Title: X-Men – Regenesis (One-Shot)
Author: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Billy Tan
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: October 12, 2011
This is a time of upheavel for the X-Men. After the events of the five-issue X-Men Schism storyline, it seems as though Marvel’s mutants have went their separate ways. On one side you’ve got Cyclops and his crew living on the island of Utopia in the San Francisco Bay area. They continue to treat each day as a battle wherein they are on guard for the entire species and aren’t afraid to defend themselves from a world where people hate and fear them.
Then, on the other side of the coin, you have Wolverine and his crew. They’ve returned to Westchester New York in order to reopen the school that they called home for most of their history. The school is now called the Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning, and the point of this whole thing is that the kids who go there get to be students first. Not grunts in the Mutant Army, but kids who get to go to classes everyday and are training to control their powers. Not to become living weapons, but to become well adjusted young members of society in control of their special gifts.
X-Men: Regenesis is really all about Wolverine and Cyclops feeling out their team members to see who will go which way. In this case, “with” Wolverine or “with” Cyclops does not neccesarily mean against the other…it just means that they believe what is best for the mutants is either the island or the school. Cyclops believes that they are too exposed in New York and can’t affectively protect themselves the same way they can on Utopia, while Wolverine believes the opposite. Just look at Utopia’s history from when it was Asteroid M up to last week. Truly not the safest place on Earth.
So…now the lines have been drawn. Each person has made their choice and picked their side. The really interesting part is still to come with the debuts of both Uncanny X-Men #1 and Wolverine & The X-Men #1, both shipping in the next few weeks. Books like X-Factor, X-Force, X-Men, X-Men: Legacy and Generation Hope are still going strong and their rosters will shift based on which X-Men they are featuring. This is really an exciting time to be a fan of the X-Men. The last few years have been good, but I suspect that the coming storylines will be even better. Kieron Gillen is really coming into his own on the X-Men, while Jason Aaron is one of the top guys in the industry right now. And with artists like Carlos Pacheco and Chris Bachalo taking over the core books… I’m not sure you can get much better than that.
So what did you all think of this issue? How about the whole new direction for the X-teams? Are you with Wolverine or Cyclops…or are you like me and plan on getting both books? Either way, sound off in our handy comments section below J .
This was my favourite comic book Wednesday of the month. Being as big a Marvel Comics fan as I am, I was like a kid in a candy store. The best of the best came out this week, with writers like Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman and Rick Remender all giving us amazing stories to gobble up. In honour of this, here are some quick reviews (or “Quick Hits”) of some of the plethora of amazing books that came our way from the House of Ideas on July 27. For a complete list, just check our blog on this very site J .
Title: Secret Warriors #28 (Final Issue); Author: Jonathan Hickman; Artist: Alesandro Vitti; Rating: T+ ;Release date: July 27, 2011; Verdict: 10/10
Comic Book series end all the time. Usually this is either due to low sales and the book ends up cancelled, or, in rarer situations, the book had a finite length and ends on its own. In 99% of these situations the book with the finite ending is creator-owned (Preacher, Y-The Last Man). But, in the super-rare situations, a book will come to its natural end while still being an in-universe book, and the company will let it happen (Wolverine Origins, Hitman). This is what happened in the case of Secret Warriors. The book had the sales to keep it going, but Jonathan Hickman’s story about these people came to an end, so instead of just pushing it along with a new creative team and whole new storyline, Marvel actually let the series come to an appropriate end. It was magnificent.
This issue was really just a wrap-up to the whole run that started in Marvel’s Dark Reign. Baron Strucker was killed in the last issue, Hydra was defeated, and Leviathan was done. This issue gave us closure on the whole mess that was the war between ex-SHIELD, Hydra and Leviathan forces, and it also set the stage for the future of the HC PMC (Howling Commandos Private Military Contractors). This comic showed us how amazing Nick Fury is at this whole Geopolitical-Warscape management racket, and it made me crave more Nick Fury comics right-F@%$ing- now! Hopefully Mr. Hickman hasn’t written his last word where it concerns the world’s best secret agent. Top it all off with Nick setting himself up to take another big fall, and I would say that this series was damn near perfect. The only thing that could have made it better for me, would have been if the series went another 30 issues.
Title: Captain America & Bucky #620; Author: Ed Brubaker & Marc Andreyko; Artist: Chris Samnee; Rating: T+; Release date: July 27, 2011; Verdict: 9/10
Last month this book was just “Captain America”. But with a new Cap series starting at #1 earlier this month, Marvel decided to continue the original numbering and also start a new series, much like how they converted Daredevil into Black Panther last year. It wasn’t as much a leap with this book though, as it was retitled “Captain America & Bucky”. From what I hear, the book will tell stories that tie into World War II stories starring Cap and his partner Bucky.
Ever since the Winter Soldier showed up in the early pages of Captain America a few years ago, I’ve wanted a book like this. Bucky has been fleshed out in the present, but when you look back on the Marvel Mythos, there is a surprising lack of info. This series aims to remedy that, and with Ed Brubaker still steering the ship, you know it’s going to be a classic.
This first issue starts off like how I hope most of the issues will start…with inner-monologue from Bucky. The year is 1935 and Bucky is growing up in the suburbs with his dad and his sister, as his mother had recently died. We get to see some of Bucky’s rough and tumble youth and we get to see how he came to be in the care of the soldiers at Camp Lehigh. We actually get to see all the way up to his first meeting with Steve Rogers and his first time wearing the Bucky uniform. It seems as though this series is going to be a “Year One”-type story for Marvel’s dynamic duo.
I’ve loved Bucky since his reintroduction into the Marvel universe, as the Winter Soldier. He quickly became my favourite character and when he seemingly “died” in Fear Itself, I was heart broken. I really hope that Marvel will revive him soon, but with a series like this coming out monthly, there’s no hurry. I wanted a book staring Bucky, and now I’ve got it. This book is really perfect for the people who are jazzed about the new Captain America movie in theatres this summer. It really has the same feel. This book is now a must read as far as I’m concerned. I’ll be buying a few more copies and giving them to a few friends. You all should do the same.
Title: Uncanny X-Force #12; Author: Rick Remender; Artist: Mark Brooks; Rating: PARENTAL ADVISORY; Release date: July 27, 2011; Verdict: 8.5/10
The Uncanny X-Force. They are by far the most kick-ass X-team that has ever been assembled in the history of X-teams. Wolverine, Archangel, Psylocke, Deadpool, and Fantomex. They are the definition of bad-ass, and I wouldn’t want to meet any of them in a dark alley. Currently they have ventured to the Age of Apocalypse universe in order to save Warren Worthington from a fate worse than death, and things are starting to get awfully crazy.
The Age of Apocalypse has changed in the 15 years since we’ve visited, and it hasn’t changed for the better. One of the cooler things about seeing it, is that characters like Nightcrawler and Jean Grey (who are dead in the mainline Marvel Universe) lead the X-Men. Their world is mucho-messed up, but the X-Men are still the X-Men. They still fight for what’s right. They still fight to protect their people. And it seems…they still have to fight against mutants.
This series has been at the top of my “To Read” pile, issue after issue, ever since it debuted about a year ago. It’s hard to describe, but whatever Rick Remender is doing with these characters is working. His Venom series is kind of boring, but his X-Force is miles away from boring. My only beef with this book, and it’s a minor one at best, was the inking. The first half of the book had some weak and muted inks, but it got better in the second half. The stylized inking on this book, is one the main things that gives it its unique feel. And how about that big last page reveal?! Things are about to get nasty in the AoA!
Title: The Mighty Thor #4; Author: Matt Fraction; Artist: Olivier Coipel; Rating: T+; Release date: July 27, 2011; Verdict: 9/10
No offence to J. Michael Straczynski, but Matt Fraction is writing the best Thor comics that I’ve read. JMS’s year and half run on the character was amazing and it brought me back to Thor, but when he left and Matt Fraction took over, the comic didn’t loose an ounce of what made it interesting. Fraction brings scale wherein Thor is actually fighting cosmic level threats like Galactus. Fraction has a thing for making Marvel’s iconic characters all the more iconic. Now I love Ed Brubaker and Brian Bendis, but after seeing what Fraction has done for Iron Man and Thor, I can’t wait until he gets to tackle Captain America and rest of the Avengers. Anyways…
This issue opens to the Asgardians attacking Galactus and his Herald, the Silver Surfer, as they try to get Galactus the Asgardian world tree seed (or “Worldheart”) so that he can eat it. Galactus loves to eat things like this. He likes worldhearts more than wasabi peas! Anyways…
How do omnipotent beings fight one another? This is the question brought to Thor by Lady Sif, and when you see how it’s done, it’s an eye opener. The battle is not a physical one, as that would be useless. The battle between Odin and Galactus takes place within their mindscape. The serve and volley at one another in a most unique way. This is an example of Matt Fraction’s sci-fi oriented mind at its best. He shows us what was already there, but in a manner that we wouldn’t expect. All in all, it really makes a fight a lot more interesting when it isn’t just one dude punching another dude. This is psychological warfare at its best.
The fight between Thor and The Silver Surfer, as well as the fight between Odin and Galactus, both continue into next issue; but another fight is brewing. The christians of Broxton have banded together under the misguided leadership of “Pastor Mike” to let the Asgardians know that they are no longer welcome in Oklahoma. I’m sure it won’t be much of a fight as Asgardians against nothing usually means that the Asgardians will triumph…but, as we all know, stranger things have happened before.
Title: X-Men – Schism #1
Author: Jason Aaron
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: July 13, 2011
The X-Men are the ones who got me into reading and collecting comic books. I was the perfect age to enjoy the X-Men cartoon of the 1990’s and I soon found myself curious about the further adventures of characters like Wolverine, Cyclops and Professor X, so I checked out a few dollar bin issues and I was hooked. Now, 15 years later, I find myself still following the monthly meanderings of Marvel’s merry mutants and I enjoy them just as much as I did when I first read about them during the massive Onslaught saga. You see…I love when the X-Men do the big crossovers where you get to see a shitload of mutants. They aren’t for everyone, but they always excite me.
Cut to last Wednesday, and we get the start of the newest crossover event, X-Men: SCHISM #1. I didn’t know much about it coming in other than there was going to be some kind of split in the team, and Cyclops and Wolverine were supposed to fall on opposite sides of said split. Also, the series was to be written by one of Marvel’s (and all of comicdoms) most talented writers, Jason Aaron. This was enough to sell me right there. Aaron is one of the most trusted talents at Marvel, and along with other writers like Jonathan Hickman, Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, Mr. Aaron is one of Marvel’s main guiding voices.
So what was the issue like? It opens to Bobby Drake (aka Iceman) sitting on the beach when Wolverine is seen walking back to Utopia with a bunch of arrows and ninja stars sticking out of his body. Logan seems to be in a terrible mood, but this can be expected when you’ve been shot and stabbed as much as that guy seems to have been shot and stabbed. From here we see Cyclops go to an arms conference at the United Nations, with his most trusted ally in tow, Wolverine, as his security. Things don’t go as Cyclops hopes and by the end of the issue we have another arms race in full swing.
There wasn’t anything in particular that made you think that Wolverine and Cyclops are headed for the big split that they are rumoured to be heading too at the end of this mini-series, but you could see little signs of what may balloon into issues over the next four books.
This series is set to run on a bi-weekly schedule and will feature a different artist for each issue. #2 will feature the work of Frank Cho, while #3 will feature Daniel Acuna. This issue by Carlos Pacheco, the upcoming artist Uncanny X-Men when it relaunches in a few months, was gorgeous. I’ve been a fan of Carlos ever since he was drawing X-Men over a decade ago, and he has grown by leaps and bounds as an artist. I really think that this series, followed by a new Uncanny X-Men #1 (by Kieran Gillen & Carlos Pacheco) as well as Wolverine & the X-Men (by Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo) is going to rock! I love when Marvel gets some of its most talented creators tackling the marquee characters. Things are looking up for the X-Men in late 2011!
So what did you all think of this first issue? Did you dig it like me, or are you on the other side? Will you be picking up the X-Men with Cyclops or the X-Men with Wolverine…or maybe even both? Let us know in our handy comments section below J .
Title: Alpha Flight #1 (of
Author: Fred van Lante & Greg Pak
Artist: Dale Eaglesham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: June 15, 2011
Canada’s premier, and as far as I know ONLY, superteam returns to the comic stands after a long hiatus! We haven’t had a Alpha flight series since 2005, and Alpha Flight hasn’t really been popular in god knows how long, but I have high hopes for this new volume. Fred van Lente and Greg Pak, best known as writers for Hercules as well as the Incredible Hulk, are two of Marvel’s most reliable guys in the writing department, while Dale Eaglesham is a bonafide super-star penciler best known for his runs on JSA, Fantastic Four, and most recently: Steve Rogers Super Soldier. Oh…and the cool thing about Dale is: HE’s CANADIAN! I love it when Canadians tackle Canada’s heroes. It just feel right J .
Now the big obstacle in making a new Alpha Flight series is the fact that several of the members are dead. I mean…we saw Puck hanging out in Hell during the first arc of the current Wolverine series and I think Mac Hudson has died a half dozen times. According to the inside of the front cover, during the Chaos War several members of the team were brought back from the dead, and now the enitre original cast is back together. All we need now is for Wolverine to join up. I figure he has about 20 seconds a month where he’s not in one of his many monthly books (Avengers, New Avengers, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, Wolverine, etc, etc, etc.), but I’m not holding my breath. The story opens up on an Alpha Flight who has only recently re-teamed up after making sure that the recent Canadian election was conducted fairly with a dude named Gary Cody winning the election in a landslide.
The book opens on our team fighting Attuma, or rather Kerkkod (Attuma’s new form) on the west coast in Vancouver. It seems like the team is all back together, except for Northstar, and everyone is talking about that. As far as I remember, Northstar was still an X-Man…but who knows anymore. From the fight with Attuma we are shown that fear has gripped Canada in this time of need as the government has instituted Marshall Law in order to handle the crisis. Of course, with the institution of Marshall Law, and the fact that this new Prime Minister is a right-wing power hungry dude, this seems like it will be the cornerstone of the conflict within this series.
Haven’t we already seen this story before with Alpha Flight? The team fighting their country or members of their own team in a situation where if things would just get talked out, there would be no problem? This issue felt like it had too many callbacks to the fact that the team is a bunch of Canadians. On page 14 Mac Hudson says “eh”, and for some reason it really stood out. There is something about this team that when a new creative team comes on, they make it kind of embarrasing for Canadians. Don’t get me wrong. Greg Pak and Fred van Lente are a great writing duo, and Dale Eaglesham is fantastic…but I’m thinking this book isn’t for me. I just wish they were Canadians like the American heroes are American. Their nationality is there, but STOP talking about it. It just seems forced. It’s like when there is a gay character and all they can talk about is being gay.
Now, as I am a proud Canadian commic book collector, I will be giving this book another shot. Hopefully issue #2 doesn’t have as many of the Canadian tropes as this issue felt like it did, and we can just get a good comic book story. I’m ready for Alpha Flight to stop being a bad Canadian joke. Aren’t you? Sound off in our comments section below and let us know what you think of Alpha flight’s return…
Title: Uncanny X-Force
Author: Rick Remender
Artist: Essad Ribic
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: April 13, 2011
This issue featured the conclusion to Uncanny X-Force’s second storyarc, Deathlok Nation. I have praised this series before, but it bears saying again as there is nothing better coming out of Marvel’s X-Offices than this book. The way this team interacts, on top of who populates this team, makes this book, with the possible exception of Secret Avengers, the coolest team book from the best comic book company of the day. Really. It’s that good.
The first arc featured an assassination mission that turned in a really unsavory direction at the end. I hadn’t ever read a Marvel comic (or DC for that matter) that dealt with the moral quandry of killing a child, but somehow writer Rick Remender made me feel bad for Apocalypse at the same time as making me want someone to kill him, even though he was a child. I love when a writer can really make you think and explore the moral ramifications of the work a team like Wolverine’s X-Force has to do for the greater good.
The second arc, which just ended, built upon the relationships forged in the first arc, and dealt with the bad feelings that were felt by the various members after they completed the dirty task. We are brought into a synthetic world where time moves at a different pace and Deathlok assassins and their “Father” rule over everyone. The setting was really a secondary concern as this arc was used mostly to explore the realtionships of the team members with one another. With only 5 members in this iteration of X-Force, the creative team really has room to stretch and explore these induviduals and the reasons they are on the team. I give this arc, much like the last one, top marks in my book. The first hardcover collection of this series debuts this May, and if you’re not reading Uncanny X-Force on a regular basis already, I whole heartily recommend that you start.
Title: X-Men – Legacy #245 (Age of X chapter 1)
Author: Mike Carey
Artist: Clay Mann
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: February 23, 2011
We looked at the one-shot that launched this new pocket universe a few weeks ago, but now Mike Carey’s big X-Men crossover, Age of X, is actually in full swing. The storyline will be running in both X-Men: Legacy as well as New Mutants and also in a few other one-shot style issues. In total the crossover is a manageable 9 parts, so our minds and our pocket books won’t be stretched too thin.
The story opens on Day 1000 of the battle between baseline humans and the mutants. 1000 days, almost three years ago, the X-gene was made illegal, and 1000 days ago is when mutant-kind started to fight back. In this world the X-Men still fight for the cause but this is a very different world. Age of X: Alpha, the one-shot that launched this alternate universe was an okay read, but this issue beat it out by a mile. Mike Carey has decided to enter into this crossover storyline seemingly in the middle of the story, and it seems to be working out. Most of the X-Men we know and love are present in this series, albeit in a slightly skewed fashion. Usually the X-Men are lead by Cyclops, but in this universe, Cyclops is more of the “Wolverine”-type character. General Magnus (Magneto) runs the show while Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) is the commander in the field. Sam is the leader of the New Mutants in the regular Marvel Universe, so having him leading this massive crew is not out of character. We see some characters are very different, but many are fundamentally the same, it’s just the circumstances that are different in this new world.
The X-Men are at war. It is their constant companion, and it is the way of things. This world fears them even more than the regular world does, and you can’t help but think that if certain other mutants were around, maybe this wouldn’t be the shape of things. I love the alternate versions of Betsy Braddock (never became Psylocke), Legacy, Moira McTaggert, Cyclops, Rogue, Magneto, Blink (an alt-Universe staple), and especially Sam Guthrie. He’s been my favourite X-Man since the Joe Mad days in the 1990’s, and seeing him be the Top Dog in the field is awesome.
One interesting thing about this universe, which also posses a few questions, is the presence of a mutant-prison run by Magneto and Danger which seemingly holds the most dangerous mutants captive. For their own good of course… Mutants like Kitty Pryde call it their home, and seemingly, also mutants like Emma Frost and her Stepford Cuckoos. The most worrisome though seems to be the man with the dream of peaceful co-existence, Charles Xavier. Why is he in the prison? Why is he sedated? Did Magnus hide him away, and in turn make this whole war his fault? Does his army know who is down there?
Overall, I’d say this issue was vastly superior to the Age of X: Alpha issue. That thing was disjointed and didn’t seem to have a unifying theme, while this issue really pulled me into this war over the X-gene. At first I thought this whole alternate universe story was going to feel like stuff that had come before, but so far, I’ve been surprised. I’m really liking it. Now I’m worried that 9 issues won’t be enough. Maybe the story won’t truly end, and this universe can be revisited down the road…. Who knows? But so far, so good. Now onto part 2…
Title: Wolverine #5.1 & Wolverine #1000
Author: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jefte Palo
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: February 9, 2011
This week we got the second of Marvel’s .1 issues with the release of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine #5.1. For new fans to Wolverine (is this even possible?) this issue, just like the Iron Man #500.1 issue, brings us into the Wolverine mythos and lets us get into this new series with ease. It doesn’t recount what happened in the Wolverine Goes to Hell storyarc from the first 5 issues, but the book does show Wolverine doing what he does best as well as a slew of people that populate Wolverine’s everyday existence with groups like the Avengers and the X-Men.
The story shows Wolverine on his way to a remote cabin in “The Canadian Wilderness” when weird and wacky shit goes down with some Canadian Hillbilly cannibals. Logan was on his way to a special place where he was planning on spending the weekend with the woman that he loves, Melita. Melita, on the other hand, had something else in mind. She was in the process of throwing Logan a surprise party and had invited several of his friends from those aforementioned super-groups…oh…and Deadpool showed up too. The issue was a light read with a little bit of fun and classic Jason Aaron comedy thrown in for good measure. Jason Aaron showed us that he has a firm grasp on Logan’s character and also showed us that Logan is in good hands for the foreseeable future. Artist Jefte Palo did a bang-up job as well. I’ve only been exposed to his work when he was doing a 4 issue run on Black Panther during the whole Secret Invasion thing a few years ago, but I hope to see more of him in the near future. Hopefully he more Wolverine in his future J .
This week didn’t only have Wolverine #5.1. It also had Wolverine #1000; a special one-shot featuring stories by Rick Spears & Timothy Green II, Jimmy Palmiotti & Rafa Garres, Sarah Cross & Joao Lemos, and Vince Hernandez & Luke Ross. This issue, like so many before, brings us stories from various times in Wolverine’s life. The issue was a good read, but it had nothing to do with the current run in any of his various books. This isn’t unexpected, as Marvel does these kinds of things all the time with Logan. It just seems that eventually we’re going to get to a point where there are more stories about Wolverine’s time in Madripoor or WWII than actual days in his life. The same thing has happened with the Original Star Trek series and the massive amounts of comics and books taking place during “the five year mission”. But for now, it’s still fun to read about Logan during the big events of the 20th century.
So what did you guys think of this week’s Wolverine offerings? I know he’s in at least one or two books per week, but are you getting sick of him yet? Sound off in our handy comments section below J .
Title: Invincible Iron Man #500.1
Author: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador LaRocca
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: February 2, 2011
This is the beginning of something Marvel has had in the works for awhile now. A few months ago Marvel announced that they would be introducing a new method to get people into new and old series alike. Both of the big companies have done things where they say a certain issue is perfect for jumping onto a book, even though it wasn’t an issue #1. Now Marvel has introduced a new program of point one (0.1) issues where the reader can come in, read a single issue and understand the series, and they are doing it for some of their top books. This week we got Invincible Iron Man #500.1, done by the regular creative team, and it was fantastic.
The entire issue wasn’t really a rehash of what has come before in Matt Fraction and Salvador LaRocca’s run, but more of a primer on Tony Stark and his history in the Marvel Universe. Mr. Fraction placed Tony in an AA meeting and let him tell the crowd his story with little actual detail, but he was really talking to us. The real details were in the amazing art provided by Salvador. We see how Tony started drinking and what that did to his life. It was so intense in some places that I would recommend this issue to anyone who is trying to quit something that is destroying them whether it is drinking or drugs or destructive relationships. We see what happened to Tony and what his motivations are to the right thing, but then we saw what might be considered the beginning of another fall.
Months ago, Tony lost all his memory of the time where he was in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D., and this was a really interesting time. Tony has been learning of some of things he did in that time, and revelation after revelation seems to bring him more and more down. He finally found out that he slept with Pepper after all these years of almost going that far, but never quite doing it. He found out at a time where he was very vulnerable and needed a friend, and then realized that the most important person to him in the world now felt incredibly awkward around him. At this point, Tony does something that could be misconstrued as the beginning of a journey that will lead him down a very dark path. Suffice it to say, Matt Fraction has made Tony Stark one of the most interesting characters in the Marvel Universe, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to let up anytime soon.
In the next few weeks and months we’re going to be seeing all kinds of these point one (0.1) issues hit the stands like Wolverine #5.1, Captain America #615.1, Amazing Spider-Man #654.1, Thor #620.1, Hulk #30.1, Deadpool #32.1, Uncanny X-Force #5.1, Avengers #12.1, Secret Avengers #12.1, and Uncanny X-Men #534.1. All of them are touted as perfect jumping on points. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be picking up all of them.
So what did you guys think of Iron Man #500.1? Was it is so good that it has spurred you on to buying more of the 0.1 issues? Let us know in our handy comments section below J
Title: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513
Author: David Liss
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release date: December 15, 2010
Two weeks ago Andy Diggle’s big Daredevil crossover story, Shadowland, came to an end. Hell had been wrought across Hell’s Kitchen and a great man had fallen from grace. This has left a hole. Actually…it has left a rather large hole in terms of Hell’s Kitchen’s protector role. Someone needs to fill the void, and who better to fill the role of the fallen “King” of Hell’ Kitchen than another fallen King. Enter T’Challa; former King of Wakanda and the hero known as The Black Panther.
Now I apologize for my ignorance to the subject, but I have not been a big follower of T’Challa’s exploits over the last several years. I tried to pick up Reginald Hudlin’s early run on the Black Panther monthly (gotta love the John Romita artwork!), and I also paid some cursory attention when T’Challa married the X-Men’s resident African goddess Storm, but other than that, I’m kind of lost when it comes to T’Challa/Black Panther. From what I learned on the hyper-mega-global-information-network (ie. The Internet), it seems T’Challa’s sister has taken on the role as the official Black Panther over in Wakanda, so T’Challa playing hero to Hell’s Kitchen seems to work out. Now…onto the issue itself.
The book catches your eye right off the bat with its gorgeous cover artwork by Simone Bianchi. The cover tells us so much with the simple image of T’Challa in his Black Panther garb in the foreground, but then in the background we have the ghostly image of Matt Murdock in his Daredevil uniform signifying that he is ‘missing’ from the scene. The book opens with Black Panther looking for Vlad Dinu, a man with an awesome secret for you to find out, and the newest crime boss in Hell’s Kitchen. It then cuts to Black Panther having a discussion with Matt Murdock about taking over the reigns of protecting the Kitchen while he is gone from the scene ‘finding himself’. It’s an interesting parallel with Black Panther also running from his home in order to test himself and in order to discover who he truly is. It shows us that this will be a story about redemption, which is exactly what this book needs after all the crap that went down during Shadowland.
This was a fantastic first issue. I have never read anything else by writer David Liss, who is best known for his novels, but so far it seems like he has a handle on the Kitchen, the Panther, and crime fiction in general. His pacing and his characters (Vlad in particular) really made me want to read more and more right away. And what can I say about the art?! It was perfect! Francesco Francavilla is another guy who I haven’t been exposed to very much (I think he’s been hanging out @ Dynamite), but he really kicked ass with this issue. It seems like I have two new creators to add to my “Must Follow” list. After reading this, I really can’t wait for the next issue.
So what did you all think? Have you been Black Panther fans for long, or like me, are you really just getting into him with this issue? Sound off in our handy comments section below J .
-Marvel announced the next character to get the “Astonishing” treatment, and that character is Captain America. Astonishing Captain America will be a five or six issue mini-series that will be written by Andy Diggle (Daredevil, Shadowland) and feature artwork by Adi Granov (Iron Man & Iron Man films). People have been wondering if this mini-series will take place in the film continuity, due to the similarities in the Captain America uniform, but Mr. Diggle has let everyone know that this is not the case. Look for in early 2011.
- Starting with issue #36, Astonishing X-Men will go back to a regular shipping schedule and also get a new regular creative team. That team will be writer Daniel Way (Deadpool, Wolverine: Origins) and artist Jason Pearson (covers for Deadpool). This series is not to be confused with the Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis mini-series by Warren Ellis and Kaare Andrews.
-The upcoming arc in Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four, entitled 3, will see the death of one of the team members. As a nod to another famous comic book death, Marvel has decided to release the first issue in a black bag with the number 3 on the outside. Sounds kind of cool…
-February will see the launch of Iron Man 2.0 as a new ongoing series. As opposed to having another monthly starring Tony Stark, this book will feature Colonel James Rhodes (Rhodey) aka War Machine, in a new suit of armour. The book is being planned as a stand alone series where you don’t have to read the regular Iron Man series in order to follow it, but also act as a companion piece to Invincible Iron Man which will pay off more if you read both. Writer Nick Spencer, new to Marvel, will write the book, while Barry Kitson will handle the art chores.
-Like Thor and Daredevil before it, the Iron Man series (Invincible Iron Man) will return to it’s classic numbering with the 600th issue. Look for this in early 2011.
-Marvel announced that we will finally get an Ultimate Captain America mini-series. The series will be brought to us by writer Jason Aaron (Scalped) and artist Ron Garney (Captain America in the 1990’s). The story will supposedly feature a Captain America from the Vietnam War era. The secret identity of this new Cap will be familiar to comics fans, according to the creators.
-Brian Bendis made a few cool announcements as well. First: Brian Bendis and regular collaborator Alex Maleev (they did Sam & Twitch, Daredevil, Spider-Woman, and Scarlet) have announced that they are currently working on a new interpretation of Moon Knight. Supposedly they were tasked with taking on the character in a whole new way, and they came up with a great angle. Bendis insists that work on their creator-owned series from ICON, Scarlet (which is bi-monthly), will not be affected by this new series. The creators plan on doing both. The second announcement was that Bendis, along with another long time collaborator, Mike Avon Oeming, will be launching a new creator-owned all ages series from Marvel’s ICON imprint called Takio. The series will feature two sisters with superpowers with a mild dislike of each other. The goal with this series is to release a graphic novel sized book once a year. Bendis and Oeming are taking a page from fellow ICON talent Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips book and will rotate between their creator-owned series. Bru and Philly cut time between Criminal and Incognito, both of which come out from ICON.
-Following the all the negative press of raising the prices on many of their books to $3.99 from $2.99, DC has announced that they will be rolling back several series to the original $2.99 price tag. This change should come into effect in the next few weeks. Marvel will be following suit starting in January 2011.
-Months ago DC announced that Jim Lee and Frank Miller, the creative team behind All-Star Batman & Robin, would be coming back to the All-Star universe with a new mini-series starring Robin. Well…we finally have a date. February 2001 will see the release of Dark Knight: Boy Wonder. No word on how long the series is set to run, but the delay until February may be so Jim Lee can have the series fully penciled before an issue is even on the stands. …but I’m not holding my breathe.
-Geoff Johns announced that the first issue of a new ongoing series starring one of the new “Corps” has already been completed. No word on which Corps is getting it’s own book, but my bets are on the Red Lantern Corps. If not the Red corps, could it be the “Pink Lanterns” of Zamaron as led by Carol Ferris?
-Rumour has it that writer James Robinson is currently working on a new ongoing Hawkman series. No artist was rumoured along with the Robinson news, but we’ll update y’all when we get the update.
-J.H. Williams new Batwoman series will launch in November with a #0 issue, with a new #1 following in February 2011. The #0 issue will coincide with the release of the various new Batman series.
-…and last but not least: Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly are supposedly working on a sequel to the graphic novel “New York 5″. As the line they launched the first OGN under no longer exists, we can expect to see this new OGN (and perhaps a re-print of the original) from DC’s adult division, Vertigo.