Marvel Spotlight #6 – July 2010

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By Danny Djeljosevic, Robert Tacopina, and Tristram Taylor

Here we are once again, taking a look at Marvel's solicitations for July, 2010, in a little column we've come to know and love called Marvel Spotlight.

This time around we've got a fresh batch of columnists with a fresh batch of opinions about a fresh batch of upcoming comics. Dazzlin' Danny Djeljosevic, Rockin' Robert Tacopina, and Titanic Tristram Taylor have set their sights on what looks good, bad, and dumbfounding, so without further ado...

Heeeeeeeeeere's Marvel Spotlight.

Who is the mysterious Marvelman? If you only know him from his dark, deconstructionist eighties revival, then you don't know Marvelman! Go back to the very beginning — 1954's MARVELMAN #25 — and witness firsthand the earliest atomic-powered adventures of the mightiest man in the universe…the fearless fighter of evil know as Marvelman! Collecting material from MARVELMAN #25-34 in the original black-and-white..
160 PGS./Black & White/All Ages …$34.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-4375-8
Trim size: standard

So begins the effort to make American comic readers care about Marvelman. While we’re all clamoring for reprints of Alan Moore’s ‘80s deconstruction, Marvel clearly hopes to whet our appetites with some reprints of the original comics. Sure, it can give some of us a bit of context to see just what elements Moore and company were playing with, but I think a lot of readers are going to pick this up (or the “Family’s Finest” best-of miniseries for that matter) and wonder just what the big deal is with what is ultimately a Captain Marvel knock-off.

And then they’ll continue to demand the Alan Moore series.
- Danny Djeljosevic

Written by MARY H.K. CHOI
Penciled by KEN LASHLEY
Cover by GREG LAND
From the stunning sadism that brought you an entire brood of Deadpool droogs comes the chromosomal clusterhiccup that is Lady Deadpool. Agile, armed, and a howling she-lunatic, this recluse is robbed of the only thing she adores more than binge eating: cable TV. In an America ravaged by colossal debt and careening unemployment, the loss of the glowing idiot box is more than this girl can take. Why won't the government do anything? How is General America complicit? Was the genocide of all sitcom writers necessary? Should Wanda ransack the loins of a hot activist? Probably. 'Cause this Merc with a Mouth packs lipgloss. And it's sticky.
32 PGS./One-Shot/Parental Advisory …$3.99

I’m not going to count the number of Deadpool comics coming out this month because it will make me sad that such a fun character is being milked for all he’s worth. That said, the solicitation copy actually makes me want to read this book because it sounds insane. So, kudos to whoever wrote that blurb.
- Danny Djeljosevic

You may have heard there’s a Deadpool movie in the works. Anyway, Wade Wilson’s heard the same thing — and he’s determined to tell his own story before Hollywood screws it up. Deadpool even hires his own screenwriter, who manages to get the Merc With a Mouth to open up like never before—revealing not only his origin story, but shocking details you’ve never heard before. We’re talking Oscar™ -worthy stuff here, people. That is, unless Hollywood manages to screw it up anyway…
48 PGS./One-Shot/Rated A …$3.99

Dear Marvel,

Why did you make this book? Do you realize what you're doing to the character of Deadpool? I've been a fan of a character for a while and I'm as excited as you are that he's gaining popularity, but come on! Do you realize that you are putting out seven Deadpool books in the month of July? Aren't you afraid of overkill? I understand that for most of his existence Deadpool books just didn't sell well. Now his books must be selling, which is good, but that doesn't mean you have to go so crazy.

Deadpool books are fun mainly because of the cartoony violence and the zany (often fourth wall breaking) humor. This can be a lot of fun, but in large doses it can get tired and annoying. I don't want that to happen.

I feel like this book should come out a little before the movie, to hype it up a bit. Is the movie even in production yet? My fear is that we're all going to be sick of Deadpool before the movie even comes out. Maybe this book will be good. In fact, it might be amazing. But that's not going to matter if no one buys it. If someone goes into a comic shop and sees seven Deadpool books sitting on the stands, why would they choose this one over the other six? Or do you think they'll buy them all? Some people might, but four of the seven cost $3.99 each, and that's a lot of money these days. My advice is to lay off Deadpool for a bit. Keep putting out a couple good, fun books, but not so many. And no more putting Deadpool on the cover of every other book. How is that a good idea? Then again, what do I know? You've been at this a lot longer than I have. Maybe you know what you're doing. I hope so.

Your friend,
- Tristram Taylor

Pencils & Cover by MIKE MCKONE
TIME TO MEET THE AVENGERS ACADEMY TEACHERS! Hank Pym, Quicksilver, Tigra, Justice and Speedball (that's right, we said Speedball) are here to mentor the next generation of Earth's Mightiest Heroes…but is one of the students hot for teacher? Plus: Get a glimpse inside the mind of Finesse, the enigmatic polymath who can duplicate any skill but who finds human interaction the most baffling mystery of all! The return of the walking death machine known as Arsenal! Hints at a student's possible connection with a well known Marvel character! Quicksilver gets old school! All this, and one of the kids makes a Faustian bargain!
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99

Avengers: Initiative was one of the best things to come out of the Civil War event, and if this book is anything like it, count me in. Gage grabbed the reigns of The Initiative at issue 8 and has had a solid run since (despite some mandatory crossover shenanigans). I kind of expect this Avengers: Academy to be a continuation of that. Let's not forget Mike McKone is doing the pencils, and I've always liked his work.

I'm interested to see the new students that are going to be brought in, but the I also like the faculty line-up that is introduced this issue here. I hope Pym's recent growth (no pun intended) continues here. I've always liked Tigra, and I know Gage writes her well. It's also good to see Marvel finally realize how creepy and one-note the Penance character was, and bring back the (goofy and one-note) Speedball character.

Of course, I haven't even read the first issue yet, so we'll see. Of all the new books coming out, however, I am looking forward to this one the most.
- Tristram Taylor

Pencils & Cover by JIM CHEUNG
Women of Marvel Variant by JELENA-KEVIC DJURDJEVIC
The Young Avengers return in an epic, bi-monthly Marvel maxi-series by series creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung. When Wiccan's reality-altering powers begin to rival those of the Scarlet Witch, the young hero sets out on a quest to find her that spans the Marvel Universe and pits Wiccan against both the Avengers and the Young Avengers. But will Wiccan's desire to solve the mystery of his parentage be his salvation or his undoing? This self-contained Marvel maxi-series reintroduces and redefines the Young Avengers and the Scarlet Witch for the Heroic Age and is essential reading for any Avengers fan.
32 PGS./Bi-Monthly/Rated T+ …$3.99

Finally, after way too many years, Young Avengers co-creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung reunite for a limited series and get the band back together. When the Young Avengers was initially announced years ago it garnered much criticism by the easily agitated and prompted much debate as to what Marvel was trying to do here. Yet once people got this title into their hands it was obvious that this creative team had birthed something truly unique with these characters. Unfortunately, the book only lasted just over a dozen issues before it went on indefinite hiatus.

However, such a strong ensemble of characters could not be deterred for long. Throughout their hiatus the Young Avengers have managed to maintain a relevant and prominent presence within the Marvel Universe appearing in a majority of stories. It had been revealed that Wiccan and Speed are possibly the sibling offspring of Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch who has been missing since the events of House of M where she abolished mutants to near extinction with three little words; no more mutants. There are many themes that can be addressed with this series but the two most transparent would be the revelation as to whether or not Scarlet Witch is indeed Wiccan and Speed's mother as well as just what she has been up to. No matter what though this is going to be a book that will be eagerly awaited for.
- Robert Tacopina

Pencils & Cover by DANIEL ACUÑA
Iron Man, Captain America and Wolverine haven't been able to help…the U.S. government is somehow involved…and the web of intrigue and danger surrounding Natasha has tightened into a noose! Will the Black Widow discover who's out to destroy her before it's too late…?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

With her appearance in the Iron Man 2 film just around the corner there has never been a better time for Black Widow to be poised for a major breakthrough than right now. After having her ongoing series launch under the talents of Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna it seems like all the pieces are in perfect place for the super spy to become a major player.

For me there was plenty to enjoy in the debut issue ranging from Marjorie Liu’s characterization of Natasha and James "Bucky" Barnes to the sense of intrigue that was layered over the story itself. The big question is who is out for Natasha and why? Wolverine may know but he ain't telling, at least not yet. Daniel Acuna's art is a breath of fresh air and it is impressive to see how much he has grown as an artist.
- Robert Tacopina

GORILLA MAN #1 (of 3)
Written by JEFF PARKER
“If you kill the magical Gorilla-Man, you become immortal.”
Shooting from the pages of ATLAS, comes an all-new exploration of fan-favorite GORILLA MAN! Yes, Ken Hale is blessed with might and cursed with inhumanity, but you don’t know the entire tale, and how his history may destroy his present! See his storied past as an Agent of Atlas, a soldier of fortune, an ally of the Avengers, and a Howling Commando! Three incredible issues by JEFF PARKER (ATLAS, THUNDERBOLTS, FALL OF THE HULKS ALPHA) and GIANCARLO CARACUZZO (ATLAS)! Plus a "Many Legends of the Gorilla Man" reprint.
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Somebody at Marvel got my letters!
- Danny Djeljosevic

Written by JIM MCCANN
Penciled by DAVID LOPEZ
Hawkeye & Mockingbird are back in action together -- but so are their two greatest foes! Who is the all-new, all-deadly Phantom Rider? Crossfire once took Hawkeye's hearing from him – what will he take from him now? Plus: what secret has Clint uncovered that could destroy everything that he and Bobbi are fighting for?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

I am gushing like a girl over this series! While I did read West Coast Avengers, I wasn’t an uber-fan, but for some reason I just absolutely adore these two characters and always have. When Bobbi was brought back during Secret Invasion it basically made the whole series worth it for me. I think that Marvel did an exceptional job with her redesign and placing Clint back into the Hawkeye mantle was a no-brainer in my book.

I was a tad hesitant when Jim McCann was initially given the New Avengers: Reunion series which focused on these two characters and their tumultuous relationship, but after reading the book it was evident that not only does McCann have a firm grasp on Marvel's underdog couple and what makes them appealing, but he has a deep running affection for the two that is icing on the cake.

I am interested in seeing what sort of predicaments the writer can create for his protagonists to try and wriggle themselves out of. Already I like how some great underused villains like Crossfire are being brought into the fold to wreak havoc on Hawkeye & Mockingbird.
- Robert Tacopina

Pencils & Cover by SALVADOR LARROCA
Iron Man and War Machine are holding the bag after the Tokyo attacks make Detroit Steel look like a hero! As Tony, Rhodey and Hill get to the bottom of who masterminded the terror attempt, the fledgling company Stark Resilent takes its first baby steps toward growth…and Tony draws a link between Hammer Industries and an old foe that almost killed him…
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99

What else needs to be said about Iron Man? Not only is he featured in this summer's most anticipated movie and has just had a second accompanying title launched, but his main series is downright awesome! Invincible Iron Man has been a non-stop thrill ride with Matt Fraction behind the wheel. Fraction uses every card up his sleeve to continuously craft new and exciting adventures for one of Marvel's premiere characters. After being the black sheep for a few years, Tony Stark has finally found the road to redemption and has had to face down more adversity than one could shake a stick at.

Teaming up Iron Man and War Machine within these pages should prove to be a treat as Marvel's metallic power duo elicits shrieks and thrills of geek-gasms from even the most reserved comic fan.
- Robert Tacopina

Written by ED BRUBAKER
Steve Rogers was America's first Super-Soldier - Captain America - and he's fought for his country since World War II. Now a face from the past reappears, a woman that cannot be alive because Steve watched her die! Steve has fought for so long, and lost so much -- is his past coming back to haunt him now? Or could this be the plot of an old enemy who controls nearly everything he touches, including Steve's mind? From multiple Award-Winning Captain America scribe Ed Brubaker and acclaimed artist Dale Eaglesham comes a mini-series no Cap or Avengers fan will want to miss!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Ed Brubaker can do no wrong with Captain America comics, but I really wish this book was titled simply Steve Rogers #1 to make it sound completely mundane.

“Who’s your favorite superhero?”

“Steve Rogers. His powers include driving home, eating, and taking out the trash!”

Seriously though, my finger’s nowhere near the pulse of the mainstream comics comunity, so I have many questions. How are readers reacting to the idea of Steve Rogers being alive but not being Captain America (but not for very long, one assumes)? Would they prefer Steve Rogers dead or not “wielding the shield,” as it were? Has anyone noticed that Steve’s dressed as The Fighting American?
- Danny Djeljosevic

Still reeling from the events of last issue, the Young Allies are desperate to hunt down the Bastards of Evil by any means necessary--even if it means taking on their parents!--while the Bastards are up for a little hunting trip of their own...
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Sean McKeever's team consists of such an oddball grouping you can't help but check it out just to see what sort of dysfunctional drama unfolds. After being featured in the back pages of Captain America, Nomad gets her own team to lead into Marvel's Heroic Age. Admittedly, I am most interested in Firestar and Gravity but I like the promise that this title has the potential of achieving. To me it seems like this could be the next Young Avengers in terms of storytelling. It doesn’t hurt that the first adversary the team faces is a group dubbed the Bastards of Evil either.
- Robert Tacopina

Hot on the heels of SECOND COMING, see how the X-Men fit into the Marvel Universe as a whole. Three stories by Matt
Fraction and artists Whilce Portacio (UNCANNY X-MEN), Jamie McKelvie (SIEGE: LOKI) and Steven Sanders (S.W.O.R.D.)
taking you all around the Marvel Universe!
40 PGS./One-Shot/Rated T+ …$3.99

Matt Fraction helms the anthology title featuring three stories featuring the X-Men as they come to terms with the aftermath of Second Coming and where they stand as a society in the new status quo of the Marvel Universe being dubbed as the Heroic Age.

While it seems that most anthology titles are hit or miss, one has to give Fraction the benefit of the doubt that he will succeed in crafting stories that are relevant to the over arching events currently transpiring in the X-Men's own little sandbox. The cover depicts Cyclops, Beast, and someone who appears to be Hope in Phoenix attire, which leads me to believe that these are the three that will have the spotlight on for this book. However, Beast has left the team and is back with the Avengers and the image of Hope could simply be a red herring.

Regardless, when you have Fraction on a book with the artistic talents of Whilce Portacio and Jamie McKelvie you are pretty much guaranteed a fun read. Even if the price of admission may be horse-faced Beast.
- Robert Tacopina

X-MEN #1
Penciled by PACO MEDINA
Blank Cover Variant Also Available
Variant Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR.
Variant Cover by OLIVIER COIPEL
Variant Cover by PACO MEDINA
When a suicide bomber strikes in downtown San Francisco, it gets the immediate attention of the X-Men. But this is not your garden variety terrorist – and he’s not acting alone. Vampires from around the globe are descending en masse on the City by the Bay, staking a brutal claim for the patch of land the X-Men call their home. What is their agenda? Who is their mysterious leader? The X-Men are about to find out, as they brace themselves for a war of the species that will wrack the Marvel Universe.
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

I had no idea who Victor Gischler was until the internet told me that he’s a crime novelist who wrote some Deadpool comics. Good for him.

Who knows what the status quo of the X-Books will be after “Second Coming,” but this book actually sounds like a decent idea -- if Uncanny X-Men is about directing the entire mutant race and X-Men Legacy is about exploring X-Men continuity (that’s what it’s about, right?), then there should really be an X-Book where they just go out and do some superheroing. Y’know, for the kids. Being a near-extinct species of human being must be tough. Sometimes you just want to go out and shoot laser beams at something. And these guys always get into brawls when they go out on the town, anyway.

Plus, this story arc is called “Mutants Versus Vampires,” so it’s clear they’re having fun with it.
- Danny Djeljosevic

Pencils and Cover by MILO MANARA
International superstar Milo Manara joins X-Legend Chris Claremont for X-WOMEN! Go on a high-flying, death-defying, globetrotting adventure with your favorite X-Ladies. Storm, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Marvel Girl and Rogue save the world and look great doing it. Don't miss this prestige event
64 PGS./One-Shot/Rated T+ …$4.99

Some of you are probably excited for the prospect of Milo Manara drawing your favorite X-Women in provocative poses, but know that Chris Claremont is writing it. So all those shapely breasts will be covered up by a dozen narrative boxes describing all those shapely breasts you can no longer see.

Also, Milo Manara is drawing this and it isn’t a MAX title? What’s the point?
- Danny Djeljosevic

Written by ZEB WELLS
Penciled by LEONARD KIRK
LEONARD KIRK JOINS THE NEW MUTANTS! Fan-favorite artist Leonard Kirk (DARK X-MEN, CAPTAIN BRITAIN & MI-13) becomes the regular NEW MUTANTS artist this issue! Coming out of SECOND COMING, the New Mutants who are still left are licking their wounds on a forced R & R trip. While they try and put themselves back together, others are looking to take them apart. The strange secretive military group we met in NEW MUTANTS #09 has an agenda involving Illyana Rasputin. And they don't want to give her a medal.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Coming off a successful first year, the New Mutants are out to prove that they won't suffer from a sophomore slump, and to do so they have brought on artist extraordinaire Leonard Kirk as regular artist for the book. The action has been fast and furious for the younger X-Men (wait, are they X-Men or still just New Mutants? If they are X-Men than why is the title New Mutants? Brain hurts) who have had to cope with resurrected team members and some little happening called "Second Coming."

Zeb Wells has done a marvelous job of reintroducing this team to the comic world and uses this issue for the promise of some much-needed down time for the squad. Will there be a softball game involved? But before Cannonball fires up the grill and the ladies slip into their all-to-revealing-swimsuits, trouble will arise. In the midst of the madness that has been Necrosha, Siege, and Second Coming dominating the X titles, we were introduced to an odd military organization that have a mad-on for Magik.
- Robert Tacopina

Art and Cover by GABRIELE DEL'OTTO
Just when you thought it was over, we pull you back in—it's the X-Force story everyone's been talking about, finally delivered! Wolverine and Domino have always had a special relationship, but everything goes upside down when the Assassins Guild puts out a hit on our gun wielding bombshell. Why do they want her dead? And more importantly, how many people have to die before Wolverine and Domino can spend some quality time together? Get ready for the sexiest blood-soaked ride Craig Kyle and Chris Yost have ever delivered as they join forces with international superstar Gabriele Dell'otto to offer up their final X-Force story!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$3.99

Though I am extremely hyped for this mini, it is also a cause for great sadness, as this will be the superstar writing tandem of Craig Kyle & Chris Yost’s final X-Force story. X-Force has the been de facto X-Men book over the past few years with its blend of pivotal and riveting arcs along with a dynamic feel for the characters involved. Seriously, who could have possibly ever imagined Domino, Vanisher, and Elixir becoming such great characters? Warpath has been elevated from a background X-man into one of major significance and the continued growth of X-23 and Angel has been a blast.

Gabriele Dell'Otto provides the art on this book which should prove to be nothing short of a visual triumph. The Assassins Guild will play a major factor and knowing the history of Kyle & Yost, it is safe to predict that someone won’t be walking away from this one.
- Robert Tacopina

CASANOVA is back as you've never seen him before! The Eisner Award winning team of Matt Fraction (INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, UNCANNY X-MEN) and Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon (UMBRELLA ACADEMY, DAYTRIPPER, PIXU) bring their appropriately iconic book to ICON! FULL SIZE! FULL COLOR! REMASTERED and REBORN! Meet Casanova Quinn, morally flexible and terminally directionless, as he gets abducted across space and time to infiltrate his own father's E.M.P.I.R.E. of law and order. Featuring an all-new bonus story by Fraction and Moon. This is the book GQ called "devastatingly geeky—and brilliant."
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Do Matt Fraction, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon and ICON/Marvel know when my birthday is? Because Casanova relaunching in July signals as much. Thanks guys. You’re too kind. I’d say “you shouldn’t have,” but you really, really should have.

Casanova returning excites me more than a thousand Christmases and Milo Manara Marvel MAX-Women books put together. It’s a dense, psychedelic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band dose of genre fiction (Espionage! Sci-fi! MODOKs!) deep fried in pop culture. It’s epic, witty, and even heartbreaking at times.

Shit changed my life, man.
- Danny Djeljosevic

How about that? Good stuff, eh?

Now hop on over to the boards and let these Young Turks know what you've got your eyes on, too!

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