Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Marvel SDCC announcement to look forward to: Star Wars etc

SDCC announcements to look forward to: Marvel
by rick olivares

I get the feeling that the annual San Diego Comic Con has become more of where new movies and television series are unveiled as opposed to actual comic books.

Look at what has garnered the most attention – the image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the forthcoming movie about the Amazon Princess, the trailer of the new Mad Max film, and the images from the new Avengers film among many others.

Having said that (and they’re not bad at all), were there, in my opinion, any great news regarding new comic books? For sure!

Let’s start off with the offering from the House of Ideas.

The three new Star Wars comics from Marvel – Star Wars (Jason Aaron and John Cassaday), Princess Leia (Mark Waid and Terry Dodson), Darth Vader (Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca).

For those who followed the Star Wars comics, Marvel originally got the franchise in the 1970s but it later reverted to Dark Horse. The Expanded Universe (EU) went on to cover books written by a who’s who in science fiction. Now that the sci-fi classic has returned to Marvel, it seemed inevitable that the EU’s days were numbered. That the new series by Marvel takes place after the events of The Empire Strikes Back will surely change the mythos that came after.

Why is this a hit with me and should be with other fans?

For starters, its got top-notch creative teams behind each book. Second, they’ve got enough lead time to ensure monthly releases. And third, you can be sure that any storylines developed in the new Marvel series will have tie-ins or implications on the new film episodes.

There’s the All-New Captain America with long-time crime fighting partner Sam Wilson (formerly known as the Falcon) donning the star spangled costume in place of Steve Rogers who is ageing as the Super Soldier serum in his veins seems to have dried up.

I can understand the wanting to present diversity but not like this. Wilson will be the 12th man to be known as Captain America and I’m of the mind that they should just promote Wilson’s character rather than replace Rogers who they simply love putting through the wringer time and again. Rogers is Captain America also because he is a former military man. Wilson isn’t.

Am not sure about getting this book but I shall keep tabs on this.

The upcoming Uncanny X-Men Annual featuring new time-traveling mutant Eva Bell is interesting not only for the explanation on where she’s been but also for the Marvel debut of Italian artist Andrea Sorrentino who made a name for himself illustrating DC’s Green Arrow.

The other big book from Marvel is the original graphic novel, Rage of Ultron from the team of writer Rick Remender and Fil-American artist Jerome Opeña who worked on Uncanny X-Force among other titles. Marvel was the first comic company to publish original graphic novels but have not released anything since 1988’s The Inhumans by Ann Nocenti and Brett Blevins. It’s about time they started producing more books as they have totally lagged behind DC Comics in this regard.

With the new Avengers movie (with the homicidal robot Ultron as the main villain) slated for a 2015 release, Rage of Ultron will be a perfect companion piece for old fans who didn’t get enough of the limited series Age of Ultron. However, this will provide an excellent jumping on point for new fans.

Opeña is one of the industry’s rising stars whose work I cannot get enough of. He’s got the most dynamic sense of design and layouts since Jim Lee. In a larger format, his artwork will be given the proper format to be appreciated.

Gushed Remender about Opeña’s work, “Jerome is a nutjob. He's a lunatic. I've been working with him for a decade, and it's so great to be back with him. The storytelling comes first, and the absolute labor he puts into it. An OGN (original graphic novel) is perfect for him. It's literally the work of his life, and to be teamed back up with Jerome and Dean is so great.”

And lastly, there’s the next big Marvel event after Original Sin – Axis – that focuses on the villains.

As a kid, there was this compendium released by Marvel titled, Bring On the Bad Guys!” and that featured all the origins of the major villains of the Marvel Universe. Only for Axis, they band together in what is like the ultimate Masters of Evil (not to be confused with the Avengers’ villains) where the Red Skull takes his place as probably the most evil of all villains. This was something that was first touched on in the first issue of Uncanny Avengers.

With the villains all united, we will see the tenuous alliance between the Avengers and the X-Men. If you call caught the AvX from two years ago, you will know that there is no love lost between the two bands of superheroes.

This promises to be a huge storyline that will affect the Marvel Universe for years to come.

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