3 Months Until SECRET WARS1 of 12Secret Wars is still months away, but February’s Marvel book seem to already be crackling with the multiverse spanning epic, with the Incursions seeming to make swiss cheese out of the barriers between the 616 and Marvel’s other universes. Where are the Exiles when you need them?
Getting a bit more serious here, February will also see the end of two finale of two “All-New Marvel NOW!” launches from less than a year ago -- Elektra and All-New Invaders. Marvel also announced the Eisner-winning Daredevil run by Mark Waid and current artist Chris Samnee will be coming to a close—not in February, but soon-ish.
Coming back full circle, one of the most shocking – and trickily obvious – reveals in the February 2015 is perhaps the easiest one to do: reprinting a cover from over a decade ago. What is it – and what could it mean? Read on, ‘Rama readers!
Hank Yanked As Ant-Man?2 of 12Take this one with a grain of salt, but could Hank Pym be pushed out of the moniker of Ant-Man with the shadow of the movie looming? Perhaps. In the solicitations for the previously announced <>Avengers: Rage of Ultron OGN, Pym is referred to as Ultron’s creator – but not as Ant-Man, but rather Giant-Man.
Sure, Pym has been Giant-Man – he’s had a host of names! But to use the moniker “Giant-Man” in a solicit for one of Marvel’s biggest books of the year, especially tied into the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie and not also use the name of the other Marvel movie of the year? I smell…. Hijinx.
Having Hank Pym being squarely put in the box of Giant-Man isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if true it would be a “thing.” Wait.. that’s another Marvel character…
Dragon Pants3 of 12Charles Soule told Newsarama a few weeks back that the upcoming weekly series Wolverine would have an air of Nextwave about it… but this? In this solicits for <>Wolverines #5, it promises the appearance of someone or something titled “Fing Fang Boom”. So many questions?
Is Fing Fang Boom related to Fin Fang Foom? What’s with the “Boom”? What’s with the added “g” on Fin? It’s hard to question a giant green dragon wearing wrestling tights, but these questions must be asked.
In a later issue -- Wolverines #8 -- there promises an appearance by someone named “Fang.” Could they be related? Or is this just the Shi’ar Imperial Guard Wolverine stole his clothes from one time? Or is someone named “Fing” next?
Miguel meet Maestro4 of 12Peter David is the future of Marvel. Don’t think so? He’s written it twice. And now those two creations seem to be colliding in Spider-Man 2099 #9? As spectacularly illustrated by Francesco Mattina on the cover, the evil Hulk, Maestro of Hulk: Future Imperfect is gripping the head of Miguel O’Hara, the webcrawler of 2099. Believe it or not, this isn't the first time they've crossed paths -- as they were both in David's Captain Marvel run.
Maestro was teased recently in one of Marvel’s teaser images under the banner of “Planet Hulk,” so perhaps this is part of that. Or it could just be coincidence. It’s hard to really keep an evil, old Hulk to a schedule. You know “Old man” strength? Imagine that with the Hulk.
Sleepwalker Gets A Wake Up Call5 of 12He’s one of the only cult-favorite superheroes who looks legitimately like he’s a part of a cult. Either way, it looks like the early 1990s dream dealer Sleepwalker is back. On the cover to <>Fantastic Four #643, Sleepy is sharing a cover with Sue Richards, Namor and the Human Torch; not the foursome you’d expect on the cover given this series’ title, but I’m not complaining.
What’s Sleepwalker up to? Marvel and its creators would tell you to wait until February, but piecing together the fragments here – with the incoming incursions of the “Heroes Reborn” universe and the Franklinverse as seen in recent issues, perhaps the Sleepwalker steps as part of his job as a dream policeman in the Mindscape.
However it pans out, Sleepwalker is a highly unique character that – given the Disney/Marvel synergy going on – might be an interesting character to look at for a second chance and perhaps a spotlight in animation or live-action.
The Last Stand for Assassins & Invaders6 of 12Although they’re “ongoing series,” every comic series is a limited series – publishers just don’t know when they’ll end. But that day has seemingly come for both Elektra and All-New Invaders. The two series, launched earlier this year as part of “All-New Marvel NOW!,” never seemed to capture the imagination (and the pocketbooks) of readers in a significant way. That being said, critically Mike Del Mundo’s artwork on Elektra seems to have garnered a lion’s share of attention from reviewers.
So what’s next for the two franchises? They’ll both return to the bench, but expect Elektra to possibly be rejuvenated in the warm glow of the Daredevil television series depending on how that goes. What this means for her in comics is unknown, but it can’t hurt?
For the Invaders, it’s a tough road to hoe when you’re looked at as a throwback team with Avengers dominating shelves – just ask DC’s Justice Society. Could All-New Invaders have fared better if it was rebranded as yet another adjective-added Avengers title? Or perhaps the Invaders are just looking for the right story to grab readers enough to keep a series alive.
Cosmicly Enhanced7 of 12Marvel’s marketing department seems hard at work these past few months in coming up with unique variant ideas. We have January’s shrinking Ant-Man variants, and this month for the “Black Vortex” crossver we have some type of variants billed as being “cosmicly enchanced.”
Is this hyperbole or did Marvel rent a SpaceX capsule and send some comics into space? That remains to be seen. I don’t put it past Marvel – remember, they are the ones who once sold a comic book collection printed with ink that contained human ashes of one of the book’s creators as a tribute.
However it pans out, Andrea Sorrentino is doing all of these covers for the various “Black Vortex” tie-in books. He’s become a hot commodity since leaving DC, doing major work for both of the Big Two and expectations are high for what he turns in.
Marvel Visits Bloom County8 of 12Although comic books were born out of comic strips, since then rarily the two would meet. But they are in a variant cover to Marvel’s Star Wars #2, as Bloom Country strip cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is drawing it. Marvel has yet to send out this surprising cover, but it’s a great choice that promises an interesting cover – and surely an interesting story in how it came together.
If this works out, how about Berkeley Breathed doing an issue of Guardians of the Galaxy Team-Up? Rocket Raccoon? Punisher?
New Writer Orbits Avengers World9 of 12When Marvel set out to spin off a third title from Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers/Avengers run, they had him work closely with writer Nick Spencer to keep it on point and connected. But now, as <>Avengers World enters into a new arc that acts as a prequel to Hickman’s final act, we’re getting a new writer: Frank Barbiere.
Barbiere has been billed as co-writing several issues leading up to February’s #17, and in the past this is a method Marvel has used to segue new writers into a book. This would be the Five Ghosts writer’s first ongoing for Marvel, after several one-shots and some Best Shots-acclaimed work at Dynamite and Image.
Waning Days of Waid & Samnee’s Daredevil10 of 12Marvel’s Daredevil has been one of the few titles that’s consistently received high marks for the past decade through multiple teams, multiple directions, and multiple relaunches. And now, it looks as if Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are bringing their run to a close.
”THE END BEGINS HERE!” portends Daredevil #12’s solicitation copy, and although the end won’t be in February they have at least given out the two-minute warning, so to speak, as Waid and Samnee look to make one final touchdown.
Waid has been on the series since July 2011, with Samnee joining him just one year later. Together, with assists by guest artists and the rest of the creative team, they’ve bucked current trends and created a long narrative full of ups and downs for blind hero that sticks out for being timeless and consistent.
What will the end mean for Waid and Samnee’s Daredevil? First guess, given the cover: Owlman.
Ultimates Meets The Avengers?11 of 12When Marvel published Ultimates #1 by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, it changed the way people thought about the Avengers. It’s big-league success forced Marvel to rethink their plans for their “main” Avengers book, leading them into a new era of Avengers books that grew to eclipse Ultimates and virtually everything else in the Marvel U. But now it seems, there’s rematch.
Avengers #41 features the memorable illustration Bryan Hitch drew for the first issue of the Ultimates. It’s not an homage, swipe or a parody – Marvel is simply reprinting a decade-old cover from another book on one of their biggest series ever. Marvel’s confirmed it’s not a mistake, so what does it mean?
Ultimates vs. Avengers? And more importantly, Millar/Hitch-era Ultimates vs. Avengers? Neither Millar or Hitch have commented on the image yet, so the question is – just how much of that cover and what it represents is showing up in February’s Avengers #41?
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