What We Learned From MARVEL's MAY 2013 Solicitations

<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/albertxii>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>Marvel is releasing something very big in May 2013: <b>Iron Man 3</b>. <p>But that film, as significant as it is, is far from the only thing they've got up their sleeve that month, as the publisher's <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-comics-may-2013-solicitations.html>recently released solicitations</a> revealed. One long-running book is ending, new stories are beginning and we're getting a clearer idea of what <i>Age of Ultron</i> is all about, though it's still a couple of weeks before issue #1 is out. So here are 10 things we found notable from Marvel's May 2013 solicitations. <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>

DARK AVENGERS ENDS

The long and winding history of <i>Dark Avengers</i> ends in May with issue #190 billed with "The secret of the dark Earth are revealed!" <p>This volume of <i>Dark Avengers</i> started life as <i>Thunderbolts</i>, and transitioned to the new title actually a borrowed one from Marvel's "Dark Reign" era last year. (Then in November of last year, <i>Thunderbolts</i> was relaunched as a Marvel NOW! title written by Daniel Way and illustrated by Steve Dillon.) <p>One of the longest-running current Marvel runs, Jeff Parker has been writing the book since its initial incarnation (specifically 2009's <i>Thunderbolts #138</i>), and is wrapping up his stint here the same month his contribution to DC's <i>Adventures of Superman #1</i> is scheduled for release.

ALL-NEW CLOAK AND DAGGER

The "Spider-Man No More" homage cover to <i>Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #23</i> was released prior to the solicitations, but apparently that's not the only surprising thing happening in the issue. <p>The solicitation text also promises "An all new Cloak and Dagger!!!" (that's right, three exclamation points). Though there was a Tandy Bowen (Dagger's secret ID) character previously in <i>Ultimate Spider-Man</i> and a couple of winks here and there, there haven't really been a true Ultimate version of Cloak and Dagger yet, and fans of the cult-favorite characters are surely intrigued to see what Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez have planned.

PACIFIC RIM COMIC... FROM MARVEL?

<i>Pacific Rim</I> is a film out this summer from Legendary Pictures (who have their own comic book publishing division) and Warner Bros. Pictures (the same corporate family as DC Comics). So it only makes sense that a comic book would be coming out from... Marvel? <p>Surprising, yes, but that's what's in their May solicitations, specifically the <b>Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero Premiere HC</b>, written by the film's screenwriter Travis Beacham, with art from Yvel Guichet, Pericles Junior, Chris Batista and Sean Chen an a cover by Alex Ross.

'HELLFIRE SAGA' COMING TO WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN

Following "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and "The Dark Angel Saga," if you're going to use the word "saga" in the title of an X-Men story, it's probably going to be a fairly big deal. (And, given the outcome of those two stories, likely kind of a downer.) <p>May's <i>Wolverine & The X-Men #30</i> is described as the "prelude to the Hellfire Club Saga," likely the culmination of the Hellfire Club storyline that's been building since the beginning of the series. More details to come, surely.

ADRIAN ALPHONA RETURNS

As first revealed on <a href=http://www.comicsalliance.com/2013/02/13/uncanny-x-force-adrian-alphona-sam-humphries-sketchbook-art-interview-marvel-now/>ComicsAlliance</a>, <i>Runaways</i> artist Adrian Alphona is returning to Marvel and comic books in general with <i>Uncanny X-Force</i>. <p>Alphona was the original artist for the vastly influential Brian K. Vaughan-written Marvel series, but has been absent from comics in recent years. Now he's back according to series writer Sam Humphries in the ComicsAlliance piece, Alphona's doing sections of #3 and #4 before taking on full interiors with #5 and evidently taking on "One of the biggest X-Villains of the past 20 years."

X-FACTOR CONTINUING ON SCHEDULE

Peter David suffered a stroke late last December, but there are no signs that the recovery process is slowing down his comic book output. <p><i>X-Factor</i> has remained on schedule, and looks to continue to do so, with two issues #255, and #256, the conclusion to the currently unfolding "Hell on Earth War" solicited for May. (David, who recently returned home, has been updating fans on his progress via <a href=http://www.peterdavid.net/>his site</a>.)

MICHELINIE/LAYTON RETURN TO IRON MAN

The <i>Iron Man</i> legacy of David Michelinie and Bob Layton speaks for itself, from "Demon in a Bottle" to the introduction of Jim Rhodes. With <i>Iron Man 3</i> out in May, they're returning to Tony Stark that same month for <i>Iron Man #258.1#258.4</i>, a weekly miniseries telling an "untold story" in the midst of "Armor Wars II." <p>Also Iron Man in May: <I>Iron Man: The Coming of the Melter</i>, by Christos Gage and Ron Lim. If a one-shot dedicated to The Melter seems a bit random to you, you're not alone, and feel free to speculate on whether or not it could possibly have any major importance, as odd of a concept as "The Melter having major importance" may be.

WHO JOINS CYCLOPS?

Just because the Original Five X-Men came to the present together, doesn't mean they have to stay together. And come May, it looks like they aren't. <P>In <i>All-New X-Men #11</i>, one of the Original Five is said to leave the Jean Grey School to take up with Cyclops and the <i>Uncanny X-Men</i> crew. Of course, who exactly is the dissenter is currently publicly unknown, but the buddy comedy potential of Young Cyclops and Old(er) Cyclops is definitely a thing that Marvel must already be aware of.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN 'ENDS HERE'

From the solicitation of <i>Superior Spider-Man #9</i>: "IT ENDS HERE! 'SUPERIOR NO MORE!'" <p>So soon? Well, there are surely plenty of twists left to come, and no real indication of how long "the end" will play out for, but Marvel at least wants fans to think that the <i>Superior Spider-Man</i> era that started in January is winding down this summer, and we'll see Peter Parker vs. Otto Octavius for the coveted prize of control of Spidey's body. <p>But before that happens, the Green Goblin hey, remember Norman Osborn waking up from his coma and fleeing the hospital in <i>Amazing Spider-Man #697</i>? is slated to return in issue #10, also out in May.

SO, AGE OF ULTRON IS A PRETTY IMPORTANT?

It's a little weird to be talking about issues #7 and #8 of <i>Age of Ultron</i> more than two weeks before #1 is scheduled for release, but that's the reality of the comic book business right now and it also helps to make crazy wild guesses that sometimes turn out to be correct. <p>Over at <a href=http://blog.newsarama.com/>Blog@Newsarama</a>, Graeme McMillan something of a soothsayer for <a href=http://blog.newsarama.com/2013/02/08/hate-to-say-i/>accurately predicting a New 52 <i>Green Team</i> comic</a> has predicted that <i>Age of Ultron</i> will be something like Marvel's version of DC's reality-altering <i>Flashpoint</i>, and the May solicitations seem like they might agree with him. <p>In issue #7: "In an attempt to defeat Ultron two Marvel Heroes take it upon themselves to create an all-new Marvel Universe." In issue #8: "A reality-spanning choice is made this issue that will affect the Marvel Universe for years and years to come." Between all of that and the super-surprise ending, Marvel is certainly suggesting that their universe will look at least a little different after <i>Age of Ultron</i> is done.

What We Learned From MARVEL's MAY 2013 Solicitations

Date: 14 February 2013 Time: 09:24 PM ET