The Top 10 Marvel Comics Coming In February 2011
Another month, another round of solicits! Your favorite taste-making experts here at ComicsAlliance picked out ten books coming from Marvel for you to pick up in February 2011. We've got a little bit of old school flavor in Power Man and Iron Fist, Jason Pearson working on an all-new Astonishing X-Men, Paul Tobin's rise to power, and the return of Ed McGuinness to Hulk, all nice and sorted alphabetically for you after the jump.
1. ARCADE: DEATH GAME #1 & #2 (of 3)
Written by PAUL TOBIN
Penciled by DAVID BALDEON
Cover by CHRIS SAMNEE
When the strange and deadly Arcade decides to rebuild his ruined reputation, he sets his sights on the members of the Avengers Academy and the Young Allies. But when one of his teenage victims escapes, is it a setback for Arcade, or all part of his master plan to turn the entirety of New York into...Murderworld? DEATH GAME starts here!
I'm not sure why, but I have a deep love of Arcade. Maybe it's because he's one of Marvel's most outlandish and least self-conscious villains, or maybe it's just because he was in one of those comics I read over and over again as a kid. Maybe it's because Murderworld rules, but who knows? Paul Tobin and David Baldeon creating a story where Arcade kidnaps teenagers and throws them into a murder-focused amusement park is the sort of thing that you should be reading cape comics for. It even has an appropriately corny name: "Death Game." C'mon, you know you want this.
Written by DANIEL WAY
Pencils & Cover by JASON PEARSON
Variant Cover by MICHAEL KALUTA
"MONSTROUS," PART 1
Not all monsters are easy to spot -- some of them live among us, undetected or long forgotten. Some of them live inside us, in the dark corners of our hearts, feeding on our secret fears of loss. But in the Marvel Universe, most of them live on Monster Island. Or, at least, they did. A mysterious exodus is underway; monsters spilling onto nearby shores – with catastrophic results – and it falls upon a small group of X-Men to both save the population from destruction and to solve an imposing riddle: What are monsters afraid of? New series writer Daniel Way (Deadpool) is joined by superstar artist Jason Pearson to bring you a widescreen, mega blockbuster story filled with classic Kirby monsters, heart-stopping revelations and over-the-top action!
If Jason Pearson draws it, you should be buying it. Period. That's the law.
Written by ZEB WELLS
Art & Cover by CLAYTON CRAIN
Spider-Man and Iron Man face defeat and death at the hands of the blood-thirsty symbiote and its lethal new host! Bet Spider-Man never thought he'd actually miss the psychotic serial killer Cletus Kasady inside the murderous alien suit...
It's 2010. Who among you had any idea that there'd be a comic starring Carnage that'd be worth reading, this many years after the character's creation? Regardless, this is it. Zeb Wells has quickly turned into a guy who can write C-list or A-list characters with equal amounts of skill, whether in New Warriors or Amazing Spider-Man. The first issue of this was pretty good, and featured a Maximum Carnage (quite possibly the only good story Carnage has ever been in) recap that was neither clunky nor jarring. Crain's art has brightened up considerably since his days on X-Force and Ghost Rider, and definitely for the best. Assuming the energy of the first issue is maintained, you should (I can't believe I'm saying this about a Carnage comic) pick this one up.
Written by TOM PEYER
Penciled by JACOB CHABOT
Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG
The voices in Deadpool's head hire him to do the dirtiest job of his career, but the mission is endangered when he's trapped in an elevator with The Watcher! How will being constantly watched affect Deadpool's mercenary skills? And will the Watcher be able to keep his sacred vow to not interfere in the affairs of men when Deadpool is really really really annoying?
Tom Peyer has inexplicably remained one of the best-kept secrets in cape comics. He had a great run on DC's Hourman, making him one of a very small subset of writers who have taken Grant Morrison's ideas and run with them. He wrote Flash after Mark Waid left a couple years ago, and his run on that was good, too. He's done a lot of under the radar stuff that ended up being worth reading, but I haven't seen him on a high profile book in ages. What's the deal, comics industry? Regardless, everyone should give this issue a look. Peyer has a habit of delivering, no matter how absurd the premise, and Deadpool teaming up with The Watcher could be pretty fun.
5. HULK #30
Written by JEFF PARKER
Pencils & Cover by ED McGUINNESS
THE ORIGINAL RED HULK ARTIST RETURNS!!!
Ed McGuiness draws a special (and especially insane) issue of HULK! A classic Hulk enemy returns, and can only be defeated by...THE COMPOUND HULK! Guest-starring XEMNU, THE IMPOSSIBLE MAN and WOODGOD (yes, Woodgod)!
You already know that Jeff Parker is fantastic, but there are three other reasons to pick up this issue of Hulk. The first reason is Woodgod. He's this gross satyr, the sort of totally dumb and outlandish character type that people fall in love with as kids and maintain an irrational love of as adults (see also: Zzzax). Second is The Impossible Man, who is essentially the Fantastic Four's Mr. Mxyzptlk. Finally, ED MCGUINNESS. He's a powerhouse artist who drew the Hulk like he invented the character. Seeing him back on the character is going to be great, especially with this cast. McGuinness and Parker both know how to do hard-hitting fun comics, so put me down as excited.
6. POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #1 & #2 (OF 5)
Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Penciled by WELLINTON ALVES
Covers by MIKE PERKINS
Charging from the pages of SHADOWLAND comes the collector's item first ever POWER MAN & IRON FIST #1! When Danny Rand transformed his multinational corporation into a non-profit foundation, he thought he had left fighting behind – but with so many innocents wrongly convicted, the battle never ends! Their first case is Luke Cage and Danny Rand's former secretary Jennie Royce, imprisoned for a murder she didn't commit...or did she? And Iron Fist isn't fighting alone -- he's got a new partner with him: Victor Alvarez, the all-new Power Man, he of the exploding punches – and exploding temper! Can Danny train his new charge well enough to face returning foil El Aguila as well as new threats Don Pagliacci, the Commedia Dell'Morte, and the beautiful, deadly Noir? That's right, Marvel's original mismatched action duo begins a new era of greatness right here!
It has been a fair few years since we've seen Power Man and Iron Fist. The smart money was on Brian Michael Bendis to revive the property at some point over the past few years, but it seems like he's been content using Cage in the Avengers books. So, Fred Van Lente gets the job, and to be absolutely honest here... I wouldn't have it any other way. Shadowland: Power Man was a good series--and that's "better than the rest of the entire event and most of Marvel's line" good, to be clear--and Van Lente has proven that he can write the kind of comics people need. Hopefully if this miniseries goes well, we'll be able to see Van Lente and Alves on an ongoing series featuring the new Power Man.
Written by HARRISON WILCOX
Penciled by RYAN STEGMAN
Cover by ED McGUINNESS
The SHE-HULKS-EXPOSED!!! The secret is out that Lyra Walters is actually none other than the All-New Savage She-Hulk, and the last remaining mad genius from THE INTELLIGENCIA is poised to make her PAY! Can the young She-Hulk save the dance for her fellow students, even with the help of her smashing green cousin? Or will this be her last dance in more ways than one? Find out as MAN HUNT comes to an explosive conclusion!
I tried the first issue of She-Hulks on a whim, and hey! That's a pretty solid comic. It caught me up on a story I didn't read pretty quickly, set the stage over the course of a few short pages, and then dived right into fun characterization-based stuff. There's a real difference in personalities between Lyra and She-Hulk, and not just in the sense of a teacher/student relationship. The way their personalities clash at certain points and align at others is very cool, and Stegman's expressive cartooning really works for me. Plus, you get the fun of seeing a Hulk in high school with an unexpectedly droll sense of humor. Good show.
8. SPIDER-GIRL #4
Written by PAUL TOBIN
Penciled by MATT SOUTHWORTH
Cover by JELENA KEVIC- DJURDJEVIC
KRAVEN'S NEW HUNT!
Ana Kravinoff explodes onto the scene to prove to her father, Kraven the Hunter, that she's worthy of the family name by taking down one of the Spider family, and Spider-Girl is her chosen prey! Looks like Spider-Girl isn't the only one with father issues, and the Grim Hunt isn't quite over... not if Ana Kravinoff has her way! AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: GRIM HUNT's Matthew Southworth joins Paul Tobin for this two-part Spider-Epic!
Paul Tobin is a writer who should be much more popular than he currently is. He's spent a few years writing some pretty solid all-ages titles for Marvel, and has been dipping his toes in the mainstream Marvel Universe lately. Spider-Girl is almost definitely his highest profile work for Marvel thus far, and it's a pretty fun and engaging title.
Grim Hunt was one of the best arcs of the "Brand New Day" era of Amazing Spider-Man, and Tobin and Southworth seemingly have a perfectly simple idea for following up on it. Why not pit the two teenaged characters involved in it against each other? There's plenty of bad blood between them, as there should be after an attempted ritual murder/sacrifice, but it'll be interesting to see how their conflict plays out in the all-ages friendly Spider-Girl title.
9. SPIDER-MAN: THE GAUNTLET VOL. 5 - LIZARD TPB
Written by ZEB WELLS & ROGER STERN
Penciled by CHRIS BACHALO, EMMA RIOS, JEFTE PALO & XURXO PENALTA
Cover by CHRIS BACHALO
For years, the Lizard has struggled to be free of Dr. Curt Connors, the human fighting to contain the reptile inside. Now, the time has come to shed! Spider-Man must survive the second coming of one of his oldest foes as the Gauntlet culminates, setting the stage for the Kravinoffs' Grim Hunt. Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #630-633, and material from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #629 and WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #6.
David Uzumeri wrote a thorough review of it a while back, but what you need to know is this: "Shed," the storyline that is collected in this trade, is probably the best story starring Curt Connors ever, and one of the best Spidey stories, period. It's a great example of the range of stories that can be told within Spider-Man's little universe. It shifts from horror to tragedy and back again, and all of it is believable, and most of all, gripping. It's an example of so-called grim and gritty comics done right, and if you think of yourself as even remotely a fan of Spider-Man, you should check it out. It's an emotional punch right to where it hurts.
10. X-MEN LEGACY #245
Written by MIKE CAREY
Penciled by CLAY MANN
Cover by LEINIL YU
Fantastic Four Anniversary Variant by
"AGE OF X" PART ONE!
In a world where the X-Men never existed and mutantkind has been hunted to extinction, the few remaining mutants band together to make their last stand. Who are they? And just how far will they go to survive? The AGE OF X starts here!
To say that I look at most X-Men comics with a wary eye would be underselling it a bit, particularly when it involves a multi-crossover event. Mike Carey is generally pretty good, however, and the gimmick for Age of X sounds pretty interesting. It's an intentional play on Age of Apocalypse, which makes me uncomfortable, but here's hoping it ends up well. Judging by the solicit, it sounds like a Days of Future Past-style story, but without the rapid expansion of mutant life and subsequent Sentinel-led massacres. Carey is at his best when he can do strong, character-focused stuff, and since he's writing all of this event, I expect him to do well here.