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The Fifth Color | Forward into the Past with Marvel in May 2011

by  in Comic News Comment
The Fifth Color | Forward into the Past with Marvel in May 2011

Can you believe it? By this time, in May, we’ll have seen the Thor movie. Released May 6, Thor is only a herald of things to come, a major movie move all through the summer with X-Men: First Class on June 3 and Captain America: the First Avenger on July 22. May is the start of a huge multimedia push, endearing the public to the Marvel brand and putting out the characters we’ve known and loved into the buying public.

Oh, hopefully someone will read some comics along the way, too.

And in that vein I have the May 2011 Marvel Solicitations, my crystal ball and the overwhelming feeling that Thor is going to be the best movie I see this year.

Let’s take a look:

Okay, so with my Marvel mind on my movies and my Marvel movies on my mind, we have a series of coveted covers to help promote everyone: the “Thor Goes Hollywood” covers previously mentioned in solicitations for April and new “X-Men Evolution Covers” to hype X-Men: First Class. Kind of cool, kind of odd, but cover promotions are like that: you either love them or you don’t.

Tie-ins, on the other hand, always seem to be a lot more toward the hate side of things. Fear Itself is going to have nine tie-in books this month with more on the way throughout the Summer. Now, from the dangers presented in the solicitations, the thing they write in order to entice people into reading more, Fear Itself is starting to sound a lot like things we’ve seen before. From “The God of Fear has come to Earth and the only thing standing between it and world domination are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!” (Avengers #13) to “How will the ultimate man of science react to a city turned to stone?” (Invincible Iron Man #504) and “Who shall rise up and join the Serpent as living avatars of his evil?” (Fear Itself #2), it all sounds a little like Chaos War. Or at least, that the Grey Gargoyle and the Serpent Society might have some cameos.

My fear? That this isn’t going to be a very good event for this summer. On the other hand, Iron Man 2.0 #5 says: “Rhodey must join forces with Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, and the Immortal Weapons if he hopes to win the day!” That is Fat Cobra, Iron Fist and War Machine (really, tell me they just call him War Machine inside the book) about to fight a monstrous-looking dude with a weird-looking hammer. Fear subsiding…

In the two books that make up the Ultimates universe, Mark Millar smashes his action figures against each other so hard they’re probably going to break in Ultimate Comics: Avengers vs New Ultimates #4. And in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #158 he continues to threaten to die. Only all the promotional materials say he is dying in some fashion, so a good portion of readers are really just looking for the time of impact. So far, the preliminary reading for the big Death of Spider-Man event is pretty good, I just hate looking forward to the big banana cream pie at the end.

The Young Allies are Marvel’s special guest stars, looking like they might get folded into the fantastic Avengers Academy with appearances in both their Giant-Size issue and issue #13 (the Prom issue! Hoorah!). Issue #14 is also solicited, but explained that their story “will have major ramifications when FEAR ITSELF hits next month.”  My guess is that they’ll be added to the tie-in toll in June, and this is a little way to whet one’s whistle for Fear; a pleasant change from the shoehorned-in stories of yesteryear, I wonder if Marvel editorial is working more with writers to give their books better flow between current story lines and the added event tie-in?

Two new Captain America titles clock in: Andy Diggle and Adi Granov give a present-day tale of intrigue and Russian space intelligence in Astonishing Captain America #1 (of 5). Plus Fred van Lente gets the honor of writing in the comic movie prequel to the movie based on old comics in Captain America: First Vengeance #1 & #2 (of 4). While the regular Captain America title works through some of the most compelling storytelling I have had the pleasure of reading, I totally understand that this isn’t the best intro point for movie fans. Despite the deluge of one-shots and mini-series we had (and have to come) for Cap, these two still feel like stories people will want to read. The Astonishing line has sort of taken over for the Ultimate label, hasn’t it? Stories cut free of current continuity, smaller in scope, basic tales of Marvel heroes doing what they do best…?

The solicitation for Amazing Spider-Man #660 might be a little hard to read, but the basic idea is that Spider-Man, now with the Future Foundation, will be taking on the Sinister Six. Ha ha, that’s gotta feel good; fighting all these dastardly villains on your own for some many years and the BAM! The best science back-up team ever. Either way, Franklin is going to get involved, or so the “It’s not Bring your Kids to Work Day, not a field trip and definately not a game!” phrase might suggest. Maybe one of the Sinister Six brought one of their kids?

It will also come with the three-part of a Ghost Rider backup story by Rob Williams and Lee Garbett, and the second part of an “Infected” prelude, Infected being a Spidey event this summer. Which not only makes me feel bad because I have no idea when that first part came out (probably last month’s solicits) but Spider-Man is no longer a pick-up-and-read book. Sure, we’ll have our Point One issues, but man he just gets one event after another! All Infect tells me is that the new Venom series will be seriously short lived.

But on the bright side, Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #6 says: WOLVERINE IS THE NEW DARK PHOENIX! We’ll let that sink in… NOW RUN TO YOUR RETAILER AND MAKE THEM RESERVE YOU A COPY OF THIS COMIC! And I think that’s cause for some celebration.

So, the X-Books have two issues of something (right now I’m supposing) just called “Prelude.” The good news is that it’s Paul Jenkins on words and Robert de la Torre and Laurence Campbell on art, but the solicit merely demands we read these books so we’ll be prepared for July. “Before Messiah Complex came Endangered Species. This is the prelude to the X-Men Event of 2011.” So… are we going to look back at what happened in Endangerous Species? Are we even going to go further back then that? These prologue books are about leadership and what toll that takes on those in charge, it’s got Xavier on the cover, there’s a big movie coming out in June about how Xavier became a leader and started his love/hate-on with Magneto… I guess it’ll be rather like Deadly Genesis where a decision was made in the X-Men’s past that they’ll have to pay for in the future.  Maybe this will settle Xavier’s role within the X-Men once and for all?  He has been sitting on the sidelines for quite some time and, thanks to what I hope is a great performance from James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, we may return to a time when two powerful men led two powerful movements that could shake the world.

My incredibly talented, witty and charming friends here at Robot 6 already told you about the missing X-Books. In their place we have things like a Giant-Size X-Men #1 that is bringing back a mysterious something from the first class’s past. “A secret so horrible that it has been locked away in the dark corner of Cyclops’ mind until today. What crisis strikes in the present that calls upon memories of the past?” Yep, this is going to be a Deadly Genesis year.

No matter what the movie or upcoming event, Marvel comics keeps on rolling along.  There are tons of things that I didn’t talk about that are fantastic and stupendous!  Feel free to write in your own favorites in the comments section and take a browse through Marvel’s comics debuting in May 2011 here.  Excelsior!

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