It seems like just last week we were examining the first four new titles on the leading edge of the All-new, All-different, post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe. What’s new this week true believers? What might you want to buy? Well . . .
Guardians of the Galaxy
What we know: Star Lord and Gamora are out! Kitty Pryde & Ben Grimm are in! Rocket is in charge! Drax, Groot, and Venom are . . . still around. Bendis is back with an All-New, All-Different era for the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Pros: Fans of the pre-Secret Wars Bendis-run of Guardians should appreciate consistency of tone in this title going forward. The addition of Kitty Pryde as the new Star Lady to the team and Ben “The Thing” Grimm is a surprising, but fitting move. Bendis has ample experience writing both characters, and has been building towards this with Kitty, no newbie to space travel, for years now. As for Ben, the character has been a space pilot since his introduction in Fantastic Four #1 almost 55 years ago, but that part of the character has rarely been explored and it’s a logical place for Grimm to show up in a world without a Fantastic Four series in publication. Valerio Schiti’s energetic and highly expressive art seems to add a dynamism and sense of humor to the series that should be familiar to fans of recent GotG series and the film alike.
Cons: Fans of more classic Marvel Cosmic series who haven’t been as fond of Bendis’ direction won’t find a return to the space operas they love here. This series now also bears the burden of managing the fact that Groot, Rocket, Drax and Venom all have their own ongoing solo series, at least two of which are firmly a part of continuity. This means editorial coordination will have to be in full effect for fans to enjoy stories that don’t seem to contradict each other (always a frustration for comics readers).
What we know: New Mutant-cum-Avenger Roberto “Sunspot” DaCosta has purchased the nefarious super-science organization A.I.M., kicked out the riff-raff, and re-dubbed it Avengers Idea Mechanics. With a new Avengers team recruited to his side, and a legion of the worlds brightest minds backing them up, these Avengers are seeking new, different solutions to save the world!
Pros: Writer Al Ewing has been consistently producing Avengers stories that simultaneously engage today’s readers while maintaining the feel of a classic superhero comic. Based on the previews for this series in last week’s Avengers #0, it seems like Ewing has big, crazy stories in store for readers. Gerardo Sandoval brings art with a heavy manga influence that fits the scale of the stories and sense of humor implied in previews. With a team including fan favorites like perennial underdog Hawkeye, White Tiger & Powerman from Ewing’s Mighty Avengers series, Songbird of the Thunderbolts, Young Avengers power-couple Wiccan & Hulkling, and rising star Squirrel-Girl his art may be a perfect fit.
Cons: The stress for this volume of New Avengers seems very much on the new. Only Hawkeye is a long established Avenger and the premise is very far afield from anything else that’s ever been done with a team claiming to be Earth’s Mightiest heroes. This collection of niche characters with highly dedicated followings may thrill some readers but may also deter others. The depth of devotion of the fanbases for this team’s members may be a boon or bane for Ewing; if fans are satisfied sales may be staggering, if expectations aren’t satisfied it may crash and burn.
Sam Wilson: Captain America
What we know: After Secret Wars, the mantle of Captain America is still in the hands of the most recent man to wield the shield: Sam Wilson. It seems this former Falcon has had a falling out with his former partner and original sentinel of liberty, Steve Rogers. What’s happened? Find out as he fights for truth, justice, and the American way with the help of Misty Knight and . . . D-Man?
Pros: Nick Spencer’s work at Marvel on Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Secret Avengers, and Ant-Man has proven his ability to draft humorous, engaging character-centric stories that consistently please readers. His work on Avengers World has given Spencer a venue to show off his ability to craft epic, action-intensive, thrillers. Artist Daniel Acuna has a strong talent for employing color to effect, and a record of innovative character design & tight narrative flow that allows him to draw fast-paced, dynamic action and intimate character moments to equal effect.
Cons: As technically skilled as Acuna is, his style has been divisive among fans and may turn some readers away. Though Spencer has proven his ability to write tales of suspense in Avengers World he’ll have to shrug off his reputation for bwa-ha-heroics to be taken seriously by long-time Cap fans. Fans who firmly favor Steve Rogers are likely to be disappointed that he’s no longer the title character, and perhaps at odds with the [relatively] new Cap.
What we know: It’s the swinging be-hoodied sensation that’s sweeping the nation: Spider-Gwen! The Gwen Stacy of Earth-65, that world’s principal Spider-Powered hero is so popular not only did she warrant a short run of her own series pre-Battleworld, she’s got another coming in the All-New, All-Different.
Pros: Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez are back on board so this book should maintain the flavor and look that please fans of the previous Spider-Gwen series.
Cons: There’s not necessarily anything All-New nor All-Different here. Okay . . . I’ll level with you, Body Politic; I’m not really too familiar with Spider-Gwen, nor “it” factor that has given her a strong enough following to make the first volume of her title the third-highest selling comic of 2015 to-date. That said, I’m confident that if you were digging Spider-Gwen before you still will be, if you weren’t you probably won’t be, and if you’re unfamiliar with her (as I’ve been) series you won’t know what all the fuss is about until you try it. Maybe I’ve got an extra $4 around here somewhere…
What we know: Miguel O’Hara, the time-lost Spider-Man of the future 616 (or Earth-928, depending on who you ask) is back in action. This time with a new job for Parker Industries, a new girlfriend, and a new costume.
Pros: Even though the clothes, supporting cast, and day-job may be different the creative team behind this relaunched series, Peter David & Will Sliney, will be the same that fans of the pre-Secret Wars Spidey 2099 title. This is good news for fans of that book and this character, who are looking for an anchor title to provide a little stability through this publishing shake-up. Fans of the Secret-Wars 2099 place-holder mini-series set on Battleworld should be pleased to know that the new Captain America 2099 (at least) has been teased as appearing in this title soon.
Cons: Readers who weren’t interested in or enjoying the pre-Battleworld run of Spider-Man 2099 will probably not find anything new, and too little different enough here to pique their interest.
What we know: Steve Rogers! Rogue! Quicksilver! Brother Voodoo! Human Torch! Spider-Man! Synapse (who?)! and . . . Deadpool?!?!?! Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegmann collaborate to resurrect an All-New, All-Different Avengers Unity Squad!
Pros: Duggan and Stegmann are both top creators at Marvel whose stars continue to rise. Based on the preview story in Avengers #0 it seems that the original mission statement of the Unity team (basically an Avengers team serving Charles Xavier’s dream) is intact. Much of Rick Remender’s previous team from Uncanny Avengers vol. 2 is still on board here, so fans of that book may be glad to see their stories carried forward. Duggan is no stranger to working with surprise Avenger Deadpool, and has a strong grasp of that character. We have a clear All-New element with the introduction of completely new Inhuman character Synapse as well. Stegmann’s distinctive style gives the series a unique visual flavor, and has proven adaptable to a variety of story tones which may help accommodate the varied characters that make up this team.
Cons: The idea of Deadpool as an Avenger may seem prohibitively counter-intuitive to many readers. To Duggan’s credit he devotes his Avengers #0 preview story to addressing this, and it seems to work (Sorry folks, we’re a spoiler-free column). The same preview story also makes it appear uncertain whether the understanding of the original intent and mission statement is really present at the core of the series. The understanding of the “Unity” element comes off as superficial, but it’s a component of Deadpool’s internal monologue so it’s unclear if DP who has a superficial understanding of Xavier’s dream or Duggan (and if it’s the ‘Pool, then Duggan’s an even better writer than I’m giving him credit for). For fans of whom that element of this title was essential in past volumes this may be a concern. Similarly, fans of previous iterations of the Uncanny Avengers have had the vision of only one writer, Rick Remender, on the series for the duration of its existence, and it remains to be seen whether Duggan’s work will please these fans.