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The comics of Comic-Con, Part 2: Marvel really likes events

With all of the TV and movie news coming out of Comic-Con, it’s easy to miss the flurry of comic book news that happens under the same roof. Be sure to read Part 1, which covered preview night and Day 1 of the convention. Part 2 is all about Marvel, simply because the publisher made a deluge of announcements spread across all four days of the convention.  

Marvel has several events on the horizon, and accompanying each of those big stories is a dizzying amount of new titles, both ongoing and limited. For the most part, there are three big ones this fall: Spider-Verse, The Death of Wolverine, and Avengers NOW. These events have been in the making for some time now, but there was one very big surprise.

Spider-Verse

This November’s Spider-Verse event promises to feature “every Spider-Man ever,” and as such we’ll be seeing a number of new titles where some of those Spider-Men (and Women) will be featured. New books include Spider-Verse Team-Up, a three-issue limited series by writer Christos Gage and various artists that will feature a number of Spideys working together, spinning out of the events of the main Spider-Verse series.

Also tying into Spider-Verse is Scarlet Spiders, by Mike Costa and Paco Diaz. The limited series will focus on Spider-Clones Kaine, Ben Reilly, and Ultimate Universe Jessica Drew as they embark on a special mission to save reality.

New ongoing series Spider-Woman, by Dennis Hopeless and Greg Land, will also tie into the big Spidey extravaganza, at least initially. It’ll feature Jessica Drew in the lead, with some support from other Spider-Women like Anya Corazon and the recently introduced Silk. For those fatigued by the prospect of so much Spider-Verse (there’s also the previously announced, actually-kind-of-interesting Edge of Spider-Verse miniseries), it’ll be interesting to see where Hopeless and Land will take Jessica Drew once the big Spider-Event is over.

Everything Avengers-related

With the recently announced shakeups on the way for Marvel’s flagship team, there are surprisingly few changes being made to the Avengers lineup of books.

In addition to succeeding Steve Rogers in All-New Captain America, newly appointed Captain America Sam Wilson will be taking the lead in Al Ewing and Luke Ross’ Captain America and the Mighty Avengers. The book will be a relaunch of Ewing’s Mighty Avengers run, and will continue the story of Marvel’s most diverse Avengers lineup. For a bit on what to expect, check out Ewing’s interview with Comics Alliance.

Also announced was Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, by the writing team of Marguerite Bennet and Kieron Gillen with art by Stephanie Hans and Phil Jimenez. It’s a great creative team for a character whose creation has a far more complex history than the actual stories she’s appeared in. (For the uninitiated: Angela was created by Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman in 1993 for McFarlane’s Spawn over at Image. For 20 years the character’s ownership was disputed, until a settlement was reached in 2012. Gaiman then brought Angela over to Marvel Comics in March 2013.) The new series will focus on defining Angela’s place in the Marvel Universe, which co-writer Kieron Gillen describes as “Asgardian Black Widow.”

Also Avengers-related: the characters from the ABC television series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  will be getting their own comic book. Simply titled S.H.I.E.L.D., the book will be written by Mark Waid with a rotating team of artists.

Death of Wolverine

A quick recap: Wolverine is dying this September in a weekly, four-issue limited series by Charles Soule. That series will be followed up by Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy, a seven-issue, three-month limited series by a wide range of creators examining the fallout of the character’s death.

At Comic-Con, Marvel announced a third limited series spinning out of Death of Wolverine. Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program, by Charles Soule and Salvador Larrocca, is a five-issue limited series that will focus on the program that turned the late (for now) hero into a living weapon. Writer Charles Soule views The Weapon X Program as part of a 12-part series with The Logan Legacy, together forming one big story about the aftermath of Wolverine’s death.

Wolverine is going to be dying for a very long time, folks.

Star Wars

But Marvel’s biggest surprise had nothing to do with superheroes. While it’s been known since January that the Star Wars license would be moving from Dark Horse Comics to Marvel in 2015, Marvel’s plans for the license remained unknown. No longer. Marvel announced three Star Wars titles at Comic-Con, each paired with some of the most acclaimed creators working with Marvel right now.

Star Wars, by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, will tell stories set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, from the heroes’ perspective. Set during the same period is Star Wars: Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca. Gillen’s series will focus on Vader’s growth from the man who got beaten at the end of A New Hope to the unstoppable force of Empire Strikes Back.

Finally, Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson will be a five-issue limited series that will more fully explore the character’s personal journey in the aftermath of her home world’s destruction in A New Hope.

Coming up: A roundup of several other notable publisher’s big announcements.

The comics of Comic-Con, Day 1: Image Expo, Marvel's AXIS, and Vertigo

Sure, all the screenings, TV panels, and movie announcements are great, but isn’t Comic-Con about comics? What’s going on with them?

Lots. Throughout the convention, every major publisher in the comics biz will have at least one panel announcing exciting new books and bold new directions, and teasing what may be coming in the near future. Who knows—the basis of your next favorite TV series could be here. Want a quick recap? Here’s what happened on Day 1:

Image

Image Comics got off to an early start, holding their own Image Expo event Wednesday night, the day before the official start of San Diego Comic-Con. After a keynote speech by Publisher Eric Stephenson, the news came hard and fast. Twelve new series were announced as their respective creators were brought on stage to introduce them. The new titles announced:

• Valhalla Mad, by Joe Casey and Paul Maybury, about Norse Gods partying in Manhattan. Begins spring 2015.

• Tooth and Claw by Kurt Busiek, Ben Dewey, and Jordie Bellaire. Described as “Conan meets Game of Thrones meets Kamandi,” the high-fantasy epic begins November 2014.

• Tokyo Ghost by Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, and Matt Hollingsworth. In 2189, the world is a wasteland, and entertainment is the drug that everyone needs—and the mob has. Coming summer 2015.

• The Humans by Keenan Marshall Kellar, Tom Neely, and Kristina Collantes. An ape biker gang, ’70s exploitation-style. No typos there. Starts November 2014.

• Southern Cross by Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger. On a space tanker to Titan, a woman is haunted by ominous threats. Coming winter 2014.

• Rumble by John Arcudi and James Harren. Described as “like a scarecrow-Conan fighting in a Louis C.K. show directed by David Fincher,” the creators promise a genre bender with heaps of strange. Begins this December.

• Invisible Republic by Gabriel Hardman and Corrina Bechko. A sci-fi action-adventure about the rise of an empire, coming in 2015. Also announced: Hardman’s digital-only series KINSKI will be coming to print in November.

• Intersect by Ray Fawkes. A horror story about a city gone mad. Launching in November.

• Injection by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire. A science fiction series about “the dark future we’ve built for ourselves.” Begins in 2015.

• From Under Mountains  by Marion Churchland, Claire Gibson, and Sloane Leong. A magical fantasy in which rival houses struggle for power in the isolated country of Akhara. Begins in 2015.

• Drifter by Ivan Brandon and Nic Klien. A space transport crashes on a lawless frontier world. Begins this November.

• Descender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen. A robot boy struggles to stay alive as the universe hunts him down. Read EW’s first look here. Launches March 2015.

Marvel: AXIS and more

Marvel’s first comic-centric panel was all about October’s big AXIS story, which spins out of the story unfolding in Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers. In Uncanny, the Red Skull has obtained the nigh-unlimited telepathic powers of the late Charles Xavier—and in AXIS, he’s finally mastered them to become The Red Onslaught.

Like any big event comic, the story will have a number of tie-in books, notably featuring Spider-Man villians Hobgoblin and Carnage. Hinted at but not discussed: what the events in AXIS have to do with Iron Man’s new look.

Also announced was All-New Captain America: Fear Him, a six-part digital comic beginning in October which features Sam Wilson, the new Captain America. Written by Dennis Hopeless and illustrated by Szymon Kudranski, the miniseries will have Wilson deciding what sort of Captain America he wants to be while battling The Scarecrow (The Marvel Scarecrow. They have one, too).

Finally, coinciding with the premiere of the next Avengers film will be the new Original Graphic Novel Avengers: Rage of Ultron. Although the title is only one letter removed from the blockbuster film’s title, Rage of Ultron is a standalone story completely unrelated to the plot of the film. The story will focus on redefining the relationship between Ultron and creator Hank Pym for readers new and old (in the film, Ultron is created by Iron Man Tony Stark). The book goes on sale in April 2015.

For a detailed recap of the panel, check out Comics Beat.

Vertigo

No new announcements were made at Vertigo’s panel Thursday night, but creators were on hand to discuss the future of a few of the publisher’s popular titles. Readers can expect Scott Snyder’s American Vampire to feature space chimp vampires (really), along with Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham’s soon-to-be concluded Fables ending with “body bags.”

Also discussed were previously announced upcoming titles Suiciders, The Names, Bodies, and The Kitchen.

For more details, head on over to The Los Angeles Times.

Iron Man uncovers family secrets in new comic book -- SPOILERS

Tony Stark’s always been a man of many talents for whom surprise is a rare thing.

But the avenging philanthropic billionaire — better known for the high-tech armor he wears as Iron Man — is about to find himself felled by not one, but two, family secrets that has him questioning his place in the world and why the reality of his origin was kept from him.

The big reveal comes in the pages of Iron Man No. 17, out Wednesday in comic shops, written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan and Scott Hanna, lettered by Joe Caramagna and edited by Mark Paniccia.

In it Gillen brings the long-simmering story to its conclusion with Stark finding out that not only is he — again, spoilers — adopted, but that his parents, Howard and Maria, had a son — imbued with alien technology proffered by the rogue android 451 — who has been hidden away from the world, laden with unknown abilities and, perhaps, powers. READ FULL STORY

Relaunched 'X-Men' comic will feature an all-female cast

Marvel just announced the April launch of a new X-Men comic book, written by Brian Wood and drawn by Olivier Coipel. There’s an intriguing twist in this series: At this point, the lineup of the team is all-female. The cast includes franchise all-stars like Storm, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, and Psylocke — along with Rachel Grey, a.k.a. Rachel Summers, a.k.a. “Phoenix, except not the Phoenix you’re thinking of, and also she’s not Phoenix anymore, or whatever.” The cast will also feature Jubilee, a character who positively defines that brief and perfect moment when the ’80s became the ’90s. (See also: Sonic the Hedgehog, MC Hammer, Kindergarten Cop.) Actually, USA Today‘s interview with Wood indicates that Jubilee is the “main star” of the book, possibly because she’s a vampire now, and vampires are so hot right two years ago. READ FULL STORY

'Hulk' writer Peter David: Looking back without anger -- GUEST ESSAY

HULK-PETER-DAVID

On Dec. 30, Peter David, the 56-year-old novelist and comic book writer, was on holiday when he suffered a stroke, a crisis he reported himself with a blog posting that contains the most chilling passages of his vivid career: “We were on vacation in Florida when I lost control of the right side of my body. I cannot see properly and I cannot move my right arm or leg.”

Earlier in December, David had been asked by EW to write a guest essay about the 50th anniversary of the Hulk, a character that David knows better than anyone — his 12-year stint scripting the monthly series The Incredible Hulk is rare in its duration and remarkable in its depth and surprise. David has shaped other universes (he’s filled  a shelf with his Star Trek novels and written scripts for Babylon 5 as well as ActiVision’s big Spider-Man: Edge of Time video game) but his green days were special. David is now in physical therapy and monster bills will be mounting in the weeks and months ahead; his family and close friends say this would be an especially good moment to add a David book to your collection. Check out David’s blog below.

READ FULL STORY

Marvel's Venom pulls up NYC stake for Philly steak

Philly’s getting a new fan in the pages of Marvel Comics, but whether the City of Brotherly Shove takes to anti-hero Venom remains to be seen.

Marvel Entertainment LLC says that Venom — a brute with big teeth and an elongated tongue who’s made a habit of sparring with Spider-Man — is leaving New York City to start fresh, and maybe learn to be a hero on the streets of Philadelphia.

Writer Cullen Bunn and Editor Tom Brennan, an alum of Philadelphia’s Drexel University, said it’s time Philly had a hero of its own, putting it in the same league as Los Angeles and New York, among other real-life cities that populate the fictional world of Marvel.

But is Venom — an alien symbiote bonded to Peter Parker’s one-time high school rival Eugene “Flash” Thompson — the hero that Philly wants or needs?

It depends, said Bunn. READ FULL STORY

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