By Jon Durmin
Brrrr . . . . it’s frigid where I’m writing from the frozen north. As I write this, mighty Minnesota is in a deep freeze colder than present temperatures in Antarctica. I could swear I saw an ice plated fellow and an elegantly silver-coifed, statuesque beauty strolling in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday night. I think they were headed to First Avenue, so my forecast is for a cool Princely musical sequel by the name of Purple Snow!
That incredibly lame diversion aside it’s time to do what we do at the ANAD Forecast. Marvel’s got a couple of series launching with new #1’s this week, and I think you’ll find them both to be outta’ this world!
What we know: Carol Danvers IS Captain Marvel, and this cosmic hero is standing tall at the head of the Alpha Flight space program!
Pros: Carol’s new mission as agent of first contact for cosmic contacts with Earth fits flawlessly with the conceit of Al Ewing’s new Ultimates title. Though it looks like classic Alphans Aurora, Sasquatch, and Puck (at least) will be part of the Alpha Flight team Carol is heading, it seems that the team is taking some distance from its roots as the official heroes of Canada with a TRULY All-New, All-Different mission as a part of the international space exploration and defense effort pioneered by Black Panther (see Ultimates and Secret Wars true believers!). Tara Butters and Michele Frazekas, the show-runners of the critically acclaimed Peggy Carter television series are making their comics writing debut on the relaunch of this series. These are two tough ladies who know a thing or two about writing tough ladies. Furthermore, Butters is married to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series writer Marc Guggenheim. Could these two be on point to be the next Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick or the next Walt and Louise Simonson? Fans will have to wait and see if their collaboration at home spills over to their comics writing like the aforementioned creative couples. Series artist Kris Anka has grown tremendously over the last few years. Always a savant for design, Anka has developed a crowd pleasing way with character action and interaction in all kinds of scenes, and shown an ability to use staging and panel-pacing to excellent effect.
Cons: Kelly Sue Deconnick wrote Captain Marvel for the last several years, and fans of her run (the REAL Carol Corps) may be hesitant to give new scribes a chance. For all the strong work that Butters and Frazekas have done on television, this double-threat is wholly untested in comics. While many of the story-telling rules of serial comics and live-action fiction are the same, the precise differences and the challenge of collaborating with a penciler can be a new challenge. However, they couldn’t have gotten much luckier than Anka in terms of skill in the craft of comics, and he’s been a strong advocate of both his writing team and the series in general. Classic Alpha Flight fans might be miffed about the re-purposing of the team. Also, it’s about 20°F warmer in Whitehorse (that’s one of the northernmost cities in Canada) than it is in Minnesota right now (seriously, you’d think the Extraordinary X-Men missed the memo on how much we’ve been loving their series!)
What we know: Soaring stars true believers! The Silver Surfer and sidekick Dawn Greenwood are back from Secret Wars to star in this soaring series!
Pros: If you were loving the last volume of Silver Surfer then you, like our very own neurotic nuisance not-Stan Lee, can beat the winter chill with some comfort reading. Dan Slott and Mike Allred are back to collaborate once again, picking up exactly where they left off with the Silver Surfer: Last Days tie-in to Secret Wars. Newer readers who are enjoying Marvel’s more camp offerings (e.g. Squirrel-Girl, Starbrand and Nightmask, Patsy Walker: Hellcat, Howard the . . . you get the idea) may find Allred’s pencils welcoming. Those who decide to give the book a shot with this jumping-on point may find Slott’s character-centrism and story pacing to be a a bit more bang-for-the-buck than some other books they’re already enjoying.
Cons: If you didn’t dig Mike Allred’s retro-evocative pencils and Dan Slott’s relationship anchored scripting in the last volume of Silver Surfer I can almost guarantee you won’t enjoy it any more this time around. The only new and different seems to be that the titular cosmic wanderer and his girl-Friday are taking a break from their star-crossed sojourn to explore the All-New, All-Different Marvel Earth. This book has stood on its own, at arms-length from other titles in the past. While this will be well received by some, as an asset for the “does-it-count?” conscious out there, its appeal could be a hampered.