featured in a new ongoing series coming in September. No word on the creative team.
ULTIMATE IRON MAN. I have to say that I found Orson Scott Card’s Ultimate Iron Man series terrific. It doesn’t much recognition, though. The character is returning in October with a miniseries by Nathan Edmondson–the creator of last year’s Eisner-nominated, Who Is Jake Ellis?—in his Marvel comic. It will feature the first appearance of Ultimate Mandarin. This may actually get me to buy an Ultimates comic other than Spider-Man.
MARVEL ON THE BIG SCREEN!
THE FALCON: THE MOVIE! Well, not quite. But the sequel to Captain America, subtitled “Winter Soldier,” will feature Falcon and it looks like he might be played by Anthony “Hurt Locker, Gangster Quad” Mackie. Perfect casting. Strangely, though, Ed Brubaker seemed not to know a damn thing about a movie based on a character that he created. (Much as Jim Starlin had no idea Thanos was going to appear in The Avengers, I guess.) This is yet another indication of how little Marvel respects its talent.
CAPTAIN AMERICA 2. In other Cap 2 news, it will be directed by the guys who direct the TV show Community—the best show on TV—and Sebastian Stan, who played Bucky in the first film, won’t be CHANG-ed for the sequel. That’s a Community joke.
THE FANTASTIC FOUR MOVIE. It’s not a Marvel Studios film (which is a good thing, as Marvel Studios will only produce 2 movies a year!), and it will be directed by Josh Trank. He did Chronicle, an extremely dark pseudodocumentary about two kids who get powers. Not a fan. It will be written by Jeremy Slater, who has never had a script made into a movie. Not that any of that means it will be bad, but it does indicate a lack of studio support.
IRON MAN 3. We’ve been told no Hulk appearance, and that Tony Stark will wrestle with his “inner demons.” I’m probably one of the few fans who hopes they DO NOT do Demon in a Bottle. I’m not interested in a dark, introspective Iron Man movie. Remember: Nobody liked Ang Lee’s dark, introspective Hulk movie. Except me. But I recognize that it wasn’t a good idea to tell that story as a Hulk movie. Supermovies need to be big and blowing up. Now, if they were to do a TV special or an indie film for Demon in a Bottle and make sure that everyone knows in advance not to expect a big, kid-friendly blowout, I’d be all for that….
DAREDEVIL. David Slade dropped out as director, which may mean that the rights will revert back to Marvel Studios. On the one hand, that would be great because Marvel does a damn good job with its movie line. On the other hand, their slate is completely full through 2014, so it would mean no Daredevil movie any time soon.
MARVEL ON THE LITTLER SCREEN!
DEADPOOL: THE GAME. The comic book that used to be good but sucks now but might get better now that Daniel Way is leaving (long after he ran out of ideas) will become a videogame that everyone will want to play, especially since there’s no movie on the horizon….
MARVEL UNIVERSE ACTION FIGURES. I don’t usually write about the high-quality Hasbro line of action figures, but the next line-up features my favorite Inhuman (Karnak the Shatterer), as well as Black Bolt and Medusa, Psylocke, Iron Fist (in his white outfit), Squadron Supreme’s Hyperion, Hit Monkey, Longshot(!), Paper-Bag Spider-Man (from when he lost his outfit and Human Torch gave him a Fantastic Four spandex and a bag on his head—God I miss Steve Ditko), Blastaar the Living Bomburst, Baby Cyclops, and Shrulk (Red She Hulk)—among others. Oh, and a very cool Anti-Venom. I wish I was a little lad again.
AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES. Jeph Loeb, one the head muckitymucks for Marvel Studios Animation, announced that the now-cancelled, terrific Avengers cartoon will actually be in continuity with the Avengers cartoon that is replacing it. Cartoons are really designed to bring a kid audience into comicdom—even though these days they’re probably watched by as many adults as children. So, why does continuity matter? And might it not serve to alienate new viewers? Anyway, Loeb also promised an “epic” conclusion to the fan-favorite cartoon. Personally, I think the word “epic” is thrown around far too often these days.
SPIDER HAM. Marvel’s other current cartoon is also wonderful, and an upcoming episode of Ultimate Spider-Man will feature Peter Parker turned into Peter Porker…by Loki…I wonder if they’re gonna give some credit to Walt Simonson, who did this first with Frog Thor…