The Fifth Color | Marvel Solicitations for September 2009

Okay guys, this is September. Time to get serious. The summer blockbusters are either put to rest or coming to an end, and we have 11 different #1 issues to sort through, not to mention the other 11 #2 issues that are kicking it into high gear from last month. And what about the eight issues we know NOTHING about?? Pencils down, kids. The Marvel U just got real.

Or kind of ridiculous in regards to the ongoing narrative. But don't be afraid, not everything is all new and different. Let's take a gander at the September solicitations for the House of Ideas and see what we can look forward to hearing about when we're darn good and ready.

Okay, no joke, there are indeed 11 #1 issues coming out, from the benign Thor and Punisher Annuals (I actually find myself missing when they used to number annuals by the year they came out) to the long-awaited Spider-Woman #1 and Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1. There's even the ridiculous, but I'll get to that later. Point is, this is just as much a month for starts of things to come as August, which tips the scales at 14 #1 issues. Marvel may tout their 600th Captain America, Spider-Man or Incredible Hulk, but let's face it: #1 on a cover gives the book that delectable little collector's spice.

The good news is that most of these #1 issues are mini-series (and no you're not seeing double, that's both Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow: Command School coming out back to back). A lot of the #2 issues that arrive this month are also mini-related, with a delicious 'collect me in a trade' taste. Iron Man & The Armor Wars #2 lands with Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #1, declaring the month unsafe for armor. Ultimate Comics: Avengers #2 enters the running for 'most ridiculous phrase in a solicit' this month with "Meanwhile, Nick Fury reveals the horrifying truth behind the Red Skull and kick-starts Project Avengers in earnest with the arrival of Gregory Stark, Tony's older, richer and smarter brother!". But on the whole, nearly half of these #2 issues are the halfway mark on their respective stories; the promising books are the Ultimate Comic titles and, of course, Ed Brubaker's retelling of the Golden Age as a hot new espionage thriller in The Marvels Project.

Okay, so we got a lot of short stories to enjoy, tidbits of Marveliciousness to nibble on, what about the rest of the Marvel Universe, those long established tales that draw readers back again and again? What about Spider-Man, flagship hero of the House of Ideas?

Well, that's classified. ALL FOUR ISSUES. Even Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man doesn't want to tell you to what's going on. But next week we're promised the truth about September's Spidey, leaving us with HeroesCon this weekend as prime announcement bait. In fact, even now I could totally be getting scooped by a con panel! So let's venture a guess: since last month seemed to be hot for Mary Jane, Peter Parker could very well learn of the devil-made deal from One More Day. He'll probably charge to the internet to call Joe Quesada Hitler and swear he'll never read his own book again.

Spider-Woman #1 has been a long time coming and her fanfic- I mean, post-Secret Invasion story will finally be told. Personally, I've been interested in the story if only to learn what from Spider-Woman: Origin (all the way back in 2005, wow!) is actually true or a Skrull fever dream. Yeah, four years is a long time to hold a grudge but the wild shift from one origin to another would be a fine time for a Skrull gaffe in programming, getting us back to the girl from Wundagore Mountain that we started with. Outlook is hazy, but I'm sure Bendis has other plans for his favorite character, perhaps taking it to that Amazonian he cares little for (thanks, Graeme!).

In other Spider News, who let this happen? No, really. Who let them reissue Spider-Man: The Clone Saga as reprint issues? If anything, a trade would have been just fine and more than enough for the laughable little series that could but getting people to buy it again in six issues "now with an ending you have to see to believe!" Marvel's balls are brass, folks.

Speaking of brass balls (and aren't we always?), the plethora of Avengers and Avengers-like books (Avengers-esque?) both hit highs and lows as covers like this one reminding me exactly why I adore the art of selling comics (really, the pic does the work for me; thanks Deodato!) as the tale of Ares finally finding out that his 10-year-old son has been skipping school and probably home to go truck around with a surly man in an eyepatch. Yeah, I'd get an axe too. But while Secret Warriors and Dark Avengers deal with an angry father, there are three issues to handle what very well just might be the last of the Hood (I can dream). From his rather hasty and uncreative takeover of the criminal underworld, the man who helped beat up Tigra is finally feeling the heat from the many mistakes he's made and is getting Dark Avengers #47, Dark Reign: Made Men and Dark Reign: the Hood to sort himself out. In a world where Norman Osborn runs the world on a string, do we really need to know that the Hood is having problems?

Something we don't have enough of is War of Kings fall out. Just two issues this month, Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy. Maybe we'll get a couple more in the following months but the cosmic stories have done well enough in the past (not to mention now) that I would have expected another ongoing series to play around with by now. The Imperial Guard, the Starjammers, something.

But then again, my Marvel math isn't up to par. How else could I not understand why they would sell a separate Ultimatum HC collecting the four 'Requiem' issues for $20, an Ultimatum HC with just the main series for $25 and the Ultimatum: Spider-Man HC with no Requiem issue also for $25? In one trade, you're getting five issues for around $5 each while another gives you an incomplete story for a little under $4. Some local comic shops might be able to get you the back issues for cheaper than that. To me, it's a misappropriation of hardcoveriness but again, my math might be a little confused.

There's a lot to talk about from the solicitations, from the "long-awaited Peter Bagge 'Incorrigible Hulk'", the rather madcap 'M.O.D.O.C. as Grosse Point Blank' one-shot, the surprise return of the N to Christos N. Gage's name (welcome back, friend!), Dan Slott's 'Classify THIS' approach to solicit writing ("Readers already know the Scarlet Witch is secretly LOKI"), the mighty end and fallout from the under-hyped X-Men/Avengers crossover, the list goes on. Take a look yourself and start making your lists early. In the words of the Bard Fraction, "Nothing gold can stay, Pony-Boy."

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