Lee: I can’t explain it but this month has lots of things but they all seem to annoy me. I am sick of crossovers. The new pricing structure leaves me puzzled. The new mini-mega-crossover (Annihilation anyone?) has 47 versions of collection between single issues, hc’s and trades. Bottom line there’s lots to talk about but not a lot to make me happy.
Jim: Marvel seems addicted to the cross-over, now it is not the mega event as Civil War was, but now it is the Imitative, Annihilation and Planet Hulk, DC is addicted to the weekly book. We have no one but ourselves to blame, as long as the sales numbers dictate it they will print it.
X-MEN: ENDANGERED SPECIES ONE-SHOT Written by MIKE CAREY Pencils by SCOT EATON Join THE ASTONISHING X-MEN, X-FACTOR, and the NEW X-MEN for the first steps towards the fate of the entire mutant race.
Lee: Let’s start the review with a bang. A one-shot that will eventually become the next big thing. Wheee fun. I really wonder where this is going because they never really wrapped up the storylines from the last mega event Son of M. And, so the month of complaining begins!
Jim: This promises to be Marvel’s next mega-event. Except I believe it will be only in the X-books. What actually irritates me is that why can’t they just make the actual series good and stop making every thing an event? Also I worry that this will negatively impact X-Factor, which is a great book and needs to be left alone. At least Mike Carey is involved, so there is some hope.
ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #43 Written by MIKE CAREY Pencils and Cover by PASQUAL FERRY The arrival of the Silver Surfer on Earth triggers worldwide panic and a string of crises for the beleaguered Fantastic Four.
Lee: Didn’t Warren Ellis already do this in the 3 Gah-Lak-Tis mini series? That continued in the Ultimate Vision miniseries? It’s hard to believe they are visiting old plot lines already.
Jim: I didn’t read Ellis Ultimate Galactus saga, so I have no idea if the Silver Surfer was involved or not, but with the FF movie called the “Rise of the Silver Surfer” Surfer centric books were expected.
SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #38 Written by ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA Penciled by LEE WEEKS “THE LAST TEMPTATION OF EDDIE BROCK” Part 1 (of 2)
Lee: And, does anyone care who Venom is? I think it’s more interesting if the Symbiote takes new people over time. I would think there would be more mileage from that concept then bringing Eddie Brock back.
Jim: The old Scorpion is now the new Venom! True story, well true comic book fiction, which means it is not true, so ---------never mind.
MYTHOS: SPIDER-MAN Written by PAUL JENKINS Painted and Cover by PAOLO RIVERA Continuing the prestigious series showcasing the origins of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe! Find out how Spider-Man's super hero career began in a fully-painted recounting of the origin of the original hard-luck hero.
Lee: I wonder who this is marketed too? The books look nice but reviews around the web have been marginal. I wonder if it will get the deluxe HC collection or simple trade. Still probably won’t get either.
Jim: Huge pass for me. $4 for a re-telling when the original by Lee/Ditko was one of the best books ever. Easy pass.
ANIHILATION: CONQUEST PROLOGUE Written by DAN ABNETT & ANDY LANNING Art by MIKE PERKINS Cover by ALEKSI BRICLOT The next sci-fi epic blasts off here!
Lee: Let’s start the count now. #1 crossover e-v-e-n-t is X-men, endangered species, #2 crossover e-v-e-n-t is Annihilation. How much longer until we’re at Atlantis Attacks. Sheesh.
Jim: Marvel hasn’t done a “War of the Gods” cross over yet and with Thor on the horizon, why not a major cross-over to re-launch Thor.
AVENGERS CLASSIC #1 Written by STAN LEE & DWAYNE MCDUFFIE Penciled by JACK KIRBY, MIKE OEMING & KEVIN MAGUIRE Cover by ARTHUR ADAMS In the tradition of CLASSIC X-MEN, we're re-presenting the original AVENGERS #1 digitally re-mastered with THX ™ surround sound and a brand spankin' new cover by ARTHUR ADAMS! But that's not all!!! We have not one, but TWO brand new short stories as well! DWAYNE McDUFFIE and painter MICHAEL AVON OEMING bring you a tale of the Avengers first tumultuous meeting and STAN “THE MAN” LEE (who started it all!) and artist extraordinaire KEVIN MAGUIRE bring you a compelling tale about how the Avengers REALLY formed!
Lee: There is so much right and so much wrong with this book we could devote an entire month to talking about it. GOOD: I like the idea of the reprints more silverage material should be available to younger readers.BAD: but someone really should note that Avengers Vol 1 issues 14-35 really weren’t all that good. Seriously, they weren’t. How about we don’t expose a brand new generation to bad sixties material. GOOD: Oeming’s art!BAD: Oeming as a painter????GOOD: Kevin Maguire… he’s doesn’t do enough.BAD: Stan Lee meddling with stories he wrote 40 yrs ago for the “how the really formed” this time.
Jim: Good: Lee on a long rant. Bad: Lee on a long rant. I actually have grown fond of the 14-35 era of the Avengers, but that is strictly nostalgia talking. Today’s reader will retch at Don heck’s art and the hackneyed stories from that time frame. Best case I will buy a trade of the back up material.
BLACK PANTHER #29 The New Fantastic Four just made a wrong turn on the dimensional super highway -- and they've landed in the middle of Zombie-verse!
Lee: And this month, Black Panther in the Zombieverse, next month Iron Fist, month after that Franklin Richards… done humorously of course! Make it stop already. Then again, I am not sure if that bothers me more or less than the reference to the new FF appearing in this book. I guess the new FF can’t be any worse than the one in the 90’s with the manThing and womanThing.
Jim: Now I’m pissed off about this. I have been trying to get onboard the FF again for a long time as I used to love this group, but now I willing to try it again and I have to also read Black Panther, by Mr. BET himself Reggie Hudlin. I don’t think so and if ties to tightly good-bye Dwayne McDuffie’s FF run – Damn!.
FANTASTIC FOUR #547 Written by DWAYNE MCDUFFIE Penciled by PAUL PELLETIER The Wizard has come all the way to Saturn's moon, Titan, to get revenge on his greatest enemy, but Reed Richards is more concerned with the message encoded in a strange artifact from 700 light years away. Meanwhile, the current FF deal with the aftermath of their battle with the Marvel Zombies.
Lee: Although I am sick of Zombies, I am glad Pelletier is getting a top job. He is a solid superhero artist who is sadly underappreciated. Good for him!
Jim: I agree, Paul is a severely under rated artist. But unfortunately I maybe off this book anyway.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #27 Written by ED BRUBAKER Penciled by STEVE EPTING & MIKE PERKINS Cover by STEVE EPTING Part 3 of the senses-shattering "Death of a Dream" storyline continues the follow-up to Cap's side of the story from Civil War that you can only find here in Captain America -- and all we can tell you right now is, nothing is what it seems! Not even this cover!
Jim: I just love the hype. Nothing is what it seems. So if nothing is impossible, then it is possible for something to be impossible. If nothing is what is seems, that it seems that nothing is really happening. What the F**k! At this point who cares?
Lee: Ahhh, the sweet smell of burning cynicism in the morning. I know that I am in the minority on this but I still think it was a bad idea to bring Bucky back. And it doesn’t appear to be getting any better. Well written crap but crap non the less.
FRANKLIN RICHARDS: WORLD BE WARNED #1 Written by MARC SUMERAK & CHRIS ELIOPOULOS Art & Cover by CHRIS ELIOPOULOS
Lee: These really are fun! I wish there was a trade of them.
Jim: A lot of people think these are great, the back up in a recent comic was just so-so to me.
WORLD WAR HULK #1 (of 5) Written by GREG PAK Penciled by JOHN ROMITA JR. Marvel's massive summer smashfest begins!
Lee: For those keeping count at home, this is crossover e-v-e-n-t #3. World War Hulk Starts. This could be interesting and I am actually looking forward to it. BUT WAIT… there’s more.
Jim: I will follow the main series and the regular Hulk book and unfortunately the X-Men mini-series because Chris Gage is writing it, but that is it.
WORLD WAR HULK: FRONT LINE #1 (of 6)
Lee: What is this crap? For some reason WW Hulk has two separate miniseries associated with it? WHAT???? So, even if I read the main miniseries I might not get the full story. What’s that sudden pain I feel? Oh that’s Marvel beating me over the head with pointless miniseries.
Jim: Front line was stupid in Civil War and this is an easy pass for me.
INCREDIBLE HULK #107 Written by GREG PAK Pencils and Cover by GARY FRANK The Illuminati called the Hulk a monster -- and shot him into space. But Amadeus Cho, the boy genius who took on Reed Richards in INCREDIBLE HULK #100, calls the Hulk a hero -- and prepares for his return.
Lee: You have got to be kidding me? Twelve books ago I was excited about this… now I am not so sure. If I read this correctly, the Hulk isn’t even in this book because he’s over in the miniseries… which isn’t in this book… because…. Why??? AND, to top it off you want me to believe that some punk is smarter than Reed Richards???? Not happening.
Jim: I agree, that some kid being smarter then Reed is hard to swallow, but I love Gary Frank’s artwork and I will check out this book. It is so amusing that instead of doing the main story in Hulk’s book, he is taken out of his own title.
A WORLD WAR HULK TIE-IN!
WORLD WAR HULK: X-MEN #1 (of 3)
GHOST RIDER #12
HEROES FOR HIRE #11
IRON MAN #19
Lee: Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the tie in that aren’t part of the miniseries OR the regular series OR the extra miniseries. I do like the fact that X-men is a new miniseries so we don’t have to disrupt crossover e-v-e-n-t #1, X-men, endangered species
Jim: Pass, pass and pass. Plus this makes Heroes for Hire a cut book from my list as I have given up on that series and don’t need more pointless tie-ins.
LEGION OF MONSTERS: SATANA Written by ROBIN FURTH & JONATHAN HICKMAN Penciled by Kalman Andrasofszky & Jonathan Hickman Jonathan Hickman (The Nightly News) brings his edgy graphic storytelling to the Living Mummy!
Lee: These have all looked really good so far and I can’t wait for the HC. And I am excited to see what Hickman can do! Nightly News is great so hopefully, his Living Mummy will be good too.
Jim: Oh come on Lee, you just wanted to talk about this book for the cover. We like hot chicks, admit it!
MYSTIC ARCANA: MAGIK Written by LOUISE SIMONSON & DAVID SEXTON Penciled by STEVE SCOTT & ERIC NGUYEN Part one of a MAGIC EVENT that spans across the ages. Ian McNee wanted to be the Sorcerer Supreme but was bested by Stephen Strange (MARVEL FANFARE #6). Now a collector of magical and bizarre artifacts in the lower east side of New York, he's on a dangerous quest for four items that he thinks will keep a crazed Ancient Egyptian Priest from resurrection. This issue, the object is the Sword of Bone, and we finally discover the story of what really happened when Magik traveled to Ancient Egypt and met Storm's descendant during NEW MUTANTS #34 in a 22-page story by Louise Simonson and Steve Scott. Plus, Ian McNee comes face-to-face with the sword's guardian in a special 10-page story by Marvel magic historian David Sexton and Eric Nguyen.
Lee: And now crossover e-v-e-n-t #4, the magic event. Alright this is a stretch because it isn’t official yet but it does say MAGIC EVENT so it counts. So let me see if I get this, an inventory story from 1980, Marvel Fanfare #6 is now the basis for a super villain. Oh yeah. That’s appealing. And a story about Storm’s descendant? Even my 2 yr old can talk about this “No, no, no, no.”
Jim: This appears to be another “event” ala the monster, western and other stuff Marvel has been trying. I give them credit for playing with under used characters.
NEW AVENGERS #31 Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS Pencils and Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU No hype! No BS! The most important last page of any Marvel comic this year!Do not miss it!
Lee: Let’s see… no hype and no bs BUT the most important single comic page this year. Someone somewhere is lying! And, is it more or is there just a slight amount of excess gore on this cover that really isn’t necessary?
Jim: I’m all hyped out. And Electra being killed, wow that hasn’t been done 3 times before. I know that is not the end of the book, but talk about over the top hype, this book wins the award this month.
DAREDEVIL: BATTLIN' JACK MURDOCK #1 (of 4) Written by ZEB WELLS Story by CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO & ZEB WELLS Pencils and Cover by CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO The fire that burns in the chest of Matt Murdock finds its origin in this 4-issue limited series by fan-favorite writer Zeb Wells and international superstar Carmine Di Giandomenico. Learn the story of Daredevil's father -- the comic-book icon Battlin' Jack Murdock -- as he boxes four rounds in what is destined to be the last fight of his life. See what leads the man who raised Daredevil to betray his gangland bosses and fight with integrity…even if it means his own death!
Lee: And speaking of excess gore, that’s a far more gruesome cover than Marvel needs. Sheesh. What a waste. AND, talk about rewriting history, Matt Murdock’s father??? Who the heck cares? What’s next Aunt May’s adventures in the Amazon with Allan Quartermain?
Jim: Cool, they are doing the Aunt May adventures. She was an awesome SHEILD agent and I think she was a howling commando too!
NEW WARRIORS #1
Lee: Another new, New Warriors series. I always did like them but I am not sure what the point is. None of the previous NW reboots have taken with existing characters so I wonder why they would try with brandy new characters. UNLESS, the NW’s didn’t die in Stamford… just the innocent kiddies! I am really not sure what to make of this.
Jim: I’m sure what to make of it. PASS!
PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #8 Written by MATT FRACTION Pencils and Cover by ARIEL OLIVETTI
Lee: Well, looking at the cover, I am going to guess that Frank Castle is going to pretend to be Captain America for a short time. Not the best kept secret on this one.
Jim: Or just wear his mask to honor Cap as he kills people!
SUB-MARINER #1 (of 6) Written by MATT CHERNISS & PETER JOHNSON Penciled by PHIL BRIONES
Lee: Just what we need, another new miniseries. I assume they are testing the waters for a continuing series but I predict big balls of burning and crashing for this.
Jim: Testing the waters! HA, HA, HA. It seems like it is a little shallow to me, and it feels tepid at best.
UNCANNY X-MEN #487 Written by ED BRUBAKER Pencils and Cover by SALVADOR LARROCA THE EXTREMISTS Part 1 (of 5)! The X-Men are back from space!
Lee: YAHOOOOO the space story is over. Let’s launch into another 5 issue arc to carry on existing storylines! That’s a great jumping on point! One and done’s anyone? Anyone? What crap.
Jim: At least maybe a two or three parter.
X-MEN #200 (FINCH GATEFOLD VARIANT COVER) Written by MIKE CAREY Penciled by Humberto Ramos & CHRIS BACHALO Featuring the first endangered species back-up story leading up to this fall's x-men event! 64 PGS …$3.99
Lee: Oh weeee fun. Look another preview of the crossover e-v-e-n-t #1. So, if I understand, as soon as WW Hulk ends I get to roll into this. I’m exhausted already and it hasn’t even started. So much for not getting more mega events this year. Oh yeah, and did you catch the fine print, this is the first Endangered Species BACK-UP STORY. Not to be confused with the first ONE-SHOT that started this off.
Jim: No mega-events, just event after event after event. So Marvel can cover every frelling corner of their Universe. Step right and come on in. we have the greatest show in the world. Come on in sonny, it will only cost you all the money in your wallet and bring the credit card too.
PUNISHER PRESENTS: BARRACUDA MAX #5 (of 5) 32 PGS …$3.99
CRIMINAL #7 32PGS... $3.50
Lee: So I mention these books to raise a question… Does Marvel’s pricing structure make sense to anyone these days???? Seriously, I have 32 pages for $4 and 32 pages for $3.50 and, if I look above I have X-men 200, with 64 pages for $4. WHAT? I complain about pricing all the time but I don’t let that stop me! What is this? Pricing like this KILLS that direct sales market. At $4 a book why wouldn’t I just wait for the trade.
Jim: All the companies are forcing us to wait for the trade. Is the direct market heading for extinction? Al Gore says if we don’t change things and change them now we are all doomed.
MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE SUB-MARINER VOL. 2 HC Written by STAN LEE, ROY THOMAS, ARCHIE GOODWIN & RAYMOND MARAIS Penciled by BILL EVERETT, DAN ADKINS, GENE COLAN, JOHN BUSCEMA, MARIE SEVERIN & WERNER ROTH Collecting TALES TO ASTONISH #88-101, IRON MAN & SUB-MARINER #1 and SUB-MARINER #1.
Lee: I get all of these so I don’t know why I bother to mention it everytime. Probably because they are so much fun and I love them. Subby #1 with John Buscema’s art alone is worth the price tag.
Jim: Also Bill Everett artwork, which makes it all the more worthwhile. John Buscema was an amazing artist. The man could draw like very few people can, he would have been a super star if he showed up today.
FANTASTIC FOUR OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC Written by STAN LEE Penciled by JACK KIRBY Collecting FANTASTIC FOUR #31-60 and ANNUAL #2-4. 832 PGS./All Ages …$99.99
Lee: These books are so nice and really, really worth it if you can afford them. Lee/Kirby at that absolute peak of their work on FF.
Jim: I hate Marvel for making me buy this book that I have as Masterworks, but I can not resist this era of the FF. Another $100 shot to hell.
KILLRAVEN PREMIERE HC Written & Penciled by ALAN DAVIS Collecting KILLRAVEN #1-6.
Lee: Of all the books getting premiere HC’s these days, I can’t believe this even made the list! Was there any demand for this book? Although it had fantastic art by Alan Davis, the story was ok but not great,. Seriously, Killraven is a minor (at best) character that has, at best, a cult following. And, yes I will be getting it. What can I say, I loves my Killraven. BUT, I would have been far happier to get the original Amazing Adventures run in a nice hc before this.
Jim: That’s what I want, the original Killraven stuff. I loved that book and Jungle Action by Don McGregor was another book from that era I want in hard cover.
ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 3 HC Written by MARK MILLAR Penciled by GREG LAND The zombiefied FF escape from their Baxter Building prison! The deadly debut of the Frightful Four! Johnny Storm finds out he has only 28 days to live! And that's all just for starters! Collecting ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #21-32.
Lee: The first appearance of the zombified FF in a nice hc. This is where it all started for those of you that care.
Jim: Yeah, well then it ain’t me babe, I said a no, no, no it ain’t me babe.
HULK: PLANET HULK HC Collecting INCREDIBLE HULK #92-105, GIANT SIZE HULK #1 and the “Mastermind Excello” story from AMAZING FANTASY #15. 392 PGS./Rated A …$39.99
Lee: This is a really nice collection. 400 pages for $40 and a complete story line. The story itself was good but not great with the normal ups and downs that any monthly has. But what a deal! Of course, I can’t figure out why the “Mastermind Excello” story from AMAZING FANTASY #15 was included?
Jim: Maybe he was the true Mastermind behind the Hulk being rocketed away from earth. This goes under a book that does not deserve hard cover treatment. For me the hard cover route has been cheapened by the companies willingness to but anything between a hard cover.
ULTIMATES 2 VOL. 2: GRAND THEFT AMERICA TPB Collecting ULTIMATES 2 #7-13.
Lee: Interesting. Was Ultimates 13 ever released? Was it even on the schedule?
Jim: Ultimate 13 has not been released yet and I’m waiting for the hard cover that collects all of season 2.
Lee: I too am waiting for the hc. Season 2 was actually good until issue 12 which was completely pointless. Maybe the 13th issue will never be released and only available in the tpb.
ANNIHILATION BOOK 3 HC These ANNIHILATION HARDCOVERS STILL AVAILABLE! ANNIHILATION BOOK 1 & BOOK 2
CIVIL WAR: IRON MAN TPB Collecting IRON-MAN #13-14, and the IRON MAN/CAPTAIN AMERICA: CASUALTIES OF WAR and CIVIL WAR: THE CONFESSION one-shots.
CIVIL WAR: MARVEL UNIVERSE TPB Collecting CIVIL WAR: CHOOSING SIDES, CIVIL WAR: THE RETURN, SHE-HULK #8 and CIVIL WAR: THE INITIATIVE.
Lee: I lump all these books together to make a point that Marvel has hired a marketing genius. Seriously, look at the way these collections are structured. 3 expensive hc’s to read the complete Annihilation series. Civil War has a deluxe hc PLUS, these two trades which don’t even collect the entire storyline!!!! Marvel should make a mint from this scheme. If all the completists out there by these things Marvel won’t have to publish a single book this year to make a profit. And, if I were to compare this to how WW Hulk is set up… well I can see how it’s all going to play out.
Jim: I still want to know does Marvel pay the same story and art rate per page for the hard cover and the trades. If not, then this is where all the money is for the companies.
BULLET POINTS TPB Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI Penciled by TOMMY LEE EDWARDS Collecting BULLET POINTS #1-5.
Lee: A glorified what if story that I am actually looking forward to reading. I like the original ‘What If...’ series because it dealt with silver age storylines. This is doing the same so I bet I will like it.
Jim: It was a decent story, but the ending was really poor and it hurt the whole mini-series for me.
FANTASTIC FOUR/INHUMANS TPB Written by CARLOS PACHECO, RAFAEL MARIN & KARL KESEL Penciled by JORGE PEREIRA LUCAS, JOSE LADRONN & MARK BAGLEY Collecting INHUMANS (2000) #1-4 and FANTASTIC FOUR #51-54.
Lee: So, I made the mistake of seeing FF 51-54 and thinking it was from the original Lee/Kirby run along with some other Inhumans stuff. Nope. Not at all. This is last years material with a marginal 4 issue Inhumans story 2000. Talk about a random grouping.
Jim: Yeah, this is lame.
WOLVERINE: BLOOD & SORROW TPB Collecting WOLVERINE #41 and #49, GIANT-SIZE WOLVERINE #1, and X-MEN UNLIMITED #12.
Lee: And, speaking of random collections, does this trade make any sense? Nope not to me either but I am sure some Wolverine junkie is drooling at this right now!
Jim: Random collections are just that random. Was their a hue and cry for this material?
That's our thoughts, what are you looking forward to or think is lame for Marvel's June books?