By Jon Durmin
Another week means another set of All-New, All Different comics from the folks at Marvel Comics. This week we’ve got a merc with a mouth, a duck with an attitude, a robot with a family, a killer written by a wrestler, a kid with a helmet, an Olympian with a man-bun, and Jarid’s favorite mutant with a mohawk!
What we know: Deadpool’s got an all new #1 and this time he’s not just popular with comics readers, he’s a hit with the general public of the Marvel U!
Pros: Fan favorite Deadpool creative team Gerry Duggan and Mike Hawthorne are back, ensuring a consistent tone for the new volume of this title. The idea of him being a public hit (he IS an Avenger now after all), is a new twist delivering on the promise of something new and different even with a dependable creative team.
Cons: The creative team is the same so if you haven’t been a fan of Deadpool in the past (or at least a fan of Duggan’s and Hawthorne’s Deadpool series) don’t expect to find yourself liking the series or the character any more now.
What we know: Galactic Guardian Drax the Destroyer gets a shot at roughnecked, solo adventures brawling his way through the universe on a quest to fulfill the mission he was literally created for: to kill Thanos.
Pros: Writer and pro-Wrestler CM Punk is a vocal comic book fan (he’s made no secret of his fondness for Dr. Doom) with no shortage of experience when it comes to intense action, over-the-top drama, and storylines with a myriad of twists and turns. He’s already gotten his feet wet writing for Marvel annuals, and he may be the perfect talent to let loose on this series. Similarly, Scott Hepburn’s high impact, high intensity, exaggerated pencil work may be just the type of illustration this series needs. For what this title promises to be the lead character, writer and principal artist seem like a match made for Monday nights.
Cons: Guardians fever doesn’t seem quite as rampant as it did in the Summer of 2014, and whether the market can bear the further expansion of this franchise with a book featuring the fourth of the film’s five characters remains to be seen. Whether the book is good or not, if the market for Guardians of the Galaxy spin-offs has contracted over a year past its initial spike this title may struggle.
What we know: Borne in the cloud of Terrigen Mists that traverse the globe, a plague ravages and paralyzes the mutant populace. Fear and hatred of mutants seems worse than ever. With mutantkinds’ backs against the wall the Extraordinary X-Men may be their only hope!
Pros: What a cast! The team assembled here feels excitingly classic, and yet it features homages to just about every era of X. Iceman has been around since the beginning. The time-lost young-Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey is both old and new. We’ve got a New Mutant, and newer X-Man in Illyana “Magik” Rasputin. Nightcrawler, Colossus, Storm and Wolverine all standing shoulder-to-shoulder evokes some of the most popular iterations of the team. Since that Wolverine happens to be none other than Old Man Logan, we’ll even see the perspective of a possible future represented in these pages. Appearances by Forge and more as-yet unaccounted for mutant heroes & villains have been teased in interviews too. Though newer to Marvel, writer Jeff Lemire has a deep portfolio and a proven track record of fast paced, character-centric work. Based on the lettered preview pages featuring Iceman, Marvel Girl & Storm we’ve been treated to thus far, it may be safe to expect the same here. Humberto Ramos is no stranger to illustrating the X-adventures, but it’s been a few years, and fans of his previous time with these characters might be excited to see his highly animated style back in effect.
Cons: The premise as it’s been presented thus far reads like a re-run of the Decimation and Legacy Virus plot lines from several years ago, and readers may be feeling a bit yo-yo’d between the idea of mutants being the next wave of humanity one moment, and on the verge of extinction the next. Lemire has been accused of being more able at writing solo-series than executing team books well, and is actually self-critical of his ability in this arena. As popular as Ramos is with many, his cartoony style may not jive with everyone, and, given the darker tone implicit in solicitations, those who aren’t familiar with his past work may be suspect of his ability to deliver. It will be exciting to see if this team is up for the challenge they’ve set for themselves.
What we know: Back in the game! The Lion of Olympus. The ORIGINAL Superhero of myth and legend, Hercules, returns. With big aspirations, we’ll see this veteran champion of justice and fighter of monsters try to get back in the game with his new roommate Gilgamesh cheering him on.
Pros: Dan Abnett is well regarded by fans for his strong body of work in the Space Opera and fantasy work in both comics and prose. Artist Luke Ross’ body of work shows off a broad skill set, executing big, epic confrontations as well as he does scenes of conversations over a cup of coffee. The pair together should absolutely have the skills to put together a fun, exciting and epic series for this fun, exciting and epic character.
Cons: The surge and success of Hercules in the late 2000s notwithstanding, the character has slid back into obscurity over the last several years, and it’s unknown how much of his past audience will flock back to the Prince of Power. Furthermore, aside from a few days promotion when the series was announced some months ago this title hasn’t been very heavily promoted by the House of Ideas. Still, Abnett and Ross may bring their own magic, and fan-bases, to the table and if the team clicks the synergy could make this a hit.
Howard the Duck
What we know: Same creative team. Same tone. Same cynicism in the solicitations.
Pros: If you liked Chip Zdarsky’s and Joe Quinone’s Howard monthly before Secret Wars you can entirely expect to still enjoy your monthly dose of waterfowl . . .
Cons: . . . but if you weren’t enjoying it before, I suspect this series’ titular protagonist would be the first to suggest using your money elsewhere.
What we know: Young Nova Sam Alexander and his long lost Nova corps dad are reunited and soaring into the star-ways of the all-new and all-different Marvel U! Can Sam balance getting to know his father, policing the Milky Way galaxy and a new job as an All-New, All-Different Avenger?
Pros: Cory Smith’s art tends to be action packed and convey a lot of movement, helping the reader advance through the story with or without words. Fans of Sam’s adventures may feel a sense of fulfillment to see Sam finally reunited with his long lost father.
Cons: Based on some of the teases for this series, Sam’s father-son reunion may be a “be careful what you wish for” scenario. Most of writer Sean Ryan’s previous work in the industry has been as an editor and he’s largely untested as a writer of a monthly, ongoing series. This may make him a pleasant surprise, an untapped talent, or a disappointment if he can’t live up to the standards of this character’s fans.
What we know: Hot off his MCU surge in popularity the synthetic Avengers gets a shot at solo success with a series focused on him building a family . . . literally.
Pros: Tom King has built himself a sturdy following with his work on Sci-Fi and espionage tales for Marvel’s distinguished competitor. On those series he’s been a prolific developer of new characters in a relatively short amount of time, and he’s off to a good start on this series already with the development of Vision’s synthetic, alliteratively named wife, son and daughter. Additionally the spin of Vision trying to settle down and establish something approximating a normal home life is an innovative place to take the character and not something readers are likely to find in other series at the moment. Gabriel Hernandez Walta has proven himself a stalwart artist with a distinctive style and a proven ability to get issues out on time.
Cons: Walta’s distinctive style, gritty and shrouded, was a perfect match for a series like Magneto, but it may not click so well with the tone we’ve been promised for this title. Of course that promise could be a feint, and King may be setting us up for a strong left hook and a very different direction as the series progresses. This may be exciting, but it may also backfire; turning off readers going into the title with a particular expectation for tone and story direction while missing an opportunity to grab readers for whom a darker tone is a selling point. There’s also the matter of the Mark Waid scribed Vision & Scarlet Witch story in last month’s Avengers #0; the Vision’s act of erasing his emotions there seems to run directly contrary to the personal goals laid out in this dedicated solo-books. If there isn’t resolution between those seemingly contradictory character beats this may stoke the flames of anger in the continuity attentive.