It's a New Year for Marvel Comics, and the company is using it to launch their All-New Marvel NOW! initiative. <p>This second round of relaunches, first issues, and series pushes includes everything from Avengers to X-Men and beyond, but there are also series ending, creative teams shifting, and the ever-dreaded death toll rising. <p>Here's what we think are the biggest pieces of news from the <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/19290-marvel-comics-january-2014-solicitations.html>January 2014 Marvel Comics solicitations</a>.
The line up for <b>All-New Marvel NOW! Point One #1</b> (say that five times fast!) is an impressive one. There are Marvel veterans, up-and-comers, and… Rags Morales? <p>While Rags Morales has done the occasional Marvel Comics cover, this is his first interior work for the publisher after years of being primarily a DC guy. Lee Garbet, also providing art for this series, was DC-only for years as well, and James Robinson makes his recently announced Marvel switchover with the issue. If you’re looking for the writers and artists you love at DC Comics, you may want to turn to the pages of the House of Ideas.
A hero is defined by the caliber of his adversaries. And for Marvel’s mutant anti-hero Wolverine, one of his top rivals has always been Sabretooth. And in January, Marvel promises that we’ll see the first-ever meeting between the man who would become Wolverine and his twisted animalistic foe, Victor Creed, in <B>Origin II #2</B>. <p>In 2001 fans were surprised when Marvel told the definitive first days of Wolverine and Sabretooth wasn’t a part of it; for a time, fans were lead to believe that Wolverine and Sabretooth were related. Sabretooth’s co-creator Chris Claremont said his original plan was for Sabretooth to be revealed as Wolverine’s father, and despite being halted from doing that in his run on <I>Uncanny X-Men</I> he ended up doing it in his brief <I>X-Men Forever</I> series. There’s also been two documented instances where the two feral foes are brothers -- in the 2008 film <I>X-Men Origins: Wolverine</I> it’s clearly stated that in that continuity the two are half-brothers, and in 2010 a storyline in the <I>Amazing Spider-Man</I> newspaper strip the two were also revealed to be brothers. <p>Whatever their ties may be, their previous match-ups have almost always proved climactic – so seeing Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert document what is presumably their first meeting in <B>Origin II #2</B> is one to watch.
Two <b>X-Forces</b> enter, both fight Stryfe, one leaves. <p>That’s what the solicitation for Uncanny X-Force and Cable and X-Force reveals, as the two series have a four-issue, one-month, weekly crossover called “Vendetta.” It’s Cable versus Bishop, Hope versus Bishop, X-Force versus X-Force, X-Force versus Stryfe (yes, he was dead, he got better). At the end of it all, “only ONE X-Force team will be left standing…” <p><b>Cable and the Uncanny X-Force #1</b> in February anyone?
There’s talk of numerous death’s in Marvel’s January 2014 plans, but we’ve also got the promise of new life for one of Marvel’s biggest fallen heroes in recent memory. In the January solicitations for <B>X-Men Legacy</B>’s dual issues, we discover that the “demonic shade” of Professor X that has been haunting the lead character Legion (Professor X’s son) will be transitioning from being just part of Legion’s mind into a real thing out in the open world. <p>But before you start salivating over Professor X’s return, take note: this advance information on <B>X-Men Legacy</B> says that the shade of the elder Xavier is going to be “razing the Earth.” This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Profesor X go dark – there’s the time his consciousness melded with Magneto to form Onslaught, but Xavier’s dark side has been explored as far back as 1977’s <I>X-Men #106</I> with the famed mutant leader creating dark doppelgangers of the team. And in the 1980s, Xavier’s dark desires gained sentience as something called the Entity and threatened to destroy an entire universe in <I>The X-Men and the Micronauts</I>. <p>However he’s returning – or if this is or is not indeed the real Charles Francis Xavier – remains to be seen. Stay tuned to what sounds like the final issues of <B>X-Men Legacy</B> to find out.
An old issue of <I>Amazing Spider-Man</I> once had a caption of the Hobgoblin telling readers that the issue was so great they should steal it. Well in 2014, Marvel’s going for a different tactic – giving it away free. <p>January’s <B>Deadpool: The Gauntlet</B> #1 will be completely free according to Marvel’s solicits. The digital-first series, which was announced at 2013’s New York Comic Con, promises to unveil a Deadpool adventure in which he works for the prince of darkness himself, Dracula. And if that wasn’t enough, the story will also see a return to Monster Metropolis, a town of – you guessed it – monsters first introduced in Rick Remender’s run on <I>Punisher</I>. This story, written by <B>Deadpool</B> co-writer Gerry Duggan, will reportedly dovetail into the main <B>Deadpool</B> series with its April 2014 issue. <p>Another aspect that isn’t mentioned in the solicits but is almost as interesting as the story itself is that <B>Deadpool: The Gauntlet</B> is an Infinite Comic. When this series was announced at NYCC it was referred to in interviews strictly for its digital release in January, but with Marvel not only soliciting a print version the same month – but offering it free – it marks a change of tactic for the publisher in delivering the comics made for the Infinite Comics platform to print readers.
When <b>Revolutionary War</b>, the mini-series to bring several long-unused Marvel UK characters into mainstream modern Marvel stories, was announced at San Diego Comic-Con, it was under one creative team and a traditional publishing style. <p>Now instead it seems the series will be split up into a series of one-shots, each featuring British writers. Andy Lanning still kicks things off (with some help from Alan Cowsill), then Kieron Gillen, then Rob Williams. Each one-shot is listed as “Part 1,2,3” so they do have a cohesive story between them, but it is an unannounced format shift for the series.
Superheroes are no stranger to the concept of death, but it looks like Marvel’s Avengers are getting that in spades this January. The death of a hero is promised for January in both <B>Avengers #25</B> and <B>Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand</B>. <p>This issue of<B>Avengers</B> by Jonathan Hickman and Salvador Larroca promises it specifically, with the phrase “And we’ve been good up till now, but this issue, an Avenger dies.” Hickman is no stranger to killing off a hero – and bringing him back. In his run on <I>Fantastic Four</I>, he famously wrote issue writing off Johnny Storm – aka Human Torch – and talked far and wide about his death before bringing him back several issues later. With the case of this issue of <B>Avengers</B>, additional information on the solicit opens the door for some surprise options as aparrently Hickman is taking a page from Brian Michael Bendis’ <I>All-New X-Men</I> and bringing the original Avengers team from their debut issue into the modern times. Could it be one of the Avengers but from an earlier time? <p>Meanwhile, in <B>Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand #4</B> the cover says it all: Ultimate Spider-Man grieving over the body of a blacked out person. In the solicits they don’t pull any punches – “To save a universe, a hero must die!!!” Bendis is no stranger to loaded solicitation text; remember when he promised to split the internet in half? – so Bendis might throw a curveball with this pitch when it comes out in January. <p>And if these two deaths weren’t enough for you, you have multiple deaths purportedly coming in <B>Uncanny Avengers</b>. In this month’s #13 we’re promised that Sentry will kill a member of the team, and #14 doesn’t look to let up as Marvel has released text proising “numerous deaths” in November’s issue. The only heroes mentioned as in action after those deaths is Thor and Wasp, leaving open the possibility of deaths for Captain America, Havok, Scarlet Witch, Rogue, Sunfire, Wolverine or Wonder Man.
After years of quiet and continual teasing, Marvel has finally gotten their ducks in a row to republish the British superhero series <B>Miracleman</B>. The House of Ideas have seemingly jumped through the hurdles and hoops that have plagued the character like ownership disputes, court cases and lost art files, and are going to be reprinting the well-regard 1980s relaunched series beginning in January. But there’s a hitch. <p>According to the solicitations, the writer of this series are the titles’ creator Mick Anglo along with a person dubbed “The Original Writer.” Cutting through the mystery, the person they’re referring to is Alan Moore. Part of the passion people have for the <B>Miracleman</B> series is because of the work Moore did with the character in the early 1980s. But Moore has openly asked DC and Marvel to discontinue the use of his name in the promotion of the work he did for them in the past, and Marvel are keeping to that request and instead of listing Alan Moore’s name they’re listing it as “the Original Writer.” <p>The idea of an author disowning his work and asking not to be named might seem novel in comics, but this wouldn’t be the first time it’s been done. J. Michael Straczynski asked for his name to be taken off the final issue of <I>Amazing Spider-Man: One More Day</I> due to editorial changes, and D.G. Chichester did something similar with the final issues of his run on <I>Daredevil</I>.
<b>Wolverine Max #15</b> is the final issue of the series, and the only new issue in January to bear the dreaded “Series Finale!” tag. <b>Fantastic Four</b> and <b>FF</b> also reach their conclusions in January, something announced at New York Comic Con. However, there are some other things to think about in this category. <p>First up is the solicitation text for <b>X-Men Legacy #23</b>, as it reads “as this groundbreaking series races to its conclusion.” That sure sounds like it’ll be over soon – perhaps a nice round 24 issues? <p>Next, there’s the case of the missing <b>Hawkeye</b>. Don’t worry, Hawkguy fans, we got official confirmation from Marvel Comics that it’s just a mere skip month, and the fan-favorite series will be back in February. <p>Unfortunately, fans of <b>Fearless Defenders</b> aren’t as lucky. The series doesn’t appear in the January solicitations because December’s #12 will be the final issue, also confirmed by Marvel. Let’s just hope Annabelle/Valkyrie wind up somewhere else, eh?
Marvel Comics has been known to double ship. <b>Superior Spider-Man</b> and <b>Avengers</b>, for example, have a twice monthly schedule as their standard delivery model. But in the month of January 2014, there are a <i>lot</i> of double-shippers. <p><b>All-New X-Men, Avengers World, Black Widow, Thunderbolts, All-New X-Factor, Iron Man, Miracleman, Superior Spider-Man, Thor: God of Thunder, Uncanny X-Force, Cable and X-Force</b>, and <b>X-Men Legacy</b> <i>all</i> have two issues in January. That’s to say nothing of three issues of <i>Revolutionary War</i>. <p>So plan your pull-list accordingly, as that’s 11 more issues (since <b>Spidey</b> is normal) than you might have been anticipating for the first month of the year. If you’re loving all those series (or anticipating them, for the new ones), then you’re in luck, and won’t have to wait long.