What We Learned From Marvel's JANUARY 2013 Solicitations

<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/LucasSiegel>Lucas Siegel, Newsarama Site Editor</a> and <a href=http://www.twitter.com/albertxii>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>Happy New Year! <p>Comic books solicitations new year, that is. <p>Fresh off our Tuesday countdown of the <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-things-from-dc-january-solicitations.html>most curious and noteworthy news items and images to come of DC Comics' January 2013 solicitations</a>, we turn our attention to Wednesday's release of Marvel's monthly data dump. <p>Like our DC countdown, many of Marvel's January happenings were already touched on during last weekend's <i>New York Comic Con</i>, but there's still a few bits and pieces of info that made us go hmmmm. <p>They may be based on fact, or maybe just be fodder for our speculation. Either way here our Top 10 takeaways from <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-comics-january-2013-solicitations.html><b>Marvel's January 2013 solicitations</b></a>. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p> <p>

THE HIGHEST-NUMBERED MARVEL BOOK STARS SIF

Since <b>Amazing Spider-Man</b> is ending in December with issue #700 (replaced by <b>Superior Spider-Man</b>, a new series you may have read a thing or three about on this very site), that means that Marvel has a new champ for highest-numbered series, and it is... <p><b>Journey Into Mystery</b>, coming into January with issue #648 m earning the highest-numbered book in Marvel's line stars Sif, a relatively obscure character starring in a book for the first time. <p>And after that? <i>X-Factor</i> (#250 in January) and <i>Dark Avengers</i> (shipping #185 and #186 that month).

RED LEADER IS <I>ON</I> THE THUNDERBOLTS

We learned <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/thunderbolts_3_red_leader.html>A couple weeks ago</a> that a red version of The Leader (who may or may not be Samuel Sterns) would be appearing in the Marvel NOW! <b>Thunderbolts #3</b>. <p>In the solicitations, however, we found out that he'll be <i>on</i> the team, not the villain they're up against. The Red-ness of the team, from Red Hulk to a red-symboled Punisher and Venom, along with Elektra and Deadpool (in red costumes, natch) and now the Red Leader will be addressed with a "story reason" according to Marvel. Still - we've seen some villains turn good, but the Leader? Hmm...

VISION STARS IN 'ASSEMBLE' ANNUAL

He just came back from the dead (well, "dead for an android") fairly recently, but the <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-characters-missing-in-marvel-now.html>Marvel NOW! future of Vision</a> hasn't been entirely clear, as he doesn't appear to be part of the cast of any of the Avengers book thus far announced (though more revelations are yet to come). <p>Now we know at least one Marvel NOW! comic he'll be appearing in: <b>Avengers Assemble Annual #1</b>, by Christos Gage and Tomm Coker, where he's said to be taking center stage. Though it remains to be seen if he'll be a full-time cast member of a book in the near future, Vision fans should look fondly forward to January.

THE QUOTABLE AVENGERS

<b>New Avengers #2</b>: It breaks hope -- it crushes what makes us decent and steals what little honor remains. --Black Swan <p><b>Avengers #3</b>: If you want LIFE and all the good things living entails, then you'll have to earn it. --Ex Nihilo <p><b>Avengers #4</b>: We'll have to field test our theories here. NOW. --Dr. Deeds <p>So... who the heck are these three, and what do these quotes mean? The three <b>Avengers</b> issues from Jonathan Hickman all have these quotes attached to them, attributed to character names that are unfamiliar, aside from Black Swan, who is a Deadpool villain from Gail Simone's run and a recent storyline where he teamed with Black Tom and Black Box. <p>The <b>Avengers</b> solicitations suggest a new organization or team of some sort called "The Garden" is involved in the story, so these could all be members of that group. Marvel's only official comment? "Read the books!"

WHO IS CLUSTER?

OK, so this one is actually calling <i>itself</i> a mystery. "The Mysterious Cluster" is listed as a team member alongside Psylocke, Storm, Puck, and Spiral. On the cover, that only leaves one member unaccounted for: that female dressed in Fantomex's clothing. <p>Fantomex sure looked deader than dead over in the pages of Rick Remender's current run on <b>Uncanny X-Force</b>. His alias as he was raising the young Apocalypse clone was "Uncle Cluster." So it sure seems like Cluster may be an alias to this Lady Fantomex... but who is she really? Writer Sam Humphries is staying mum, and with a few issues left of Remender's run, we don't have <i>too</i> much longer to have to guess.

IRON PATRIOT ALL OVER

Iron Patriot sure is making his presence felt across all of Marvel Entertainment. The character will be appearing in <b>Iron Man 3</b>, but that's not nearly all of his pervasiveness. <p>We have an Iron Patriot appearing in <b>Ultimate Comics Ultimates #20</b>, presumably President Captain America in that armor. That Iron Patriot also appears in <b>Ultimate Comics X-Men #21</b>. <p>After January, when the current run on <b>Secret Avengers</b> ends, Iron Patriot (with someone new under the helmet) will be a member of that team in the Marvel NOW! relaunch. It seems that none of these have much, if anything, to do with Norman Osborn, the first Iron Patriot to hit the scene, but Marvel did get us to type "Iron Patriot" out seven times, so it's notable just for that if nothing else.

WHAT WAS WAR MACHINE UP TO DURING 'AVENGERS'?

Though Jim Rhodes armored up in the <i>Iron Man 2</i> film, War Machine was noticeably absent from the entirety of the <i>Avengers</i> movie and given how much of a threat they were facing there, they probably could have used his help. <p>The two-part <b>Marvel's Iron Man 3 Prelude</b> looks to fill in some of those blanks, and it looks like he was plenty busy in his own right: "War Machine faces his biggest test as a hero, while Iron Man takes on the Battle of New York!"

WOLVERINE AND STORM SMOOCH

<a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/astonishing-x-men-greg-pak-111026.html>Last year's</a> <b>Astonishing X-Men #44</b> featured Storm kissing Cyclops on the cover, drawing some questioning comments and looks. It turned out to be a bit of a ruse, as while it was our Cyclops, it was an alternate reality's Storm. <p>In January's <b>Wolverine and the X-Men #24</b>, however, Storm is kissing Wolverine with a clear, warm embrace. The solicitation text says the pair or on a "Date Night!" alongside Kitty Pryde and Bobby "Iceman" Drake. It might seem a little quick for the just-annulled estranged wife of Black Panther to get back into the game, but that's the beautiful soap opera nature of X-Men comics.

END OF AN 'X-MEN' ERA

<b>X-Men #40</b> is billed as the "end of an era." <P>Does that mean that the book is ending? Probably not, since it didn't get the "final issue" notice. <p>But it does look like the book is changing in a big way. Not only does writer Seth Peck take over for Brian Wood in the near future, four of the five members of its main cast Domino, Colossus, Storm and Psylocke are on an <i>X-Force</i> book in the Marvel NOW! era, making a new cast and a new direction likely.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN GUEST SPOTS, STILT-MAN AND DOC OCK?

By now, you all know that <b>Superior Spider-Man</b> launches in January 2013, taking the place of <i>Amazing Spider-Man</i>, with a character also taking the place of Peter Parker in the costume. <p>What you may <i>not</i> know is how instantly-pervasive the character will be. <b>Avenging Spider-Man #16</b> features the new creative team of Chris Yost and Paco Medina, and also features "the all new Superior Spider-Man" in a team-up with the X-Men. <p>Meanwhile, over in <b>Daredevil</b>, not only does "the ALL NEW Superior Spider-Man" show up, but so does Stilt-Man with "some last minute help from Doctor Octopus", and judging by the cover, that mean's Ock's arm-tech is now in Stilty's legs. <p>The implication here is that Superior Spider-Man and his not-Peter-Parker ways are sticking around for awhile and getting pushed in a big way. It is worth noting that the Spider-Man costume on the cover of <b>Avengers #3</b> is Pete's Amazing one, but that could mean the story takes place before <b>Superior Spider-Man #1</b> in Marvel's chronology, or have been done to prevent people like us from noticing something too soon.

What We Learned From Marvel's JANUARY 2013 Solicitations

Date: 17 October 2012 Time: 08:38 PM ET