Monday, September 21, 2015

CCC previews Marvel's 'All-New, All-Different' titles

The greatest part of flipping through a copy of PREVIEW is it's the equivalent of window-shopping at a comic book store and never having to buy anything. Just put it on your wish list -- and then wait to see if any of these items are worth your hard-earned cash.

A few days ago I focused on upcoming DC Comics titles that sound the most interesting.

Now it's Marvel Comics time!

PREVIEW issue 2 (the all-Marvel version/supplement of September for November shipping) pulled me in with the Alex Ross cover of ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS No. (out Nov. 11). It's a worm's-eye view of the Vision, female Thor (Dr. Jane Foster), Captain America (Sam Wilson), Iron Man, Nova, Spider-Man (Miles Morales) and Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan). In Ross' hands, this new version of The Avengers embody the nickname Earth's Mightiest Heroes and look ready to tackle whatever is ahead of them.

I got my first taste of the group in an issue on Free Comic Book Day. For reasons I can't entirely explain, I enjoyed the group dynamics and the idea of this being a group-in-the-making. And I wanted to read more.

Of course, the one-two punch in the creative team is quite appealing. Writer Mark Waid is a living legend, having written more great Marvel stories than I can count and artist Adam Kubert is always superb. Just on their merits alone, many fans will be flocking to ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS.

Avengers assemble, indeed!

This Marvel-only PREVIEWS issue includes full-page reproductions of variant covers. Being a dedicated Ross fan (as an artist, this guy can do no wrong!), I really dig his vintage variant of THE AVENGERS No. 1. It's an -over-the-shoulder shot of Loki facing off against Iron Man, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Thor and even the hairy-chested Hulk, as he was drawn in the early 1960s.

Here are some other upcoming Marvel titles in its "All-New, All-Different" universe that intrigue me:

ALL-NEW X-MEN Nos. 1 & 2 (on sale Nov. 4 and 25): As the promo says, these new teenage X-Men "are stepping out of the shadows of their predecessors." The line-up includes Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, the All-New Wolverine (Laura Kinney aka, formerly X-23, gets her own series starting Nov. 11) and two heroes I've never heard of, Kid Apocalypse and Oya. Mark Bagley is the artist, so there's no doubt this addition to the X-verse will look really good.

Jessica Drew is having a baby?!? SPIDER-WOMAN No. 1 comes out Nov. 18. Artist Javier Rodriguez has designed a great costume for Drew, who looks pretty darn cute pregnant.

WEB WARRIORS No. 1 (Nov. 11): There have been some big changes going on in the Spider-Man universe, not the least of which is the addition of characters in alternate realities.

For me, the most intriguing creation by far is Spider-Gwen (aka Gwen Stacy, a character I've always adored!), whose costume is simple yet appealing. She quickly has grabbed the interest of cosplayers, who look nothing short of fabulous. I plan on checking out some trade paperbacks from my local library to see how Spider-Gwen's stories stack up to her character design. Silk is another superheroine with a sweet costume.

(For a quick review of Spider-Woman/Spider-Gwen's first story in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE trade paperback, go here.)

Speaking of Spidey, in the new version of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, the Baxter Building has been renamed the Parker Industries New York Headquarters (what a cumbersome name!). Crazy.

I wonder if that, er, spins out of the story in which Peter Parker trapped in Doctor Octopus' body as Doc Ock was taking on the world as the self-proclaimed Superior Spider-Man. (A really great read BTW. I highly recommend you track down that compelling story in those trades -- even as odd as that premise sounds. Grade: A)

Dan Slott (who penned the Spidey-Doc Ock body swap storyline) isn't just a solid writer; he has a great feel for the characters in the Spider-verse. He's been writing Spider-Man stories for a few years now, so there will be no drop-off in momentum -- all great news for yet another reboot of everyone's favorite wall-crawler. I like what little of I've seen of Guiseppe Camuncoli's interior art. So it looks like ol' Webhead is in good hands.

The strangest of the Marvel titles is the premise behind THE VISION. Obsessed with what it's like to be human, the synthezoid travels back to Dr. Henry Pym's lab where he was "born" and creates his own family -- a wife and two children.

The variant cover by Marcos Martin is incredibly cool. The noir feel is perfect for the Vision, who is reaching through the graphics of his name toward the readers. Perfect for the synthezoid who can phase through objects and people!

The standard cover showcases Viz's family. It's in a bright, cherry 1950s style, but is oddly disturbing -- as if there should be nothing wrong with a family of androids living in your all-American neighborhood.

 Also coming out Nov. 4 is the first issue of ... wait for it! ... HOWARD THE DUCK. Yup, I can't make that up. Who thought this was a good idea?

Marvel seems to be rolling along with great artwork in its STAR WARS titles. I'm always tempted to buy some issues on the covers alone -- a great way to pull in readers. A lost art in my IMHO!

THE HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. definitely looks like its inspiration comes from Mike Mignola's Hellboy universe over in Dark Horse Comics. At least that's what the front cover of the issue I saw screams! (No. 2 is out Nov. 25)

And of course, I'm interested in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON (issue 3 is on sale Nov. 18).

I don't know anything about the creative team (never heard of the writer, artist or inker, in fact!), but they have a lot to live up to. ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA was a lot of fun to read and truly nailed the spirit of the Star-Spangled Avenger and the newest guy to throw the shield, Sam Wilson.

Did any other Capheads notice the logo for this series is based on the CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS issues before the original title folded?

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