Wednesday, November 16, 2005

That Time of the Month: PMS!

Or: "Previewing Marvel Solicitations!"

Lots of flat-out bizarre things this month, as well as some genuinely exciting stuff. I'll also be pointing out just how many times the word "event" is used per month, just so we can see the brick wall we're all speeding towards.

* Ultimate Marvel is still carrying that "Gold Standard" subtitle, though to this day I don't think anyone has actually explained what that means. If they're just talking about putting some gold on the cover, well, we get the point, there's no reason to keep hammering it three months in a row. If, on the other hand, they're talking about perceived line-wide quality, I despair for the medium.

* Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Angel Medina begin a run on "Marvel Knights Spider-Man" with issue 23. Aguirre-Sacasa isn't a bad writer per se, but he's never written anything I was particularly inclined to read, and this series falls under that same banner. In fairness, I should point out that the premise seems interesting enough - Spider-Man villains who've patterned themselves after animals now find themselves becoming their moniker. Could turn out nicely.

* Over in JMS' Spider-book, Peter Parker gets a new costume "certain to raise eyebrows". Considering we've seen Paper Bag Spidey, Armored Spidey and Betty Brant as Spider-Girl, I seriously doubt we'll be too put off. Plus, you know, movie 3 coming out soon.

* Finally, Peter David's "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" breaks free of "The Other". I'll be checking out the first few issues to see how accessible it is; that aside, I'm expecting a fun read.

* Event #1: Apparently, "Black Panther" is heading for "an event of cataclysmic proportions". Which may or may not have anything to do with Panther's search for a wife, or guest-appearances by Blade, Brother Voodoo and Monica Rambeau. Care to guess what these three have in common? I'll give you a hint: it's only skin-deep.

* The solicitation writer vomits up an entire paragraph of bells and whistles for this month's issue of "Daredevil", but if there was ever a specific team on a specific book that didn't need an ounce of hype to sell itself, it's Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark on "Daredevil". Really, you don't need me to tell you to check it out, do you? :)

* Garth Ennis starts a "Fury: Peacemaker" miniseries. Keeping in mind what happened the last time he wrote Nick Fury, can you blame me for running away screaming?

* "Saga of the Squadron Supreme" recaps everything in the Supreme Power series so far, setting up for March's relaunch of the series as "Supreme Power: Squadron Supreme". Clunky as hell, but these are the people who gave us "X-Men: The End Book Three: Men and X-Men" and "Decimation: House of M: The Day After", so what do they know.

* Event #2: The theme for February is "I (Heart) Marvel", obviously a Valentine's Day cash-in. Apparently, the high concept is a return to the old romance genre in comics, which faded away when superheroes became the dominant force in the industry. Of course, these stories will feature mainstream Marvel characters. Once again, Keith Giffen launches a 5-month miniseries out of a one-month theme, though even with the solicitation text I still have absolutely no idea what it's about.

* Event #3: "Amazing Fantasy" #18 announces a "New Universe" event in March, heralded by a February backup story by Tony Lee featuring Mark Hazzard, Merc. *blank look* What-ever.

* Two issues of "Captain America" promise to ship in February. I'll believe that when I see it. #14 is, of course, the long-overdue conclusion to the "Winter Soldier" storyline while #15 picks up on a plot point from the first six issues.

* Event #4: "Planet Hulk" begins as Greg Pak takes over "Incredible Hulk" with issue #92. I'm... somewhat ambivalent towards this. Pak is a great writer, but it's still very unclear what kind of story this is - crossover? Self-contained "saga"? Nobody's written a Hulk I particularly cared about since Peter David's original run, but I'm quite open to getting my interest rekindled. A "wait and see" issue, then.

* Robert Kirkman brings in his old "Mutant 2099" character over at "Marvel Team-Up". I still don't care.

* "Giant-Sized Ms. Marvel" promises a new ongoing series for Carol Danvers by Brian Reed, starting March. Don't look at me, I didn't know anything about this either.

* "New Avengers" #16 tie into "House of M", some four months after the story ended. Uh-huh...

* A Frank Tieri miniseries called "Underworld" looks at a criminal's life in a world of supervillains. Nice premise, but Tieri's never really been one for following through with plots. More likely than not it's a waste of time.

* The good news: "Astonishing X-Men" returns. The bad news: it's bimonthly. Which means that, instead of getting two six-part stories a year, we'll be getting one six-part story a year for two years. That's... well, that's not quite right. Still, it's better than Claremont.

* "Exiles" reaches the old "Squadron Supreme" universe. And, by the looks of the cover, they've picked up the 2099 character I was hoping they'd get. :)

* Event #5: I've already commented about Eric Jerome Dickey's "Storm" miniseries, but here's a little something new: "Don't miss out on this story, True Believer, as it builds to a July Event that will shake the entire Marvel Universe." *sigh* The opportunity for snark is endless, and yet somehow I've reached the point of complete apathy. I don't care enough to be sarcastic anymore. The inevitable backlash will speak for itself.

* Apocalypse returns. In Peter Milligan's "X-Men". Oh dear. Well, it's Apocalypse - it's not like Milligan could do much worse than "The Twelve" on his worst day.

* Another Frank Tieri launch: an "X-Men: Apocalypse/Dracula" miniseries. I kid you not. Apocalypse vs. Dracula. On the other hand, this doesn't look like the puffy-shirt eight-foot-cowl Dracula of '80s Marvel, so who knows. It's still Tieri, but anyone who's okay with that might enjoy themselves.

That's it for this month's highlights! Full solicits and covers can be found here:

Until next time, this is Diana, asking you to PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP BUYING CROSSOVERS. The tenth anniversary of "Onslaught" is coming up soon; don't come crying to me when "Heroes Re-Reborn" is announced! ;)