We always suspected this day would come; our Supermovies Infographic is actually shrinking. The announcement of a new deal between Sony and Marvel over the Spider-Man movies, which sees Spider-Man integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe but still under Sony's control, has not only bumped a lot of release dates back to avoid a Marvel/Sony showdown, but has also pushed at least a couple of films off the chart completely.
Much as we’ve enjoyed Agent Carter’s 1940s adventures through the Marvel universe, March 3 will see the Agents of SHIELD returning to present day after its 2014 finale, charting a new course through the “Aftershocks” of “What They Become.” To wit, Marvel has cast its very first documented Inhuman, tasking ‘Tomorrow People’’s Luke Mitchell as an enigmatic new figure for Skye.
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.
Agents of SHIELD hit the mid-season mark (and the beginning of a long winter hiatus) with an actual possible game-changer this week, leaving several characters in a severely altered state, and not all of them because of the secrets of the disco doorstop. Mysteries were resolved, shots were fired, and things will never be the same again (because change is the nature of existence, duh).
'What They Become' was directed by Michael Zinberg and written by Jeffrey Bell. As is tradition, I will subject it to my usual 'S.H.L.E.I.D.' recap process, and somewhere in there I'll offer you the shortest mea culpa you'll ever see about a nasty thing the show did last week that it sort of undoes this week, in the most dickish way imaginable!
My colleagues Dylan and Matt get to trade their recap shows for a crossover this week, with Matt doing Flash and Dylan doing Arrow. I offered to let them do Agents of SHIELD instead -- we'll fake a crossover, we have Photoshop! -- but they demurred. So it's still me, folks. This show may be better than it was last year, but 'better' is a relative term, and the stink of a toxic reputation is tough to shake.
But with the Agents of SHIELD winter final just a week away -- and the show going on hiatus until about March to make way for Agent Carter -- the show is actually edging ever closer to actual revelations, with one nerd name-bomb dropped this episode, and Mack finally given something to do! Which turns out to be both good news and bad. 'Ye Who Enter Here' was directed by Billy Gierhart and written by Paul Zbyszewski
You probably don't know this since he keeps it pretty quiet, but Kieron Gillen, the writer of Young Avengers, Iron Man and The Wicked + The Divine, is a pretty big fan of pop music. I know, I was surprised too, since it almost never comes up. But, back when he and artist Jamie McKelvie were working on the first volume of Phonogram, the word got out and Gillen was apparently asked to pitch a story starring Marvel's very own mutant pop star superhero, Dazzler!
The story was never picked up, likely owing to it being a Dazzler story about the Inhumans and the Celestials, but today, Gillen posted his full pitch on his Tumblr, and, as you might expect if you're familiar with Gillen's comics, it's actually pretty awesome.
In advance of Matt Fraction and Joe Madureira's upcoming Inhuman series, this week Marvel released a new hardcover edition of the highly-regarded Inhumans by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee. The twelve-issue Marvel Knights book, which won the 1999 Eisner Award for “Best New Series,” brought a new level of sophistication to the Lee/Kirby oddballs, activating in them the dormant metaphors of class separation and the coming-of-age ritual. At a time when superhero books seemed to be improving at an explosive rate, Inhumans was one of the most-talked-about comics on the stands; it’s certainly one of Marvel’s defining books of the era, and for most of its run, it was one of my favorites. But there’s something about it that keeps me from labeling it a classic. To quote Maximus the Mad, “there is a flaw.”
First issues of event comics have to accomplish a lot. They have to introduce a conflict, introduce a villain, give heroes memorable moments that bring the reader back to see more, set up side stories that can be fleshed out in other titles, have a big battle scene, and the list goes on.
Infinity #1 by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Jim Cheung with a team of inkers, colorist Justin Ponsor and letterer Chris Eliopoulos, does some of those things, but in a sort of sidestep rather than a straight-ahead dash. And some of the items on the checklist, it willfully denies the reader. In the end, I wound up liking the approach, but getting there took a lot of trust not every reader may have.
Marvel has teased that the Inhumans would play a large role in Jonathan Hickman's upcoming Infinity storyline. It seems that wasn't an exaggeration, as today via Entertainment Weekly the publisher announced Inhuman, a new monthly series written by Matt Fraction, which will serve as the centerpiece of an event called Inhumanity. To go with the news Marvel released an image of the characters who'll be at the forefront of the story, illustrated by Steve McNiven and featuring a new look Wolverine, the Winter Soldier, a non-Superior Spider-Man and, interestingly, very few Inhumans.
The announcement, along with comments from Fraction and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, further enforce the idea of the Inhumans as an analogy for oppressed minorities, and possibly sets them up as the primary metaphor for oppression and alienation in the Marvel Universe, a position previously occupied by the X-Men.
One of my favorite songs is "Being Boring" by Pet Shop Boys. It's a sweet 1990 synthpop ode to times past whose lyrics tell a story about, among other things, dressing up, glamorous parties, friendship, and reflecting upon all those things many years hence upon the discovery of old photographs. The track immediately played in my mind when I laid eyes upon this series of beautiful i