Marvel formally unveiled its post-Secret Wars 'All New, All Different' line up on Wednesday, featuring a Marvel Universe reconfigured by the experiences of Battleworld, and an eight month time jump that allows the publisher to set up a new status quo for many of its characters. Marvel has never had a better opportunity to shake up its line, so readers had high expectations for a bold, diverse, inventive new direction. With that in mind, we're going to share the new titles with you, alongside some observations on how the new Marvel Universe is shaping up, starting with the X-Men.
A lot of fans weren't sure there would still be an X-Men line coming out of Secret Wars, or that it would still share space with the rest of the main Marvel Universe, given that Fox's control of various licensing rights has led Marvel to step back from heavily promoting these characters. But the X-Men still sell comics, and Marvel is in that business, so the X-Men haven't entirely gone away, though the line is down to only six titles, with just three team books and three solo books.
The Advocate has published leaked pages from All-New X-Men #40, on sale tomorrow, which reveal that one of the characters is secretly gay. It's a big moment, and one that could potentially increase gay visibility in the Marvel Universe in a significant way, but there are complications to the story that make it hard to read as an unambiguous victory for LGBTQ representation. Read on if you don't mind having the issue spoiled.
Marvel's Black Vortex event launches this week with The Black Vortex #1 by Sam Humphries and Ed McGuiness, and to promote the event -- and maybe explain it a little -- Marvel has released a video trailer in which a very serious fella outlines the basic plot details. X-Men. Guardians. Ancient artifact of immense and immeasurable power. Villains. Aliens. Star-Lord's dad. Thanos's kid. That sort of thing. Ooh, and Kitty and Pete pull guns on each other, so you know it's serious, even if the very serious voice over hadn't already convinced you. This. Is. Spartax.
Phil Noto knows how to create a stylish retro vibe, and he can conjure up a soft-edged gauzy aesthetic that perfectly evokes the nostalgic familiarity of photographs from the 1960s and 70s. It's a talent that he exploited to beautiful effect in a series of pieces for his Tumblr that presented Silver Age Marvel heroes in the mode of old celebrity snaps from Life Magazine; the images that would have existed if these heroes had been real in the age they were created.
Those Tumblr images are the clear inspiration for a month of Phil Noto variant covers at Marvel this February, though the inspiration stretches beyond Life Magazine pastiches to cover hip-hop, fashion photography, and even candid personal images. Several of the covers were released this week courtesy of Marvel, Comic Vine, CBR and Newsarama, and they're a gorgeous selection of images, so we've collected them all in one place for your appreciation.
Marvel is getting back into the cosmic book business with its next epic crossover event (between the current one and the one after, I mean); The Black Vortex. Announced at New York Comic-Con this past weekend, the event bring together the Guardians Of The Galaxy with all of Marvel's current outer space books -- plus increasingly frequent visitors the All-New X-Men.
The event was devised by Legendary Star-Lord writer Sam Humphries, who also kicks things off with Black Vortex: Alpha in February, with art by Ed McGuinness. ComicsAlliance spoke to Humphries to find out more about the ancient artifact at the heart of the story that will pit heroes against heroes and spark up a different kind of space race.
Marvel is planning its first big cosmic event since the end of the Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning-penned Annihilation/War of Kings cycle that ran from 2006 to 2010. (Or last year's Infinity, if you count that, but that was all about Earth, so we don't.) Black Vortex will cross over between Guardians of the Galaxy, the space-bound All-New X-Men, Cyclops, Legendary Star-Lord, Nova, Captain Marvel, and more.
Marvel also announced Operation S.I.N., by Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis, which serves as both a prequel of sorts to the recent Original Sin event and a tie-in to Marvel's Agent Carter TV show; and Kanan: The Last Padawan, a five issue mini series also written by Greg Weisman and illustrated by Pepe Larraz, tying in to the Star Wars: Rebels animated series.
A great comic book cover is an advertisement, a work of art, a statement, and an invitation. A great comic book cover is a glimpse of another world through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the past month.
August offers a feast of shape and color, with striking covers by Scott Fischer, Victor Santos, Chrystin Garland, and Tula Lotay, some bold juxtaposition, and a quirky take on a pulp archetype or two -- including a Nazi airship and some poor sap being held in a giant hand. It's a classic!
We like diversity here at ComicsAlliance. We've said it before, and we'll say it again. We're also big fans of superheroes, and that probably goes without saying.
We especially like diversity with our superheroes. Diversity broadens the genre's reach, encourages respect and understanding of people's differences, and gives minority audiences more chances to see themselves in fiction, and those are all great things. Because of this, we've come up with a new way to look at diversity in superhero comics - particularly team books. We call it the Harvey/Renee Index.
Getting all the way to issue #25 without a relaunch is a legitimate accomplishment for a Marvel Comics series in 2014, so the publisher and writer Brian Michael Bendis are doing it up big for next month's All-New X-Men #25, with a more than formidable list of contributing artists.
When Marvel announced the concept of All-New X-Men, we were sceptical. A comic book about the original teenage X-Men in the present-day Marvel Universe felt like a crazy idea for a miniseries, much less an ongoing. Yet Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen won us over; All-New X-Men is solid entertainment, earning a spot in ComicsAlliance's list of the Best Comic Books of 2013.
And yet, 15 months and 24 issues later, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, Cyclops and Angel are still with us, and we're still kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Is this really the new status quo? Is it really sustainable to have two different versions of so many major characters rocking around the Marvel Universe?
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