Marvel News & Views

PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKES:

It’s a brave new dawn in the world of MNV… I’m going to start giving away Non-Prizes! Yes, you too can have your very own authentic MNV Non-Prize if you are clever enough to work out what Marvel comic I get the quotes in my teasers from! I’ve started off with a moderately obscure one, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to at least work out which character is involved… Go on, take the MNV challenge and expand your comic quote collection…

Comic quote collection? Christ, I’ve been doing this for six issues and I’m already starting to talk like Stan Lee…

Anyway, before we get down to the news, which is somewhat subdued after the manic events of Wizard World, which we covered last time around, here’s another viewpoint on the addition of Wolverine to the New Avengers line-up…

Just a thought on the whole Wolverine/Avengers thing that no-one seems to have mentioned yet: Wolverine (and the other members of the X.S.E.) are ‘federally sanctioned officers of the law’ (Warbird, UXM#445). Depending on how things shake out in Disassembled, Homeland Security may decide that someone from the X.S.E. needs to be a part of the Avengers (not unlike Bishop being transferred to Mutant Town). Given that Logan seems to have the secondary mutation of being on 30 teams at once (maybe he has a version of Multiple Man’s power), he’d be as good a choice as any.”
Ru Hartsell

Good job picking up on that one, Ru. This now means that we have two perfectly sound reasons for Logan being at Avengers Mansion now – the Weapon Plus program that created him and Captain America, and the X.S.E. adding a representative to the government’s top-tier superhero team in the ultimate public relations opportunity. It would also tie in nicely to events in AXM, which saw Cyclops rebuffed by Nick Fury when he approached him for some assistance. ‘Transferring’ the X-Men’s best fighter to help the Avengers in their time of need would probably go a long way to redeeming them following the Manhattan devastation in Fury’s eyes. Plus, we still have to see what the connection to Secret War might be… To be perfectly honest, I think everyone’s over-reacting to Logan being on another team. I’m much more curious about The Sentry… Not to mention The Void…

Keep your eyes peeled for an interview with Sean McKeever, writer of Mystique, Sentinel and Mary Jane amongst other things, which should hopefully be coming your way at some point over the next week!


BUT FIRST!

To Readers of the MNV,

On behalf of Nicholas C. Piers I Esq., it has come to our attention that one Iain Burnside has put out a statement of negative consequences. In Mr. Burnside’s statement on a recent MNV, he specifically targeted Mr. Piers as a buyer of the recently released Batman: Hush trade paperback. In the comments, he used his slanderous catchphrase of “DAMMIT, PIERS!” to get across the aforementioned point.

As a fictional and purely imaginative representative of Mr. Piers, I’d like to issue the following statement from him: “People of Nexus! I apologize for Iain’s damning comments. Believe me when I say that I did NOT buy the Batman: Hush TPB, despite popular belief. I looked it over at the store, but said to myself ‘Self! Why not wait and see if DC releases a one volume TPB
like they bloody well should for this 12-issue arc?’ So I didn’t buy it. Will I? Perhaps. I haven’t decided yet. Money has been tight thanks to a $20 (Canadian) a week budget on comic books from my girlfriend. I managed to sell a big horde of DVDs to get money to buy the JLA/Avengers hardcover, though! Coming to a Nexus near you!”

Thank you for your time, readers of MNV and Nexus. In closing, please prepare to welcome back his greatness and awe-inspiring Nick Piers himself. He has recently completed Summer Session at St. Thomas University, which coincidently, coincided with the launching of the Nexus. He apologizes for not being able to partake in the 411 Excursion and wishes to make it up…

BY CHALLENGING IAIN BURNSIDE! That’s right! Mr. Piers challenges Mr. Burnside to a new column in the same spirit as Grut vs. Daniels on the beloved Inside Pulse. The column? Burned & Piersed! Mr. Piers is humble enough to put Mr. Burnside’s name first!

Thank you for your time.

Andy Howe
Offices of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe

Oh yes… He’s back… I had to say yes, of course…


MARVEL SOLICITATIONS – NOVEMBER 2004:

November?? Holy crap, we’re soon going to be in 2005! Christmas presents! Hogmanay [*] plans! Alert! Alert! Alert! Yes, Marvel’s solicitations for November 2004 have been released. You can check out the full list at Millarworld, but here are my patented [**] must-haves…

[*] – What we crazy, drunken Scots like to call New Year’s Eve. You may have seen us on TV. Come to Edinburgh, it’s mental. Well, except for last year when it was just really, really windy.

[**] – There is of course nothing ‘patented’ about these, but if you do decide to buy the same books that I will get then that would make me feel a strangely satisfying type of glee.

So, the books then…

AVENGERS FINALE #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencilled by David Finch, George Perez, Steve Epting, Jimmy Cheung and a collection of Avengers all-stars
Cover by Neal Adams
48 Pages, $3.50, on sale 11/03/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960605642-00111

Wow, Quesada wasn’t kidding when he said that Cheung was going to be getting a major push. It certainly doesn’t get much bigger or better than getting to collaborate with the likes of Bendis, Maleev, Perez, et al for the final ‘old’ Avengers story to be told. This is the Disassembled Epilogue, so don’t expect too much in the way of major revelations, epic confrontations or sweeping changes. This is more than likely going to be the calm in between the storms; a time of quiet contemplation for the old guard as they take stock of their place in the world and set out onto a new path, guided by the loving hands of some of the most loving creators Marvel could grant them, in particular George Perez. I met him at a book signing a few months ago. He’s an absolutely lovely bloke with an, ahem, interesting taste in shirts to say the least. Shiny shirts as well! We all love shiny! We all love Perez! We all love to say goodbye too, so pick this one up…

AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES #1 & #2 (OF 8)
Written by Joe Casey
Pencils & Cover by Scott Kolins
32 Pages each, $3.50 each, on sale 11/03/04 and 11/17/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC Issue #1: 5960605523-00111
UPC Issue #2: 5960605523-00211

Marvel are billing this one as a title “to sate fans whipped into a frenzy by the Avengers Disassembled event.” In other words – anybody bitching and moaning about what that darn pesky Quesada has allowed/instructed that darn pesky Bendis to do to their favourites over in the main title (and who they have been replaced with) can take solace in this eight-issue mini-series, which ships biweekly and takes a look back at how Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man, Hulk and the Wasp first came together to found the Avengers. I’m not sure if I’m going to pick it up myself, but I’d strongly recommend any Thor fans do…

IRON MAN #1
Written by Warren Ellis
Art & Cover by Adi Granov
“Extremis” part 1 of 6
48 Pages, $3.50, on sale 11/10/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 59606056-53-00111

Man, oh man, oh man… Adi Granov providing art for Iron Man?? That’s such an enticing prospect that I may very well have to excuse myself and go to the bathroom for a few minutes… Seriously, I’ve never bought an issue of Iron Man in my life due to a complete lack of interest in the character (rich guy in suit, drinks a bit, the end) but if anything is going to tempt me to check it out then it would be this. His work on Dreamwave’s short-lived Necrowar series was absolutely breathtaking, and that featured an entire cast of Iron Man-style designs. I wait with baited breath to see what he can do with all of his energies focused on the one costume. Plus, let’s not forget the little matter of Warren Ellis writing the story! Quesada has already said he would be quite happy for him to stay on for over 100 issues if he so desired, and I echo that sentiment. Life could be about to get a whole lot more interesting for Tony Stark…

NEW THUNDERBOLTS #1 & #2 (OF 6)
Written by Kurt Busiek & Fabian Nicieza
Pencils & Cover by Tom Grummett
32 Pages each, $2.99 each, on sale 11/10/04 & 11/24/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC Issue #1: 5960605602-00111
UPC Issue #2: 5960605602-00211

To the bloke that e-mailed me about the Thunderbolts a few weeks ago – yes, they are the former villains that decided to use their powers for good instead of evil. No, they still don’t interest me personally, and no, I haven’t been reading the Avengers/Thunderbolts mini-series, but what the hell, as long as I am broadening my horizons somewhat and sampling the new Avengers line of titles then I might as well give this one another shot. I mean, c’mon, it’s Busiek, baby!!!

CAPTAIN AMERICA #1
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art & Cover by Steve Epting
32 Pages, $2.99, on sale 11/17/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960605652-00111

Daron’s personal Jesus, Ed “Gotham Central” Brubaker, enters the domain of the Marvel Universe to tackle Captain America’s new ongoing series. Hopefully this one will be more memorable and entertaining than the narcoleptic Marvel Knights title has been. That wouldn’t take much, mind you, as it is ironically only in the last arc by Robert Kirkman that the book has become even mildly interesting. Like I said before, Captain America is an A-list name reduced to B or even C-list status. He has been overshadowed by constantly pandering to the likes of Wolverine and Spider-Man. Such behaviour is understandable from a business POV, but if you want people to take the Avengers at all seriously these days, you’ve gotta back the Cap. Hopefully Brubaker & Epting will be capable of wooing the readers back to the ‘founder’ of the Marvel Universe…

NEW AVENGERS #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils & Cover by David Finch
“New Avengers” part 1 of 5
32 Pages, $2.25, on sale 11/24/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960605547-00111

Here it is then, the first story arc of the new-look, “I can’t believe it’s not the JLA” Avengers courtesy of Bendis and Finch. I was put off Disassembled by the incessant hyperbole bestowed upon it by Marvel, plus the fact that the storyline was going to involve a lot of fatal interaction with characters that I really couldn’t be bothered with. The same could be said about Identity Crisis I suppose, but that one is essentially still just a good ol’ whodunit, whereas this seemed like more of a marketing exercise from the get-go. Still, as a big Bendis fan I am prepared to give his new ongoing title a shot and see how it grabs me. In a cute gag, they are calling this “the first of a proposed 500-issue run.” Oh, you guys!

MARVEL TEAM-UP #1 & #2
Written by Robert Kirkman
Art & Cover by Scott Kolins
32 Pages each, $2.25 each, on sale 11/03/04 and 11/17/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC Issue #1: 5960605620-00111
UPC Issue #2: 5960605620-00211

Yes, the first story of this new Team-Up title, Golden Child, is guilty of the same old, same old Marvel technique of having two big-name characters inadvertently start fighting one another before uniting for the common good. Yes, they just so happen to be the two new Avengers, Wolverine and Spider-Man (a good start to team spirit… Cap had better break out the Bring It On DVDs to show ’em how it’s done), but dammit – it’s Marvel Team-Up!!! Who are you to resist it, huh??

THE PULSE VOL. 1: THIN AIR TPB
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by Mark Bagley
Cover by Mike Mayhew
Collecting THE PULSE #1-5
120 Pages, $13.99, on sale 11/10/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960611332-00111
ISBN: 0-7851-1332-0

THE PULSE #6
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencilled by Brent Anderson
Cover by Mike Mayhew
32 Pages, $2.99, on sale 11/10/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960605483-00611

We’re out of the woods of the Avengers side of things, but Bendis continues to exert his influence on the Marvel Universe with his Alias spin-off book starring Jessica Jones, which gets its first TPB collection this November. I read the first issue when it came out and have been looking forward to getting my grubby little mitts on this collection ever since. If you prefer the pamphlet format, then issue #6 is the start of a new five-part arc and a perfect jumping-on point, particularly if you have been reading Bendis’ Secret War, as this ties directly into that series and features appearances from Nick Fury, Captain America, Iron Fist and Luke Cage…

SHE-HULK VOL. 1: SINGLE GREEN FEMALE TPB
Written by Dan Slott
Penciled by Juan Bobillo
Cover by Adi Granov
Collecting SHE-HULK #1-6
144 Pages, $14.99, on sale 11/10.04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960611443-00111
ISBN: 0-7851-1443-2

Unless you have managed to read the Nexus, or any comic book website and/or message board, without actually comprehending the written English language over the past six months or so, you will of course know that She-Hulk has been an unexpected yet pleasant sleeper hit for Marvel. Thus far, it has gathered far more critical than commercial success, yet this trade should hopefully redress the balance if we can garner enough support over the next couple of months. Hell, it’s already got two thumbs up from Quesada as one of his ‘must read’ new titles alongside Amazing Fantasy and Young Avengers, so Slott & Bobillo must be doing something right. Forget the psycho currently throwing things around in Disassembled – this is a far more worthy interpretation of the character. Basically, if you liked the Geffen & DeMatteis Justice League era then you will love this book. And really, who didn’t love the Geffen & DeMatteis era??

FANTASTIC FOUR #520
Written by Mark Waid
Pencils & Cover by Michael Wieringo
32 Pages, $2.99, on sale 11/17/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960604456-52011

All they are telling us about this issue is that it is called Galactus, part 1 of 6. You may draw your own conclusions…

ASTONISHING X-MEN #7
Written by Joss Whedon
Art & Cover by John Cassaday
32 Pages, $2.99, on sale 11/24/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960605543-00711

This is the start of the second arc of the Whedon/Cassaday run. Unfortunately, as Whedon himself confirmed at Wizard World, it is also their last arc. Strangely enough, he has only written the scripts up to issue #6, so hopefully there aren’t any last-minute complications with his Serenity movie as it moves into post-production that will prevent him from carrying on the best core X-Men title since the heyday of Claremont on Uncanny (sorry Morrison fans, but that’s my opinion). Anyway, apparently this arc – entitled Dangerous – will see a ‘tragic death’ at the school and reveal a ‘powerful enemy’ living amongst the X-Men. The solicitation also flat-out states that it is not Magneto. Of course not, it’s Xorn! Wearing a Magneto helmet! Disguised as a star-for-a-brain! Called Xorn the Chinaman! In all seriousness, I’m still convinced we shall see Colossus in one form or another before this story is complete…

MYSTIQUE #21
Written by Sean McKeever
Penciled by Manuel Garcia
Cover by Mike Mayhew
32 Pages, $2.99, on sale 11/24/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960605431-02111

BUY IT. In fact, be sure to get a copy of issue #20 in October as well so you know what will be going on in this month’s issue as Mystique is forced to make a choice as to where her loyalties really lie – with Professor Xavier or the Quiet Man (whose identity will be revealed in #20). McKeever, Garcia and Mayhew deserve all the support they can get with this excellent thriller, which has been criminally overlooked all throughout its run. Please show your love before it goes the way of Sentinel, another McKeever title that was axed before it’s time…

NYX #7
Written by Joe Quesada
Penciled by Robert Teranishi
Cover by Joshua Middleton
32 Pages, $2.99, on sale 11/24/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960605456-00711

Yeah, chance would be a fine thing. I’m fairly certain that more people would have wanted Quesada to write a second arc to this series than would want to read the superfluous Daredevil: Father, or would want to see an X-23 solo mini, but at least they are going to send this series off properly rather than leaving it to rot, Kevin Smith style. Former Star Wars artist Robert Teranishi steps into the breach to replace the now-exclusive-to-DC Josh Middleton on interior art. You know what makes it even worse? The fact that we are probably not even going to get a TPB out of this… Dammit, Joe!!

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN VOL. 5 HC
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils & Cover by Mark Bagley
360 Pages, $29.99, on sale 11/03/04, ALL AGES
UPC: 5960611401-00111
ISBN: 0-7851-1401-7

What needs to be said about this, really? The absolute hands-down best thing to have come from Marvel’s House of Quesada era has been the debut of their wonderful over-sized HCs, and none have been more beautifully crafted than those containing Bendis stories. They are packed to the rafters with the usual sketches, covers and other uninteresting clutter that you would expect to find in the extras section, but Bendis takes things one thing further. We get complete annotated scripts. We get transcripts of conversations with the likes of Quesada, Jemas and Buckley (most interesting of all was the one about the genesis of Ultimate Venom in the vol. 4 HC). We get no-punches-pulled, shooting-from-the-hip introductions, conclusions and stream-of-consciousness rants. It’s wonderful stuff. That’s not to mention that the large format really allows Bagley’s tremendous artwork to be shown off to a far greater extent, particularly his magnificent facial expressions. The two stories collected here – Ultimate Six and Hollywood – are obviously quite jarring and may not read as well together as the previous collections did, but they are still an essential part of the best creative run on a Marvel ongoing book since the heyday of Uncanny X-Men. Buy it, buy it, buy it!

SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #21
Written by Paul Jenkins
Pencils & Cover by Talent Caldwell
32 Pages, $2.25, on sale 11/10/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960605427-02111

Okay, first of all, who calls their kid Talent?? Geez, way to give your offspring a major complex by the time they reach the schoolyard… Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing Jenkins get back down to business after his thoroughly enjoyable series was interrupted for Disassembled nonsense about turning into a spider and whatnot. Up until that point he had been telling perfectly pleasant tales with a lick of old school about them and this one-shot seems to be bringing that same much-missed style back as Spidey is invited to The Thing’s poker night for the first time. The other players? Dr. Strange, the Black Cat, the Angel, the Human Torch, the Invisible Girl, Mr. Fantastic and, er, the Kingpin?! Good stuff!

SPIDER-MAN: INDIA #1
Written by Jeevan J. Kang, Suresh Seetharaman & Sharad Devarajan
Art & Cover by Jeevan J. Kang
32 Pages, $2.99, on sale 11/17/04, MARVEL PSR
UPC: 5960605639-00111

Well, this is a real curiousity. Spider-Man is huge in India apparently, especially the movies, so you gotta give credit to Marvel for trying to expand on their line to appeal to a burgeoning new market. Hell, if it pays off we could even see an entirely separate new ‘universe’ for them to play with. MC3, if you will. On the other hand, it could tank like their Marvel Mangaverse line did. Only one man knows the outcome and his name is Pavitr Prabhakar. I’m really going to have to learn to spell that properly…

MARVEL AGE SPIDER-GIRL VOL. 2: DIGEST
Written by Tom DeFalco
Penciled by Pat Olliffe
Cover by Ron Frenz
Collects Spider-Girl #6-11
144 Pages, $7.99, on sale 11/17/04, ALL AGES
UPC: 5960611657-00111
ISBN: 0-7851-1657-5

If, like me, you missed out on Spider-Girl’s early adventures the first time around then the Marvel Age digest format has been an absolute godsend. Only eight bucks for six issues? Um, yes please! If you haven’t read the title yet then I’d suggest starting out with the first digest book rather than jumping in at the deep end to the ongoing title itself, which is currently away up to issue seventy-something. Trust me, Marvel’s management team are going to be paying far more attention to how well these books sell than they are to the effectively static sales levels of the comic itself. If they see an opportunity to keep shifting the digests, then they will keep the title around until at least issue #100. Well, that’s my theory anyway…


NEWS & VIEWS:

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a [censored]:
The fourth issue of Joss Whedon & John Cassaday’s blockbuster, Astonishing X-Men is due out this week. The title has long been rumoured to feature the return of a favourite character from beyond the grave. According to the latest edition of All the Rage over at Silver Bullet Comics, this is it (beware of spoiler, obviously). I sincerely hope so as it would be the only possible return from the dead that could fit in with the narrative laid down by this creative team. It is so hard not to just come right out and say who it is as I am so incredibly excited by the potential this has to make an already great story arc legendary… gah, just hurry up and get the book!! I’ll be discussing this title in greater detail next week when the spoiler shackles are off.

Potato Headed Ben Affleck – The Director’s Cut:
Okay, so in retrospect Daredevil was not a good superhero movie. Hell, it wasn’t a good movie period. It is, however, a perfect movie to watch with a few mates and a few drinks and just utterly rip the piss out of. It’s exactly the kind of movie you would expect Trey Parker and Matt Stone to do a commentary track for and put it online. It’s not offensively bad like Batman & Robin, but it is just bad enough in its pretentiousness to laugh along at it. Lord knows I still piss myself laughing whenever I hear Affleck yelling “THAT’S THE C-TRAIN!!!” with all the gusto of a sphincter valve after a chicken vindaloo. That’s not to mention the fun that can be had trying to ascertain whether or not Colin Farrell was actually aware that he was being filmed for a movie or not… My money’s on ‘not’… And hey, if all else fails you can see one of the most beautiful shots of Jennifer Garner ever when she appears in the rain on Affleck’s radar vision. Lord, she’s beautiful… Oh, and the soundtrack kicks ass. It introduced the world to Evanescence and has extra CHADDAGE. Anyway, the reason I am telling you all this is that the film really does work much better on the small screen for a night in than it did in the cinema. The Director’s Cut has just been confirmed for release on November 30th, and will contain the following features…

– 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen
– English DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
– 24 minutes of additional footage
– New commentary by director Mark Steven Johnson & Avi Arad
– Making of the Director’s Cut featurette

Just Say No To Toad:
The Pulse has a five-page preview of District X #5, complete with comments from writer David Hine and a reprinting of an earlier interview with Hine from before the first issue was released. I take it that this is a part of Marvel’s proposed scheme to draw more attention to their critically-acclaimed yet commercially-struggling titles, in specific this and She Hulk, possibly with more to come (Mystique, anyone?). It is good to see that Marvel are willing to put in the effort to books that could very easily draw more readers to them if they are pushed hard enough. The biggest obstacle in trying to get people to try a new title these days – particularly one that doesn’t involve a big-name character or writer – is that they know very well it is in all likelihood going to be binned after two or three arcs. It’s a Catch-22 situation. Now from a business standpoint, Marvel certainly can’t afford to keep every book that sells poorly around for longer than that. They just have to try and pick one or two at a time to really focus on and go to war with the audience until they are tempted enough to pick up at least one issue. If the book is good enough, as this one surely is, then the chances are good that they will either stick around or pick up the trades when they are released. Once the job is done on those books, Marvel can then move on to spotlight another, and another, and another, and so on… At least, that’s the plan. It will involve more than mere online previews and interviews to really attract a substantial audience. Anyway, here’s what David Hine had to say about the book…

When I started this series I promised that it would be a full-on action thriller, and I’ve constructed this issue as a series of mounting climaxes, with a couple of pauses for breath. When I started out on District X I hadn’t read superhero comics for around ten years. I wrote the first six-issue arc without checking out what I’ve been missing – I really did not want to be influenced or put off doing things because they had already been done.

In this issue, we get a hint of how much power Mr. M has, and how casually he wields it – no Kirby poses for him! Mr. M was actually inspired by Ditko’s Mysterious Traveller. I used to pick up those old Lee/Ditko mystery stories in black-and-white reprints here in the UK when I was a kid. They were probably a bigger influence on me than the current colour superhero books.

One final note: For those of you who thought the first three covers of District X were inappropriate – after this issue you’ll appreciate how deeply ironic they were intended to be.

Fantastic Farce:
According to the latest rumours from SBC, Julian McMahon of Nip/Tuck may not yet be officially cast as Dr. Doom. Apparently, David Boreanaz of Angel fame may be in contention. Allow me to offer my rebuttal – NONSENSE.

I’m sorry, but I’m rushing to complete this again, I’ve had a rough day, I hate the f*cking Eagles and I have no time to waste on random speculation that is completely unfounded…

I’ll look like a real tit if Boreanaz does get the gig. Go for it, Dave!!

Cho-Cho Gadget Umbrella:
Newsarama have an interview with the newly-exclusive Marvel artist Frank Cho, complete with several sketches, for you all to check out. By using the same work-for-hire/creator-owned clause as Robert Kirkman, he will continue to work on Image’s Liberty Meadows title at the same time as his Marvel work, which includes the upcoming MAX title, Shanna the She-Devil. Shanna has had her own title before, but he has apparently retconned her origin in order to power her up to expand her capabilities in the face of greater danger than ever before. She looks like you would expect an Image artist woman to look like, only even more athletic and wearing a lot less than most Marvel women would dare. The eight-issue series should see the light of day at the start of 2005. Should you be interested in Savage Land style adventures, then keep your eyes as peeled as Shanna’s mid-riff. Oh, you can also see the new look for Venom in Mark Millar’s Spider-Man here too, as Cho will once again be subbing for Dodson with issue #8. Since I couldn’t care less about the character I have no idea if this looks good to the slavering fanboy fans of the symbiotic nightmare, but I suppose it does. OMG like kewl kthx!

Fuzzy = Funny:
Darick Robertson, fresh from his stint on Wolverine with Greg Rucka, is currently working on the upcoming Nightcrawler series due to start next month. You can check out some of his truly stunning sketches in this interview with the Pulse. Even though I really don’t care enough about the character to support yet another X-book spin-off, Robertson’s art really does warrant some serious commendation. It’s almost a shame that it has to be coloured really, as I think it would work far better and suit the tone of the comic if they just left it in black and white. Anyway, he is collaborating with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on the book and here is what he had to say about the first arc…

It’s a dark story about a young boy in a New York hospital psyche-ward who may or may not be a mutant and is suspected of a mass murder. No one knows the events, because he’s not talking, so Kurt gets involved to try and find out what’s happened and the story gets stranger and stranger. There’s trips to limbo and spells being cast. It’s creepy and fun. Right now, Nightcrawler is going to be my priority book. I really want it to kick ass

Of course, the real intrigue lies in whether or not the third post on the message board is from the same Chris Irvine that is currently employed by WWE or not… Rock on, Fozzy!

Let’s All Punch Travolta In The Groin:
The features for the Punisher DVD have also been confirmed ahead of its September 7th release…

– 28-page comic written by Garth Ennis, with cover by Tim Bradstreet, providing a background to the movie, adding depth and back-story to the Punisher character, leading readers into the first scene of the film (limited to 10,000 copies).
– Widescreen format
– “War Journal,” on-the-set featurette on the making of the film
– “Army of One” featurette outlining the character’s place within the Marvel Universe with an interview with Garth Ennis
– “Drawing Blood,” an interview with artist Bradstreet that includes a showcase of his art for the Punisher
– “Keeping It Real,” an in-depth look at the film’s stunt work
– Trailer of the Punisher video game
– Deleted scenes
– Audio commentary by writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh
– Drowning Pool “Step Up” music video

Hmm… All very good but it doesn’t atone for the film sucking badly enough to make Kevin Nash the best thing about it. Look at his little Tugboat T-shirt… TOOT, TOOT!

Hey, Super Shredder vs. The Punisher!! The ultimate crossover!!

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEBODY BUY THIS FOR ME!!!!!!!!!:
Holy crap!

Spider-Man 2, the single most enjoyable movie to have ever come from the comic book industry, will be released on DVD on November 30th and just check out the fancy list of bonus features on the two-disc set…

Disc One:
– Commentary with director Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire, producer Avi Arad and co-producer Grant Curtis
– Technical Commentary
– Blooper Reel
– “Spidey Sense 2” trivia track with “pop-up” facts and trivia about the film and the world of Spider-Man
– Four Web-i-sodes — original online featurettes from the film’s theatrical release
– Train “Ordinary” music video
– Previews

Disc Two:
– “Making the Amazing” — A 12-part documentary from pre-production to the Hollywood premiere
– “Hero in Crisis” — A deeper look into Peter Parker and his personal battles in the continuing story of Spider-Man
– Ock-Umentary: “Eight Arms to Hold You” — A special look at Doc Ock from the comics to the big screen
– “Interwoven: The Women of Spider-Man” — A look into the lives of Mary Jane, Aunt May and the other women in Peter Parker’s life
– “Enter the Web” — A groundbreaking multi-angle look behind-the-scenes at the climatic Pier sequence captured in real-time
– Art Gallery — A collection of Alex Ross’ paintings used in the opening credits of the film
– Activision’s “Spider-Man 2: Spinning the Game” — A behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Spider-Man 2: The Game”
– Weblinks

You can pre-order the DVD here

BUT…

This is where I really start to get excited… And I’m talking, time-to-change-the-undies excited…

GIFT-SET, BABY!!!!

Holy crap, I loved the first one enough to get this gift set against all odds and logic, so I’m damn sure going to get the second one… Look at the goodies that come with it!!!

– 2-Disc Widescreen Special Edition DVD
– Exclusive Limited Edition Portfolio of Artwork
– Over 25 well known comic book artists created artwork inspired by “Spider-Man 2” specifically for, and only available in, this collector’s edition DVD
– Collectible “Concept to Screen Comparison” Portfolio
– View the transformation of various scenes of “Spider-Man 2” from sketches and concepts to images from the final production
– Postcard Collection of “Spider-Man 2” Artwork
– Five postcards which feature original artwork used in the theatrical advertising campaign of “Spider-Man 2” including the well known trilogy campaign of “Sacrifice,” “Choice” and “Destiny”
– “The Amazing Spider-Man #50” Comic Book
– Reduced size reprinting of the original comic book in which Peter Parker decides to give up being Spider-Man

It’s more beautiful than I ever imagined… *sniff*

The Killing Moon:
Everybody’s favourite conversation killer, Mark Millar, has been talking about his upcoming Wolverine stint to Comics Continuum:

We were talking the other day about the feeling of a shared universe and we said we [were] going to start integrating titles. We thought if Wolverine’s killing everybody in my book and he’s bad ass and Elektra’s kicking his ass and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s flying in and everything, and then he’s like, ‘Hey, how you doin’?’ in these other books… So we’re doing it we’re going to tie it in with a few other Marvel titles. I always wanted to do one of those big crossover events. The first three issues won’t tie into other titles but if he kills other characters in other people’s titles maybe you’ll see the ramifications

This is apparently where it all begins, folks. The fully-interactive, linear, comprehensible and in-continuity Marvel Universe may have been all but forgotten about due to years of neglect and the sheer stupidity of things like Secret Wars, Heroes Reborn, the Age of Apocalypse, the Clone Saga and more, but according to Joe Quesada’s recent statements at Wizard World, it will be making a comeback of sorts. Now nobody is expecting everything to match up perfectly, so don’t go looking for perfection, but apparently the plan seems to be to make the events of each major arc on each major book be reflected wherever necessary in any of the other major titles, which would theoretically in turn be reflected in their sister titles. The ‘big name’ books in question would probably be New Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Wolverine, Astonishing X-Men, Fantastic Four and Uncanny X-Men. So, for example, if something major happens in Millar’s Wolverine, it would be mentioned at some point in Bendis’ New Avengers and could theoretically be used as a launching pad for a story or two in Captain America. In essence, the Marvel Universe as a whole is being broken down into sub-sections spear-headed by one major title, with the minor titles following the leads set down by their ‘leader’, which would then be referenced whenever necessary in the major titles of the other sections. At least, that’s how I’m interpreting this… Anyway, Millar also apparently wants to “spin some things off this project” with lesser-used characters. We shall see.


PREVIEWS:

Amazing Fantasy #3

Fiona Avery’s book of confusing jollity continues this week. The basic premise of this book seems to be that Little Miss Spider will be finding out all about what her powers are, where they came from and what this mysterious corporation hungover from Ezekiel wants with her. I haven’t been paying much attention to this book, really, so I can’t comment on its merits. The art here looks perfectly fine, the writing seems pretty tight (although the opening scene is clearly inspired by Runaways #1), but I simply don’t ‘get it’. We’ve already got Spider-Girl, which is in the midst of a big Marvel Age push and seemingly doing quite well for itself. Pretty soon we’ll also have Spider-Woman on the roster of the Avengers, in addition to the 4 core Spider-Man titles and his own Marvel Age book. Do we really need yet another female take on the Spider-Man mythos to further confuse and potentially alienate readers?

Amazing Spider-Man #511

Here’s a preview of the latest instalment in the Sins Past storyline, due to be released this week, which Marvel are hyping as the most important thing to happen to Spider-Man since the eponymous arachnid first met that radiation beam. The basic gist, in case you have been living under a rock, involves Peter discovering via the tattered remains of a letter Gwen Stacy wrote him shortly before her death that she was pregnant. To complicate matters further – he doesn’t know who sent him the letter or why they sent it now, and he has been led to believe that, against all rational logic, his latest two mystery assailants – both fully grown adults, one male, one female – are her offspring. It’s all very, very confusing and there are no obvious resolutions in sight just yet. Thankfully, it is the most well-written piece of writing that Straczynski has done since he took over the book all those years ago. Considering some of the fine issues he has turned in during that period that shows how highly I rate it!

Bullseye: Greatest Hits #1

Bullseye’s one and only greatest hit was killing that old woman by making her choke on his nuts. Still cracks me up… “Mawr poinuts, please?” Oh, you scampy little Irish rascal…

Excalibur #4

The other day I sat down and read through all of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run in its entirety. Then, out of curiousity, I went back and read the first issue of this new Excalibur series. Then I went feral and had to be held back from punching my keyboard in whilst trying to properly articulate how truly disappointing the switch from Morrison to Claremont has been. Somebody had better invent a new language because there simply are no words to adequately describe it. Needless to say, I am not going to waste my time actually reading this preview or having anything to do with this book ever again, but here’s the link if anybody actually does want to check it out. All I can say is – thank goodness for Joss Whedon. Do you reckon that if we bombarded Claremont and Quesada with copies of the Morrison Manifesto that they would become inspired once more?

Incredible Hulk #76

And it all comes down to this. After many twists, many turns, more twists, more turns, a couple of twisty turny bits, and maybe one or two heaped teaspoons of twists with added turns, Bruce Jones’ run on the Hulk as we know it ends with this double-sized (i.e. more expensive) issue. Next month, we’re off for a sojourn with The Thing in the desert for and old-school slobberknocker of sorts. In five months time, Peter David returns in another mini-series that may or may not lead to a new ongoing. I just hope that they change their minds about releasing the third hardcover; otherwise my bookshelf is going to look mighty stupid.

Marvel Knights 4 #9

Oh right, so they are still going at it. Honestly, who really cares? Does anybody seriously sit down and read these things and think to themselves that – gosh! – perhaps Sue really will leave Reed for Namor!! Come on, even the target demographic of Gullible & Proud Quarterly could see through that one. Skip it.

Mystique #18

Ah, yes, good ol’ Mystique. Why is nobody buying this book, exactly? The previous issue sold just 26,706 copies. That means that the only non-Marvel Age, non-creator owned, ongoing and not yet cancelled title to be selling less is She Hulk, which is once again a far superior comic to the majority of the best-sellers. Please, people, don’t fear change so much. Trust me; you can live without buying all of those X-Men team books. You’re not going to be missing anything important. The same goes for all of those Disassembled tie-ins. Really, free your mind. Try new books. Expand your limits. Mystique not only consistently has the best covers of any of Marvel’s titles; it has an exciting avenue of twists and turns to be explored in each and every panel. The art team conjures up some truly dynamic imagery and backgrounds. The dialogue is pitch-perfect. The story arc is solid, full of intrigue and open to new readers at any opportunity due to the incredibly detailed introductory page and the use of smaller arcs interspersing the main plot in a way that Bruce Jones long since forgot how to use in the Incredible Hulk. Brian K. Vaughan set the premise up beautifully, and now Sean McKeever is taking it to new and better heights. Give it a try. It’s out this week and it’s only $2.99 for the one issue. Hell, I’ll even refund your money if you’re not truly satisfied with it.

Powerless #3

The third instalment of the little mini that could is due out this week. Like most people, I casually dismissed it out of hand when it was originally announced. However, the reviews I have read are all generally rather favourable as Matt Chernis has managed to take a potentially futile premise – Logan, Parker and Murdock as regular people facing the same trials and tribulations as their Marvel Universe superhero counterparts – and made it quite interesting. I may yet add this to my TPB wishlist… ‘Cos, you know, it’s not big enough already…

Sabretooth #1

Yep, that’s there alright. Skip it.

Silver Surfer #12

Hands up if you even realised this series was still going? Liars. Actually, for all of the proverbial dung that has been thrown at this series, this preview looks pretty good. The title is axed as of #14, so I’m not expecting any new readers to come along and save it, but perhaps it’s time we all went and had a look at the first trade and see what it was really like, as opposed to living in the past alongside the creative team of 4, who decided to bring back the Sue/Reed/Namor love triangle again. I still can’t believe they did that… Sheesh… Buy an imagination already. Welcome change. Do the evolution, baby.

Uncanny X-Men #448

You can check out the first half of this issue online at Newsarama. I’ll give ten MNV Non-Prize credits to the first person who can tell me exactly how this ties into continuity with Wolverine, X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, Avengers and District X. I’ll give twenty to the person who can tell me about Rachel, Kitty, Logan, the Queen and the Nazis. I’ll give thirty to the person who can explain how we are still meant to believe mutants are such outcasts if they are welcomed into Buckingham Palace. I’ll give forty to the person who can find Claremont’s dried frog pills so he won’t have to write such cliched and sub-par nonsense anymore. I’ll give fifty and a free ticket to Space Mountain to any Rachel Summers look-a-likes out there…

Venom vs. Carnage #2

Da fug???!? Skip it.

Warlock #1

Quesada calls Greg Pak the best writer you’ve never heard of. You can see what all the fuss is about for yourself over at PCS, who have the first issue available online in its entirety. I have a feeling that you will enjoy it a great deal. In fact, it could very well be the book that you need to fill the void left by the departure of…

X-Statix #26

There has to be a certain sense of irony in knowing that the original X-Force are back just as these guys are getting killed off… I mean, cancelled. It was a brave experiment but the book really couldn’t have hoped to do any better or last much longer than this in the current state of the industry. Don’t get too disheartened though – you won. You, the X-Statix fans, have won the battle. Milligan is now going to replace Chuck Austen on X-Men. True, he will be on a far tighter leash with that one, but it is still a very valuable sign of respect and an indication that not all the big books have to be written by people too timid to think outside of the box. Give ’em hell, Pete.


RANDOM BITS OF POO:

ELEKTRA, BABY!! Yes, the upcoming spin-off movie starring my lovely future wife, Jennifer, is coming soon. Go here to have a sneak peek behind the scenes. Even just going by what we see here, it already looks better than Daredevil. Hell, given Miss Garner’s recent success with 13 Going On 30, there is no reason why this film shouldn’t end up out-grossing its predecessor at the box office. I know that I’ll go and see it. Five times. Weekly. At least. Obsessed. Much?

Ahhhh! Need proper sentences!!!!

Brian Hibbs of Newsarama has a very interesting article up discussing the problem publishers are facing with market responsibility and how they should solve them. The title – Don’t Shit Where You Eat – gives you some indication of what he thinks is going wrong…

Punisher versus Wolverine – the amateur movie!

Paul Ryan, former Avengers and Fantastic Four artist, is interviewed by the other Pulse about his overseas work on the Swedish strip, Phantom. No Ben Affleck jokes allowed…

Ben reviews Captain America & The Falcon #9 and insists that you check the book out. Why not?

Ben also reviews X-Men: The End: Long Title #1 and is far too sympathetic in my opinion… c’mon, really, it was awful…

Ben is back, back again, reviewing Thor #83 and he really knows his stuff!

Tim reviews Daredevil #63 and gushes. GUSHES, I SAY!

Tim also reviews Dr. Spectrum #1 and turns the gushing into a congratulatory pat on the back.

James reviews the right book but the wrong title. It is still called New X-Men nowadays, right? Oh, I dunno, just read the nice review…

Lucard puts up his top ten favourite comic book characters in his Daily Pulse update. Alex, if you’re reading, go out and get the Formerly Known As The Justice League TPB…

Do you know which is a prescription drug and which is a Transformer? If you think you’re hard enough to match my 100% score, go ahead and take the test!

And of course, feel free to join us in the forums to bask in the glorious wonder spurred on by the almighty DANCING BANANA!! You’ll see… This guy is going to be HUGE…


END CREDITS:

This column has been brought to you in conjunction with…

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AOL IM: KingKongBurnside

Iain Burnside is currently reading Superman – The Man Of Steel vol. 1 TPB and lovin’ it…