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Marvel Spotlight #5 – June 2010

A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: True Believer Tuesday All-Stars, Keith Dallas, Paul Brian McCoy , Dave Wallace
Hey, hep cats.

Do like the freshest, the coolest, the most extrafantabulous comics that cross your dealer's door? Do you wanna know what to keep your peepers peeled for in the months ahead?

Then you've come to the right place, Daddio. This is where all the swinging dudes and dudettes come to hang. Don't mind the incense, my brother. It's all about the scene, you know.

So settle back in that bean bag, put your feet up, and relax a while. We've got a group of books in the pipeline that I know you're gonna want to get inside your head.

This is a little number we like to call, Marvel Spotlight.




SPIDER-MAN: FEVER #3 (of 3)
Written by BRENDAN MCCARTHY
Pencils & Cover by BRENDAN MCCARTHY
THE TRIPPIEST SPIDER-TALE OF THE YEAR CONCLUDES!
Evoking the incredible 60's psychedelic style of artist Steve Ditko, this unique story is becoming the most talked-about new series of the year. In the stunning finale to writer/ artist Brendan McCarthy's phantasmagorical adventure, Dr. Strange and Spider-Man must destroy the Arachnix spider-tribe so that they can return to Earth with Spider-Man's soul intact.
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99


Brendan McCarthy may be the most creative artist working in comics today.

Oh yeah, I said it!

But seriously. He is.

I have yet to see anything about this mini beyond a few panels/pages here and there, but if you're looking for something extraordinarily weird, I can guarantee this is the place to find it.

I'm actually surprised they didn't just call this Spider-Man: TFU.

Even if you're like me and couldn't care less about anything Spider-Man, this is something you should at least take a look at. If only because more money and attention paid to a Brendan McCarthy project helps facilitate further Brendan McCarthy projects in the future.
- Paul Brian McCoy




AVENGERS ACADEMY #1
Written by CHRISTOS GAGE
Pencils & Cover by MIKE MCKONE
Variant Cover by MIKE MCKONE
Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
THE HEROIC AGE IS HERE!
A BRAND NEW ONGOING AVENGERS TITLE BEGINS HERE!
Determined to keep the tradition alive, founding Avenger Hank Pym leads a core team of veteran heroes in creating a place where the next generation of Earth's Mightiest can be trained by the greatest of those who preceded them. An institution where everyone who has ever been an Avenger can share their skill, knowledge and experience. The future is in their hands...and in the hands of the six young superhumans chosen to make up the inaugural class. But who are they? And what dark secret will turn their world--and potentially the entire Marvel Universe--upside down by the end of the issue? If you think this is just another teen hero book...the last page shocker will prove you wrong! Writer Christos Gage (AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE) and superstar artist Mike McKone (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) unite to bring you a bold new era of greatness!
40 PGS./Rated A …$3.99


Marvel missed a golden opportunity to brand "Avengers" on ALL of their June titles. As it is, Marvel is already flooding its June slate with Avengers titles: Avengers Prime, Avengers: The Origin, Avengers, New Avengers, New Avengers: Luke Cage, Secret Avengers, Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 and even a Pet Avengers title. The collected edition of the 1985 Vision and Scarlet Witch series is solicited as Avengers: Vision & The Scarlet Witch--A Year in the Life. Hell, Marvel even (finally) collected the 1982 mini-series Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions but renamed it Avengers: The Contest! (Ummm, what?) So, if you ask me, Marvel might as well go full tilt with its June slate and solicit EVERY title as an Avengers one. Just imagine: Avengers: Punishermax #8, Avengers: Dracula #1, and Avengers: X-Men Forever 2 #1 (not that Chris Claremont would mind the sales boost that the Avengers brand would bring to his series).

Of all the Avengers titles coming out in June, I'm most intrigued by Avengers Academy, principally for two reasons. First, Mike McKone is on board, and he's been one of my favorite comic book artists for years now. His slick style is just such a treat to look at. Second, Avengers Academy features Hank Pym, who received a long overdue rehabilitation in Mighty Avengers, courtesy of Dan Slott. According to this first issue's solicitation, The Marvel Universe's "Scientist Supreme" has taken it upon himself to train tomorrow's Avengers today. Does this make Avengers Academy this year's version of Avengers: The Initiative? Regardless, I want to see what happens to Hank Pym next, and I'm a bit disappointed that Slott isn't on board to continue the "Hank Pym Renaissance" that he inaugurated in Mighty Avengers. Christos Gage is no slouch though. He's proven himself both a gifted storyteller and very knowledgeable of Marvel continuity.

So of all the June Avengers titles, it's Avengers Academy that I'm most looking forward to reading.

- Keith Dallas





NEW AVENGERS #1
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Pencils & Cover by STUART IMMONEN
Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
Variant Cover by STUART IMMONEN
Heroic Age Blank Variant also available
Find out who the New Avengers are, where they call home (gotta see it to believe it!), which Dark Avenger has joined their ranks, and just who the interdimensional demonic threat to our existence is! These heroes have gathered to take on the threats too dark, too dangerous, and too bizarre for any other team of heroes. The New Avengers are back!! And Bendis & Immonen are back with the Siege & Secret Invasion colorista Laura Martin!! You didn't really think Marvel was going to cancel their number one ongoing title did you? Heck no!! Backup feature: Another brand new oral history of the Avengers chapter by Bendis!
32 PGS./Rated A …$3.99


Hot on the heels of Avengers #1 by Brian Bendis and John Romita Jr., June brings us the first issue of the relaunched New Avengers book by Bendis and regular New Avengers artist Stuart Immonen.

I’m a big fan of Immonen, and I think he’s done some good work with Bendis in the past (such as their Ultimate Spider-Man run). However, there’s going to have to be quite a shift in the focus of New Avengers to get me interested in the book again. It seems like all the characters have been doing for years is running around getting into fights with the Hood and his endless army of D-list villains, so I can only hope that Marvel’s “heroic age” brings a renewed freshness to what should be one of the publisher’s crown jewels.
- Dave Wallace





FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #32
Written by JOE AHEARNE
Pencils & Cover by BRYAN HITCH
When Reed and Sue became parents it changed the Fantastic Four forever. What happens when Johnny Storm finds out he's going to become a dad? Especially as he has no recollection of the night in question. Turns out the truth lies within Johnny as the rest of the FF shrinks down inside the Human Torch where they find a trap laid by one of their most powerful enemies. How can Reed, Sue and Ben cut loose to win the battle without hurting Johnny? And how can Johnny defend himself from an outside threat without flaming on and killing his friends inside him? A wild journey into fatherhood and inside Johnny Storm!
48 PGS./Rated A …$3.99


Towards the end of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s Fantastic Four run, Joe Ahearne was brought on as co-writer to finish the run -- and it was also announced that he’d be doing a couple of issues with Hitch himself. Although they weren’t ever published as part of the regular title in the end, those issues will finally see the light of day a single Annual (which will presumably have nothing to do with what’s going on in Jonathan Hickman’s FF at the moment).

Whilst Ahearne is still a bit of an unknown quantity (his work with the FF was ok, but his Fantastic Force spinoff series about the New Defenders on Nu-Earth was pretty ropey), I’m always keen to see new Hitch art, so I’m sure I’ll be picking this up.
- Dave Wallace




HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD #1
Written by JIM MCCANN
Pencilled by DAVID LOPEZ
Cover by PAUL RENAUD
Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
THE HEROIC AGE IS HERE!
A BRAND NEW ONGOING HEROIC AGE TITLE BEGINS HERE!
Hawkeye, the world’s greatest marksman is back—and reunited with the world's most dangerous super-spy, Mockingbird—in an all-new ongoing series! The deadly duo defied every obstacle to make their way back to each other and put together the all new WCA team—but now the one thing that divided them years before has returned to haunt them: the Phantom Rider! This ancient enemy is out to destroy all our heroes hold dear, and is teaming with Clint Barton’s arch-nemesis, the obsessed assassin Crossfire, to do it! Writer Jim McCann and penciler David Lopez, the team behind the acclaimed New Avengers: The Reunion, reunite to aim the spotlight and crosshairs on Marvel’s terrorist-targeting tandem, delivering a monthly dose of classic threats, new enemies, shocking allies, unexpected twists and dysfunctional dynamics in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Jim McCann and David Lopez did pretty well with their pairing of Hawkeye and Mockingbird in the New Avengers: The Reunion miniseries, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see them given an ongoing title for the characters. Hopefully it’ll capture the same mix of slick espionage and sharp banter that we saw in the original mini.
- Dave Wallace




S.H.I.E.L.D. #2
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Pencilled by DUSTIN WEAVER
Cover by GERALD PAREL
Historical Variant by DUSTIN WEAVER
Why don't we know about the first super heroes of the Marvel Universe? Leonardo Da Vinci, Imhotep, Sir Issac Newton, Nostradamus and Galileo are among the members of the Brotherhood of the Shield and have saved us all countless times. What events did they set in motion that still affect the Marvel U today? Do not miss the book that will be talked about for the next ten years.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99


Even though there's still no real description (that I've seen) of what's going on in this series – not in any level of detail, at least – I'm still getting more and more excited with each new peek. In both Fantastic Four and Secret Warriors, Jonathan Hickman has demonstrated an impressive ability to craft huge, intricately plotted stories that just drip with imagination.

At least I hope that's what's dripping from my comics.

This idea of SHIELD existing in one form or another throughout history is a fantastic launching point, not only for interesting alternate history adventures, but also for providing a broad texture to the Marvel Universe in ways similar to Brubaker's Marvels Project, Aaron's Ghost Rider, and Brubaker/Fraction's Immortal Iron Fist all did.

This is the sort of project that can really only make Marvel better.
- Paul Brian McCoy




SECRET WARRIORS #17
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Pencilled by ALESSANDRO VITTI
Cover by JIM CHEUNG
THE HEROIC AGE IS HERE!
The Heroic Age is here, kicking off a new story-arc – with special guest-star Captain America! The glory days of WWII are revisited as you are invited to the reunion of Steve Rogers, Nick Fury and the remaining members of the US's most elite Special Unit from the Greatest Generation! Find out why ComicBookRecources.com raves that SECRET WARRIORS is "a surprisingly tense and engrossing black-ops story" in part 1 of "Last Ride of the Howling Commandos!"
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99


If you've read anything I've written on this site over the past year or so, then you might have an inkling about my feelings for Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos. Yes. I have a huge man-crush on Fury and Co.

Go on. Mock me all you want.

Okay. That's enough with the mocking.

Seriously. Enough.

This issue begins a new story entitled "The Last Ride of the Howling Commandos," and features the reunion of Fury, Steve Rogers, and the Gang. I'd forgotten just how much I've always enjoyed the stories where Fury and Cap just hung out and kicked some ass. I can't wait to read Hickman's take on the relationship.

I've even more curious to see how this whole "Heroic Age" will be effecting Hickman's ongoing story, too.
- Paul Brian McCoy




THOR #611
Written by MATT FRACTION
Pencils & Cover by PASQUAL FERRY
All new creative team! The perfect jumping-on point! A bold new era for THOR begins under writer Matt Fraction and artist Pasqual Ferry! In the wake of SIEGE, Asgard must take its proper place as the Golden Realm, most glorious of the nine worlds of myth. But that means Thor's home isn't just a beacon...it's a target! And what happens to the Asgardians and the denizens of all nine worlds -- including Earth! -- when a dark, destructive force from another reality comes on the warpath?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


The book of the month for me has to be Matt Fraction’s first issue of Thor. I loved his “Age of Thunder” trilogy with the character (which is still the closest that a modern-day Thor book has come to capturing the essence of the character, as far as I’m concerned), so I’m very happy to see him return to the realm of the Asgardians with this issue.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Pasqual Ferry’s artwork, and I’m not sure whether his slick, bold style will be a good fit for Fraction’s Heavy Metal take on the thunder god, but I’m willing to be surprised. And, given comments that I’ve seen from Fraction in recent interviews, it may be that we see a slightly more cosmic take on the character from this time around -- which might suit Ferry’s style a little better.
- Dave Wallace




GHOST RIDER BY JASON AARON OMNIBUS HC
Written by JASON AARON
Pencilled by TONY MOORE, TAN ENG HUAT & ROLAND
BOSCHI
Cover by MARC SILVESTRI
Superstar writer Jason Aaron's searing take on the Spirit of Vengeance finds Johnny Blaze facing off against the forces of Heaven itself in an epic saga that sends Ghost Rider down a blazing new road! When the rogue angel Zadkiel tries taking over the world's Ghost Riders -- that's right, there's more than one! -- Blaze and his flame-headed alter ego are in for the fight of their lives! Featuring the return of the OTHER Ghost Rider, Danny Ketch, in a team-up you never imagined and a showdown that had to happen! Strap in for a tale of insanity jam-packed with new villains, old allies and the same old grindhouse action that Flamehead fans have come to know and love! Collecting GHOST RIDER #20-35 and GHOST RIDERS: HEAVEN'S ON FIRE #1-6.
538 PGS./Parental Advisory …$49.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-4367-3
Trim size: oversized


I've been holding off on buying the Jason Aaron Ghost Rider TPBs in the hope that we'd get some hardcover collections. That's just how I roll.

So you can imagine my excitement when I saw this Omnibus listed, collecting Aaron's entire Ghost Rider run, along with the Heaven's On Fire mini that wrapped up his time with the character.

And if you can't imagine it, picture a weirdo-beardo hermit-type giggling like a little schoolgirl in a darkened cave.

Now try to get that image out of your head!

Ha!

Anyway, if you ask me, Jason Aaron is the only writer to ever really capture the pure insanity that is possible with the character Ghost Rider. Sure, there have been other good writers, and maybe even other good stories, but this is pure, unadulterated, grindhouse horror madness.

It doesn't get any better than this.

For Ghost Rider, at least.
- Paul Brian McCoy



CRIMINAL VOL. 5: THE SINNERS TPB
Written by FRANK BRUBAKER
Art by SEAN PHILLIPS
From the acclaimed and award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.
The New York Times listed CRIMINAL as one of the best books of the year, and THE SINNERS is a perfect place to find out why.

TRACY LAWLESS returns to star in a tale of vigilante justice and twisted betrayal as the streets of his old home town start to box him in like never before. Made Men are being killed all over the city, and since criminals don't go to the cops for help, only Tracy can solve these murders... if he can survive long enough.
Featuring an introduction by best-selling crime novelist Ian Rankin (the Rebus series).
144 PGS. / Mature Content .... $15.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3229-5


It’s the latest volume of Criminal. It’s great. Buy it.
- Dave Wallace




There you have it, brothers and sisters. The cream of the crop with no flippin' or floppin' in Marvel's June 2010 solicitations.

Until next time, remember...

Wah-Hooo!

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