Starbrand & Nightmask. It sounds like a two-stage rejuvenating skincare treatment, but it's actually the title of Marvel's newly announced ongoing series from writer Greg Weisman and artist Dominike 'Domo' Stanton, starring former Avengers writer Jonathan Hickman's young Marvel Universe versions of two New Universe concepts. These are characters who used to spend their time wiping out alien armadas with a blink of an eye, now they'll be enrolling on university courses and going on adventures.
It's all a little unexpected. Settle in, and I'll try to explain.
The Marvel Comics line is about mid-way through its giant line-wide crossover event Secret Wars, in which reality has been rewritten by god-emperor Doom, and the heroes have been re-imagined more than a dozen times over in different domains paying tribute to stories from throughout Marvel's publishing history.
One of those domains is a version of House of M, another reality-rewriting crossover event that cast the Marvel heroes in different roles, which ran ten years ago. House of M launched the current era of Marvel events, kicking off a steady steam of universe-shaking storylines that continues into Secret Wars. To mark the tenth anniversary of House of M, and ten years of event-driven storytelling, we're asking you to determine which of these events was the very best.
Not everyone can make it to San Diego Comic-Con to see what's happening in person, but ComicsAlliance has you covered! We know that it's not just about the news that comes out of the biggest con of the year --- it's also about seeing the booths, checking out new collectibles, and putting faces to names of your favorite creators. Thankfully talented photographer Pat Loika is on hand to document as much as he can for your enjoyment.
Everything changes and nothing will ever be the same again. At a live filmed announcement at Midtown Comics in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso and executive editor Tom Brevoort announced a new status quo for the Marvel Universe, with worlds colliding to form a mish-mash of continuities that will be the setting for all Marvel comics from May 2015 onwards.
Most of what Alonso and Brevoort announced was already known or guessed at; Secret Wars, an eight-issue series by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic, marks the culmination of the incursion story that Hickman began at the outset of Marvel NOW with Avengers #1 and New Avengers #1 back in late 2012, and will brings together multiple continuities and alternative universes in a single "Battleworld". What's new in all this is the confirmation that this event reshapes -- some might say 'reboots' -- the Marvel Universe for the (foreseeable) future.
If you've been wanting to read a comic that emphasizes a "long-withheld sneering contempt for our miserable species, with its self-serving, sentimental, suicidal self-delusions and its greedy, willful ignorance," then folks, I have got some good news for you. We are only a few short weeks away from the release of Nameless, the new six-issue Image Comics series from Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn, described by Morrison as a straight-up horror comic about the worst that humanity has to offer.
To celebrate that fact -- uh, the release, I mean, not the thing about greedy ignorance and suicidal self-delusions -- Burnham revealed three variant covers for the first issue today, featuring the art of Tony Moore, Nathan Fox, and Jonathan Hickman. A fourth variant has also been commissioned, but they're keeping that secret for now.
Debuting later this month from Image Comics, The Dying & The Dead is the latest collaboration between Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim, following A Red Mass For Mars and Secret. I was able to read issue #1 in advance, in the form of a lettered "first draft," and it is immediately notable for three reasons in particular: The Dying & The Dead takes a decidedly more personal approach to the theme of mortality that Hickman's been exploring in epic fashion in his New Avengers and East of West projects; the artwork by Bodenheim is his career best, not just in terms of technical drawing ability, but in the sense of pure graphic storytelling; and the huge page count makes a compelling case for big first issues.
It seems that even super-science is bound to its limitations, no matter how bizarre they may be. As sharp-eyed readers may have noticed -- and as reported by Multiversity -- the latest issue of Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra's Manhattan Projects revealed that the series will be taking a hiatus over the next few months while the creators tinker with the book's format, presumably with the goal of delivering even more horrifying and Earth-shattering mad science in the months to come.
I've been a fan of Jonathan Hickman's work at Image ever since he hit the ground running with The Nightly News, and the thing I tend to love most about those projects is how unrelentingly high-concept they are. There's always a new hook that I've never seen before, whether it's a satire about super-powered mutant apes or an ongoing series featuring real-life historical figures involved in truly ridiculous acts of mad science. As a result, if you tell me that Hickman and artist Ryan Bodenheim, who worked together on Red Mass For Mars, are doing a new series together called The Dying and the Dead, then my first question is "what's the high concept?"
And that's when I found out that they're referring to it as "Indiana Jones for old people," and I'm pretty much sold.
Do you like stories about characters from disparate comic-book universes coming together to meet and perhaps fight in an arena of an all-powerful being's choosing?
If not, you may want to skip 2015's event comics. On Monday, DC unveiled its plans for Convergence, its spring 2015 event about a universe-spanning conflict. Now, after three-plus weeks of teases, Marvel has added some clarity to its summer 2015 event, Secret Wars. Guess what it's going to be via a new, minute-long trailer.
If you guessed "a universe-spanning conflict," you are correct.
Jonathan Hickman has been building up to something big for the Marvel Universe for the entirety of his run on Avengers and New Avengers. His 'incursions' -- alternate realities colliding and wiping each other out -- were the driving force behind Infinity and the splinter that divided the Avengers in Original Sin; they now form the backdrop to his books as they skip to a new status quo under the 'Time Runs Out' banner. There was always a plan.
Now we know the culmination of that plan. As announced at a Times Square event for New York Comic-Con on Thursday evening, Hickman's Avengers runs will end in May 2015, and he'll be joined by artist Esad Ribic on a year-long epic event book called... Secret Wars.
No, for real. Secret Wars. Maybe they don't know that the name's been used before? No-one tell them. They've been working on this for ages; they'll be so disappointed.
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