Merry Marvel Marches Into… March!1 of 12Curious choices of words, some name-dropping , surprise team-ups, a number of artists making their Marvel debut … or returning for the first time in years are some of the things that stand out in Marvel Comics’ March 2015 solicitations.
While Monday’s takeaway from DC’s March solicits was the sheer number of ongoing series ending, Marvel seems to be keeping multiple plates spinning from the Avengers team books to Avengers solo books, the Spider-books, the X-Men, along with the continuing novel approach to launching series with untraditional leading characters and unconventional creative teams.
Newsarama read the tea leaves and picked through the sometimes obtuse text of Marvel’s monthly offerings and as we always do picked out the ten things that stood out the most for us.
The Curious Case of Scarlet Witch’s Past2 of 12Scarlet Witch was the talk of comics last week with her epic dissolution of her ties to Magneto down to a genetic level, and with her appearance in the Uncanny Avengers relaunch and, of course, the Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s easy to see why Marvel is now soliciting a collection of sol stories in March with Avengers: Scarlet Witch.
But look underneath the hood at the stories collected and you’ll discover something of a disparate gathering of random one-shots, short stories, and one lone solo miniseries.
Wanda Maximoff doesn’t have much history as a solo star, almost-always utilized as part of an ensemble cast. While hardly alone in that category, it’ll be interesting to see if Marvel attempts to break her out into her own series, given the sheer amount of solo titles Marvel has been launching of late starring characters that were previously only parts of ensembles.
Let The Kirby Cavalcade Begin3 of 12With the potentially industry-shattering lawsuit between the Kirby family and Marvel avoided with a recent undisclosed settlement, the House of Ideas seems to be turning over a new leaf (or are legally compelled) in recognizing who played an integral part in creating the most memorable and profitable of those ideas the Marvel house was built. In March, Marvel will be releasing a free 96 page magazine titled Avengers Magazine #1 that is being sold with a focus on Kirby.
Ascribed as the “creative legend who helped start it all,” the solicits is a laudatory account of the King – a rarity for the past few years at Marvel. This 96-page collection will look back at the first year of the Avengers comic book series, as well as include “probing” character profiles – all in time for Avengers: Age of Ultron in theatres just a few weeks later.
Note that while this magazine is labeled as free, Marvel also slips in mention of a special “keepsake” edition that will retail for $9.99. No word on what’s inside that yet.
Mark Waid Returns to the FF – Sort of4 of 12Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s run on Fantastic Four is fondly remembered as one of the series’ greats, s fans of that run get in a treat in March when Waid returns to one of the FF- albeit indirectly and apparently briefly..
In March’s S.H.I.E.L.D. #4, Waid and artist Chris Sprouse will do a one-issue story documenting Sue Richards; career as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
In the flash-forward “Time Runs Out” storyline in Avengers and New Avengers she’s shown to be a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the first time, but it was quickly revealed she was a mole for her husband.
But there’s no “Time Runs Out” tie-in advertised here and Marvel would likely sure to exploit that if it were, so perhaps this is just Waid and Sprouse touching on the idea of the Marvel Universe most logical and likely candidate for superspydom.
Fear of a Hydra Planet5 of 12A.I.M. has an island nation, so it seems Hydra looking to one better – an entire planet.
In the solicits for March’s All-New Captain America #5, Marvel nonchalantly drops in this midway through: “Planet Hydra is all but assured.”
”Planet Hydra”? Boy that sounds like a future Marvel event if we ever heard one.
Hellfire & Brimstone6 of 12With DC’s latest solicits looking like something of ongoing series bloodbath, Marvel’s March 2015 retort is notable for its lack of a body count...
All-New Ghost Rider by Felipe Smith (on story and art) leads off its marketing copy with the title “Fatal Finish Line!” With as a series hitting issue #12 – the one year mark, and usually the end of a second collection’s worth of issues – this might be a series to keep an eye on.
And from hellfire to brimstone, Chris Claremont and Todd Nauck’s Nightcrawler series sits at that same point – issue #12 – which will also serve as the creative team’s finale.
While Marvel could continue the series with a new creative team for a second year, it’ll be interesting to see if next brings an issue #13.
Lastly, two ongoing series are missing from Marvel's March solicits -- X-Force and All-New Invaders. While they simply could be skipping a month as some times have done in the past, their absence could be a low-key symbol both titles are kaput.
New Recruits In Advance of Secret Wars7 of 12With the decline in the number of exclusive contracts being offered to comics talent and some veterans looking to explore new options, fans are seeing a number of long-time creators known primarily for one publisher, be it Marvel or DC, try their hand elsewhere. In March we have two big names talents from DC going to Marvel, as well as a host of new artists from around the industry.
As previously noted, long-time DC artist Chris Sprouse is making his first full Marvel comic in March with S.H.I.E.L.D. #4. While Sprouse contributed an illustration and a couple fill-in pages to Marvel in the 1990s, he’s primarily worked for DC and its various imprints for much of his career.
Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang also makes an appearance at Marvel in March, with a variant cover to Ant-Man #3. The acclaimed artist is known virtually exclusive for his DC work, going back to even being a Vertigo editor for a time, but with the conclusion of his and Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman Chiang has been seen contributing covers across different publisher– and now for Marvel. There’s no word yet on what Chiang’s next major project is – it could be creator-owned, it could be more DC, it could be Marvel – or heck, it could be something else.
And editor-turned-talent scout Jeanine Schaefer seems to be working hard at Marvel, as the company is ushering in several up-and-coming talents into titles such as Witchblade’s Laura Braga, Red Hood & The Outlaws’ Ario Anidito, and indie artist Luca Pizzari.
Post-Axis, Is Genosha Renewed As Mutant Sanctuary?8 of 12In Marvel lore, the island of Genosha has had a complicated history with mutants: swinging back and forth on the subject of mutantkind from being a Mutant Apartheid to a Sanctuary and most recently a concentration camp in AXIS. By the time March comes, AXIS will be over and Magneto #16 drops a tantalizing clue that it could be developing once again into a safe place for those with the mutant gene.
The solicit for Cullen Bunn and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s Magneto #16 reveals former mutant terrorist is building a “stronghold” on Genosha to advance an as-yet-untold new “mission.” This is going out on a limb, but post-AXIS (both on an a macro and micro level for Erik given his children) could Magneto be building a new home for mutants?
For FF, Will Controversy Create Cash?9 of 12For over a year now, there have been rumors and suppositions that Marvel was diminishing its emphasis on the Fantastic Four due to their movie rights being owned by 20th Century Fox. Although Marvel has denied that, since New York Comic Con Marvel has seemingly been using that speculation to their advantage by teasing an “End of FOURever” for the Richards and family. The March 2015 solicits for Fantastic Four #644 only further that, with a cover image of the Thing exploding from the insides and the text that that this is the “most controversial Fantastic Four story of the century.”
What could that mean? Series writer James Robinson has several balls up in the with the Fantastic Four, most of all the impending invasion of characters from the “Heroes Reborn” universe and the mysterious person pulling the strings to the FF’s recent hard times.
Could this all be a misdirect to revitalize the Fantastic Four in time for the upcoming film reboot, or Marvel simply trying to make the most out of a chance to do a definite end to a long-running series for a substantial amount of time?
There’s only one way to find out – keep reading.
Marvel Introduces STAR WARS’ Newest Star10 of 12During the original Star Wars comic run at Marvel, the House of Ideas had a spotty record when it came to debuting new characters – even fans of the Jaxxon will admit he’s silly, even by Jar Jar Binks standards. But as Star Wars returns to Marvel in 2015, there’s already been talk of new characters debuting – and today we met our first one. Seen on the cover of Star Wars: Darth Vader #3, Aphra is described as “the galaxy’s foremost raider of lost weaponry” and is accompanied by two droids that look like darker versions of C-3PO and R2-D2.
Back in November Marvel editor Jordan D. White told Newsarama new characters were on its way in both the Darth Vader series and the main Star Wars, but much more so for the former. “I think there are more new characters being created in Darth Vader, in that we need to create more people for Darth to be interacting with/fighting with than just the stars of Jason’s series,” White said. “So far, we’ve had lots of latitude in that department—they love when we add to the world just as much as we love adding to it.”
Big Marvel Movie Reveal – In Comics!11 of 12Marvel’s Ant-Man Prelude #2, set in Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity, offers this little nugget:
“Before Scott Lang becomes Marvel’s shrinking sensation, Dr. Hank Pym will pull on the helmet and leap into action on a death-defying mission that takes him into the icy heart of Cold War East Berlin!”
While it doesn’t outright say so, this seemingly solidifies the notion that movie Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas) was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (or at least a freelance operative) in 60s and/or 70s.
That it’s written by one of the people who know the most about Marvel’s movies past, present and future – Marvel Studios’ resident Creative Research Manager Will Corona Pilgrim – only makes it more likely MCU fans will have something to look forward to in February and March even before May’s Age of Ultron.
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