Mysteries Abound

If you wanted to know a lot of new information about Marvel Comics' plans for July 2014, then today's incomplete solicitations were likely a little disappointing. <p>After all, with the classified, mystery solicits, missing comics - it seems like Marvel is withholding almost as much as they're revealing. <p>Still, we combed through the solicitations for the ten most major Marvel moments - including the many mysteries. Take a look and see what we were able to glean from our tea leaves and crystal ball.

Art Of Guardians of the Galaxy (just) Ahead of the Movie

If you couldn’t tell from the many “Guardians Artist Variant” covers, the ongoing series, the launch of the new <b>Rocket</b> ongoing, the <b>Rocket & Groot</b> special - Look, Marvel is banking big that <b>Guardians of the Galaxy</b> will be the next big thing from Marvel Studios. <p>But the studio itself has been rather tight-lipped about new information regarding the film, compared to say the 30 minutes or so of trailers released for <i>Amazing Spider-Man 2</i>, for example. Well, a day before the August 1st release of <b>Guardians of the Galaxy</b>, a 304 page slipcase hardcover called “The Art of the Movie” will be hitting shelves, giving anxious fans waiting in line for a midnight showing something to oo and ah over, with interviews, production stills, behind-the-scenes photos and concept art. <p>Basically, Marvel isn’t waiting for <b>Guardians of the Galaxy</b> to be the next big thing; instead, they’re just saying it is and waiting for everyone to catch up.

Hawkeye Vs The Punisher Vs The Thunderbolts

Early Thunderbolt returns to take on The Punisher. There’s probably not much else we have to say here - if you’re a classic <b>Thunderbolts</b> fan, you’ve been waiting for these pretenders to come up against some of the classics, and Hawkeye should certainly throw a wrench in the Punisher’s plans to turn against his teammates. <p>Of course, it might also be the only place you’re seeing Hawkeye in July…

But Where’s Hawkeye?

After last month’s ominous-sounding solicitation that apparently announced the soon-to-come conclusion of the critically acclaimed solo series starring Clint Barton and his counterpart Kate, July has no <b>Hawkeye</b> on the schedule at all. <p>Again, due to the shadow of C2E2, the Marvel July Solicitations were frankly something of a jumble, and final judgment on "what’s what" will likely have to be reserved for a few days or weeks. <p>But despite all that the mystery of ‘where the hell is <b>Hawkeye</b>?’ has already been solved by Newsarama’s crack forensics team. <p><b>Hawkeye #19</b> through <b>#21</b>, original solicited for sale in April through June, are now scheduled to be released in June through and August, according to Diamond Comic Distributors. So Marvel apparently just chose not to solicit a new issue given it’s already going to be 3 months behind. <p>So Matt Fraction’s Eisner-nominated ongoing series appears to live another day, at least for a little while. As mentioned, <b>Hawkeye #21</b> is titled “The Finale, Part 1”, afterall… <p>(June - er, now August's #21 Cover Pictured)

Defenders Reunion in Silver Surfer

The Silver Surfer, Hulk, Dr. Strange, Namor Defenders line-up has always been more beloved in the minds of readers than an actual sales success story, but nevertheless, Dan Slott is getting three-quarters of the band back together in <b>Silver Surfer #5</b>. <p>Perhaps Namor is too busy in <i>All-New Invaders</i> (another team title whose reputation is greater than its sales legacy) to join his mates, but time may be running out for this Defenders quartet as we knew them. <p>2015-2016 is going to see Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones appopriate the title in what Marvel hopes will be a high-profile rebranding of the concept via the Netflix TV deal. <p>Could this be the last gasp of this 'classic' iteration of the Defenders?

Alex Wilder is Back!?

The first year and a half of <b>Runaways</b> was a nuanced look at the nature of heroes and villains, all through a realistic lens held in front of a group of teenaged would-be-heroes. <p>And, <b>SPOILER ALERT</b> the best part of all was the shocking twist, when Alex Wilder, seemingly the leader of the group and the most heroic of them all, turned on his team, systematically taking them all out - before dying himself. <p>Now, the spiritual successor, <b>Avengers Undercover</b>, which features a couple of former Runners, is featuring, in July, the return of Alex Wilder. That’s right, he’s back from the dead, and going one on one with his former paramour Nico! <p>Okay, it’s not the return people were maybe hoping for, but now that Alex Wilder is back, at least our dreams of a story pitting him against the other brilliant kid of the Marvel Universe Amadeus Cho are alive.

100th Anniversary of What, Exactly?

Almost certainly due to this weekend’s C2E2 con in Chicago, Marvel released many “classified” solicitations, listing only the titles and creative teams (and even some of those didn’t look entirely complete - we're assuming writer Jen Van is actually Jen Van Meter). <p>Notable among these “Classified” solicits were five #1s (presumably one-shots) all sharing the title <b>100th Anniversary Special</b>, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, and Fantastic Four. But left unsaid (and Marvel isn’t talking today) is the 100th Anniversary of what exactly? <p>Marvel is already billing this week’s <i>Guardians of the Galaxy #14</i> as that title’s 100th issue so while it could be some creative calculation of 100 issues in the runs of those titles, why would Marvel mark <i>GoTG</i>’s 100th issue in a special … again … 3 months after the fact? <p>Another possibility is a version of DC’s <i>One Million</i> event, or their September <i>Futures End</i> event – peering 1 million and five years ahead of the publisher’s then/now current ongoing series, respectively. <p>The 100th anniversary of those Marvel titles (at least the latter four) would take place roughly 50 years from now, so readers <i>might</i> be looking at specials that look at what happens to the characters/teams in 50 years time. Either way, expect that to be revealed in a few days time. <p><i>(Pictured: X-Men 50th Anniversary Cover from 2013)</i>

More Mystery Comics…

And then there are the <i>other</i> “classified” mystery #1s , among them <b>Legendary Star Lord #1</b> by Sam Humphries, Paco Medina, Steve McNiven, <b>Storm #1</b> by Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez, <b>Deadpool vs. X-Force #1</b> (of 4) by Duane Swierczynski, Pepe Larraz and Shane Davis, and <b>Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #1</b> (of 7) by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn and Reilly Brown. <p>Since the Deadpool titles are classified as limited series (and one of them sounds like it's just the print version of the Infinite digital-first comic...) and the already discussed <i>100th Anniversary</i> titles were designated as specials, it doesn’t take a Nick Fury-led investigative team to figure out <b>Star Lord</b> and <b>Storm</b> are very likely the debuts of new ongoing series. <p>Given <i>Cyclops</i> and <i>Nightcrawler</i> were recently granted ongoing series for the first time, its not much of a surprise <b>Storm</b> is getting her turn (Kitty Pryde and Colossus must be waiting by their phones). And with the <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i> movie is coming out in August, a <b>Legendary Star Lord</b> (a sly shout out to the early moments of the film’s first trailer) ongoing series has Marvel/Disney’s corporate, synergistic fingerprints all over it. <p>And again, expect all doubt to be removed by the weekend.

Oh, and All the OTHER Missing/"Classified" Solicits

<b>Original Sin #5</b> and <b>#6</b>, <b>Original Sins #3</b> and <b>#4</b>, <b>Original Sin #5.1</b> through <b>#5.5</b>, <b>Amazing Spider-Man #4</b>, <b>Amazing Spider-Man #1.3</b>, <b>All-New Invaders #7</b> and <b>#8</b>, <b>Daredevil #5</b> and <b>#6</b>, <b>Inhuman #4</b>, <b>Wolverine #10</b>, and <b>Uncanny X-Men #23</b> and <b>#24</b> are all among the “Classified” solicitations that appear in Marvel’s July checklist, have on-sale listings for July with Diamond, but that Marvel didn’t include in their solicitations. <p>Oh, but Marvel <i>did</i> send out these covers for <b>DD #5</b> and <b>Uncanny X-Men #23</b>. <p>”The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier,” huh?

Ms. Marvel’s First Team-up

It’s time to get Ms. Marvel more integrated into the Marvel Universe, and while the jokes are easy, it makes sense to see one of Marvel’s most popular characters join the fray to help her out as a guest star. <p>Yes, Wolverine is coming by to <b>Ms. Marvel</b>’s aid in July, despite his ongoing issues with being “Killable” and all. Who knows, maybe Kamala Khan actually has something to teach the old Kanucklehead as the newbie who wants nothing more than to just be a great hero - something Wolverine seems to have lost sight of a bit since losing his healing factor.

Fan-Favorites Go Solo

Okay, so this is cheating a bit, but just because <b>Rocket Raccoon</b> and <b>Spider-Man 2099</b> were already announced doesn’t mean we can’t still be excited about the launch of these two ongoings featuring fan-favorite characters. <p>Rocket Raccoon is poised to be a breakout character in August’s <b>Guardians of the Galaxy</b> feature film, and Marvel is getting out ahead of that by having a first issue already on the stands at the time of its release. <p>Meanwhile, The Spider-Man of 2099 is in a brand-new series, stuck in the present-day, and written by his creator Peter David. Yeah, that’s pretty much a perfect storm of fan-favoritism. Of course, the world of the modern-day Marvel Universe is a little crowded with Spiders at the moment, with Scarlet, Amazing, a couple Women, Girls - you get the idea, but we think Miguel O’Hara will fit right in, while he tries to stop Alchemax’s evil while simultaneously trying not to accidentally erase himself from existence altogether. You know, typical Spider-Man problems.

What We Learned (So Far) from MARVEL COMICS July 2014 Solicitations

Date: 23 April 2014 Time: 09:00 PM ET