I've been holding off for a while on this, mostly to be sure and partial denial, but it is now apparent to me that Marvel NOW! is a complete reboot of the Marvel cosmic genre.
Starting with Marvel Point One, we got a new Nova. Not Richard Rider. No explanation. Then the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos appeared in Avengers Assemble. Let's look at some of the details.
Starlord died at the end of the Thanos Imperative. He is inexplicably back, and now blonde.
Thanos died at the end of the Thanos Imperative. He is inexplicably back.
Nova (Richard Rider) died, along with the Nova Force, at the end of the Thanos Imperative. He is NOT back. Apparently the Nova Force is.
Drax died during the Thanos Imperative. He is inexplicably back.
Cosmo, Mantis, Major Victory, Jack Flag, Bug and Moondragon are not on the team any longer.
Neither are Phyla or Adam Warlock, but they are dead and I guess stayed there.
With Nova, we all know that the argument is Richard Rider was left dead out of "respect," yet I guess there is no respect for Starlord or Thanos. Nova was replaced by Jeph Loeb as an homage to his son, who tragically passed away. So in Richard's place we get Sam Alexander and an entirely new Nova Corps, but no explanation of how that is possible as of yet.
I don't object so much to this as much, because after all, the Nova Corps is an intergalactic police force with many members. I would like to know how the Nova Force survived. I guess there is still time for explanation. I am a giant fan of Richard Rider and since Annihilation he has made some huge growth. It's a shame he had to go, but I can accept it. Problem for me is, I don't care for kid heroes, and if I wanted to read about a smart ass on Earth, I'd read Spider-Man.
My biggest issue with the reboot is Guardians of the Galaxy. See any relation to who is back and who is not? Ding Ding Ding! They are all in the upcoming movie! This is a great example of how these movies can hurt the comics for the existing fans. It's obvious this isn't little tweaks to continuity like we are seeing with the Avengers and such. This reboot was manufactured specifically for this movie.
I could tell when the Thanos Imperative began that something was up. Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy were put on "hiatus" for the event, but most of us weren't fooled. Soon, characters were getting killed off left and right and then, boom. No more Marvel Cosmic.
So fast forward and we get their return at the pen of Bendis. He brings the Guardians back, leaving out non-movie cast, and resurrects Thanos and Starlord with no explanation. Thanos inexplicably tries to DO THE EXACT SAME PLAN for domination he tried so long ago with the cosmic cube. You know, because Thanos is dumb. Then without the cube, gets his ass handed to him by the GotG and the Avengers, like he was a bank robber or something. So not only is he dumb, he's weak too. Great set-up for Avengers 2! What a threat!
I won't even get into him thinking the In-Betweener and the Stranger are Elders of the Universe.
So, it all hit home after reading Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1, where they rebooted Starlord's origin. Nothing too damaging, but it will obviously omit much of Starlord's classic stories.
To top it off, even with a reboot for the team, they still don't think it will be enough so they throw Iron Man in there. You know, because he's popular. So now the rebooted Starlord can take a back seat to Tony Stark.
Oh, and Groot now has glowing things inside him. Wut?
I'm reading mostly positive reviews from new readers who have no experience with the wonders Abnett and Lanning did with the characters. So I guess that was the goal. Hope you can keep them coming, because you lost me.
I just finished reading FF #22 and Fantastic Four #611, both of which were great reads, and was overwhelmed with the sadness that Hickman's run is coming to it's end. Three years ago, Hickman embarked on an extremely complicated story involving many characters. While at first even the most seasoned FF reader (myself included) got a little lost with the immensity of the tale, it eventually all rolled together into an amazing, well thought out story that involved and affected every main character in the series, as well as introducing interesting new characters as well.
We still have FF #23 to look forward to, but otherwise that's the end of the line.
I believe Hickman gave the team the shot it needed and showed why the Fantastic Four is such a great team and family. They have heart. "They are a perfect family in an imperfect world." I should hope the team picked up some new readers these last few years so they could see what the Fantastic Four is really about.
I'm at least happy to say that even with all the complexity, nearly everything has been wrapped up before the creative team change. I have no problem saying that after this, Hickman takes a top spot in my favorite writers list. So, thank you Mr. Hickman, it was a 'fantastic' run. World's Greatest Comic Magazine indeed.
Since I need to make a new current blog since my contest is over, I'll just let everyone know that I reached the milestone in life of marriage on 5/6/12. Now I really feel like an adult. Time to go buy an umbrella.
In Manhattan's most famous skyscraper, the Baxter Building, scientific genius Reed Richards hatches a plan that will change the lives of those he loves most -- and the very course of human history -- in a way no one could have ever imagined. Revisit the story that irrevocably altered comics and pop culture in this all-new graphic novel, modernizing the journey of Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm as they travel to the stars -- and return with fantastic, devastating results! Plus: Witness the FF's cataclysmic first battles with the Mole Man, Dr. Doom and Prince Namor, the mysterious Sub-Mariner, in a way you've never seen before. You only think you know the story!
I have to say it has been a bleak year in Cosmic Marvel and the glory that spawned from Annihilation seems to have finally fizzled out into random mini-series and many character deaths states of comic limbo.
The threat of this fissure would escalate to a full blown invasion by the inhabitants of a corrupted parallel universe known as the Cancerverse. Thus began the Thanos Imperative. Unfortunately, with the Thanos Imperative came the cancellation (not announced at the time) of Nova and Guardians, Marvel’s only ongoing cosmic books and the killing off of many Cosmic characters, including Nova, Starlord, Drax, Adam Warlock, Phyla-Vell, the Worldmind (including the entire Nova Force), Magus and Thanos.
The end of 2010 also brought about the Chaos War story arc, which had minimal consequences on the Cosmic scene, but it noteworthy due to – surprise, surprise – another plot device Earth level god becoming an Eternity level being and threat to the universe. Sigh.
Major Stories of 2011
Out of the Thanos Imperative we got a team of the Galaxy’s Mightiest Heroes – the Annihilators. Consisting of the Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Quasar, Ronan, Beta Ray Bill and a new Spaceknight named Ikon, there was little team dynamic. The book was a short mini with a Rocket Raccoon and Groot back-up story (better than the main story), but the book was also priced at $4.99. A great deal for us cosmic fans, but that isn’t going to exactly draw in new readers and help the chances of Marvel Cosmic getting more spotlight.
A second mini was released in the same format called Annihilators: Earthfall. This was definitely a better attempt than the first series and the team started to have more of a foundation. While the book excluded the Silver Surfer (so he could be used in Fear Itself and the Mighty Thor), it did bring back the Magus with a plausible return.
With any luck, we will get more of this as it seems to be improving. It's a solid idea and a great way to get some spotlight on some otherwise hard-to-fit-in characters.
The Fantastic Four
As much as I love what Hickman is doing, he really crapped on some Cosmic characters and on some FF history with the corruption and destruction of Nu-World. It seemed to me like the whimsical deconstruction of all passed events on the premise that Galactus was trying to save his future self from death at the hands of the New Defenders. Now, surely Galactus and his incomprehensible intellect knows that changing the past only leads to an alternate future, or simply that the events leading to his demise in an alternate reality are not necessarily to take place in his own reality.
Not to mention, he destroys the planet, yet let’s any who are there escape, some of whom were the ones to destroy him in that alternate future. So, what was the point of this exactly? Either Hickman has got some beef with Millar’s run or he just killed these characters so he could have Galactus mention he is worried about Franklin Richards and the return of his power.
Aside from this, the series remains 'fantastic' and is worth picking up (although it is not necessarily a cosmic title).
The Silver Surfer
Aside from being in the Annihilators and appearing in the Fantastic Four, the Surfer got his own 5 issue limited series exploring his humanity. It was a touching story that finally brought Norrin Radd back to the cold exterior of the Silver Surfer which we had grown accustomed to since returning as the Herald of Galactus in Annihilation so many years ago.
This series also added a new player to the cosmic mix – the High Evolutionary. Now possessing some of the Power Cosmic, he calls himself the Worldbuilder and plans to make a place for himself in the universe as somewhat of an Anti-Galactus. But we all know, his judgment on perfection is skewed and could possibly result in a great story in the future.
In my opinion, this was the best the Silver Surfer has been treated in a long time. The book was written superbly by Greg Pak and the art was fantastic. A very moving story.
The Kree and the Inhumans are also used in the series, giving us a more in depth history of the creation of the Inhumans. This also brings about the Universal Inhumans – four more surviving races of Inhumans also created by the Kree – and they want Earth as New Hala. Black Bolt also inexplicably returns from the dead to lead them (even though it was stated the Fault and Cancerverse collapsed in on itself when Death destroyed the reality).
The interesting development is the Inhumans leave the Kree to lead themselves (with no mention of what is to become of the Shi’ar, currently under their rule as well). Ronan takes command and delightfully, Crystal remains by his side.
The Mighty Thor
The only thing I find worse than the neglect of Marvel Cosmic characters is the misuse of them. Matt Fraction does a great job of knocking Galactus down a few pegs and putting him at near Odin level power. I don’t deny Odin’s might, but come on. No planetary level god should be even close to equal the balancing force between Eternity and Death.
Besides having Galactus job a bit and the Silver Surfer condescending and belittling people for the first time in his history, Fraction has the Surfer remain on Earth and his powers will weaken the further he gets from Earth. Don’t worry, it’s not forever… only until all the Asgardians die off. Marvel will kill off Thor in the next couple years or so, right?
On top of this, a Christian pastor becomes the new Herald of Galactus. At the Surfer’s request. Um, yeah, because the Surfer would bestow that burden to someone else with a clear conscience. What bothers me most is that Marvel has completely forgotten about Stardust. She is still the Herald of Galactus, yet hasn’t appeared since Godhunter in 2009. There’s no need for another new herald, he’s already got one!
The Silver Surfer is currently appearing in the new ongoing Defenders title, explaining his recent attachment to Earth. Unfortunately, this will also be written by Matt Fraction. Fraction has made some statements regarding his thoughts on the Surfer and his inspiration in Stan Lee’s original run where the Surfer was trapped on Earth. If that is what he is going to attempt to emulate, not only will he fail at doing a better job, but we have also already seen this story. Not only that, but they basically took Marvel's most recognizable and popular cosmic character and put him back on Earth.
Some uncertainty remains for Ronan, who after resurrecting the Supreme Intelligence refused to assist in destroying Earth. This could be a good or bad thing for the characters, since sometimes writers simply use lower tier characters for plot purposes and never have intentions for a future. I have faith in Hickman though. The only confusing thing regarding Ronan is he is saving the Earth in Annihilators: Earthfall and attacking Earth in Fantastic Four/FF at the same time.
The big Point One issue one shot had a Nova story in it by Jeph Loeb. While this was Nova, it did not seem to be Richard Rider. He also made mention of the Nova Corps, so I guess they are still around? The main problem with this is that it was a story to bring the return of the Phoenix Force, which will most likely have nothing to do with the Cosmic universe and simply bring it back to Earth and the mutants. Did I mention the PF killed Terrax in the story? Another waste of a good character. There is also no mention of an upcoming Nova book. Very frustrating.
Galactus is set to appear in the pages of the Fantastic Four and FF and apparently will be battling the Celestials (and possibly Franklin Richards?). Finally, something that looks promising.
I know I sound cynical and bitter, but let’s be honest; it appears that the era has ended. It’s only been going downhill for years now. There are no plans for upcoming Cosmic stories announced and no solicitations through April for any releases. Aside from Hickman’s Fantastic Four and FF, there really isn’t anything going on.
For most Marvel readers, do not fret. There are plenty of new X books, Avengers books and Spider-Man books coming out and continuing. For those of us that enjoy the incredible roster of Marvel Cosmic characters, it appears we may have to wait it out for a bit and hope for the best.
In the meantime, any space action is going to have to be had with DC’s Green Lantern or Legion of Super-Heroes books or with more obscure characters with smaller publishers.
I've been lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Avengelyne #6 from the creators.
The Story So Far
If you don't know, Avengelyne is a fallen angel cast down to Earth. Unlike most, she continues to be a devout follower of her Lord and continues her battle against evil on Earth. This is the third and final issue of The Hand of God story arc, where Avengelyne and Special Agent Devlin Trask had just fought Priest, a friend to the church who is apparently possessed, killing criminals vigilante style.
Despite being the final issue of a three issue story arc, this is a good jumping on point for new readers. Any backstory is provided here and there without holding the current story back or being too wordy. Also, just because this is the last of the arc doesn't mean things aren't continuing from here. There are cliffhangers and this will flow directly into the next story.
Spoiler Free Review
After five issues of setting the stage, supporting characters and plotlines, this issue gives good focus to Avengelyne herself and her good-hearted demeanor. We also get some great interaction between her and Father Peter, setting the base for the type of close relationship they share to new readers. We also see Father Michael visiting Tegan in the mental hospital after her previous encounter with Torment in the Devil in the Flesh story arc (issues #1-#3). This is a very touching scene showing Father Michael's duality.
But this issue is hardly all talk, and after Father Michael finishes his Cathloic priest duties it's time for some vigilante priest duties with a visit to the evil serial killer Ned Crowly - the Torment Killer. When Father Michael becomes the Priest, blood and carnage in the name of God is a guarantee!
On top of this, that foreshadowed great danger seems to be right on the horizon...
Pick This One Up
This has been a fantastic series from the beginning. Mark Poulton is creating a depth to all the characters he is including in the series. Any fans of Rob Liefeld's Extreme Studios characters will enjoy the cameos in the series (such as Chapel, Bloodwulf, theCoven, etc.) and there are plenty more to come. Artist Owen Gieni has a beautiful style and great range, from gorgeous women to the vile demons of Hell. The facial expressions are priceless and the detail put into the backgrounds are amazing. With DexterWeeks' vibrant colors, the book is currently firing on all cylinders.
The passion in making this a long standing series is there. All it needs now is more readers. I'd urge any of you to pick this up when it comes out. The hardcover collection of the first two arcs is also set to be released on February 1st.
"THE HAND OF GOD," Part Three
Conclusion to the second story arc! Avengelyne and Passover join Devlin on his exploration of the paranormal and learn more abouthis secret past with Operation Hellstrike. Meanwhile, Father Michael pays a visit to Torment, Ned Crowley, as he awaits trial!Will Priest tag along for the visit? Plus, an Extreme Origins back-up written by MARK POULTON with art by a guest artist!
I was thinking about it and I find it a little odd that there are four Green Lanterns from Earth. Out of the entire sector, all are humans from Earth. They always make it out that Earth is special and humans are a unique presence in the universe, so then why aren't humans more present on the other Corps? The only one I can think of is Carol Ferris on the Star Sapphires.
When I look around at the human race, the least present "emotion" I see is willpower. There isn't plenty of rage, fear, greed, compassion, hope, love, etc. on Earth?
(This topic brought to you by the rage inside me.)
I've been saying it since I begun reading the Mighty Thor, Matt Fraction has no business writing the Silver Surfer or Galactus. First he puts Odin on near equal footing with Galactus and totally misses the character of the Silver Surfer (and Thor I might add), but now he has done some great damage to the character that I originally thought was material in a non-canon book. Apparently, it is not as it states that this book takes place before Fear Itself (but who knows where in the Surfer's timeline).
So if you haven't read Mighty Thor #6, Thor and the Silver Surfer have discontinued their battle for whatever reason and are trying to stop Galactus from eating the Worldheart of the Tree of Life. Who knows why the Surfer changed his mind, but let's just roll with it. Turns out that Loki hid the Worldheart and now they can't find it. So you think they would just leave right? Nope.
The Silver Surfer decides to stay on Earth to guard the seed. Galactus makes Pastor Mike from Broxton, Oklahoma his new herald, the Surfer is given a human form and a limitation - the further from Earth he travels, the weaker he becomes. The entire character of the Silver Surfer (and Fraction's own creation, Pastor Mike), is thrown to the side.
Why would the Silver Surfer, who knows the great burden and sacrifice of becoming a herald of Galactus, offer the position to another person? Why all of the sudden does the Silver Surfer care about one life over that of cosmic consonance and his great duty to the structure of the universe? Why would he think that this amateur man of God could do what he couldn't and find planets for Galactus that wouldn't cost a single life? Why would Pastor Mike betray his God in exchange for the burden of providing worlds for a cosmic being to destroy? Why would Pastor Mike think by leaving Earth and being a herald of Galactus that Broxton would be safe?
If you add these questions to questions like, why couldn't Galactus simply destroy Odin and all the Asgardian Gods with the snap of his fingers and take the Worldheart in the first place, and you basically have an open ended story that's only purpose was to change a non-title character. Really, all we got out of this for the main character was a small bond between Thor and Loki. Otherwise, it just kind of crapped all over the Surfer and Galactus.
I supposed the "tethering" of the Surfer to Earth was done for the upcoming Defenders book and might explain why the Surfer does not appear in the new Annihilators book (disappointing). I have to say, I finally understand why most fans dislike Matt Fraction. Stick to what you are good at Matt, and it isn't Thor or the Silver Surfer.