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Unless you live under a rock or just don’t care, you know that in a few months “time runs out” and all of Marvel’s various universes and time periods will collapse inward and coexist on one, giant planet: Battleworld.

What does this mean for “normal” people? What happens to Earth? What about the freakin’ children!?!

We don’t know.

But there’s much to be excited about…


Future_Imperfect 2015Marvel’s universal restructuring will start with a retelling of all major Marvel events, including their first one, Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars in 1985, many focusing on a particular Marvel brand. Oh, and by the way, if the inclusion of no less than 6 mutant events (not including Avengers vs. X-Men) doesn’t calm some of the conspiracy theorists who believe Marvel is phasing out the X-Men from the Marvel Universe, I don’t know what will.

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past, Old Man Logan, House of M, Inferno, X-Tinction (the Genosha v. X-Men story), and Age of Apocalypse
  • Hulk: Future Imperfect and Planet Hulk
  • Iron Man: Armor Wars
  • Avengers: Korvac
  • Spider-Man: Spiderverse
  • Cosmic: Infinity Gauntlet
  • Everyone: Secret Wars, Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies, Civil War, and Avengers vs. X-Men


Before it all ends, several books will have a “last days” banner. Whether this is an actual end or a transformation remains to be seen (but nothing is forever dead in comics, right?). So far, these heroes will get a final tale: Winter Soldier, Magneto, Ms. Marvel, Silver Surfter, Loki, Punisher, the Mighty (aka Black) Avengers, and Black Widow.


All Marvel comics will end. All of them. And then we’ll see their publishing slate gradually build back up. And along the way there will be a bunch of one-shots and tie-ins. It’s not entirely clear which are limited series and which are going to be new ongoings (and it will probably also depend on how much interest there is in these books), but here’s what we know about the Marvel slate looking beyond Secret Wars, and what you should (and shouldn’t) look out for:

The Good (starting with the best on top):

  • A-Force. Ms. Marvel’s G. Willow Wilson gets a second ongoing, an all-female Avengers team, with art by Jorge Molina. This isn’t just good, it’s excellent.
  • Where Monsters Dwell. Garth Ennis hasn’t written a Marvel comics in years—maybe even a decade(?)—and he is one of the industry’s best. Plus, this is barely a Marvel comic. It’s about a Golden Age pilot hero in a land of dinosaurs.
  • x-men 92Ultimate End. The guys who started it all, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, end it all.
  • The Return of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men. Trapped on a world where mutants are the majority, the Morrison team (sans Fantomex) will find themselves no longer persecuted but, instead, large and in charge, in “E is for Extinction” by Christos Gage. New X-Men is one of the two X-Men runs I’ve actually re-read more than once (the other is Joss Whedon’s), so I’m in for this one. Plus, the art is by Ramon Villalobos. Very, very excited.
  • Renew Your Vows. There’s gonna be something related to Spidey’s wedding, which was undone by J. Michael Straczinski years ago in the “One More Day” storyline—probably the most controversial event in Spider-Man’s past (and that includes when Doc Ock took over his body in 2012). It will be written by Dan Slott, who is the architect of all things Spidey at Marvel, so I’m there. I’m so there.
  • X-Men 92.  The early ’90s team is a fan favorite, and this is written by Brian Michael Bendis.  Is that a good thing?  Not sure.  His latest X-works started strong but didn’t stay that way.
  • Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars. Cullen Bunn’s Deadpool miniseries have mostly been good, so we’ll assume this one will be, too. The idea is great: It’s actually about the 1985 Secret Wars, telling a story about how Deadpool was actually there, even though we never saw him.

The Meh (also starting with the best on top):

  • giant_size_little_marvel_avx_1_coverGiant-Size Little Marvel: AVX. Cartoonist extraordinaire Skottie Young gets a book that will be cute, without a doubt. But will it actually be funny? Time will tell.
  • Guardians of Knowhere. Brian Michael Bendis with art by Mike Deodato Jr. tell a “mystery” story starring Drax and Gamora. Bendis’ Guardians work has been Meh for many months, but Deodato elevates this to a potentially good buy.
  • Master of Kung Fu. Wasn’t a fan of 2014’s Elektra, also written by Haden Blackman, but I really, really want this to be good. Art by Dalibor Talajic.
  • M.O.D.O.K.: Assassin. If MODOK is in the title, I’ll buy it. Even if it is written by Chris Yost. But I recognize the major meh potential here.
  • Thors. So Jason Aaron’s Thor work has been very uneven—some of it has been terrific, the rest boring. This one will have spaceknight Thor and Beta Ray Bill, Ultimate Thor, girl-Thor, Odin, etc., and art by Chris Sprouse. None of that makes this a must-buy for me, but it does make me very curious.
  • Runaways. We’ve waited over a decade for a follow-up to one of Marvel’s most loved comics of all time. But what we’re getting is essentially the same story: A group of kids in High School find out that their parental units are actually evil. So it remains to be seen whether this will be worth anyone’s time. Created by Noelle Stevenson and Sanford Greene.

  • Weirdworld. Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo telling a “kind of Conan” stry. Not my genre, but I’m open to it if it gets good word of mouth.

The Bad (all bad–no amount of hype will get me to buy any of these):

  • Ghost Racers. I wasn’t a fan of Felipe Smith’s Ghost Rider reboot. This one will include the Western Ghost Rider and a bunch of others.
  • Mrs. Deadpool And The Howling Commandos. If it says written by Gerry Duggan, stay away. Far away.
  • Inhumans: Attlian Rising. I don’t’ get how Charles Soule can write a comic as magnificent as 2014’s She-Hulk, and turn around a mediocre snoozefest like “Inhuman.” He’s continuing his work here with the latter, not the former, so…No.
  • Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde. If you like Sam Humphries work on the current Star-Lord book, you’ll probably like this. I don’t.
  • Secret Wars 2099 (including Avengers 2099). It’s unclear if this is a miniseries or a new ongoing that will launch after the “event” ends, but either way, there hasn’t been a good 2099 book in decades. But at least it will be written by Peter David, so it’s got a shot at being worth reading. By someone other than me, though.


Okay, so the big news is Spider-Man, but I’m sure all of you have heard it already. Over and over. He’ll show up in Captain America: Civil War, and then he’ll get his own film in 2017—which means Black Panther is bumped back a year. But it also means T’Challa gets a summer release, making him officially a “tentpole” in the Marvel Studios schedule. Sony is also still going ahead with a Sinister Six movie to be directed by Drew “Cabin in the Woods” Goddard, but it won’t be coming out in the next few years. Probably not even in the next decade.

But the question everyone is asking is: Does this mean we have to see another origin story? I think it’s clear that Peter Parker will be Spider-Man, not Miles Morales, but since he’ll be introduced as one of an ensemble in Civil War, does that mean his solo film will build on that and be in Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity? Or do we get another reboot? I know I’ll be in the theater either way (I think I feel a cold coming on for July 28, 2017—I can’t make it into work!), but I do think they should stay away from another origin. I don’t think anyone will ever do it better than Sam Raimi.

Sony still retains control of the Spider-Man franchise, so it’s not entirely clear what all the details of this might be, but one thing seems certain: Goodbye, Andrew Garfield. At last.

And in other news….

COMICS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! The America Library Association gave This One Summer, by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (First Second) both Caldecott and Printz honors. I told you it was good! Also, Cece Bell won a Newberry Honor for her autobiographic novel El Deafo—it’s the first time they’ve givin a Newberry to a comic (they traditionally go for pictureless stories). It may mean the awards group is ready to recognize comics as a valid form of literature.

DC FOR THE KIDS, MAN! Warner Bros is bringing back animated shorts of the classic Super Friends line-up to help promote the new toy line of the same name, and a Batman: Unlimited cartoon movie for another new toy series.

MODOK: Assassin. Everyone’s favorite encephalitic will get a solo series under the Secret Wars’ Warzones! banner of books. See? I just started reading every appearance of the little bastard for an upcoming series on this site.  I am ahead of the trends. And there’s more evidence of my comic nerd hipness below…

IT LOOKS LIKE THEY’RE SERIOUS ABOUT A LIVE-ACTION TEEN TITANS ON TNT. Nerdist reports that the team is confirmed to include Robin (not Nightwing), Barbara Gordon (wheelchair version), Hawk and Dove, Raven, and Starfire. This is all rumor, but it would be very interesting to see Robin and a team of women. The pilot is scheduled to begin production this year.

SUPERMAN HAS A NEW POWER. He’s like a human super-nuke. Because he wasn’t powerful enough already. I do like Geoff Johns and John Romita, Jr.’s current run on Superman, but things like this are what make him a completely unrelatable character. Focus more on the story and the person, less on bigger powers and fights. The Geoff Johns everyone used to love knew this when he worked on Teen Titans and Action Comics—almost a decade ago.

SUBSCRIBE TO COMICS! When I was a kid, I subscribed to at least 10 Marvel titles a month. Even though they didn’t always arrived undamaged (but they were mailed “flat!”), it was cool to come home from school and find the X-Men in the mailbox. Now, Retrofit is bringing that back: For $75 ($65 if you order quickly), you can get all twelve of their 2015 roster of original graphic novels which will include new books by Box Brown (who created the best biography GN of 2014, Andre the Giant: The Life and Legend), Kate (Kate or Die) Leth, and Harvey/Ignatz award nominee Steven Weissman; and a translation of Ollie Schrauwen’s Mowgli’s Mirror.

GARTH ENNIS RETURNS TO MARVEL! Yes! Yes! Ennis hasn’t written for Marvel in a long time, but he’s been recruited to write a “Where Monsters Dwell” miniseries as a Secret Wars tie-in. It will be about World War One pilot (and Golden Age hero) Phantom Eagle fighting dinosaurs and giant monsters.

AND FINALLY, CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL YOU WINNERS! The following have gotten movie deals:

  • Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor. Sony just bought the film rights to the latest graphic novel by the creator of the well-regarded nonfiction works “Understanding Comics” and “Making Comics.” The OGN was just released (I haven’t read it yet)
  • Dreadstar. Wow. I’ve been meaning to re-read Jim Starlin’s space-pirate series for years, and possibly feature it here on my blog—and last weekend I got my old bagged-and-boarded issues out of the closet. No sooner had I re-read “The Price” than a movie deal was announced.
  • The Descender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen. Another Sony purchase, and the creators will get executive producer credit. The Image Comic hasn’t even hit the stands yet.
  • Patrick Stewart. Although he won’t be in X-Men: Apocalypse, he will return as Professor X in the next Wolverine solo film.
  • Morena Baccarin. Jim Gordon’s girlfriend from Gotham and Brody’s wife from Homeland will next hook up with Deadpool in the 2016 movie starring Ryan Reynolds.



If you’re not catching the current X-Men arc by G. Willow Wilson (“Ms. Marvel”) you’re missing the first really good X-Men comic since Bendis took over in the relaunch.



stokoe modok battleworld cover

Everyone is talking about the Marvel event. It’s pretty much the only thing at Marvel that matters. Since we last talked comic news, they’ve revealed details about Battleworld, announced a new Shang Chi book, and more. Let’s run it down, shall we?

ALL DOUBTS ABOUT MARVEL’S SECRET WARS BEING WORTH MY TIME ARE NOW DISPELLED.  James Stokoe, one of my favorite artists, has produced a variant cover to Secret Wars: Battleworld that shows a ton of MODOKs fighting each other. It made me think of Nextwave, and it makes me eager to read this 4-issue companion miniseries to the main “Secret Wars” title. Apparently, the Battleworld series will feature two offbeat battles per issue. It sounds like the AvX spin-off of Avengers vs. X-Men, only it has the potential to be much better since all heroes from any time and universe can get involved. Issue #1 will be Spider-Man, Wolverine (back from the dead!), Hulk and Ghost Rider fighting Punisher, and the afore-mentioned MODOK orgy.

*I love MODOK so much, he was the next character I planned to focus on when I’m done with Thanos…But now I think I’ll have to get started earlier than that! MODOK love!

A FORCE. And if the MODOK news wasn’t good enough, Marvel just announced “A-Force,” a comic by G. Willow “Ms. Marvel” Wilson, Marguerite “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” Bennet and artist Jorge “X-Men” Molina. It will feature She-Hulk, Dazzler, Meduca, Nico Minoru (of the Runaways), and a new hero—as well as women from all over the Marvel U. Wilson is easily the most exciting and freshest author at Marvel today, so this will be A-mazing.

MARVEL’S GONNA TRY TO MAKE A SHANG CHI COMIC AGAIN. Master of Kung Fu, a series that ran for 125 issues starting in 1973, was created by two of Marvel’s best creators, Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart, who left after 22 issues and handed the book off to two of Marvel’s most underrated ‘70s creators, Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy. Since then, Marvel has tried to revive the character in one-shots and a MAX series, as a hero for hire, and in other appearances. All have failed, even as recently as last year. But they’re using Secret Wars as an attempt to bring him back again. Haden Blackman (who failed to get anyone excited with his “Elektra” comic in 2014) and Dalibor Talajic (who is good enough) will launch a 4-issue mini in May that will bring Shang-Chi to Iron Fist’s adopted homeland of K’un Lun. Of course, Iron Fist will make an appearance—but so will Elektra, Typhoid Mary, Kitty Pryde, and Lockheed.

BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS LEAVES X-MEN. Uncanny X-Men will revert to original numbering for issue #600, which will come out a few weeks before Secret Wars and will mark Bendis’ departure from the title. His work on the X-books has not been his best stuff, so I’m happy to see him move on. He also signed an exclusive deal with Marvel (but most of us thought he already had one, go figure), but there’s no announcement of his next, post-Secret Wars project.

DEADPOOL’S SECRET SECRET WARS. This is actually related to the original Secret Wars—not the reboot. Cullen Bunn, who has been doing solid Deadpool miniseries (much better than the ongoing series) for years now has written a miniseries about Deadpool’s hidden role in that 1984 conflict.


DC hasn’t been as successful at driving the promotion train, but they have been letting out a few interesting announcements about what their universe will look like after it has a similar implosion this spring. The publisher promises 24 new monthly titles, all designed to be accessible to new audiences. And some of them have the potential to be good! I say that because the new 52 has been uniformly underwhelming, and most readers will agree that it is not as good as the “old” 52. Here’s some of what to expect in June, starting with the titles I’m most excited about….

  • Section Eight by Garth Ennis and John McCrea. You had me with Ennis, DC. Adding his former “Hitman” partner John McCrea was just showing off. The book will be a spin off from that terrific DC series of the late 1990s.
  • Superman by Eisner-winning Gene Luen Yang, who has written some fantastic historical graphic novels. John Romita, Jr., will continue doing the art. (I know this isn’t a “new” title, but wow—Gene Yang!)
  • Bizarro, a “comedy” book written by Heath Corson from DC’s animation staff.
  • Justice League of America, written and illustrated by Bryan Hitch. Hitch is best known as one of the most powerful artists in the business (just check out The Ultimates), but he’s an unproven writer—he’s just got Real Heroes (Image Comics) on his resume.
  • Bat Mite by Mark Russell and Harvey Award winner Ben Caldwell.
  • Prez, bringing back a weird early 1970s book about a kid who became President, by the same creative team behind Bat-Mite.
  • Omega Men, that team from the classic Marv Wolfman/George Perez Teen Titans run.
  • Harley Quinn/Power Girl byAmanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, the only creators who ever made Power Girl worth reading
  • Mystic U by Alisa Kwitney (former editor for DC’s Vertigo line), on a book that sounds a lot like Gotham Academy for weirdos.
  • Dr. Fate by Paul Levitz
  • Starfire, also by Conner and Palmiotti
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer by Ming Doyle and Riley Rossmo
  • And rounding out the list: Black Canary and Cyborg.

MARVEL’S MERGED UNIVERSE, LOTS OF NEWS ABOUT DUCKS, AND MORE! Your semi-regular update on the comic book world…

Let’s start with the changing Marvel Universe.  Everything ends in April.  No more Earth 616.  No more Ultimate Universe.  Just one big party.  And it’s legit.

Or so they keep insisting in press releases and interviews.  You know, Marvel and DC are basically redesigning their universes at the same time in what appear to be very similar ways—by uniting versions of characters from half-a-century’s worth of intellectual property, thus cashing in on the “new” fans from movies and TV shows, maybe grabbing some nostalgic moms and dads who haven’t read comics in years, and celebrating old fucks like myself who have been here forever.  Why is Marvel doing such a better job at it than DC?  (That’s rhetorical: DC has always been more traditional, and it’s hard to be steady and constant when your new fans are the grandkids of your first fans).

Plus, DC already did this—and fairly recently.  Granted, they did a full reboot (of everyone except Batman and Green Lantern), and Marvel appears to be keeping all its old comics as canon—it’s just collapsing time streams and universes into one shared universe.  And Marvel has the advantage of seeing that DC did it so badly that they had to re-do it five years later.  It makes me wonder: Marvel has apparantley planned to do this for a long time.  Since before the New 52?  Or right after it, before the excitement and added sales faded, when DC seemed to actually have done something right?  Or is DC just doing it again to try to cut the legs out from under Marvel’s plan?

I dunno.  But Marvel does seem to be much more serious about this than DC was.  It’s not a reboot, it’s a reconfiguration that, for all purposes, will have lasting and permanent results.

Also, the first creators of an Ultimate Marvel comic (Ultimate Spider-Man #1) are returning to end the Ultimate Universe.  Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley will write a 5-issue mini on the last days of Ultimate.  I have to say, I hated it when they united Ultimates and the 616.  The thing that made Ultimates so great was that it was off on its own, completely different.

And they must have read my rantings from the days of the New 52, when I lamented over and over that DC missed a great opportunity to kill off or end all its storylines—since everything was being rebooted anyway.  Marvel’s not missing the boat on this: They’re putting “Last Days” banners on a bunch of titles, they killed Wolverine and they’re killing Deadpool soon, it’s all good stuff.

I trust Marvel, for the most part, but the impact of the Marvel Movieverse hasn’t been entirely positive.  (No more Nick Fury.  Guardians of the Galaxy everywhere.  The Inhumans are recast as a lamer version of the X-Men, instead of a kingdom of wild beings trying to coexist with humans.)  If this ends up in a Marvel U that just looks a lot more like the movies, I don’t think I’ll be happy.  But if it lets Marvel pick and choose the best of its past, make that canon, and forget everything ever written by Daniel Way, I’m all for it.  And speaking of Red Thunderbolts….

NYPD LIEUTENANT PUNISHER?  Marvel tried to sanitize Frank Castle in the horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE “Red Thunderbolts” comic, but they quickly ignored all that and put out a pretty strong Punisher series last year by Edmondson and Gerads.  It looks like Marvel is trying again, though, as the solicit for the April issue of Spider-Gwen (issue #3) announces that Marvel’s newest female hero will go toe-to-toe with an NYPD officer by the name of Frank Castle.  Ugh.

TROUBLE WITH SUICIDE SQUAD…ALREADY?  The lead, Thomas Hardy, has dropped out of the role of team leader Rick Flagg.  The movie has somewhat of a superstar cast—which is not something these kinds of movies generally do—featuring Will Smith, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, and Jesse Eisenberg (rumored).  It’s a risk casting big names in a movie like this, because the personality can be too big for the role.  Even Robert Downey, Jr., wasn’t who we know him to be now when he was cast as Iron Man.  Hardy claims conflicts with other commitments prevented him from filling the role, but that sounds like a weak excuse to me.  Maybe the script isn’t right?  Or maybe he saw David Ayer’s last movie, Fury (Brad Pitt in a tank), and was as disappointed as I was.

FABLES: FIRST CLASS.  Jane Goldman, who wrote X-Men First Class, is working on a script for the long-gestating movie adaptation of Bill Willingham’s Vertigo comic.  X-Men First Class was the second best X-Men movie (X2 was the best), so that’s a good thing.  She also wrote Kick-Ass, which was the best Mark Millar movie.  I’ve never dug the Fables comic—it’s just not my thing—but I’ve read several volumes of it and can appreciate that it would make a good movie. 

THE NEW HOWARD THE DUCK COMIC SUCKS.  And I haven’t even read it yet.  But solicits for the second issue, by Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones, show that he’s teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy in a story explaining the post-credits scene in the GotG movie.  The charm and magic of Howard was always that he was a knowing, sarcastic attack on superhero comics.  Having him team up with the Guardians makes him front-and-center part of the commercial machine.  Plus, it sounds neither interesting nor novel.  Everyone in Marvel is teaming up with the Guardians in 2014—there will be at least seven monthly Guardian-related books!  (Rocket Raccoon, Guardians, Guardians 3000, Guardians Team Up, Captain Marvel, Star-Lord, and Gamora.)

DONALD DUCK IS AT IDW.  Very strange.  IDW is launching a new line of Disney comic books featuring the usual mascots (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, etc.).  So Disney owns the company that sells more comic books than anyone, but they’re outsourcing comic books?  Ponderous.

GHOSTBUSTERS IS BACK.  Or it will be on July 22, 2016, and all the busters will be chicks.  Saturday Night Live chicks, to be precise: Kristen Wigg, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.  I hope there’s more to this than just replacing penises.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…LIVE ACTION X-MEN ON TV?  Fox is reportedly negotiating with Marvel, since Fox doesn’t own TV rights.  I can’t imagine this will ever happen.



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