Beginnings and Endings

Marvel Comics is finishing a strong 2013 with an all-new banner-driven “don’t call it an event” event. After the terrigen mists are released into the general population, there is a whole new world of <b>Inhumanity</b>, and that’s the central theme of Marvel’s final publishing month of lucky year ’13. <p>But that’s not the only news of the month, even though it’ll take not one but two spots on this countdown. <a href=>Click here for the full Marvel December 2013 Solicitations</a> and see what we think are the ten biggest takeaways from them in the countdown.

Thunderbolts Adventure Hour

The team behind “Thrilling Adventure Hour,” a modern-day live “radio play” that has its own spin-off comic from Archaia, Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, make their Marvel Comics debut in December. The <b>Thunderbolts Annual #1</b> features Doctor Strange – but not as a team-up partner, as a target. Marvel’s solicitation isn’t telling us if this is one of the T-bolts “special mission” or not, but the Bens’ penchant for action and comedy should be a strong fit for this annual.

Final Young Avengers After-Party Artist Announced

Writer Kieron Gillen talked with us back in July <a href=””>about the <b>Young Avengers</b> “season finale”</a> and its cavalcade of artists. Annie Wu now officially joins the list that already included Emma Vieceli, Christian Ward, Becky Cloonan, Joe Quinones, and Ming Doyle for the “After Party,” a two-part story that takes place over one New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The story will feature the rotating artists in a tale that uses each artist with a different point-of-view character at the center. <p><i>Cover for #13 shown, story begins in #14 - cover not yet solicited</i>

Who or What is CORTEX?

The solicitation of <b>Mighty Avengers #4.INH</b> is one big tease. There’s the promise of some major confrontation with Superior Spider-Man. There’s the tease of “the birth of the new Ronin!” But the final line of the solicitation is the most intriguing of all: <p>”This solicit sponsored by CORTEX Incorporated. CORTEX. Tomorrow is in our hands.“ <p>So, who or what is CORTEX? Well, in the recently concluded <b>X-Factor</b>, one of Jamie Madrox’s dupes, sent to a possible future, came back with time-altering abilities courtesy of interlopers who made him a “doomlock,” someone who could change <i>the</i> timeline, rather than change or create alternate timelines. That character was called Cortex, and was lost into a time portal at the end of the storyline. <p>Cortex, check. Time “Tomorrow is in our hands” check. Possibly a red herring, but worth looking at for fans of Madrox going through X-Factor withdrawals.

Avengers Annual From Kathryn Immonen, David Lafuente

<i>Thunderbolts</i> isn't the only annual from a different creative team; Kathryn Immonen, whose run on <i>Journey Into Mystery</i> ends before this month, comes straight back to Marvel for the <b>Avengers Annual</b> with artist David Lafuente. The story takes place on Christmas Eve, implying a bit lighter fair than the heavy run by Jonathan Hickman so far, and introduces a new teenage superhuman named Zamira – though it’s unclear whether or not this is a new Inhuman, like in the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Scarlet Spider Ends

The Scarlet Spider has had a bad couple months…. bad couple years, if you think about it. And with the release of the December 2013 Marvel solicitations today, we learned that the solo title for the Peter Parker clone known as Kaine is coming to a close with <B>Scarlet Spider #25</B>. The solicitation hits the nail on the head, calling Kaine a “failed” hero, and questioning if there is “a place for the Scarlet Spider” in the Marvel U. <p>In August <a href=””>we spoke with <B>Scarlet Spider</B> Christopher Yost</A> about the descent into darkness this series has been for Kaine. In #20 Kaine’s cellular degeneration problem returning with the ultimate fate being death. When asked about how intense a ringer Yost has put the Scarlet Spider through in the series, the writer was pretty frank. <p>“Most writers do this to see how their characters survive, grow, and come out on top. But what if they don't?,” Yost told Newsarama. “What if this redemption story doesn't end in redemption? What if the world of hell that we're putting Kaine through just breaks him? Like the anti-Daredevil. It's possible to try and change, to try and be a hero… and it's possible to fail. You'll know soon enough.”

Kevin Maguire Comes to Marvel

Fans that follow Brian Michael Bendis on twitter may have seen him recently talking to disgruntled artists from a certain other publisher there. Specifically, he reached out to both Kevin Maguire and J.H. Williams III, telling them each that the door was open if either wanted to work with him. <p>Probably no one expected that to work quite so fast. <p>Kevin Maguire, who was removed by DC Comics from <i>Justice League 3000</i> before the first issue came out, will come back to the Marvel Universe in December’s <b>Guardians of the Galaxy #10</b>. He’s listed as a “special guest artist” on the title written by Bendis, and his issue will focus on Angela and Gamora. <p>Now how ‘bout some J.H. Williams on <i>Uncanny X-Men</i> news, Marvel?

X-23 Returns to All-New X-Men

The solicitation for <b>All-New X-Men #20</b> reveals the fate of at least <i>one</i> of the young heroes abducted by Arcade in the pages of <i>Avengers Arena</i>. The ever-resilient female clone of Wolverine, known as X-23, apparently makes it off Murderworld alive, as she’s seen in December’s issue. The solicitation promises romance with a mystery character for the teen assassin, as the series also continues to deal with the fallout of “Battle of the Atom.” <p>Speaking of that fallout, it’s interesting to note there has been no mention of the young original X-Men in the solicitations since the crossover’s finale – and in the pages of <i>Wolverine and the X-Men #39</i>, Wolverine and the adult Cyclops are teaming up for the first time in about two years of publishing.

INHUMANITY Launches with Eight Titles

<b>Inhumanity</b> may not be a traditional “event” so much as a new status quo for the Marvel Universe, but that isn’t stopping Marvel from giving it more event-style tie-ins than you can shake a stick at. In December, there’s the special <b>Inhumanity #1</b> one-shot that we already knew about, and the first of a two-issue special called <b>Inhumanity: The Awakening</b>, Matt Kindt’s direct follow-up to <i>Infinity: The Hunt</i> that focuses on how the mists have affected the younger heroes of the Marvel universe. <p>But wait, there’s more! <b>Avengers A.I. #7, Uncanny X-Men #15, Avengers Assemble #22, Indestructible Hulk #17, New Avengers #13,</b> and <b>Mighty Avengers #4</b> are all <b>Inhumanity</b> tie-ins, and will bear a “.INH” signifier at the end of their issue numbers. These are, it’s important to note, the actual next issues of their respective series, by the regular creative teams – not extras or annuals like the last “point” numbering system from Marvel. <b>Avengers Assemble #22.INH</b> marks the debut on the title of new co-writer Warren Ellis, as we announced Wednesday here on Newsarama.

All-New Marvel NOW Launches, Too

Of course, the launch of <b>Inhumanity</b> is big on its own, but it also marks the launch of Wave 2 of Marvel NOW!, called in appropriate Marvel tradition, “All-New Marvel NOW!” <p>While the only book getting deliberate NOW labeling is <b>Avengers #24.NOW</b> (again, it’s the next regular issue of the series), it marks the new storyline and a symbolic first issue for the series, designed to be an easy place for new readers to jump in. The <b>Nova #11</b> solicitation, while not NOW labeled, does say “it’s All-New Nova Now” to mark the new writer, Gerry Duggan’s first full issue on the series. Look for much more from All-New Marvel NOW in January, including <b>Inhuman #1</b> and <b>All-New Invaders #1</b>.

Peter Parker Returns! …Kind of

Heroes never die – not for long at least in comics – and not without a twist. After seemingly shuffling off his mortal coil in last year’s <B>Amazing Spider-Man #700</B>, Peter Parker and the Amazing series are back – sort of. <p>In December 2013, Marvel will release five decimal pointed issues of <B>Amazing Spider-Man #700</B> in what the publisher is calling “a special celebration of the original Spider-Man.” According to the solicitations, these won’t deal with Parker’s death and are instead earlier stories of Parker similar to the “Untold Tales” type of stories Marvel’s done in the past. <p>For #700.1 and #700.2, Rambo creator David Morrell and famed artist Klaus Janson convene together for a story pitting the wall-crawler against a torrential NYC blizzard with the beloved Aunt May’s life on the line. #700.3, #700.4 and #700.5 will have guest creators such as Joe Casey, <i>Underworld</i> co-creator Kevin Grievioux, Emma Rios, Jen Van Meter, Lee Weeks and others doing some timeless tales from Parker’s heyday. <p>This quintet of <B>Amazing Spider-Man</B> decimal issues marks the first appearance of Peter Parker in Marvel’s core superhero titles in over a year, but with the caveat that they are past stories and not ones chronicling his return. Despite that, this also works as a not-too-subtle foreshadowing of Parker’s actual return to the Marvel Universe in the modern day. We’ve already seen that Doctor Octopus as Superior Spider-Man is having run-ins with various future and past Spider-Man like Spider-Man 2099, Venom and even Scarlet Spider – maybe that means something. Or maybe the cancellation of the <I>Venom</I> and <I>Scarlet Spider</I> titles might be the precursor to a <I>Spider-Man Family</I> type title once again with those characters and some other Spider-Men. But that’s a tale for another day. <p>Getting back to Parker’s return, Christos Gage <a href=””>told us earlier</A> that Dan Slott is working on “a secret, yet-to-be-revealed title.” Whether that title is a proper return for <B>Amazing Spider-Man</B> and Peter Parker, we’d bet heavy on the original Spider-Man swinging back into comics in the very near future. <p>Hey, isn’t <I>Amazing Spider-Man 2</I> coming out in theatres in May? Hmmm….

What We Learned from MARVEL COMICS December 2013 Solicitations

Date: 12 September 2013 Time: 09:00 PM ET