I sit by the pool sipping my super spicy Bloody Mary in beautiful and smelly New Orleans, contemplating the future of Marvel.
Where do they go from here?
With New York Comic Con touching upon us today, it’s not surprising that Marvel’s stealing headlines. Yesterday marked release of Uncanny Avengers, the eclipsing fall-out from AvX (Avengers vs. X-Men), and the announcement of new things to come for our “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” (or soon to be “Unfriendly Superior Spider-Man”). The Apostle promises to tackle all these goodies between relentless bead-catching and shots of Absolut!
[Yes, Minister Moody, I will watch boobies for you, but only cause it’s New Orleans and I have all these beads.]
So, the first title from the MarvelNOW is here, packing not only the company’s arguable finest writer at the moment, Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Secret Avengers), but illustrations by John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men). Yes, that Astonishing X-Men — the one with that red-bearded Avengers director guy. As for Remender, the man’s simply become a superstar over a 2-year voyage that didn’t see a loss of any luster many previous writers had gleamed.
But allow some honesty on the panel for a moment. As someone with high standards for art, this Geek Apostle’ll be the first to admit that Cassaday’s artwork has never reached the Marvel caliber. And for even those who adore the Astonishing penciler, his performance on Uncanny Avengers doesn’t live up to those moments, either.
Humberto Ramos, Jim Lee, Ed McGuinness, Frank Cho, and Steve McNiven are my favorites — just to give the comic congregation an idea on where this reviewer stands. (In deep water if you love Cassaday, I know!)
As for the matter at hand — without ruining your local comic shop purchase — UA centers on the government reacting to the Phoenix’s destruction on earth, the reemergence of new mutants (no, not the New Mutants), and Captain America’s efforts to create a love child of both Avengers and X-Men. In theory, the idea works as an opportunity to open up great story arcs that has never been touched on.
How many mutants can say they went up against Avenger uber-baddies like the Red Skull? Not many, and vice versa, which can create some great new stories except, now, they have now practically Phoenix’d the X-Men name. No? Just check out the Tale of the Tape: In this corner, we have New Avengers, Avengers, Avenger Academy, Secret Avengers and I’m sure 17 other Avengers groups I can’t remember. With Uncanny X-Men and Uncanny X-Force soon to go bye-bye, the other corner sees X-Men contenders such as Wolverine and the X-Men, X-Factor, and the newly announced Cable & The X-Force.
[I’m just really praying to that geek-hating God in the sky that Peter David continues his award-winning take on Multiple Condom-wearing Man and his X-Factor investigations. Unfortunately if you have been keeping up with X-Factor, Peter’s characters keep dropping like flies. Not good!]
- On to the next one, on-on to the next.. AvX: Consequences also dropped this week. If you were as bothered as I with the Avengers vs. X-Men event as a whole, more so due to its lack of actual dialogue then exposition-driven followups such as Consequences may help. Kieron Gillen thankfully does his darnedest to begin closing up loose ends left behind like the ashes in the Phoenix’s wake. What happens to Hope? Where do they house the criminal Summer? Does Summer get a ruby Quartz toilet? All valid questions and all mostly answered in the beginning of this weekly 5-issue run. Is it worth the 3.99 price point that past event prologue books such as Fear Itself didn’t bode? Definitely not! Worth a sneak-reading in your local comic shop? Yes!!! (3 out of 5 Mardi Gras Beads on that one.)
The other major Marvel announcement coming before this first morning of NYCC is the announced retooling of our beloved Amazing Spider-Man. After a tremendous 700-issue run and the death of Doc Ock, Spidey is getting the fresh look with Superior Spider-Man — and a new look that involves the mask and under it. Hard to believe, but, yes, as I just said in a roundabout way, Marvel announced that Peter Parker will be shelving the spider suit! As your friendly Womanizing Geek Profit, I say WTF! But, after placing my life in danger to talk the ear off of a New Orleans LCS owner and operator, Sam of Red Rocket Comics, word on the street is that Doc Ock’s tentacles will be fused onto Peter, thus making him, ahem, a real spider. Uh, what? Also, rumor has it, the man under the new spider-suit ends up with Mary Jane. How much of this is true, is still to be read. Yet, with a just released Amazing Spider-Man movie this past summer and storylines that actually give Peter his due, you’ve got to wonder what in the holy hell Marvel is thinking (Forward, I’m sure. – Moody). The good news? Yes, there’s some: Dan Slott will continue his profound and critically-lauded run on the Web Crawler. Ryan Stegman will also be illustrating (Scarlet Spider-Man, Fantastic Four) the first three issues, with my boy Humberto Ramos and Giuseppe Camuncoli rotating thereafter.
In all, let’s just hope this whole MarvelNOW lasts as long as Bucky “I wanna be Captain America,” with Peter singing in the background, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor…or at least smoke past the Heroic Age nonsense.