By Jon Durmin
We’re into our third week of the All-New and All-Different! Appropriately enough there are three, count’em three new series launching this week. Eyes open Iron Man and Amazing Spider-Man fans, your #2 issues come out this week too!
What we know: Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas are back with an all new, ongoing volume of continuous adventures for Scott Lang, the Astonishing Ant-Man . . . and his gang of criminals?!?! Say it ain’t so Scott!
Pros: The first volume by Spencer & Rosanas was a delightful mix of adventure, heartfelt character engagement, and pure situational comedy, and this series promises to be more of the same. If Spencer has a niche it is almost certainly this, and he is arguably the Wolverine (i.e. the best he is at what he does) of sit-com superheroics right now. Rosanas’ is a strong visual narrator and his art is stylistically clean, clear and generally walks a line between the cartoony & realistic that is satisfying to both sensibilities. Together they affect a tone of stories that is very much in line this summer’s Ant-Man film (Jarid’s fun-fact: Jon insists that Ant-Man is, far and away, his favorite-ever MCU movie. What a weirdo, right? Anyway he might be a bit biased). (Jarid’s second fun-fact: Why isn’t Jon’s favorite character Jarid from The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier?!)
Cons: If you weren’t enjoying the previous volume of Ant-Man by Spencer or Rosanas, save your money. This is another series that was meeting with commercial & financial success pre-Secret Wars that is picking up, more or less, where it left off. This is great news for those who enjoyed the series, but not so great for those who like the Langs, but didn’t enjoy this creative team. Similarly, if you’re unfamiliar with the series, but saw and didn’t care for Ant-Man or the general humor + action/adventure formula of most of the MCU movies (except for Captain America: The Winter Soldier) this may not be a good fit either.
What we know: Remember when Karnak leapt to his death right after Infinity? Well now the man from Atillan, the Inhuman who wasn’t (he never underwent terrigenesis), the sage who can find the flaw in all things, has managed to break the veil of death. He’s back in the land of the living and he’s going to find all that is broken.
Pros: Warren Ellis is writing this. This guy (As Kevin will SURELY tell you) is probably one of the most able, thoughtful, and clever weavers of comic book mysteries working today and possibly ever. Promotions for this series have promised intense, mystery-heavy, dark, weird, noir stories . . . something in short supply in the present publishing environment. Tonally this is, in many ways, the opposite of Spencer’s Ant-Man, but like Spencer and Ant-Man Ellis may be the contemporary master of this niche. Gerardo Zaffino’s sharp and shadowy pencil work seems perfectly matched to compliment Ellis’ brand of storytelling in the type of tale we’ve been led to expect here.
Cons: The fact that the present publishing zeitgeist (indeed the broader cultural zeitgeist) seems to be heavily leaning in the direction of lighter, more humor-filled, dare-I-say, camp stories may bode poorly for this series’ ability to find an audience. The flip side of this is that the absence of competition for darker, more hard-boiled new stories may help this series stand out and build a more dedicated following.
What we know: Now THIS is all new and different. A focused team of Inhumans, old and “nu” with the Fantastic Johnny “Human Torch” Storm, and eXcellent Hank “Beast” McCoy along for the ride, this is a new superheroic Inhumans team for a new era of Marvel. They’re going up against a true, superhero grade foe; classic Avengers foe Kang, the Conqueror!
Pros: Writer Charles Soule has been the primary shepherd of the Inhumans since their recent post-Infinity publishing boom. This has meant a stable and concrete story direction that will be allowed to continue in the post-SW environment. He’s partnered with superstar artist Steve McNiven, known for this minor project from a few years ago called Civil War, with whom Soule partnered on another minor project called Death of Wolverine, suggests that Marvel has a lot of confidence in this series, and is making a big investment in its success.
Cons: Traditionally the Inhumans have not been handled as superheroes but rather as a sort of sci-fi mythology, by many of their notable past handlers including Paul Jenkins and creator Jack Kirby. Will the move to what appears to be a more traditional superhero team dynamic charm readers, or remove what distinguishes the Inhumans property from an all-star team like the Avengers?[polldaddy poll=9135145]