Not too long from now, in a comic book very, very close.1 of 12Marvel has primed people to expect big things in 2015, as they seemingly revisit their greatest hit event series in the modern-day. The company’s solicited comics for January 2015 hold some surprises, with new series debuting but also some well-loved series finding out January is their last stand. We have news of two deaths – one Spider-related and one from Marvel’s deep bench of villains, but also the return of several classic Marvel characters who run the gamut from good to bad, with a few in-betweens.
Just as it’s a new year, it’s also the dawn of several first issues. There’s Squirrel Girl, and Ant-Man, Wolverines, and Uncanny Avengers (more on that in a minute). Oh, and a little thing called Star Wars starts off its new run at Marvel, who originally published comics on the license, after over two decades at Dark Horse Comics. The “Welcome Home” variant covers for the month will celebrate Star Wars’ return to Marvel, as well, Marvel told Newsarama. They’ll feature Marvel characters in classic Star Wars situations, costumes, and locations. Maybe we’ll see Captain America on Hoth (watch out for those cold temps, Cap!) or Groot and Rocket dressed as Chewbacca and Han Solo. Yeah, this variant month will be fun.
Here're the other ten most noteworthy stories from Marvel's January solicitations.
The D-Man Returns2 of 12…no, not Demotion Man --- although you’re close.
In January’s Deathlok #4, we see the newly minted Deathlok Henry Hayes will be sharing the spotlight with the most famous Deathlok: Michael Collins. Although Collins wasn’t the first Deathlok, he’s the best-known – and the one from which Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. based it’s Deathlok, Mike Peterson. Now, Michael Collins is back in comics – and being asked some uneasy questions about the program that made him famous.
Series writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Mike Perkins have really threaded the needle in this series so far, creating a new Deathlok without distancing itself from the tragic legacy of cyborg killers that came before him. With this news from January’s solicits, it looks like Deathlok is remembering where it came from as it figures out where it goes next.
Watch The Inhuman Throne3 of 12The Inhumans are bigger than ever in terms of population and popularity with Inhumanity and the current Inhuman series, but come January it looks like their troubles are going from bad to worse.
In the solicitation text for January’s Inhuman #11, it states that the throne of Attilan – the capital of the Inhuman race on Earth – will be vacant. The metaphorical crown of the Inhumans sat on the head of Black Bolt for decades, but after his faked death in Infinity we saw his duties and the demands on him fall to his wife, the fiery-haired Medusa. With the influx of new Inhumans (nuHumans as Marvel’s calling them) and the Inhuman royal city stranded in New York’s waterways, Medusa’s kingdom is in disarray with no sign of getting better.
But what will rip Medusa from her throne? Readers of Inhuman know she has conspirers on all sides, so it’s just a matter of waiting and reading to find out the culprit(s) and what comes next.
The Original Sin Returns4 of 12What kind of parent names their child Sin? Oh yeah, Red Skull.
The original Sin – Sinthea Schmidt – is returning in January’s All-New Captain America #3. The offspring of Cap’s worst enemy coming back to face the man Cap chose to replace him? Apt.
Created back in the late 1980s, Sin was a forgotten character who was dusted off by Ed Brubaker during his Captain America run and acted as an accomplice to her father and Crossbones before stepping out on her own and inciting the events of Fear Itself -- which featured the death of the previous guy who set out to replace Steve Rogers. Now, she’s back.
Sin’s an interesting character that the big-wigs at Marvel have shown some additional interest as of rest, with Iron Man 3 writer Drew Pearce stating he wrote a script for a Marvel One-Shot featuring Sin that hasn’t been made.
t’s a Short Day In January For 2 Marvel Characters5 of 12Death comes for everyone – and in superhero comics, it comes more than once for some. But Marvel is pronouncing the deaths of two – one hero, one villain – come January according to their solicitations.
In the finale of the three-part Scarlet Spiders series by Michael Costa and Paco Diaz, this trio of Spider-associates will find their front in the war that is “Spider-Verse” yielding a major casualty, as Marvel states one of these spider-related heroes will bite the dust. The team is made up of two “Clone Saga” vets in Ben Reilly and Kaine, as well as the Jessica Drew of the Ultimate Universe.
The second Marvel character who’s walking to their death in January is the 1970s Luke Cage villain Gideon Mace. Mace (who has an excellent pro wrestling name!) has recently been seen in the Mighty Avengers series, and it looks like that series first post-<>Axis tie-in will to be solving the brutal murder of Mace. Super Heroes investigating a villain’s death? Methinks there’s something more at play here.
A New Year… and New Marvel Creators6 of 12Although Stan Lee’s boisterous Bullpen editorials are long-gone from Marvel comics here in the modern day, it should almost be dusted off just to see how he introduces new creators working for the company (and what adjective prefix he’ll give them). In January’s comics, Marvel is ushering in two acclaimed artists who share a European influence.
Leading off the pack is the French comics artist Bengal, debuting in January’s Avengers #34.2. While rarely known outside of artistic circles in the United States, Bengal is one of his home country’s top talents. Way back in 2008 Marvel announced a series, Spider-Man: Widow’s Web by Bengal, C.B. Cebulski and JD Morvan that was never released, and while Marvel did publish an English translation of his Euro series Skydoll for a short time, Avengers #34.2 will be Bengal’s formal debut drawing Marvel characters.
Second on the metaphorical podium is Langdon Foss, artist of the Vertigo OGN <>Get Jiro! with Anthony Bourdain. Although born in Colorado, Foss has some heavy Japanese and BD influences and seems like an ideal choice to follow Marco Rudy on Ales Kot’s trippy <>Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier.
The Numbers Game7 of 12For the past few years it seemed like the idea of long-running series and high numbered comics was taboo for Marvel and DC, but in the wake of news Marvel is aiming for a finale for the Fantastic Four it looks as if the publisher is playing up the history card for the Richards’ last days. Although news is non-existent on what exactly “The End of FOURever” means for the team, January’s Fantastic Four #642 -- and some interesting variants – looks like it could be the light at the end of the tunnel for fans who have speculated that Marvel is treating the FF poorly.
This bit of news also brings up a piece of overlooked news from the recent New York Comic Con – Uncanny X-Men is also reverting to its original numbering… at least for one issue. Brian Michael Bendis told Newsarama that “just before Secret Wars,” Marvel will publish an oversized Uncanny X-Men #600 that will be a major moment for virtually all of Marvel’s mutants.
Could this be the start of a trend? Could we see more Marvel titles revert to their historical numbering? Or is it just marketing? ...Why not both?
Varying Variants8 of 12Marvel’s no stranger to variants, but in January they’re testing out a new – and potentially highly priced – “Shrinking Variant Cover.”
This unique variant cover, thematically tied to Ant-Man #1 will make each copy of the variant one of a kind. As Marvel describes it, this variant cover by Ed McGuinness will feature Ant-Man at a different size – with each individual copy of the book (and cover) showing him at a different size. If that didn’t make it unique enough, Marvel will be numbering these individually and doing this print to order – as in no overprints, no reprints, no extras put in the warehouse in case retailers want to up their orders.
It’s a unique promotion, but the jury’s still out to what retailers think about this – and more importantly – how much (or little) they decide to order.
Criss-Crossing Counter-Earths9 of 12For the longest time, DC seemed like the superhero line with the most propensity for alternate universe escapades, but with the aftermath of Age of Ultron and the announcement of Secret Wars, it looks like Marvel is getting in on the act.
In the solicitation announcing the relaunched and renumbered Uncanny Avengers coming in January, it says this new team of reformed (and not so reformed) villains – except for Sam Wilson, of course (unless you count a brief flirtation with the mob) - that make up the team are visiting Counter-Earth. The solicits ask “What is Counter-Earth,” But Newsarama and comics fans are asking… “Which Counter-Earth?” The idea of a Counter-Earth was first realized in 1972 when the High Evolutionary used an Infinity Gem to create a second Earth to act as a testing ground for his experimental ideas for evolution. Since then there have been several duplicates of our planet dubbed Counter-Earth,, two of which created by FF member Franklin Richards. And we have seen and heard mention of duplicate Earths recently, from an alt-reality jaunt by Remender in the previous volume of Uncanny Avengers seeing a world ruled by mutants, and also mention in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run of a “twinned Earth” made by Ex Nihilo.
And what does the “No More Mutants” teaser image revealed at NYCC mean for this? Perhaps Scarlet Witch transported this team back to that Earth ruled by mutants and that’s the “Counter-Earth” spoken of? What could it be? We’ll find out in January.
Case Closed for SHE-HULK (And Others)10 of 12January is a month most people think of as a place for new beginnings, but in comics three series are meeting their untimely end. Two of which we knew about, but the third is a bit of a shocker.
The shocker, of course, is that She-Hulk is ending with January’s #12. The story of a superhero attorney – who’s a Hulk no less – is a gripping story, but it looks like despite Charles Soule and Javier Pulido’s best efforts Marvel is calling it a day. While not Marvel’s lowest selling ongoing series currently, She-Hulk never charted high compared to Marvel’s established superhero books. That being said, She-Hulk quickly attained that rare critical acclaim that kept Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye afloat for some time. At the same time, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Marvel pulls out a trick it used during the previous She-Hulk series by Dan Slott and try a quick relaunch with the same creative team to bolster the sales and give it a second chance. The solicits do mention something big coming for Ms. Walters – what could it be?
The other titles on the chopping block for January are ones we knew like All-New X-Factor, and one widely presumed given its dour solicitations -- All-New Ultimates #12. Eagle-eyed readers might notice Avengers World is missing from the January solicits, but when Newsarama asked Marvel about the hiatus we were told the book hasn’t been cancelled, is skipping January, and "Will be back!"
He Comes From Beyond11 of 12Earlier in October we learned Secret Wars is returning, and from the looks of January’s New Avengers #29 so is its chief instigator and antagonist. Who else but the Beyonder?
(No, unfortunately not the mulletted, goatee-wearing Beyonder from Spider-Man: The Animated Series.)
The solicitations for Avengers and New Avengers have been notoriously vapid since “Time Runs Out” has begun, but if a picture is worth a 1000 words then that cover by Gabriele Dell’Otto is an essay. As you can see, it shows, the other-dimensional being in his familiar all-white outfit, seemingly toying with Ant-Man – and the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, from the limited view we see. What does it mean?
Well, think about this: After Age of Ultron, it seems the barriers between time and space (meaning alternate universes) broke down a bit, leading them to bleed over easily – as seen in “Battle of the Atom,” “Spider-Verse,” the Inversions of Avengers and New Avengers and elsewhere. In the original origin for the Beyonder, he was an alternate universe – an intelligent universe – that was pulled into the 616 universe to start the original Secret Wars. A few years back Brian Michael Bendis wrote a story which had Professor X say that the Beyonder was actually a mutant Inhuman and not this extra-dimensional being, but it was left ambigious with other heroes pointing out holes in Xavier’s theory even then.
Getting out of the past and thinking of the future – the Beyonder is back, there’s a Secret War brewing – could he be the one that starts it? He’s done it before.
1 of 12
2 of 12
3 of 12
4 of 12
5 of 12
6 of 12
7 of 12
8 of 12
9 of 12
10 of 12
11 of 12
12 of 12