Tuesday, January 17, 2006

April's Fools: Highlights from Marvel Solicitations

The big news is that the "Marvel Knights" imprint, formerly known for allowing edgier stories with mainstream Marvel characters (the "PG-13" to MAX's "R", I suppose), has collapsed for the purpose of retooling. All MK books are being folded back into the mainstream while the imprint itself will become a home for "limited series by high profile creative teams that fall outside of the realm of the Marvel Universe." Of course, the fact that the MK books seem to outnumber the mainstream both in volume and in hype status might have something to do with it... Full article here: http://www.newsarama.com/marvelnew/MarvelKnights/MKredefined.htm

But anyway, to the highlights. As April is a comfortable month in-between events, not much is going on, though Civil War is duly being teased here and there.

* Robert Kirkman may (or may not) be tackling the Phoenix in "Ultimate X-Men". I'm waiting for the conclusion of his first arc before evaluating whether it's worth the time.

* For the benefit of those clinging to "Spider-Girl" to the bitter end, the Hobgoblin returns.

* Black Panther and Storm are getting married. I'm still unable to shake the feeling that it's one of the most forced relationships in the Marvel Universe - they're both African, they're both superheroes, and that's about it. As such, it's impossible to be invested in it.

* Having accidentally spoiled the major plot twist approaching in "Daredevil" last month, the text spells it out this much: a major supporting character is on the way out. Very promising.

* Charlie Huston's "Moon Knight" launches. Snore.

* Stuart Moore writes an issue of "Wolverine". If anyone's tracking where Wolverine turns up per month, add "in the heart of Africa" to the list.

* "Annihilation" begins proper, with Simon Furman, Andy Landing and Dan Abnett, Keith Giffen and Javier Grillo-Marxuach launching the first issues of four miniseries: respectively, Ronan, Nova, Silver Surfer and Super-Skrull. For the cosmically-inclined.

* "Amazing Fantasy" concludes the Death's Head 3.0 story, and announces another dreadful "theme" month at Marvel, this time Westerns in June. God help us all.

* Surprisingly, "Power Pack" gets another miniseries, this time featuring the Avengers. Those digests must be doing very well.

* "Spider-Woman: Origin", "Sentry", "Marvel Zombies", "X-Men: Deadly Genesis" and "Books of Doom" conclude. On a related note, Doom returns in JMS' "Fantastic Four", proving once again that the term "leave well enough alone" is completely alien to Straczynski.

* Daniel and Charlie Knauf take over "Iron Man" with issue 7. Don't worry, Granov is also replaced with Patrick Zircher, so it just might resume a monthly schedule. Whether Knauf is bringing anything new to the table is a question better suited for those who read "Iron Man". :)

* Bendis and Coipel, the "mega-team" from "House of M" (pfft), reunite for a "New Avengers" annual. Run hard, run fast.

* I don't understand a single letter of the solicitation for "Nextwave". If this is supposed to be winning over unfamiliar readers, it's not working.

* "Astonishing X-Men" continues to do its own thing, for which I'm grateful. The cover's a bit of a spoiler, but I'm more annoyed by the fact that... well, when you see it, you'll know.

* Over in "Exiles", the newly-assembled team reaches "Future Imperfect". Long-time readers will recall the Exiles have faced the Hulk before without much success; will they fare any better against the Maestro?

* The bad news: Claremont is still on "Uncanny X-Men", launching a three-parter explaining how Psylocke has returned, and what Jamie Braddock is up to. As an aside, I absolutely refuse to be intimidated by a villain who runs around wearing nothing but a white thong and hoop earrings. The good news? Brubaker takes over in July. Le w00t indeed. :)

* Issue 6 of "X-Factor" promises to unravel some of the mystery surrounding Layla Miller. I think this is the one that will make or break the series for me: if PAD can redeem this waste of ink, I'm on board for life.

* In Milligan's series, the return of Apocalypse devastates the X-Men. I have to admit, it's a storyline with a lot of potential, and I'm tempted to check it out despite Milligan's lackluster performance.

The rest of the solicits are here: http://www.newsarama.com/marvelnew/Apr06/solicitations.html