Most Anticipated Non-AvX Marvel Comics of Spring 2012

This Spring marks the launch of Marvel’s most hyped event in its history, Avengers vs. X-Men.  With eight fantastic creators, 12 main story issues, and dozens of tie-in issues, Spring is looking to kick-off the summer event season at the House of M.  With that in mind, Marvel is actually streamlining its tie-ins in AvX to only the main X-Men and Avengers comics, leaving the rest of the Marvel Universe to continue business as usual.  I’d like to give my picks for the ten most enticing Marvel comic books and storylines of the Spring (April and May) that stay out of the AvX crave.  Courtesy of April and May Solicitations of Marvel Comics, here are just a few titles to watch in the coming months.

Thunderbolts (vs. Thunderbolts)

Thunderbolts #172 by Jeff Parker, Declan Shalvey, and Mark Bagley

April and May sees the biggest, (and perhaps final) major event in the history of the Thunderbolts.  With the current team of ex-villains traveling across the timestream, they end up face to face with the original team of Thunderbolts, including then team leader Baron Zemo.  Mark Bagley, original Tbolts artist, one cover duty for the three issue event, and the future of this title going by the new name of Dark Avengers, this is a story that’s surly more than meets the eye.

Avenging Spider-Man

Avenging Spider-Man #7 by Kathryn Immonen and Stuart Immonen

Spidey may have some Amazing adventures planned for Spring and Beyond, but Avenging has plenty of Action in its pages.  From a disastrous team-up with Punisher and Daredevil, to an action packed date with the Sensational She-Hulk, Spider-Man’s team book is looking hot this season.

Captain America and… Hawkeye

Captain America and... Hawkeye #630 by Cullen Bunn and Alessandro Vitti

Captain America’s adventures  continues in his own team-up book with Hawkeye leading the charge this Spring.  New writer Cullen Bunn teams the often at odds Avengers in a story full of tossed shields, flying arrows, and dinosaurs.  All this just in time for the Avengers movie!

Astonishing X-Men

Astonishing X-Men #50 by MARJORIE LIU and MIKE PERKINS

Marjorie Liu takes the Astonishing Gold Team of mutant superheroes in a battle against the new Marauders .  The roster includes “X-23” mainstays  Gambit and Dr. Reyes, as well as Magik, Northstar, Ice Man, and Warbird.

Exiled (Journey into Mystery and New Mutants)

Exiled Parts 1-5 by KIERON GILLEN, DAN ABNETT, ANDY LANNING and CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO

The New Mutants become godly babysitters in a crossover between New Mutants and Journey into Mystery.  Starting off in a one-shot entitled “Exiled” and running throughout May, the New Mutants accompany depowered Asgardians, as well as JIM star Loki, as a magical menace sets its sights on LA.

X-Men

X-Men #29 VICTOR GISCHLER and WILL CONRAD

Victor Gischler wraps up his run on X-Men with stories featuring the return of the Skrull Menace from “Secret Invasion.”  With longtime X-Man Pixie’s life hanging in the balance, one can only wonder what Gischler has in store for his grand finale.

TBC AAM

Comic Review: Avengers

This is my first review on TBC, so I’d like to start off by saying I am not current with every comic I read.  In some cases, I’m at least 4 issues behind an ongoing series, so some of the comic reviews I do will be slightly outdated when compared to other sites.  That being said, instead of reviewing every issue of a series I read, I’m going to focus mainly on stand out issues that really grab me with their quality.  Without further ado…

Avenger #20

This is the third part of the ongoing “Hammer War” story in which Norman Osborn has return, post-Dark Reign to regain the power he once had as leader of the Avengers.  With A.I.M., Hydra, and more at his disposal, the Avengers their work cut out.  With new Avengers Quake and Storm, and resurrected Avenger Vision now on the team, Captain America splits the team up to find HAMMER and shut them down.

Bendis handles the Avengers well in this issue, particularly Iron Man, Protector, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman.  A good deal of ground is covered in this one issue, dealing with the fallout from #19, the Avengers dispatched to their mission, and a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more.  Bendis has a strong voice for Norman Osborn, who has become one the premiere villains of the Marvel Universe over the last few years.  He has a great balance of confidence, arrogance, and intelligence that makes him likable in a way; it’s easy to see how others would be drawn to him.

Artwise, Danial Acuna provides a gritty atmosphere with a splash of color.  Emotions on characters faces are easily read, and staging of characters is believable and fluid.  It’s easy to get drawn into the story while it last.

All told, this is a solid issue of the Avengers.  I’ll definitely be checking out #21.  Hopefully Bendis and company can keep the quality going.

Andrew Mathieu

TBC…

Coming Soon in 2012: Part 1

2012 promises to be a great year comic book fans.  The Big Two, Marvel and DC, as well as top independent talent for Image, Zenescope, IDW Publishing and more have have eyes locked to the future.  Here’s a short list of what I think is worth a look in the new year!

Saga (Image Comics)  Critically acclaimed writer Brian K. Vaughan returns to comics in a big way with his new creator-owned ongoing series, Saga.  Basically, to mythical beings, whose races are in a never-ending war with one another, fall within the throws passion, and end up with a daughter!  In order to save their child, the two run off from star system to star system in hopes of raising their family in peace.  The series debuts in March with a special extra-sized issue for the standard price of three dollars.

Earth 2 (DC New 52)  As part of the “Second Wave” of DC Comics New 52, Earth 2 marks the long awaited return of the fan-favorite team, the Justice Society of America.  Earth 2 by James Robinson and Nicola Scott sees a new version of the classic superhero team on an alternate version of the New 52 Earth.  Not much is known of the series, but DC editorial has confirmed the series will have an impact on the world of New 52.  The ongoing debuts in May.

Avengers Assemble (Marvel Comics)  With the long awaited debut of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the silver screen, Marvel is firing the opening salvo in their comic line with Avengers Assemble.  Written by the legendary creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, Avengers Assemble sees Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, bring in a team of veteran Avengers to stop a new iteration of the classic Avengers villain Zodiac.  This team will comprise the cast of the upcoming film, including Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Incredible Hulk.  This series will also mark the last time Brian Michael Bendis will launch an Avengers comic as the creator will move away from the franchise before the end of the year.  Bendis has stated, however, the plot threads from this series will roll into unannounced comics he has in store for later this year!  Avengers Assemble launches in March.

That’s it for now, but stay tuned for even more awesome comics as this ongoing feature continues!

Happy New Year!

Andrew Mathieu

Defenders Assemble!

Defenders #1 by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson

Next week, Marvel releases the highly anticipated return of the Defenders.  After years of sitting on the side lines, Marvel’s premiere “non-team” returns with a new line-up, new focus, and new creative team in “Fear Itself” writer Matt Fraction and former “Uncanny X-Men” artist Terry Dodson.

Though Fraction and Dodson have previously worked together on “Uncanny X-Men,” this is the first time they will be working in the “Marvel Style.”  The “Marvel Style” essentially amount to Dodson working off of Fractions plot rather than a full script, giving both creator’s a chance to equally add to the series.

The “Defenders” spins out of the aftermath of “Fear Itself” with the Incredible Hulk reaching out to former Defenders comrades Dr. Strange, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the Silver Surfer for help.  During “Fear Itself” Hulk was possessed by the entity known as Nul, Break of Worlds, through an enchanted hammer.  When Hulk destroyed the hammer, he inadvertently released Nul in the process.  Hulk reaches out for help, and get it not only from his Defenders teammates, but the Immortal Iron Fist and Red She-Hulk as well.

This first story arc, however, is only the tip of the iceberg.  During this mission, these Defenders stumbles upon a secret that puts the Marvel Universe into perspective, not to mention mortal danger.  To make matters worse, this secret prevents the Defenders from telling there family, friends, and fellow heroes about the dangers to come.  Therefore, the Defenders take it upon themselves to defend humanity from this threat and “protect reality from insanity.”

The Defenders do battle with Nul, Breaker of Worlds

Marvel hopes the “Defenders” are able to find a wider audience with this newest iteration of the team.  With the “Avengers” continued success, one has to wonder if the “Defenders” are mighty enough to share shelf space with “Earth’s mightiest Heroes.”  The test of time only knows; even so, the “Defenders” make their triumphant return December 7th, 2011.

To Be Continued…

Power Pack Returns!

Newsarama.com got an early look at some Marvel February Solicitations, and one book in particular caught my eye; FF #15:

FF meets PP!

The regular creative team of this series, Jonathan Hickman and Juan Bobillo will reunite the Power Pack in the pages of FF.  The predecessor for this series, Fantastic Four, is set to return next week for its 600th anniversary issue, and will continue from there.  However, the week after, FF will continue to issue 12 and onward as its own series, focusing its attention on the rest of the Future Foundation.  The cast of FF will include Franklin and Valeria Richards (the children of FF founders Reed and Sue Storm Richards) Alex Power, Dragon Man, and Dr. Doom.  The solicitation text is as follows:

FF #15
JONATHAN HICKMAN (W) • JUAN BOBILLO (A)
COVER BY MIKE CHOI
VARIANT COVER BY TBA
• ALL HOPE LIES IN DOOM, PART 4: The Fall of Doom
• The FINAL CHAPTER for the COUNCIL of REEDS.
• GUEST STARRING: POWER PACK!

To be continued…

Amazing Spider-Man, the World’s Greatest Superhero

Marvel Comics has many iconic heroes in its camp; Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, and The Thing are some of the most iconic heroes in all of comics.  One hero, however, stands above the rest in both heroism and popularity: The Amazing Spider-Man!

Over the last year, Spider-Man has been all over Marvel comics, from the all new Ultimate Spider-Man Mile Morales, to his inclusion in the all new FF (soon to be Fantastic Four once again), to the debut of new comics, including Venom and the just launched Avenging Spider-Man team-up book.

This February, Marvel will release Amazing Spider-Man #679, with an all new subtitle to go with its iconic title:

Image courtesy of iFanboy's February Solicitations Preview

With Marvel already teasing a new Spider-Event, Ends of the Earth, everyone’s favorite neighborhood wall-crawler is going to have a busy year!

–For more of Spider-Man’s comics coming in February, visit iFanboy at:

http://ifanboy.com/articles/first-look-february-spider-man-ultimate-solicitations-from-marvel-comics/

To be continued…