The Fifth Color | Looking at Marvel for October 2011

You guys.

We did it.

This is, quite possibly, the best it's ever going to get. Two opening weekends of more than $65 million from Marvel Studios movies this summer, Thor and Captain America, combined with the $55 million from X-Men: First Class ... I feel like I want to go buy a jet ski! We really did own the box office this year, and I am so proud to see the House of Ideas forge their own path in Hollywood and come out on top for staying close to the stories we adore and yet still forging entirely new ones for a new generation.

Then there's print media. I know, it's a weird time to be looking ahead to October, because events tend to end around this time of year, if not simply reveal their catastrophically shocking twists. So the solicitations have shed a lot of words like trees shedding leaves, both leaving us with the bare branches of what will later flower in the spring with ... well, whatever next big story will dazzle the public.

I will be honest with you, gentle reader; this one will be a little bare as a snapshot of Marvel's titles in October. Add to this that I wasn't at Comic-Con this year, so I can't exactly report or add info I heard at the show. The good news is that CBR is the most dashing and handsome news site out there, so you can catch all the coverage here.

Thanks to the seasonal shift that event books create, there's a lot of stuff we just can't say or know about until we hold those issues in our hot little hands. On the other hand, you can't keep everything a mystery without the public going to town on speculation, so let's delve int the unknown of October and see what Marvel has around this corner.

First up is the last issue of Fear Itself. Marvel tells us stuff that's been established from ads and Comic-Con (I hear that was nice): that Iron Man's made some cool new armor for his pals and that Thor's Day is the day that everything ends, plus the hint that there will be a "a little something extra for the keen eye." Speaking of keen eyes, can I ask a general question about the front cover layouts? I'm kind of digging this middle title placement, the color-coded release months and the covers that, for all intents and purposes, show you directly what's going to happen in this book. Considering past reformatting of the comic book cover, I think Fear Itself is a very well-designed package that was easy to sell customers and organize in the back-issue bins. Good job, guys!

In other Fear Itself news, we'll be wrapping up all sorts of bits and ends, from major battles (New Mutants #32), to character pieces set with in the main storyline getting their time in the sun (Invincible Iron Man #509), to old history being put to rest within the new history being created (Fear Itself: The Home Front #7, The Mighty Thor #7) and then, of course, good old-fashioned team formation/destruction. To be destroyed are the guys from Youth in Revolt, the "New Initiative" characters as they're called, and what exactly we're going to do with all of these people we stood up and brushed off for Civil War, then sort of forgot about when the bigger shinier toys came along. Don't get me wrong, I grew to really like Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt after the first issue or so, but I don't see this continuing. On the other hand, Fear Itself: The Home Front #7 is hinting that " X-23, Power Man, Amadeus Cho, Thunderstrike & Spider-Girl" might "form an all-new team of young heroes" which is totally a book I see making it out alive. That's nearly a Junior New Avengers league right there, with a lot of faces who have been breakout stars of other books, so there might be something young and hip rising out of the ashes of Fear Itself.

Journey Into Mystery #629 & #630 give both an idea of conclusion to the adventures of Lil' Loki in Fear Itself and the start of maybe a Voltagg-centric run on the title. Sure, a one-off story on Volstagg could also be the case, but it would be neat to not only get an anthology book started for the ancient adventure that the Warriors Three, Valkyrie and other Asgardian characters bring, but have a permanent place for story ideas to germinate outside of major books. Want to write a Volstagg story, but it would get in the way of major title story flow? Put it in Journey to Mystery and see how much interest you can get. If it's super popular, give him a mini-series and see how that goes. Want to write a Doctor Strange story but don't want to take up all of the New Avengers' time? Put him in Journey into Mystery and then later take that story back with you to the title he's hanging out in. Maybe put a little yellow box on the panel it's mentioned with a note from, say, an editor about what issue that mentioned story came from- nah, they'd never do that! Madness!

The Fearless #1 is going to be twice a month (yikes!) and $2.99 (not so yikes) where Matt Fraction, Cullen Bunn and Chris Yost will be giving us our post-Fear Itself wrap up of the Marvel Universe, as "CLASSIFIED." I told you it would be a short one this week.

Incredible Hulk #1 will have the absolutely bone-chilling Jason Aaron teamed with the incredible art of Marc Silvestri to "CLASSIFIED." Might be time to break out the Mad Libs.

Oh hey! Over in Ultimate town, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #3 might tell us who is behind the new Spider-Man mask? Taking a step away from "CLASSIFIED," the Ultimate universe does look to be shaping up from what it once was and what it eventually became. Aside from ol' Webhead's identity, the concepts seem to be boiling back down to something movie-styled (Hawkeye's new look, the X-Men thought terrorists, etc.) and will certainly return to being a great stop for film fans looking to read a comic fresh off the stands. I have hope, gentle reader.

Spider-Island will wrap up in Amazing Spider-Man #671 & #672 (with a little Mary Jane gets spider-powers thrown into the mix), leaving two orphaned books of its own: Spider-Island: Cloak & Dagger #3 and Spider-Island: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3. These tie-ins are 50/50; on one hand, they could be ultimately superfluous and simple character pieces that will delight fans of these characters and/or might lure a few new ones in to the fold. On the other hand, they could be key issues later as to when these guys are showcased to their next book. Clock & Dagger always comes up as a title people want to see and Spider-Island could be the springboard they need to try out some solo stuff. Shang-Chi is even in the new Secret Avengers, so he might take some story with him out of his Spider-Island stuff. It's tricky.

Personally, I'm pretty sure the big news from Marvel in October is going to be the fallout and restructuring from X-Men: Schism. Most interestingly enough, X-Men: Regenesis has billed a choice I did not expect: "When the dust settles from the X-Men’s Schism, a line has been drawn, and every mutant must choose. Who will they follow — XXXXXX or Wolverine?" Bwaaaah? XXXXXX? Have we lulled ourselves into a false sense of security, thinking this fight was between Cyclops and Wolverine when really it was XXXXXX all along? If so, nice curve ball, guys, now my mind is a flutter for all the possibilities this new choice might bring! Magneto? Emma Frost? Xavier fits the amount of letters, but if he has to step in, what does Wolverine do to cause so deep a rift that the big guy has to get up and order him out? What about Utopia? See, this is a great solicitation because my mind is racing to keep up with what it's delivering and I can generate interest in that back at the local comic shop.

Even better: Wolverine & The X-Men #1 as awesome silhouettes on its cover! OH HOLY CATS, NIGHTCRAWLER!? No one say a thing about 'oh death is stupid didn't he just die lol' because this is exactly what death is for in comics. To change the game up, to give characters some recuperation time from their own continuity and for some fine dramatic revelation. Nice job, X-Guys.

What did you enjoy? Are you super-excited for the John Carter of Mars comics Marvel with publish along side Disney's new film? Has the new Ghost Rider jazzed you enough that a confrontation between her and Johnny Blaze has you marking a date on your calender? Has the upcoming Avengers roster change started an office betting pool? Which reprint is more amazing, the Marvel Firsts: The 1960s trade paperback or the X-Men #1: 20th Anniversary Edition all the way from that ancient time they call 1991? Take a look at the solicitations for Marvel Comics in October and tell us what you think in the comments below. Excelsior!

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