10 Thoughts on Marvel Solicits for New Comics Released 1/19/11 (Thor, Iron Man, Deadpool)

1. The Invincible Iron Man #500 by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca

“GIANT-SIZED ANNIVERSARY ISSUE! Three generations of Starks face their ultimate foe, seventy-some years in the future while, in the present, Spider-Man joins Iron Man as he tries to fill in the blanks of his missing memory. What if amnesia was a weapon? What if the smartest man in the land had ten nightmares that all came true? Who is the son of Tony Stark? What’s inside of the rings? The future starts now, for the Marvel Universe’s favorite futurist. The Eisner-award-winning series makes a four-hundred-something-issue leap and raises a glass of non-alcoholic champale in salute to Ol’ Shell-head! By Matt Fraction (THOR, UNCANNY X-MEN, CASANOVA) and Salvador Larroca (UNCANNY X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR), with special guests Howard X, Y and Z!”

This has a $5 price tag so unless it really is oversized and not just a bunch of re-print material, I’ll be getting it immediately. There is also strong foreshadowing that this will be a Mandarin issue. Fraction has written my favorite Mandarin story ever, the instant-classic that is probably my favorite comic of the past year (check my review out right here. Fraction is fast becoming the definitive Iron Man writer and this should be a definitive issue of that run. Adding Five Nightmares tie in, Iron Man’s amnesia, the Hammer family tie ins of recent issues, and we have what could be the best long-running arc in modern 616 Marvel.

2. Avengers Academy #8 by Christos Gage and Mike McKone

“Avengers Academy vs. The Hood! The video of Tigra being beaten by The Hood ends up on the internet — but what’s more dangerous: how Tigra reacts, or the mission of revenge the students embark upon? And when they seek out Parker Robbins, are they getting in way over their heads…or going so far down the path of evil they can never turn back?
And how does it all lead to The Hood’s new quest in AVENGERS? Don’t miss this powerful chapter in the hit new series that has Aint It Cool News raving: ‘With this simple yet elegant twist…it’s nice to see that teenage angst isn’t just for mutants anymore.”

While I do enjoy the superhero teen book generally (Teen Titans and New Mutants, of late, not being up my alley), this book with its warped students just hasn’t done much for me. I also am in no way a fan of this book using the Hood, who’s in a major story over in Bendis’ Avengers. This is all under one editorial umbrella and should be better delegated. Hood is on his Avengers quest. This either needs to come first or not bother. That’s simple narrative and publishing sense.

3. Deadpool Max #4 by Kyle Baker and David Lapham

“For years, when Uncle Sam needed to erase untouchable global madmen, it called on the legendary super-agent known as Cable. That is, until two years ago, Cable disappeared for parts unknown…and a certain Merc with a Mouth took up the slack. But now Cable has reemerged from where he claims is the far-flung future to take back his old job. How will that sit with Deadpool? Like Tacos before bedtime. It’s super-agent vs super-agent in a fight to the finish.”

I talked about this book a few days back, stating that the absolute top notch creative team was the reason to get it. That doesn’t change here, even though the solicit does little to sell it or make it stand apart. Regardless of a dull solicit, this is a truly interesting and original book that fans would do well to pick up, especially as a gateway into Lapham’s other work like Stray Bullets or Young Liars.

4. Superior #4 (of 6) by Mark Millar and Lenil Francis Yu

“The runaway hit super hero series continues! Secrets are revealed, as young Simon Pooni begins to come to terms with what it means to be Superior–and with what fate has in store for him! Don’t miss this thrilling series in the growing Millarworld empire! MATURE”

Unlike you, at least likely you, reader-about-comics-on-the-internet, I’m not a big Mark Millar fan. His Authority was fun and made sense as the next step to Warren Ellis’ ideas, then he merely pulled the exact same trick with Ultimates and Ultimates 2. Ultimate X-Men was a mess that missed out on bothering with sympathetic characters. Wanted was good, but thought itself far more clever than it was, and Kick Ass was far superior as a movie to a comic thanks to the lack of Millar being ridiculously violent. Red Son, however, is classic and fantastic. As is Millar’s Superman Adventures run that really needs to be back in print. This is a story after the archetype of those last two. Millar clearly has great affection for the Superman/Captain Marvel figure and thus, when writing them, tells his most straightforward and human stories. This is a Millar story for his fanboys and detractors alike. Well-done.

5. Thor #619 by Tim Bradstree

“With Ol’ One Eye seated again on the throne of Asgard, learn ye now the story of the World Tree– the birth of spacetime itself! Speaking of Odin… guess who’s got one eye and isn’t exactly thrilled to see young Loki again? And as the refugees of nine worlds brace for the relentless invasion by the dark gods of the Tenth World, hoping against hope they’ll live to see tomorrow, two of Asgard’s most mighty ready themselves to make the ultimate sacrifice! This is it, true believers– the last moment of daylight before the skies rip open and rain down blood… and the WORLD EATERS… next stop MIDGARD!!”

Seriously, this is here because of one question. That question: What in the hell happened to Matt Fraction’s run? According to Grey, The Mighty Thor sees Fraction take on a new #1 for the character, while this becomes Kieron Gillen telling young Loki stories as Journey into Mystery. While that sounds excellent, it still doesn’t explain what the hell happened to this issue. Also, if it was that easy to bring Odin back, why the hell didn’t they do it in the first place? I’m lost. Whatever, buy Thor: Mighty Avenger in trade. It’s the best Thor book since Walt Simonson left, no offense to Mr. Jurgens, JMS or even Fraction, and it could really use the support.

6. Wolverine #5 by Jason Aaron

“There’s a riot going on down below! As hell explodes around him, Logan confronts the last person in the world he ever thought he’d have to face again. Plus Sabretooth!
And Ghost Riders! And demonic action galore! Don’t miss this shocking finale to the sold-out saga of ‘Wolverine Goes to Hell.'”

You really shouldn’t jump on this now, but getting the back issues or waiting for the trade are both good ideas. Wolverine goes to hell as been a ton of fun, as Aaron gets how to mix the absurdity of Wolverine’s action with good, dramatic storytelling. If you liked Origin, as well, you really need to pick this up.

7. Wolverine and Jubilee #1 (of 4) by Katheryn Immonen and Phil Noto

“STRAIGHT OUT OF THE PAGES OF X-MEN AND RIGHT INTO THE JUGULAR! Jubilee is about as far away from the ideal X-Man as it is possible for a 17-year-old minty fresh vampire to be. While the X-Men try to find a way to give her as normal a life as is inhumanly feasible, her decidedly abnormal vampire cravings will not be denied. Between that and her newfound powers, she’s winning the fights but not the popularity contests among most of the other X-Kids. Most…but not all. And just when Jubilee starts to think that there is no place for her anywhere, a group of vampire women make her an offer she can’t refuse. It seems like the perfect solution… unless Wolverine has anything to say about it!”

Being out of the pages of the weak first X-Men arc is not a good selling point. I swear, it’s like Marvel saw there were no Avengers or Uncanny X-Men books, realized there was only one other book with Wolverine coming out this week and went, “Well, we can’t have that!” I like Immonen, but no thanks.

8. X-Factor #214 by Peter David. Emanuela Lupacchino, David Yardin

“The suicide of a high school student triggers X-Factor’s most personal case as X-Factor is hired to learn the identities of the bullies who drove the student to take his own life.
But once they have the names, do they turn that information over to the authorities…or to the student’s angry family, who may well take punishment into their own hands?”

True story. After I loved Madrox, I was psyched for X-Factor and it became one of my favorite books. Then it crossed over with Civil War and comic shops in my area, unprepared, sold out. The same thing happened with the Secret Invasion tie-ins. By the time the trades came out I was hopelessly lost. At some point, I want a complete run of this. I’m sure it’s the best X-Book and that makes me sad.

9. Secret Avengers Vol. 1: Mission to Mars by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato

“Who are the Secret Avengers? Are they a covert team of heroes working the darkest corners of the globe to stop disaster? Are they part-spy, part-superhero? or all they all of the above? A new era begins as Marvel’s hottest team takes a 21st century twist! Collecting SECRET AVENGERS #1-5.”

I know several who are trade waiting on this book, and I strongly urge you to just wait for trade #2. This is terrible, with a mess of a story that doesn’t even pay lip service to the premise, terrible characterization for everyone but Steve Rogers, and a plot that relies on dues ex and macguffins every few pages. The next bunch of issues is good. This is most certainly not.

10. Deadpool Classics Vol 4 TP by Joe Kelly, Steven Harris, P Woods, and Walter McDaniel

“The secrets of Deadpool revealed! In some of his funniest adventures of all time, the truth behind Deadpool’s origins in the Weapon X program is explored, as well as his unique relationship with Death herself! Ajax returns for revenge on Dr. Killebrew as Deadpool faces the ghosts of his past…literally! And is Deadpool the Cosmic Messiah, destined to save all? Featuring Captain America, Batroc the Leaper, Blind Al and Arnim Zola! Collecting DEADPOOL (1997) #18-25 & #0 and DEADPOOL & DEATH ANNUAL 1998.”

The Joe Kelly run, after a Mark Waid mini-series are why all the current Deadpool fans heard he was so great for so long. These issues contain the best part of the Joe Kelly run, easily his best work on a superhero book, as his Deadpool is not just hilarious, with a well-developed supporting cast, but also tragic, dark, brooding, and heroic. I’m thrilled this is finally collected and in print. Kudos, Marvel.

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