Let’s start with Original Sin: We’re about halfway done with Marvel’s early summer event by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato and that’s far enough in to pronounce it…A hoot. A good event. It’s not the kind of made-for-the-movies, high stakes drama of Civil War, and it’s not a big “everybody fight” like Siege, but that’s what makes it so good. Instead [SPOILERS AHEAD!], it groups together B-, C-, even D-list characters ranging from Winter Soldier and Punisher to Ego The Living Planet and The Mindless Ones. And it’s a murder mystery, but the real investigation isn’t into the murder but into the motive: Whose Uatu-owned secret was the most valuable to protect? Because really, who cares who killed The Watcher? What we really want to know is, what was important enough to hide that Watcher had to die?
And doing an event as a murder mystery with a very superhero noir bent is brilliant. Capes and the cosmos don’t usually lend themselves to shadows and darkness, but the choice of artist (Deodato did similar work with Captain America in the past) and writer (this is the brilliant Scalped/Southern Bastards Jason Aaron, not the commercial and less interesting Wolverine Jason Aaron) are pitch perfect.
It feels like an event that isn’t laden with all the “importance” of an event.
I also really like the way they are handling the tie-ins. When The Orb (who ever thought he’d be a major villain!) released Uatu’s secrets to the universe, all we saw were questions and reactions: Like Hulk wants to smash Stark and Captain America won’t talk about his secret. These will all be spin-off titles, but none of them are critical to understanding the main story. So if you don’t care about who Thor’s sister is (it’s Angela, from Guardians of the Galaxy) or what made Daredevil leave the event to handle an urgent personal matter, you don’t have to buy other books to find out.
In fact, the only thing I’m hating about it so far is that they killed Nick Fury, which assures Nick Fury Jr.’s place in the future of the Marvel 616 Universe, thus cementing the movieverse’s worst impact on comics thus far.
And in other news….
DC’S MOVIE SCHEDULE. Warner Bros has leaked their three-year movie plans, with 2016 offering Batman v. Superman, Shazam, and Sandman; Justice League, Wonder Woman, and a Flash/Green Lantern movie (without Ryan Reynolds) in 2017; and in 2018 a Man of Steel sequel. Will this really happen? I doubt it. The safest bets are the already-announced BvS and the Sandman movie. Too much hinges on the Batman/Superman movie—and DC has yet to really get superhero movies right. Their non-super films, like Nolan’s Batman trilogy (he’s got no powers so he’s not super) and the underrated The Losers were good. Man of Steel and Green Lantern…Weren’t. Still, if all goes as planned DC will win the race for a female-fronted comic book movie.
ROCKET RACCOON IS A HIT…AND IT’S NOT EVEN OUT YET. Advance sales of Skottie Young’s Rocket Raccoon #1 have topped 300k…The book is the product of writer/artist Skottie Young, the visual genius behind Marvel’s recent adaptations of Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz novels. The high advance orders makes it a lock for one of the best-selling comics of the decade, especially when you consider there will probably be multiple printings.
MARVEL’S 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL: FANTASTIC FOUR #1. I don’t know if they’re doing this to make fun of DC’s ridiculous flashes forward and back in the new 52, but Marvel’s planned 100th anniversary celebration just got interesting: An issue of Fantastic Four created entirely by women. I know that gender shouldn’t be an issue and art should stand on its own, but it’s notable that there’s never been an issue of FF drawn and written by women. Jen Van Meter and Joanna Estep will create the 100th anniversary issue of F4. In case you don’t know, the anniversary shows what various Marvel characters might look like in 2061 if the current timeline continues…Which it won’t, of course.
THE ARCHIEVERSE GETS EVEN DARKER. First zombies. Then the revival of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Now, Archie Andrews will die in Life With Archie #36. But check out the awesome cover.
BILL FINGER GETS CREDIT. DC is planning a free re-release of Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27, and Bill Finger will get credit on the cover. Finger is widely viewed as the “real” creator of Batman, who was screwed out of his share by Bob Kane. And this screwing seems much more extensive, and the complaints much more valid, than Jack Kirby’s complaints about Stan Lee. I’m not saying Lee didn’t take credit for some of Kirby’s work, but Jack’s positions on the subject change far too often to be 100% true.
ANT MAN HAS A NEW DIRECTOR AND WRITER. Adam “Anchorman” McKay will punch up the script, and Peyton “Yes Man” Reed will direct. He is also attached to adapt Vivek Tiwary and Kyle Baker’s brilliant, under-read masterpiece “The Fifth Beatle.” I’m actually more excited about the latter than the former. Once Edgar Wright bowed out, I kind of lost interest in Ant Man. And with these creators, it sounds like just another mediocre Paul Rudd outing.
CONSTANTINE. Dr. Fate will appear on the DC show.
AVENGERS UNDERCOVER. Just got awesome with last issue. Check it out.
And finally….Here is a reason why Crossed: Wish You Were Here is a terrific on-line comic, and one that’s superior to many (offline?) “real” comic books. Because so many of the Crossed comics these days are terrible, profanity-filled, shocking-for-no-reason torture porn. Or, as it’s described above, yadda yadda yadda. Brilliant.