Continuing with my look at comics to come, here’s a look at what I’m looking forward to from the folks at Marvel this March.
The Age of Ultron is (Finally) Here
After much hype and very long delays, Brian Michael Bendis’ final(?) big Avengers story starting off with a bang, three issues in the first month. Artist Bryan Hitch, notorious for being late, has already finished his five issues of the series, allowing for this rapid fire release schedule. The event culminates years of groundwork and build up by Bendis and seems to focus on street level characters like Moon Knight, Hawkeye, and Spider-Man as the last line of defense in a future world controlled by the villain Ultron. Marvel’s last couple of events haven’t gone over well with fans, so it will be interesting to see the reaction to this series.
And Along Came the Tie-Ins
An event wouldn’t be an event without tie-in issues. However, “Age of Ultron” looks to take a page out of the “Final Crisis” playbook by having a few tie-in one shots that don’t interfere with a given series. These issues are denoted with a .AU after the issue number, similar to the way .1 issues work. The first of these will be “Fantastic Four” #5.AU and “Superior Spider-Man” #6.AU. It seems that all tie-ins will be $3.99, regardless of the regular series price. These tie-ins will likely be unnecessary in the grand scheme of the event’s story, but will be fun for completionists or those already following those series, especially when the issue features the book’s regular creative team, as in “Fantastic Four.”
What We’ve All Been Waiting For
It’s safe to say that Remender’s initial arc on “Uncanny Avengers” isn’t exactly what fans were hoping for from the scribe of the fantastic “Uncanny X-Force.” The “Avengers” hasn’t had that same depth and gravitas of “X-Force,” and delays from series artist John Cassaday have hurt the momentum this young book almost from day one. However, issue #6 seems to fix with both problems in one fell swoop. First, issue #6 will see Daniel Acuña step on as the new regular artist. Acuña has done some great work in the X-books recently, and early preview pages show his art is a great fit for this series. Second, this issue kicks off an arc featuring the team facing both Apocalypse and Kang the Conqueror, two of Marvel’s heaviest hitters. Apocalypse and his surrounding mythology was a huge aspect of Remender’s “X-Force”, and the writer has said that this arc will pick up threads from that run. Specifically, we may see the fallout of Archangel and Pestilence’s “union” during the ‘Dark Angel Saga’. Personally, the ties to that story are the only reason I picked this series up in the first place.
Spidey’s Got A Gun…
I’ve hopped on the Spider-Man hype train due to Dan Slott’s incessant tweeting, and I’ll admit that Amazing #698 was pretty awesome. Even if #700 doesn’t shuffle the board more (which I’m sure it will), that issue left with an incredible status quo shift that sets the stage for some awesome stories in “Superior Spider-Man”. “Avenging Spider-Man,” which appears to have become “Superior’s” de fact0 companion book, is gaining Marco Checchetto on art. Checchetto is just coming off a great run on Rucka’s “Punisher,” and where he leads fans are sure to follow.
Gillen Playing With His Toys
I’ll always applaud Marvel for letting Kieron Gillen have his way with more tangential aspects of the Marvel Universe. In “A+X” #6, we see Gillen come back to two characters from his pre-Marvel NOW! projects, Kid Loki and Mr. Sinister. It’ll be interesting to see how Gillen plays these characters, consider the status changes both went through at the end of “Journey into Mystery” and Uncanny X-Men,” respectively. The issue also appears to have a Wolverine/Captain Marvel story by Peter David, if you’re into that.
The Other Event
If you aren’t spending enough money on “Age of Ultron,”, then you can check out “X-Termination,” an X-Men crossover between “Age of Apocalypse,” “Astonishing X-Men,” and “X-Treme X-Men,” as well as an “X-Termination” one-shot. The crossover will center around the AoA Nightcrawler last seen in Remender “Uncanny X-Force.” While I do like “Age of Apocalypse” and want to see where Nightcrawler ends up, I don’t follow “Astonishing” or “X-Treme,” so this will likely be a wait-for-trade if anything. Still, if you’re up for a big multiversal story feature lots of obscure X-Men concepts and characters, this is the crossover for you.
If you’re a big Marvel fan, March and the months following are likely to put a major strain on your wallet. If not, there’s still plenty of great things to check out, like Hickman’s Avengers books and Bendis’ X-Men books. Marvel NOW! got off to a slow start, but things are staring to look a lot more interesting for the publisher.