Starting this month, Marvel is rolling out its latest catalogue-wide relaunch, and it appears to be somewhat of a yearly occurrence now for Marvel. In 2013 we had Marvel NOW!, in 2014 there was All-New Marvel NOW!, and this year we have All-New, All-Different Marvel. I’m a little apprehensive to purchase any of the new comics, lest they be cancelled for next year’s rebranding to All-Current Pumpkin Spice Marvel with Lime, but the excitement remains. While these are just some of the comics that I’ve ordered in Previews, they are the new series I’m most excited about. Which is why I spent a solid hour sardonically lambasting them. I kid!
Invincible Iron Man
Marvel’s had a tough time finding the creative team capable of making comic book Tony Stark as popular as silver screen Tony Stark. Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen tried their hand, yet the financial windfall remains evasive. About evasive as the millennial child who would prefer the still page of a comic to a sound and color display of lasers and violence that is their television. If such a child who prefers the written word to the shouted one (that’s quickly followed by an awesome explosion) exists, the quick, witty writing of Brian Michael Bendis and the sleek detail of David Marquez’s artwork ought to find that little weirdo.
Tony’s Iron Man suit is now outfitted with the latest technology: toes.
Bendis specializes in interesting dialogue, which projects well with the Tony Stark snark. It’s also the reason why his recent runs on Uncanny and All-New X-Men were worth buying. Ultimately, nothing of consequence occurred in either series, but you didn’t notice, did you? You were too busy worrying about Emma Frost’s latest zinger towards young/not dead Jean Grey. Imagine that, but with Stark laying verbal burns on Windows Phone users every month and you have the newest Iron Man series.
All-New, All-Different Avengers
It takes some juevos to do what Marvel is doing with the launch of their new flagship Avengers comic. They’ve reached the pinnacle of success with their movies featuring the conventional lineup of Thor, Black Widow, Iron Man, etc., only now to tear everything down and start from scratch. Love the Hulk? Get ready for Female Thor who’s currently dying of cancer! Can’t get enough Captain America? Here comes younger, less interesting Captain America, who can also talk to birds! Who doesn’t love Spider-Man? Great! Now there are three of them, and two just literally witnessed the destruction of their respective universes. As well as presumably everyone they know and love. Perfect for crime fighting!
Marvel’s bold new direction: unpopular characters
Proponents will argue by doing away with the customary Avengers line-up, Marvel has the opportunity to showcase a more diverse cast of heroes & heroines, which is true. But that also means you’re giving significant paper to a goofy-looking android with feelings, and a Native American caricature –ahem- character I’ve never heard of. Consider this: three members of the team have been around for less than a year, while Red Wolf (just looked him up) dates back to 1970, yet he’s still the least popular of them all. Not exactly a confidence builder.
Marvel’s set to release the highly moderately possibly anticipated Doctor Strange movie next year, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, he of Star Trek: Into Darkness (published two years ago), Sherlock (five years ago) and The Hobbit (original release: 1937). So while it’s safe to say Marvel is always on the cutting edge of what’s new and hip, next year’s film demands a comic to go with it.
Doctor Strange – by Chris Bachalo
Enter Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo, the men tasked with creating a comic about a character so popular, so relevant, that he …hasn’t had an ongoing title since 1996. That may seem like a harsh way to judge the launch of the title, but it’s not. Harsh would be to say that until now, America’s wanted to watch Manute Bol and William “The Refrigerator” Perry fight each other in a contest of sadness more than they’ve wanted a Doctor Strange series.
I did, however, love when the two creators teamed-up on the first issues of Wolverine and the X-Men, so all hope is not lost.
Following the success of the Netflix’ Daredevil, the upcoming comic is presented as a darker, more ground-level storytelling approach than the previous volume. Which is good, because the market for stories about disabled crime-punching lawyers is pretty flooded, so Marvel is staying ahead of the curve by changing things up. And by “changing it up”, I mean going with the same tone utilized by BMB, Frank Miller, Ed Brubaker, and almost every other well-known DD story. This darker outlook, as any emo worth their salt knows, calls for darker threads as Matt Murdock will dress more like his Netflix incarnation. He’ll also share rooftops with a sidekick that Daredevil may or may not have found in Chinatown. Edgy!
Those bandages on his fists were white before all the punching
It’d be hard for anyone to follow Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s recently wrapped-up run on Daredevil. The series was something of a contradiction: fun yet poignant, artful yet accessible. Marvel made an interesting choice by selecting Charles Soule to be Matt Murdock’s next wordsmith. When Soule isn’t writing comics, he’s a full-on lawyer, which is a nice start. I am, however, still left wishing they went the all-in and enlisted a blind, orphan to draw the series. It would’ve shown some real dedication to authenticity. Here’s hoping Marvel brass at least makes a half-hearted attempt to throw toxic goo in artist Ron Garney’s eyes and murder his parents.
For a long time Marvel’s Illuminati consisted of the universe’s top tier (and Namor) heroes coming together and trying to guide the world into a peaceful coexistence. They did a pretty terrible job.
I don’t know who any of these people are
A gang of villains has since taken over this behind-the-curtain club, led by the Hood, but their goals are much more narrowed. They don’t care about large-scale nefarious plots; they just want get rich and not get caught. It’s an admirable premise that I can get behind. Why have a quality over quantity business model when you can just haul in the dough with a quantity over everything approach? Why bother plotting smart moneymaking schemes when you can rehash some old bits for some quick cash. This is all superfluous though, I’m sure Marvel will just shut the series down after six issues, reboot it and slap a shiny “Super Fresh, Totally Recent Illuminati #1.” I think I misplaced my subtlety halfway through that.