This week's announcement of a second Captain America title, Captain America: Steve Rogers, to run alongside the current Captain America: Sam Wilson series, is the latest example of a Marvel legacy hero getting to share a name with its originator. It's a trend that reflects two facets of Marvel's approach to major heroes. On the one hand, the publisher almost always gives big name legacy identities to characters that provide greater diversity than their predecessors, whether it's Cap, Spider-Man Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Nick Fury, Giant Man, or Ms Marvel. On the other hand, Marvel's big name heroes almost always come back.
The new Cap comic has plenty of promise; Steve Rogers is a popular and beloved character, and the team of artist Jesus Saiz and writer Nick Spencer should deliver great stories. Spencer is also the writer on the Sam Wilson title, so it's reassuring to know that he hasn't passed up Sam for Steve, and that Sam will still hold on to the iconic round shield. But Marvel's decision to make Sam Wilson the Captain America felt like a big deal. Is it still a big deal if he's just a Captain America?
With the Captain America: Civil War movie fast approaching, and the Civil War II crossover to go with it, the return of Steve Rogers to (physical) youth and the Captain America name was basically inevitable. And now Marvel has officially announced that Steve is getting his own Captain America: Steve Rogers series this spring, written by Nick Spencer, with art by Jesus Saiz, and featuring a new version of his costume and a brand new shield designed by Daniel Acuña.
Captain America: Sam Wilson #1, by Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna, has caused a stir since its release last week. The second launch for former Falcon Sam Wilson in his role as the current thrower of the mighty shield sees him taking on the Sons of the Serpent, who are abducting Mexicans attempting to cross the border into the US. The same issue also sees Cap making a public call for national unity, which gets him branded as a partisan, anti-American, and a socialist.
Conservatives on social media are riled up, with some petitioning for writer Nick Spencer's 'resignation'. Political advocacy group The MacIver Insitute was apparently the first to claim the Sons of the Serpent as its ideological peers in a YouTube video objecting to the storyline, while Saturday morning's Fox And Friends TV talk show saw co-host Clayton Henry pine for for the days when Cap was "punching Hitler" and fighting typical Captain America villains, rather than "going up against conservatives."
Daniel Acuña is ridiculously talented. These unlettered preview pages from the upcoming Sam Wilson: Captain America #1, with writer Nick Spencer, are a testament to that truth, which probably ought to be acknowledged more --- though the fact that Acuña has been selected for such a prime gig as the new Captain America book is also a pretty good indicator of where he stands in the industry. Daniel Acuña is very, very good.
This week sees Nick Spencer, Ramon Rosanas, Jordan Boyd and Travis Lanham launch a new book over at Marvel in the shape of Ant-Man. Featuring the Scott Lang version of the size-changing hero, the series is pitched as being about a C-List Avenger trying to turn around his post-Avengers career and get a new job, so he can provide for his daughter, Cassie. He has an upset ex-wife, a crappy apartment, a criminal past, and no hopes – and that's how the series begins.
With this first issue of the new series - which is on sale now - Spencer takes the jokey tone of his Superior Foes of Spider-Man series and downplays things significantly. While Foes was about villains trying to keep a criminal career going, here we have a hero trying to keep a heroic career going. Or, well, any career at all. It's a familiar concept for anybody reading Marvel at the moment, as most of their solo books are about the very same idea, played out in different ways.
Honestly, it's pretty surprising Superior Foes of Spider-Man made it as far as 17 issues.
The title lacked star power in terms of characters (Spider-Man's name is in the title, but that was very nearly the full extent of the character's participation in the comic) and it fell into a genre that, for whatever reason, doesn't connect with readers all that often: the superhero universe comedy.
Yet, until it ended late last month, it was one of the best comics on the stands. Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber's tale of a group of C-list villains (and that's being generous) grouping together to be the new Sinister Six (despite there only being five of them) had more character, personality, playfulness, inventiveness and wit in its pages than most other comics coming out.
One is perhaps the most predictable solo title Marvel could launch in 2015; the other may come as more of a surprise. 2015 sees new #1s for two Avengers; Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man in January, and Clint Barton, Hawkeye, in March -- hot on the heels of the resolution of the previous Eisner-winning Hawkeye series from Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu.
Announced at the Axel-in-Charge panel at New York Comic-Con on Sunday, Ant-Man is an ongoing series from writer Nick Spencer and artist Ramon Rosanas -- and the first trade collection should be safely in stores in time for Ant-Man movie to hit theaters in July. Meanwhile Hawkeye #1 sees Jeff Lemire make his Marvel debut, teamed with artist Ramon Perez on pencils.
The solicitations for November's books reveal that Superior Foes Of Spider-Man, by Nick Spencer, and Steve Lieber, and the New Warriors revival, by Christopher Yost and Marcus To, will offer up their swan songs that month.
Neither series sold particularly well -- both were near the bottom of the charts -- but each drew critical acclaim, particularly Superior Foes.
One of the most significant -- and to many readers, one of the most exciting -- developments in comics in the last few years has been the growth of Image Comics, with many of the most popular writers and artists in the industry currently producing much, if not all, of their creator owned work through the publisher. As such, Image Expo has become a highly anticipated event, as publisher Eric Stephenson uses the annual show to announce several upcoming books from both established and new talent.
Today's Image Expo continued that tradition, as more than a dozen new titles were announced, from Ed Brubaker, Grant Morrison, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Chris Burnham, Matt Fraction, Rick Remender and more.
Any fan who thought the story of Doc Ock taking over Peter Parker's body and life was going to be wrapped up in a year is in for a surprise. The Superior era is just getting started, and it brings symbiotes galore, a couple of sinister sixes, and a dash of 2099.
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