Inhumans face off with mutants for the All-New dollars of readers! Does diversity inspire innovation!?!? Plus, a couple of Sky-Scraper-scaling crime-fighters head back to old haunts in this week’s seven All New, All Different releases.
What we know: The Inhumans are back and headlining yet another key book by masterminding writer Charles Soule in their burgeoning franchise. Crystal returns for the first time in years at the head of a group of Inhumans tasked with finding the newly Terrigen transformed of the world and helping them adapt to their “inhumanity”.
Pros: Fans who have been questioning Crystal’s absence in publishing over the last few years should be pleased to finally see the former Avenger return in this series. Those already enjoying the Inhumans books that have launched since Infinity should be pleased to see Soule shepherding this new addition to the franchise. They may also be pleased to see Stefano Caselli’s first class pencils. Caselli has continued to grow as a talent and is long overdue for the recognition he deserves.
Cons: Despite Marvel’s hard drive for more Inhumans-related publishing excitement and fan-buzz around the Inhumans, and even more-so the Nu-Humans (other than Kamala Khan), remain relatively quiet. This is true particularly when considered in comparison to more established franchises like Spider-Man, the Avengers, Marvel’s cosmic properties like the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the team featured in our next entry.
What we know: The time-lost classic X-Teens, Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, and Angel are joined by the All-New Wolverine (X-23), and Jean Grey School alums Genesis & Oya on a cross-country mission to remind the public what being a hero is about.
Pros: Dennis Hopeless’s previous Marvel work with both young heroes and the X-franchise has earned a lot of critical acclaim. On art Mark Bagley is a popular and highly productive artist who is equally at home drafting action sequences and quiet moments between characters. Solicitations suggest that readers who are nostalgic for the ideals of peaceful coexistence, tolerance, and leadership by example as mission statements of the X-Men might be best served by looking here.
Cons: As with the other X-franchise books a one-month delay on this series may hamper enthusiasm for its launch. Hopeless’ previous work with younger heroes (and X-23 in particular) may have fans of the characters in this series nervously biting their nails lest the worst should happen. Aside from the villains the team is slated to face, little has been clear in solicitations thus far. In light of this, readers should be cautious about going into this book with expectations.
What we know: Daredevil is back in NYC and Matt Murdock has left his private law practice to prosecute the law in the DA’s office!
Pros: It’s a big week for Charles Soule as he adds Daredevil to his growing Inhumans empire. (Though Daredevil has not been proven to be an Inhuman…yet.) With his experience writing the most recent volume of She-Hulk, Soule is no stranger to telling tales of superheroes in the courtroom either. Solicits speak to a slightly darker tone for this series than most of the other ANAD launches too, suggesting that Marvel is hoping to connect with fans of the, at times, brutal Marvel Studios-Netflix collaboration Daredevil live-action series. This is reinforced by the presence of Ron Garney’s hard-edged, intense pencils.
Cons: Daredevil is a series and character that has often benefited from some distance from the rest of the Marvel Universe. At a time when readers of mainstream superhero books increasingly are on watch for what counts, this series’ distinctive tone and flavor may work against it. Swinging too far the other way and attempting a tighter integration with Marvel’s other series (i.e. Soule’s many Inhumans titles) may be just as problematic and alienate a dedicated reader-base with little regard for their favorite character’s interaction with other Marvel books.
Guardians of Infinity
What we know: Drax wants more battles, Rocket wants more money, and Groot wants . . . well what else is he going to do? These work-hungry Guardians are teaming with the classic Guardians 3000 heroes to get a little extra piece of the action. PLUS a back-up tale of Ben Grimm, Rocket Raccoon and . . . pro-rasslin?!?!
Pros: Scribe Dan Abnett has a strong history and fan following with the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe. Carlo Barberi brings along a visual sensibility that’s evocative of the likes of ‘90s-superstar artists Joe Madureira and J. Scott Campbell; something that’s enjoying a resurgence in population right now. Fans of the Guardians (especially Rocket, Groot, and Drax) may be especially excited to have an extra opportunity to read their adventures every month. Fans of the classic GotG characters might be pleased to have a home for them here. On the back-up story, Jason Latour and Lim Cheung are an all-star creative team all their own; making this book a double-whammy of a value for fans.
Cons: Perhaps I’m a broken record on this, but Marvel is banking very aggressively on a sustained popularity for the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise that exploded from a devoted fan-following, to a massive influx of newly enthused readers from the success of the GotG feature film. This was bolstered and reinforced by excitement around the home video release of that movie. Marvel is now pushing the limits of the Guardians as a franchise with dedicated solo-series to all of the team’s long time members (Gamora has been announced but no release date has been set) and at least two team books. Time will tell whether this move provides a stronger base of filmgoers for the second GotG movie (Marvel’s likely hope), or a market saturating error that stretches reader dollars past their limits and compromises overall sales across the line as fans pick and choose the most economical way to enjoy their favorite franchise.
What we know: Picking up where the Battleworld mini 1872 left off, Red Wolf is the sheriff of Timely! He’s out to see justice done and set things to right in that rough & tumble town. This west isn’t just wild, it’s weird, and the weirdness is about to bring Red Wolf into an All-New, All-Different world.
Pros: Series artist Dalibor Talajic’s pencil work on titles like Master of Kung Fu has highlighted his ability to depict highly kinetic action sequences and a rare knack for intentional use of scene (background) to communicate tone, mood, & movement. With critically acclaimed runs on characters like Black Widow and the Punisher, writer Nathan Edmonson has a reputation for writing about tough [anti-]heroes who succeed by their wits and their training which seems like a good fit for a non-super powered wild west hero like Red Wolf. In keeping with Marvel’s current mission of expanding creator diversity, much ado was made when the series was announced of their recruitment of Native American illustrator Jeffery Veregge, and the intent to groom him to eventually succeed Talajic on interior art. This series carries forward the man-out-of-time trope at a time when Marvel’s usual stalwart for that concept, Steve Rogers, is no longer featured as a series lead.
Cons: As a character and property Red Wolf (especially this version of Red Wolf) is new to readers, and hasn’t had the opportunity to develop much of a fan base. Fans of other Native American heroes may even feel slighted that this relatively new property is getting a solo-series in the name of diversity while their faves are seemingly being mothballed. Westerns have struggled as a genre in the modern marketplace as well, and both of these factors may hamper this book being given a chance. Whether deserved or not, Edmondson has faced allegations of sexual harassment & racism by his detractors, who question his ability to fairly depict a minority hero, and this may also negatively impact reader interest. (Author’s note & disclaimer: None of the allegations raised against Mr. Edmondson have ever been validated. Neither the writer of this article nor his editors at Marvel616Politics are advocating for nor contesting their veracity. We at M6P acknowledge the existence of a controversy & its impact on the public’s perception, justified or not, of Mr. Edmondson, as well as the fact that there exists no evidence at this time to substantiate said allegations.) Though it’s an inspiring move to recruit Veregge to eventually take on [at least] the art reigns on this series, his potential is as yet unknown and is difficult to predict at this time.
What we know: Classic, untold tales of Peter Parker in his early days as a high-school aged Spider-Man swing onto shelves this week!
Pros: Longtime fans of Classic Spider-antics may have something that feels more like “their” Spider-Man than anything published in the last ten years. With Spidey, Silk, and Venom: Space Knight Robbie Thompson has carved a comfortable corner of the Marvel universe out for himself. If Thompson can build his audience now he may be on track to be a major player in Marvel’s creative future. Given this series’ flashback structure there may also be room for the writer to delve deeper into the histories of Cindy “Silk” Moon, and Flash “Venom” Thompson as peripheral players in the larger Spider-mythos. Such a move would make this series almost as much (perhaps more) a companion piece to those books as it is to Amazing Spider-Man. Nick Bradshaw’s art is fun, clear, energetic in a way that might make readers wonder why he hasn’t yet had a major Spider-Man assignment.
Cons: Dancing around existing comic-book continuity is thorny business. Thompson will have to tread carefully to avoid any faux pas in the character’s history that may lead this series probable core audience to turn away.
Totally Awesome Hulk
What we know: You thought Bruce Banner was an Incredible Hulk? Well his biggest fan and protégé Amadeus Cho is newly gamma irradiated and out to prove that as Hulks go he’s Totally Awesome!
Pros: The creative team is about as first-line as Hulk fans could hope for. Greg Pak is both the creator of Amadeus Cho, and the author of such epic instant Hulk classics as Planet Hulk and its follow-up World War Hulk. To have him on this series bodes well for long-time fans. Artist Frank Cho is a superstar who has illustrated some of the most eye-catching and broadly admired pencil work in comics today. Having him on the series alongside Pak says that Marvel is putting a lot of stock in this series and wants to see it succeed. Their assignment to this title also clearly reflects Marvel’s current diversification mission to employ more creators of different ethnicities and backgrounds, and to highlight characters of more diverse backgrounds (Pak, Frank Cho, and the series protagonist Amadeus Cho are all at least partially Korean American).
Cons: Frank Cho is notoriously slow to produce which brings in to question his ability to reliably produce new content and maintain a monthly output. Without any back-up artist announced this may bode poorly for the series staying on schedule. While Amadeus Cho has a loyal fan following most readers know the Hulk as the Jekyll and Hyde between brainy Bruce Banner and his more brutish alter ego; fans of the Marvel Cinematic Hulk even more-so. Moving to not-only such a different identity, but also a different personae may not serve this series well in Marvel’s efforts to attract and keep readers.