Saturday, November 24, 2007

Marvel Preview Review for February

Lee: I always look forward to Marvel previews because I am such a huge Marvel Zombie. But, with the DC previews being weak I wonder if Marvel isn’t going to have a weak month too.
Jim: Personally I have always believed that January and February are the slowest months of the year. Plus with all the build up to the big mega-events coming up I think they are holding back on some projects.

CLANDESTINE #1 (of 5) Written, Pencils & Cover by ALAN DAVIS Alan Davis' freaky family returns! They've existed, hidden among mankind for centuries, a mysterious bloodline of superhumans, eternal and apart. And all they've desired is to be left alone, to pursue their individual interests in peace. But now, the existence of their hidden clan is threatened with exposure by the activities of one of their youngest siblings, Rory Destine, who aspires to be the costumed crimefighter called the Crimson Crusader! And now that the cat's been let out of the bag, who or what is going to come calling at the Destine family's Ravenscroft doorway?
Lee: Alan Davis must have a green light from marvel for just about anything. Because, really, there was no demand whatsoever for this. I’m sure it will look pretty but I wonder if anyone will care.
Jim: I love Alan Davis’ art and many of his stories, but I have no idea what this is about and it is nothing that I care to get. Plus the trade will be out in a month after it is over and I rather get a project like this as a trade.

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #114 Written by GREG PAK & FRED VAN LENTE Penciled by KHOI PHAM In the wake of WORLD WAR HULK, the Mighty Avengers are hot on the heels of unrepentant renegades Hercules and Amadeus Cho. Driven into a mindless berserker rage by Ares, Herc has become the critical piece of Cho's plan to utterly destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. What is Cho's master plan to wipe out the spy agency...and is he willing to get Herc killed to do it? Guest-starring the Champions of Los Angeles! Yes, seriously.
Lee: So, last month we got no details and now we learn this is all about Hercules. Seriously… Hercules???
Jim: Wow, I’ve been clamoring for the adventures of Hercules for years. Why would I want to follow the Hulk in his own comic, when I can get Hercules. Another fan favorite, that people have been dying to see.
THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST: ORSON RANDALL AND THE GREEN MIST OF DEATH Written by MATT FRACTION Art by MITCH BREITWEISER, CHRIS BRUNNER, RUSS HEATH & LEWIS LAROSA Cover by KAARE ANDREWS Mothers, lock up your daughters when we revisit the continuing adventures of that dashing rogue, Orson Randall, the Golden Age Iron Fist! The last time we flashed back to the life and times of Orson Randall, in the much fan-loved and critically acclaimed IMMORTAL IRON FIST ANNUAL, readers unlocked several secrets affecting Danny Rand, the Iron Fist of today. Now get ready for more! We promise you spine-tingling chills, ass-kicking action and pulp-fiction adventure like you've never seen, featuring gorgeous flashback art by Mitch Breitweiser, Chris Brunner, Russ Heath and Lewis LaRosa! Orson Randall goes head-to-head again and again versus none other than…the endlessly mystifying and unstoppably powerful Prince of Orphans! How will their battle through the ages echo in the life of Danny Rand?! You bet your kicked butt it has everything to do with the kung fu tournament of death unfolding in the pages of IMMORTAL IRON FIST!! 48 PGS / …$3.99
Lee: This is such a good series and I am sucker for flashbacks. This should be really, really good.
Jim: This should really, really be bad. Number one it is just Matt Fraction writing it without Brubaker – strike one, it is a bunch of artist and no Aja – strike two and finally they are trying to make Orson Randall into some sort of Doc Savage type adventurer and it really was the worse part of the Iron Fist Annual – strike three and it’s an out!

FANTASTIC FOUR #554 Written by MARK MILLAR Pencils & Cover by BRYAN HITCHMARK MILLAR! BRYAN HITCH! Need we say more? All right, we will! Who is Mrs. Fantastic? And how will her return into Reed's life rock comicdom's First Family? Also, get ready to meet the Invisible Woman's brand NEW super-team! This issue kicks off a year-long storyline that will make FANTASTIC FOUR "The World's ULTIMATEST Comic Magazine!" Promise!
Lee: The team behind the Ultimates returns!! Now this is cool. But wait, there’s more! Like the minor detail that neither creator has managed to wave to a deadline as it passes them by. Let’s just say I am recommending waiting for the trade.
Jim: I have to agree that this screams wait for the trade. I have waited for Ultimates 2 to come out as a single hard cover and it is coming out very soon. I hope that they do a good job with it and they do make it come out monthly, but if it is really good even eight issues a year would be alright. I’m guessing they are exempt from all the Marvel cross-over nonsense.

GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 Written by JOSS WHEDON Pencils by JOHN CASSADAYToo big to be contained in a normal issue, the grand finale of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's landmark run is right here! The powerlords of Breakworld bring the fight to Earth. Can the X-Men stop them from destroying the whole planet? Will the Avengers join their fight? What we do know is this: one of the X-Men won't walk away from this fight. Plus spotlight interviews with Whedon and Cassaday!
Lee: So, let me see if I got this right… Whedon decompresses the story so much that he over runs the allotted number of issues and now a giant size is required to complete the tale. AND, in fact, the story is longer than a single issue but shorter than an annual so they had to back fill with spot light interviews. Uuuummmm, yeah. Did I mention I was very happy not to be getting the single issues of this?
Jim: You made the right move, getting this as single issues has been a waste of time. As much as Whedon has done great stories, this was not it and was almost a waste of Cassady’s talent.

X-FORCE #1 Written by CRAIG KYLE & CHRISTOPHER YOSTArt and Cover by CLAYTON CRAIN (Also Bloody Variant Available)"ANGELS AND DEMONS" Part 1 (of 6)There are lines that the X-Men have sworn never to cross. But after the shocking events of "Messiah Complex," Cyclops realizes that some enemies need to be dealt with permanently... and the X-Men can never know about it. Enter WOLVERINE, WARPATH, X-23 and WOLFSBANE...X-FORCE.
Lee: OOOOHHHH does this look bad. Aren’t Kyle and Yost the ones that drove the New Mutants into the dirt???? And, why exactly do we need a team of knife wielding superheroes? And wtf is a Bloody Variant cover??? Marvel does realize they aren’t Avatar right? So many questions, so few answers!
Jim: I’m going to try out a couple of issues, just because I’m curious, but this is yet another damn book with Wolverine in it. I mean they are killing this character for me. The Bloody Variant sounds really nice – Mommy can I buy an x-man comics, sure Bobby let’s get the bloody variant cover for you.

CRIMINAL VOL 2 #1 Written by ED BRUBAKER Pencils & Cover by SEAN PHILLIPS That's right, the most acclaimed crime comic in the industry is giving readers and retailers a second chance to get onboard as we relaunch with a new format, featuring more pages, longer main stories, and an expanded magazine section! "Second Chance In Hell" begins the first of three standalone issues, this one focusing on Gnarly the bartenders and telling the story of the last days of his life as a boxer and revealing how the Undertow bar came into his hands. It's a hard-hitting period-piece, set in the grimy early 70s, where crime, seduction and betrayal go hand-in-hand. And on top of this longer-than-usual length main story, CRIMINAL now features an expanded back-pages section, as well - with articles by Brubaker and other top crime writers, from novelists to screenwriters to comic writers. These noir articles have become a popular piece of the CRIMINAL package, and are something that can only be found in the comics, not in any collections. So please take this SECOND CHANCE IN HELL to find out what everyone's been talking about! 40 PGS / …$3.50
Lee: Now this is interesting. Not so much that the comic is being relauched (which is good) but the fact that they are advertising there is material in the floppie that won’t be in the trade. GOOD FOR THEM! Out of all the screw ups in this month’s previews (and there are more to come) Marvel actually got this right. I think it is a great idea to put unreprinted material in the comics. It may stop people of going trades only. It won’t stop me but I am sure it will stop so other slob.
Jim: Still this smells of low sales for this book. What the heck is wrong with the buying public when no matter how good a book is, if it is not “super” it does not sell.

DEAD OF NIGHT FEATURING MAN-THING #1 (of 4) Written by ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA Art by KANO Biochemist Ted Sallis and his team are on a mission: To recreate the serum that spawned the world's first super-soldier. But like the swamp itself, there are dangers lurking beneath the surface...Ted's partner Eric, his girlfriend Ellen, the government, terrorists...everyone wants what Ted has, but what Ted doesn't realize is...the swamp itself may want him! A radical re-imagining of the Man-Thing's origin begins here, in a horror-tinged tale narrated by Digger, keeper of the Tower of Shadows! 32 PGS /Cardstock Cover/ …$3.99
Lee: Did the ManThing need a new origin? I thought his original was so simple that there wasn’t much that could be done. Oh well, I like Kano and I like ManThing so this will most likely come home. BUT, the real reason for mentioning this book… can someone explain Marvel’s pricing philosophy? Serious, can anyone? Let’s review, Criminal Vol 2, #1, 40 PGS, $3.50, Iron Fist one shot, 48 pages, $4.00. So far so good. This book… 32 pages $4.00. HUH????
Jim: The future is here as the $3 comic is fast becoming the $4 comic. It is like a zero sum game. Sales decrease so they raise the price, so sales decrease and the cycle goes on and on. Man-Thing has been a dead character with no one using him, so giving him a do over is fine and I’m going to try it out.

KICK-ASS #1 Written by MARK MILLAR Pencils & Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. The greatest super hero comic of all-time is finally here. WOLVERINE: ENEMY OF THE STATE's team of MARK MILLAR (CIVIL WAR) and JOHN ROMITA JR. (WORLD WAR HULK) reunite for the best new book of the 21st century. Have you ever wanted to be a super hero? Dreamed of donning a mask and just heading outside to some kick-ass? Well, this is the book for you--the comic that starts where other super hero books draw the line. KICK-ASS is realistic super heroes taken to the next level. Miss out and you're an idiot!
Lee: The embarrassed to be a fanboy cover isn’t the typical cheesecake. Oh no, this month it goes to the comic with the dumbest name ever. Seriously… kick-a? Who thought that was a good idea. It makes comic book readers look dumb and juvenile. An image that is hard enough to over come anyway so they reinforce it with drivel like this.
Jim: In fact I think it is so stupid, that I’m going to chance being an idiot and not order it. Oh I will probably break down and buy issue #1 on the stands, but it sounds so incredibly inane. Millar has never produced a really solid new character that I’m aware of.

Lee: Offered just in time for the movie. Another $100 book. I can’t believe Marvel is printing as many of the Omnibus’s as they are. Sheesh
Jim: Plus the Omnibus format is not for me once I have the Masterworks. I made an exception for the first FF and Spider-Man, but you need to be the Hulk to lift these puppies.

HOWARD THE DUCK OMNIBUS Written by STEVE GERBER Penciled by GENE COLAN, VAL MAYERIK, FRANK BRUNNER, JOHN BUSCEMA, CARMINE INFANTINO & MORE Cover by FRANK BRUNNER Get down, America! Vote Howard the Duck in 2008! That's right, folks. It's an election year, and what better way to celebrate than to cast your vote for the one candidate who'll really tell it like it is. Born on a planet populated by talking waterfowl, Howard the Duck found himself trapped in a world he never made: ours! Howard was the archetypal outsider, able to see through the absurdities of human society in the 1970s with uncanny accuracy and an acerbic wit. His adventures presented writer Steve Gerber with a platform from which to engage in an ongoing critique of contemporary fools and pretenders, from power-mad capitalist wizard Pro-Rata to cult leader Reverend Joon Moon Yuc to the dreaded Doctor Bong! Experience for yourself the complete comic adventures of Howard in this Omnibus collection, reprinting his first appearances and the entire run of his first series. Collecting stories from ADVENTURE INTO FEAR #19, MAN-THING #1, GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #4-5, HOWARD THE DUCK #1-33, MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #12 and MARVEL TEAM-UP #96. 800 PGS./Rated T+ …$99.99 HOWARD THE DUCK OMNIBUS - DIRECT MARKET ONLY
Lee: And speaking of a What the??? Moment. Howard the Duck gets an Omnibus? Is there really a demand for this? With all the backlog that Marvel has this got green lighted first? That is surprising. The weird part is that Howard hasn’t even made the Masterworks series yet. He went straight to Omnibus. And, did you notice Hulk gets variant covers but Howard gets a Direct Market only cover. I wonder what the difference is?
Jim: My only hope is that Steve Gerber is dealing with an illness and I hope that he gets some decent bucks for this being reprinted, but $100 for Howard the Duck? I don’t think so.

Lee: Wheee, A giant man reprint. 304 pages for $55. Not to bad a deal.
Jim: It is exciting. I love this stuff and glad that they finished the run that Giant-Man had in comics.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: ATLAS ERA HEROES VOL. 2 HC Featuring Captain America, Human Torch & Sub-Mariner Penciled by JOHN ROMITA, DICK AYERS, BILL EVERETT, MORT LAWRENCE & BOB POWELL Cover by JOHN ROMITA The Atlas Era Hero Revival continues with the adventures of the comics' most famous trio of Communist conquering heroes: Captain America, the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner! Beginning with the Big Three's anthology adventures in Men's Adventures, we then dive headlong into Captain America's complete 1954 solo series. Illustrated by Bullpen legend John Romita in some of his very first super hero stories, you'll see Cap and Bucky fight Fifth Columnists, Commie spies and even the Soviet Electro! Next up, it's the Human Torch and Toro! Returned from his slumber by an atomic bomb, the Torch has rejoined his young sidekick in a battle to clean up threats as amazing and entertaining as vampires, killer robots and his 1950s nemesis, the Vulture. Their crime-fighting adventures even take on a global purchase, stretching all the way to the 38th Parallel and Communist Korea! And finally, for a quick taste of what's to come in Atlas Era Heroes' next volume, comes an assortment of Bill Everett's lavishly drawn tales of the lord of the Atlantis, Namor the Sub-Mariner. Considered by many to be the definitive take on the character, Everett's '50s Sub-Mariner is nothing less than treasure from the deep! We'd be remiss to leave you without a bevy of historical bonuses, including a rare Human Torch tale that went unprinted for more than a decade, original artwork, Atlas Era house ads and an introduction by Hero Revival scholar extraordinaire Roy Thomas. Collecting MEN'S ADVENTURES #27-28, CAPTAIN AMERICA #76-78, HUMAN TORCH #36-38 and MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #16. 240 PGS./All Ages …$59.99
Lee: WAIT WAIT WAIT. Giant Man is 304 pages for $55, yet this is 240 pages for $60. How does that work? Oh wait, I know. It’s targeted at the older readers like Jim who can afford it. Wow. Marvel is really working hard to screw the older collectors.
Jim: Hey, be nice, you’ll want my collection when I die. I hope the higher price for this material signals that they are doing the reproduction to a higher standard and not just pricing for the market.

Lee: We’ve said it before, let’s say it again. It’s nice that Marvel is supporting this type of material. AND, I am really surprised it went to HC at all. I wonder if it’s aimed at the Library market?
Jim: Has to be and bookstores in the kids section. I believe the comic was just an underwriting tool to pay the artist and writer as they produced it and then they can publish this and keep it in print forever.

IRON MAN: DEMON IN A BOTTLE PREMIERE HC Written by DAVID MICHELINIE & BOB LAYTON Penciled by JOHN ROMITA JR., BOB LAYTON & CARMINE INFANTINO Iron Man faces his most untouchable foe in criminal industrialist Justin Hammer and his literal army of super-villains! But can the Armored Avenger overcome an even more implacable personal demon, invulnerable to technology or wealth? Guest-starring Ant-Man and the Sub-Mariner! Collects IRON MAN #120-128. 176 PGS./Rated T+ …$24.99
Lee: One of the all time great stories. I can’t wait to get this.
Jim: Agreed and I also (hiccup) order thisss book, cause it will be *burp* the greastestt book of all time. Seriously a good read that should still hold up.

CLANDESTINE CLASSIC PREMIERE HC Written by ALAN DAVIS Penciled by ALAN DAVIS For centuries they have lived among us - mysterious, elusive, what are they doing with brightly colored costumes and codenames?! Teenagers Rory and Pandora want to pull Alan Davis's family of extra-normal outsiders into the world of heroes and villains, little knowing that M.O.D.O.K. and A.I.M. are waiting for them! Centuries-old patriarch Adam Destine knows the disastrous duo has a lot to learn about power and responsibility...and we all know who's the web-spinning specialist on that, don't we? Plus Adam and his super-powered scions join the X-Men in a demonic debacle against the sinister Synraith! Also guest-starring Doctor Strange, the Silver Surfer and the Invaders! Collecting CLANDESTINE #1-8, MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS #158 and X-MEN & CLANDESTINE #1-2. 312 PGS./Rated T+ …$29.99 Lee: The story is ok but, as always, the Alan Davis art just shines. 300+ pages of Davis goodness is something I can’t pass up!
Jim: I can as it sounds like a lame story.

FRANKLIN RICHARDS: COLLECTED CHAOS DIGEST Written by MARC SUMERAK & CHRIS ELIOPOULOS Penciled by CHRIS ELIOPOULOS Cover by CHRIS ELIOPOULOS Move over, Mr. Fantastic - the progeny of Marvel's First Family has a brand-new digest! Franklin Richards returns with this collection of four critically acclaimed FRANKLIN RICHARDS: SON OF A GENIUS one-shots! Join Franklin and his robot pal H.E.R.B.I.E. as they head into Reed's lab for all kinds of fantastic fun, amazing adventures and more trouble than you can shake an Ultimate Nullifier at! This compilation is bound to bring out the kid in every reader! Collecting FRANKLIN RICHARDS: MARCH MADNESS, WORLD BE WARNED, MONSTER MASH and FALL FOOTBALL FIASCO. 112 PGS./All Ages …$8.99 FRANKLIN RICHARDS: LAB BRAT DIGEST STILL AVAILABLE! $7.99
Lee: I wish they were full size but I will take what I can get. These are too much fun to pass up.
Jim: Oh no they are not.

MARVEL FANFARE VOL. 1 TPB Written by CHRIS CLAREMONT, ROGER MCKENZIE, CHARLIE BOATNER, DAVID ANTHONY KRAFT, DAVID WINN, DAVID MICHELINIE, SANDY PLUNKETT, MIKE W. BARR, ROGER STERN, STEVEN GRANT & BILL MANTLO Penciled by MICHAEL GOLDEN, PAUL SMITH, TREVOR VON EEDEN, DAVE COCKRUM, MARSHALL ROGERS, P. CRAIG RUSSELL, LUKE MCDONNELL, SANDY PLUNKETT, CHARLES VESS, JOE BARNEY& GEORGE FREEMAN Cover by MICHAEL GOLDEN One of Marvel's most unique anthology titles had a strong start with a classic Spider-Man/X-Men team-up saga in the Savage Land, presented here in its entirety, with more than a half-dozen additional tales! Mister Fantastic, alone against Annihilus! Captain America faces a forgotten wartime legacy! The Hulk vs. the circus! Christmas with Daredevil! Deathlok, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Ian McNee of MYSTIC ARCANA fame and more! Collecting MARVEL FANFARE #1-7. 240 PGS / …$24.99
Lee: And, finally, a classic series from Marvel. The first four issues of Marvel Fanfare with art by Mike Golden and Paul Smith are worth the price of admission alone. And a great story to boot. This is an expensive trade but well worth having on your shelf.
Jim: See this is where I think they have forced me to stop buying. Way too many trades and hard covers and I’m putting money into the Masterworks and will get Demon in the Bottle, but that’s it. Even I will only buy so much/ I counted and Marvel had 36 collected editions solicited this month. Glad I’m not a store owner anymore as who the heck can afford to stock extras of all of these books.

Lee: Oh my oh my oh my was that a bizarre month. Weird marketing decisions. Strange pricing points. And titles for new books that make you want to hide your head in shame. I was right, it was a strange one for Marvel. The only saving grace is the fact that Marvel is doing their HC’s so well with a nice mix of Omnibus, new material (Classics Illustrated), and older material (Demon is a bottle). At least it seems like Marvel has a good game plan.
Jim: February is just an off month for the big two and I expect limited “wow” factor in our next two columns.


  1. Thanks Lee. I knew I wasn't the only one who digs the Franklin Richards stuff.

  2. Jim, once again you disappoint me.

    Matt Fraction I like even more than Brubaker, though I am not discounting that man's obvious talents.

    The IRON FIST special, I bet, will be awesome.

    Also, since KICK-ASS is creator owned ala ICON, I expect it to be the best thing Marvel puts out that month.

    The last big creator-owned thing Millar did was WANTED, and that was the best book he ever did.

    So, you know, THERE.

    Cheers, kids.

  3. Geez - Comic fans with different opinions who knew.

    Ron - I'm sure Lee will send you his love. For me I loved Calvin and Hobbes and feel this is derivative and only occasionally funny.

    Shawn - I have not read a book by Fraction that I have really enjoyed, except when he is woring with Brubaker. I hope Millar proves me wrong, but I'm also not a big Romita Jr. fan, so we shall see.

  4. You see?

    Your whole response makes absolutely no sense.

    I'm convinced there was a Skrull that replaced you.

    Oh yes.

  5. Shawn - one typo and I had been drinking when I responded. woring = writing -so close.

  6. Ron-

    Franklin is excellent. I am getting both trades. I feel humor is missing far to often from the Marvel U.


    I can't believe you don't like Fraction. Isn't Fear Agent Fraction? AND, don't you like that?

  7. Lee - Rick Remender writes Fear Agent.

  8. Well, I'm hoping to get both the Hulk and Howard Omnibuses. Getting them for 60 to 70 dollars on-line makes them a real bargain. I have all the Howard issues and they do have sentimental appeal to me, so I probably won't be selling them, but at least I'll be able to access them more easily on the shelf. The Hulk is a no-brainer (no pun intended) since I only have the first Masterworks that covers 6 issues. I used to have a scattered number of Tales to Astonish, but I've never read the whole story. Of course, I ended up passing up Wonder Woman so I can start saving for these puppies. I love that Iron Man story, but I've got the originals and they too have sentimental value for me as floppies. The cover where Iron Man is suiting up (#125 or #126) is the best Iron Man cover - EVER!