Hey, did anyone else notice that $3.99 books are coming with a free online copy? This announcement must have missed my eagle eye because this week it sort of came to me as a happy surprise. I know I've only recently learned to love the digital comic, and it's actually been super-helpful when I miss an issue or want to share my comics with people in another state. Having Avengers vs. X-Men be so interactive really warmed me up to letting comics online and in person coexist comfortably. If you haven't bothered with it yet, try it out and create your own little library online for free.
Also, as I turn my gaze toward the end of summer and the new cycle of comics due to hit the shelves in September, I wonder why some titles have two solicitation entries or just one with the numbers listed together? Won't each comic have enough information to be sold as a separate entity, or are we getting to the point in modern comics storytelling that 32 pages can't contain the decompression? Why are some books twice a month and others just one? Join me, won't you, as we take a look at what Marvel will be sending our way this September and try and make heads or tails of the future.
So, point blank: How many twice-a-month issues are we getting? 19AVENGERS VS X-MEN UNCANNY X-MEN WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN DARK AVENGERS AVENGERS ACADEMY AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VENOM ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES CAPTAIN AMERICA & BLACK WIDOW WINTER SOLDIER INCREDIBLE HULK INVINCIBLE IRON MAN THE MIGHTY THOR JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY THE PUNISHER DEADPOOL X-MEN LEGACY X-FACTOR X-MEN
There's actually a healthy mix between $2.99 and $3.99 books, but I'm just not sure we need that many in one month. The Amazing Spider-Man, sure. Having two issues a month of that big-event book has done really well for us at the store. But Venom? I mean, I love Winter Soldier but I could also love it as a regular monthly title. I know it's easier to sell more of what works rather than new titles or taking chances on new characters or revivals, but that's a pretty diverse list. When reserving comics for customers or helping them to sign up for a pull list, it's nice to be able to signify which titles are biweekly, monthly, possibly published (thanks, Powers!), etc. You could say these books are the "premier" titles; however, I never know what exactly they mean by "premier," and both New Avengers and adjectiveless Avengers are only release once this month. And it could change, and has changed, from month to month. Don't get me wrong, I can't complain, because the idea of getting more Dark Avengers is really cool. It's just that I'm wondering if we could have a system or regular list or a little red dot in the corner of the cover -- just something to let the casual fan know what he's getting into.
Anyhoo, off to the start of school and the end of the world as our summer event wraps up. As our great battle comes to a conclusion, we'll be getting oversize issues just for the last two AvX issues. AVENGERS VS X-MEN #11 from Brian Bendis and Olivier Coipel will be 40 pages and features, you guessed it, "Fatality!" Now, sure it's easy to think that this might refer to the largely overrated comic book death that will upset a lot of people until we all realize that this is fiction, and that death and rebirth are a part of storytelling structure and have nothing to do with our mortal concepts of the same and pick up the next issue to see what happens next. But fatality isn't just a move in Mortal Kombat. This could be just another reminder that the it is the editors, writers and artists who dictate the will of these characters and what works for them is less a matter of a fully fleshed-out character but rather what needs to be done for the continuance of the story. The characters' "fate" if you will is inevitable and inescapable. This could be the issue where they turn everything around, have the Phoenix Five, the X-Men and Avengers all gather to discuss the finer points of the Idle Argument, asking whether any of their actions thus far would have changed the Phoenix's intent toward Earth.
Nah, someone's going to die.
The final issue, AVENGERS VS X-MEN #12 from Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert, and the last of the six variant covers I hope to ever see, simply says "It’s all come down to this! The final battle—as the world burns!" What final battle, you ask? My guess it's the final battle in AVX: Vs #6 (of 6), where the Scarlet Witch and Hope duke it out "straight out of AVX #12!" Okay, say what you want about the senseless fighting of it all, but just by reading this, I'm really curious as to waht a fight that is so big that it needs a 48-page issue and then half of another comic to really detail it out. And okay, mini-fights will be funny, but Hope versus Wanda makes me think the Scarlet Witch might just do something to finally redeem her in the eyes of the Marvel Bullpen. Not us, not the readers. We hopefully read through Children's Crusade and understand that just because there's an incident where you "go crazy" doesn't mean you should be shunned for the rest of your life. I say the WRITERS, because Bendis can finally step away from the character and everyone can go in peace. But I could be biased.
UNCANNY X-MEN, NEW AVENGERS, AVENGERS and WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN seem to be the last tie-ins sanding (plus one of the issues of X-MEN LEGACY I think) and most of those are focused on a burning New York City (don't live there!) and romance! Can Spider-Woman and Hawkeye make love bloom in the midst of the destruction of New York City? Can Scott and Emma both contain phenomenal cosmic powers and their passion for one another?
Meanwhile, THANOS! Yes, now that the summer is over and Marvel has its ducks in a pleasant row with public interest, we're getting two Thanos-themed reprints, both by the man who knows him best: Jim Starlin. THANOS: THE FINAL THREAT #1 reprints AVENGERS ANNUAL (1967) #7 and MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #2 and THANOS QUEST #1 reprints, well THANOS QUEST #1 and #2 back from 1990, so I'm going to say that these are both probably one-shots. Thanos will of course be showing up to menace a more movie friendly roster in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #7 as well.
In Ultimate news (Ultimate News!), SPIDER-MEN #5 (of 5) will provide the "shocking conclusion to the Spider-Man event of the year!" I don't think it's going to be that shocking; I'm pretty sure Peter Parker is going home after all this and we'll have had a wonderful moment to connect the world of today with the Ultimate universe. I think Peter Parker won't be a jerk and will give Miles his blessing and both of them will continue on knowing a little more about different realities and personal choices. I mean, it's going to be heart-warming, it's going to gives some weight to both characters, and it's a fun exercise in comparative fiction but I really doubt it's going to be the most shocking event of Spider-Man's year. Enjoy it for what it is, Marvel fans, and let it warm your heart.Meanwhile, Spider-Man and the Ultimates are teaming up in ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #14 and ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #15 & 16, while ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #16 seems to be painting the world in a "Days of Future Past" kind of setting as "The X-Men fight for their lives in the Sentinel-controlled states" and we'll be featuring Nick Fury's ... *sigh* Howling Kittens. Though now I think I'd read it if it was entirely based around Nick Fury's Internet Initiative to subdue the masses with memes. LOL.
On that note, I just want to point out CAPTAIN MARVEL #4 and its incredible talking cover. I don't know what's going on in this book (something about changing the course of history, Captain Marvel in the middle of all-out war), but just seeing Captain Marvel challenge the reader to get a bigger gun? That's something I want to pick up and look inside.
And that could speak for a lot of comics this month, I'm happy to say. From Shang-Chi getting involved in the fate of Tony Stark in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #525 to the terrifying cover of NEW MUTANTS #49, not to mention that jaw dropping ART OF MARVEL STUDIOS TPB SLIPCASE that will have all the past ART OF... Marvel Movie books from Iron Man to Captain America: the First Avenger and the surprise X-MEN: THE WEDDING OF CYCLOPS & PHOENIX TPB of which I will be purchasing out of nostalgia but I'm still a little surprised to see reprinted. There's tons of stuff for everyone on the September solicitation list, so go take a look and tell us what you're looking forward to the most!