CAPTAIN AMERICA, Several More Reach Simultaneous Close

The obvious consequence of all the new titles being launched as part of the Marvel NOW! revamp — nine #1s are scheduled for November alone — is that a lot of comics are also ending. Circle of life and all that.

Just this week alone, five long-term Marvel runs came to an end, including a couple that are among the most celebrated and revered superhero stories in history. Here's a look at what readers are saying goodbye to, and the impact the series have had over the years.

 

Ed Brubaker on Captain America:

Length of Run: Nov. 2004-Oct. 2012.

Impact: Only Bucky stays dead. Right?

During his Captain America run, Brubaker — joined by artists including Steve Epting, Butch Guice, Luke Ross, Bryan Hitch, Steve McNiven and more — brazenly defied that notion. He brought back Bucky, a character who was essentially solely known for being dead, as a brainwashed Soviet assassin named the Winter Soldier, then put him on the road to reformation.

 

That would have been ballsy by itself — and it looks to be the inspiration of the 2014 Captain America movie sequel, subtitled "The Winter Soldier" — but following Civil War, Brubaker temporarily killed Cap off and replaced him in the mantle with Bucky, a status quo that lasted longer than anyone reasonably expected. In the most recent volume of Captain America, Brubaker has embraced more classic superhero stories with Steve Rogers back under the mask, and continued to write Bucky in the Winter Soldier ongoing series.

Though Brubaker (who won multiple Eisner awards during his time on Captain America) is leaving work-for-hire comics in order to concentrate on his creator-owned series like Fatale, Winter Soldier is continuing under new writer Jason Latour, and Captain America is relaunching in November with the new creative team of Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.

Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca on Invincible Iron Man:

 

Length of Run: May 2008-Oct. 2012.

Impact: The Marvel Studios era started with the first Iron Man film in May 2008, and with it came the now familiar practice of Marvel launching a new comic book series aimed at capturing the interest of curious moviegoers.

At first, Invincible Iron Man was an additional title to the already ongoing Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. series, but soon became the Tony Stark flagship. The series — under the uninterrupted direction of writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca throughout its entire run — even assumed the old Iron Man numbering in early 2011 with issue #500.

Fraction and Larroca presented a take on Iron Man that was consistent with Robert Downey Jr.'s big-screen portrayal but also its own unique entity, challenging the title character inside and out in stories like "World's Most Wanted" and "Stark Disassembled" and pitting him against villains new (Ezekiel Stane) and old (Mandarin).

 

One of Invincible Iron Man's clearest legacies is rechristening Pepper Potts, a supporting character who's been around almost as long as Iron Man, as "Rescue," an armored EMT.

"I saw there's a Rescue Super Hero Squad toy," Fraction told Newsarama in 2010. "I am inordinately and inappropriately proud that I now have a toy of a super hero I've worked on that shares a gender with my daughter."

In Marvel NOW!, Fraction is moving to Fantastic Four and FF, while Larroca transitions to Cable and X-Force with writer Dennis Hopeless. Iron Man gets a November relaunch, courtesy of the former Uncanny X-Men creative team of Kieron Gillen and Greg Land.

Jonathan Hickman on Fantastic Four, FF:

Length of Run: Aug. 2009-Oct. 2012.

 

Impact: Jonathan Hickman actually started writing Fantastic Four earlier in 2009 with the Dark Reign: Fantastic Four miniseries, though it was his ongoing run that firmly established his legacy.

In his first arc, "Solve Everything," Hickman set a definite tone with the Council of Reeds looking to use their combined intellect to fix the multiverse's problems. In doing so, Hickman emphasized what makes "our" Reed Richards unique along with the importance of family that's always been a part of the franchise.

During the "Three" storyline, Hickman captivated the comics community with the mystery of which core Fantastic Four member would die. It turned out to be the Human Torch, and though, of course, there was much more to the story, it brought the most media attention to the series than it had seen in years.

 

Following "Three," Fantastic Four was briefly supplanted by replacement title FF, which stood for "Future Foundation" and featured Spider-Man in place of the Human Torch. Though it only lasted a few months, when Fantastic Four came back around, FF stuck around too, proving against the odds that the direct market could support two Fantastic Four comics.

Hickman's time on Fantastic Four cemented his reputation as a master planner adept at building complex storylines, something he's looking to continue as the incoming writer of Avengers and New Avengers.

Kieron Gillen on Journey Into Mystery:

Length of Run: April 2011-Oct. 2012.

 

Impact: Thor returned to its original title Journey Into Mystery with issue #622, with writer Kieron Gillen — who had already written a good chunk of Thor — coming on board, and making the freshly reincarnated Loki, now a young boy, the main character and described by Gillen as "the Asgardian Tintin."

Gillen's Journey Into Mystery never dominated the sales charts, but pretty much everyone who read it had effusive praise for it. The series inspired a passionate fan following — check out Tumblr for proof — and the run culminated in a crossover with The Mighty Thor, "Everything Burns."

Though Gillen is leaving Journey Into Mystery, the series (and its high numbering) is continuing, with new writer Kathryn Immonen switching the focus to another Asgardian, Sif. Gillen and Kid Loki are sticking together, with the character moving to the Marvel NOW! series Young Avengers, launching in January.

Jason Aaron on Incredible Hulk:

Length of Run: Oct. 2011-Oct. 2012.

 

Impact: Jason Aaron started his run on Incredible Hulk with artist Marc Silvestri, marking the Top Cow founder's return to Marvel. The opening story literally split Bruce Banner and the Hulk into two, aiming to examine their complicated dynamic in a very visceral manner.

Subsequent arcs saw Aaron instruct the Hulk to "Stay Angry" along with a host of guest artists, plus final story "Hulk: United," bringing things full circle.

"It was always meant to be one story, and I knew the stuff I would be setting up in issue #1 would be the stuff I would wrap up by the end of it," Aaron told Newsarama.

Bruce Banner and his alter ego are starring in Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu's Indestructible Hulk, debuting in November, and Aaron is writing Thor: God of Thunder — also starting that same month.

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