July is going to be a big month for comics. Mind you, it should be as spectacular as they can make it at the House of Ideas because the fans who have fought hard to go to Comic-Con International won't be forgiving if it's reprint month. Nope, all the stops need to be pulled out, questions need to be posed, if not answered (as much as plotline questions are ever answered in serial comics), because there's going to be a large audience ready to ask the big questions about what the heck is going on and what's coming next.
Sure, the upswing of comics produced and plotlines kicking into gear isn't all Comic-Con armor; some of it is the sort of halfway mark between events. Summer comic events should be in full swing by the time July comes around, and this year we're seeing the end of Age of Ultron, and the stirrings of Infinity, Jonathan Hickman's no doubt mind-blowing event. It's a big-time shift for the Marvel Universe ... or is it?
Let's take a look through Marvel's July solicitations and see what clues we can find about our future, shall we?
First off, AGE OF ULTRON #10 U.C. by Classified and Classified. Great, I guess that settles that. Although, I'm with Kevin on this one: The teaser shot does look like a mountain.
But at the same time, is it just a close up of Thanos' skin? He is purple, after all, with a craggy complexion. Maybe with Infinity coming out ... nah.
AVENGERS A.I. #1 will come out shortly after, from Sam Humphries and Andre Lima Araujo, so get ready for ROBOTS!!! Woo! From this series, we learn that "The triumph of Hank Pym turns to tragedy for the human race...an unfathomable Pandora’s Box of destruction!" Hank Pym is set on making things right, s he puts together a team of robots (ROBOTS!) to fix his mistakes, most likely something Ultron did/will do/has done. This week, in Age of Ultron Book Five, we learn of some time-travel machinations by the Avengers that split a lines between a good idea and a bad idea. Now, in INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #11, their solicitation says:
"Spinning out of the events of Age of Ultron!Hulk’s sent on his most dangerous mission yet, working for a secret subdivision of S.H.I.E.L.D.!History’s breaking--and only the Hulk is strong enough to hold it together!"
Something tells me that, this time, time traveling in the Age of Ultron will not work out well.
Meanwhile, in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #5 by Brian Michael Bendis, Neil Gaiman and Sara Pichelli, the galactic heroes are going to pushed back on their heels by "Heaven’s most fearsome Angel." We haven't had a lot of Heaven as the Judeo-Christian concept in Marvel comics, have we? I mean, we have mutants named Angel, the Fantastic Four met "God" as Jack Kirby, and hoo-boy, we've seen a lot of Hell, but this might be uncharted territory. And uhm ... Angela? I don't know how that's going to work, but God bless Gaiman for putting the character he fought to gain the rights to into something. Hrm. Wonder how much he gets to keep of Angela under a Marvel printing?
Age of Ultron will move on but the Infinity is just starting. Or is it? AVENGERS #15-16 promise you that Infinity had started long before it was announced as they branch out into preludes that contain characters and plot point Hickman introduced early into the series. But the biggest proof that Hickman's had something up his sleeve possibly since the dawn of time is the INFINITY INCOMING! TPB, a collection of issues from Stan Lee and Hickman to Paul Jenkins and Jason Aaron. With INHUMANS (1998) #2, THANOS RISING #1, AVENGERS (2012) #1-2, NEW AVENGERS (2013) #2 and material from THOR (1966) 146-149, all of this I think is going to be essential for pulling clues and delicious morsels of pre-plotting that Hickman has pulled together for some incredible thing we'll get to watch unfold in the coming months. Man, we are so lucky Hickman uses his brain for comic book storytelling and not world domination.
On a personal note, everyone had a favorite character, no matter how obscure or insignificant at the time, that makes them a gooey-eyed fanchild, full of awe and wonder and obsessive devotion. Black Bolt is that character for my husband and it seems like this is going to be his season. NEW AVENGERS #8 by Hickman and Mike Deodato will not only be delivering on a Wakanda/Atlantis war that the Illuminati are caught in the thick of, but "an Inhuman" will learn of the Illuminati’s plans (that looks like Maximus!) and we'll see another layer of onion peel away in a prelude to Infinity.
With a clear key role in Hickman's Infinity and all the back work that's been done within Hickman's Fantastic Four run and who know what else he preestablished, seeing a reprint collection of Black Bolt stories doesn't seem as ridiculous as it might have before. I'm not saying the BLACK BOLT: SOMETHING INHUMAN THIS WAY COMES one-shot isn't expensive at $7.99, but if AMAZING ADVENTURES (1970) #5-10 and AVENGERS (1963) #95 are going to be key issues out of nowhere, maybe it's time to start hitting the back issue bins.Otherwise, life rolls on in the Marvel Universe. It's got to be hard to write these solicitations up. There's only so much you can say, but at the same time, you have to tantalize the reader/retailer ordering the books with a purchase three months from now. It's why they tend to have a similar format of "NAME and QUESTION?" AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #17 has a classic:
"With the world quite literally ripping apart at the seams, and the Avengers scattered ... how much longer can Captain Marvel fend off the madness of the Magnitron...?"
It's a clear explanation with no end result. We know Captain Marvel will be fighting the Magnitron while the Avengers are scattered, a sense of stakes, conflict and that old open ended question thing.
Meanwhile, for YOUNG AVENGERS #7-8 we learn:
• Three months have passed for the Young Avengers. What have they been up to? Fun stuff, I’ll bet. The sort of "stuff" that makes an excellent super hero comic. THIS IS TRUTH WITH A CAPITAL EVERYTHING.
• A very important breakfast. A new Young Avenger. A selection of emotions.
• Oh - I bet you thought we forgot about those Skrulls from issue 1. We haven’t.
Some choose to go another direction and write up their solicitation like a Tumblr post. LOL.
Or they get straight to the point, like THANOS RISING #4:
Thanos kills a lot of people.
What more needs to be said?
Well, a lot, actually. I haven't even scratched the surface of all the amazing, fantastic and superior comics that will be delighting the hearts and minds of Marvelites everywhere this July. What are you looking forward to the most? The Superior Spider-Man month and the three new titles launching from the daring hit of Dan Slott's new Spider-Man? Artist Adam Warren returning to House of Ideas for A+X #10? The ONCE UPON A TIME PREMIERE HC that is for sure nothing like Fables, we promise? Take a look at Marvel's July solicitations and leave a note about what you're looking forward to. Excelsior!