Marvel has revealed the full line-up of the new Thunderbolts, as well as the book's creative team of writer Jim Zub and artist Jon Malin. This is Zub's first superhero book, but he's already done plenty of great work on Samurai Jack, Skullkickers, Dungeons & Dragons, and his current image series Wayward. Malin, meanwhile, has previously handled art on Youngblood, New Warriors, and Cable & Deadpool.
MARK BAGLEY - Page 2
On February 17th, the Avengers find themselves in small town with a big secret in Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1, written by Captain America: Sam Wilson's Nick Spencer with art by All-New X-Men's Mark Bagley.
Beyond "little town with something big and weird going on" the press release reveals nothing about the plot except that it's meant to lead to other things. Likewise, there are only two preview pages, and they're just the Winter Soldier sneaking through a SHIELD facility and watching a recording of an explosion. But it seems safe to assume that this will be part of the road to Civil War II, because every story at Marvel is the road to the next story.
The second story arc of Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley's All-New X-Men run begins in issue #4 next month, and the first chapter of "Flesh Wounds" sees Wolverine jumping headfirst into a fight with the Blob. Good old Fred Dukes appears to be powered up since his last appearance, and he's wearing a suit and tie. So regardless of how this story goes, congrats on getting it together, Blob!
The "All-New All-Different" X-books have announced their first crossover, sort of, starting in March of 2016. X-Men: Apocalypse Wars is being described as three separate stories, in each of the three main X-books (and each lasting only one issue, apparently) that all center on the X-villain who also happens to be the focus of the upcoming movie X-Men: Apocalypse. The issues also sport three matching covers, featuring Apocalypse, Archangel, and Kid Apocalypse.
The beginning isn’t always the beginning, especially in comics. The All-New X-Men #1 that came out this week, written by Dennis Hopeless and drawn by Mark Bagley, is not the first comic with that title and number. The previous All-New X-Men series began in 2012 and ended a few months ago with the departure of writer Brian Michael Bendis and the beginning of Secret Wars.
And of course, the All-New X-Men were never exactly all new. That first series told the story of the original five X-Men — Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel — being plucked out of the past from their early days with the team and into the present, which to them was dark future timeline. This series picks up their story — minus Marvel Girl, who’s over in Extraordinary X-Men instead — and takes it in a direction that really does feel “all new.”
When Mark Waid and Leinil Yu launched Indestructible Hulk as part of the Marvel Now initiative, they took the relationship between Bruce Banner and his giant green alter-ego into a new direction. Instead of struggling against the rage-fueled monster inside him, Banner chose to use the Hulk as a directed weapon, trading off his destructive services for the chance to focus on making the world a better place as a scientist. Now, just as we're getting used to the new status quo and Banner's position as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s greatest asset, things are set to shake up again, with the book relaunching as Hulk, with Mark Bagley providing art and a whole new set of challenges.
For more information, I spoke to Waid about the shift in the focus, the relationship between Banner and the Hulk and how it's changed over the past fifty years, and his process for writing a first issue -- a must-read look at crafting an introduction from one of the masters of the form.
A theme of Marvel's recent relaunches has been creator change. More often than not, the announcement of a new #1 issue coincides with the reveal of some creative shakeup, whether it be a new artist, writer or both. Today's announcement continues that trend, as Marvel has revealed plans for Hulk #1, a relaunch of the current Hulk series with a new direction. Mark Waid will be staying on as writer, and he'll be joined on the title by new series artist Mark Bagley.
The arrival of Galactus in the Ultimate Universe will initially be explored in Hunger, by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Leonard Kirk, but what Galactus's arrival means for the Ultimate version of Earth will play out in Cataclysm -- and with a name like that, it doesn't sound promising. Comics Alliance spoke to series editor Mark Paniccia to get more background on the series.
One way creators try to leave their stamp on company-owned characters is to raise the stakes of a story. "I told the biggest ________ story ever," they want to say as they move on to other work. Of course, raising the stakes in a Fantastic Four book, considering that the original creative team of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee put the heroes in a situation in which Earth was threatened by a planet-eating demigod with a device that could destroy the universe, is a particular challenge...
Continuing the week-long announcements/confirmations of last week's Marvel NOW! teases, Matt Fraction has been confirmed as the new man in charge of Marvel's First Family, writing relaunches of both Fantastic Four and spin-off title FF...