Fan Expo Canada ’12: Marvel News
Marvel made some small announcements at this years Fan Expo Canada, and we’re here to give you the highlights if you missed them or couldn’t make the convention yourself. First up is the news on what is coming to Dark Avengers this December.
Back in June the Thunderbolts on-going series changed its name to Dark Avengers with issue #175. This followed the events of the Avengers/New Avengers storyline from spring which had Norman Osborn form a new Dark Avengers. Some of his remade team later found their way into the Thunderbolts program, and therefore the Thunderbolts comic series by Jeff Parker. Well, as the series has been renamed, now so will the series concept according to Parker. This December, with issue #184 the Dark Avengers will take a turn from the Thunderbolts initiative and add a few new members to their ranks. “We still have Ragnarok as Dark Thor; The Witch, formerly Toxie Doxie; Trickshot, Hawkeye’s jerk brother; The Spider Man, Ai Apaic, former Spider God and enemy of Spider-Man; and Skaar, son of Hulk. And now Moonstone and John Walker are going to reprise some roles to join the team!” according to Parker. “If you never saw it before, Moonstone co-opted Ms. Marvel’s identity and will do so as Captain Marvel. Walker was USAgent, arguably the original Dark Avenger as a Captain America.” This should be fairly interesting, considering the last time we saw John Walker he was…well, not walking. In recent issues of Thunderbolts, John Walker had been confined to a wheel chair post-Siege. Joining Parker for this new era of Dark Avengers will be comic artist, Neil Edwards (Herc, Astonishing Spider-Man). But what will these villainous Avengers be up against? Parker says “Their first menace is a hostile landscape with even darker versions of the Avengers than themselves. [Former Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers leader] Norman Osborn has no idea about this. But some other Marvel villains do, and are studying this closely. They won’t be revealing themselves willingly.” Check it out when the Dark Avengers get a little more dark this December.
Now Edwards won’t be the only new artist on a popular Marvel book, as Fan Expo also revealed a comic that will survive post-AvX. Wolverine and the X-men will still be around, it seems, come January as it gets a new artist, the Eisner Award-winning artist Ramon Perez (Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, John Carter: The Gods of Mars) that is. “I was quite ecstatic when [editor] Nick Lowe contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a run on the book,” explains Perez. “It’s been a while since I’ve tackled any super hero books on a grand scale. Most of, if not all, of my super hero work has been on solitary characters like Captain America and Deadpool, and I thought it’d be really nice to finally tackle a team book, especially one comprised of such great characters. My favorite books growing up were always team books as I loved the interplay between the various characters personalities, so it’s really nice to be a part of one right now. It just feels right. I just tend to go with my gut on these kinds of things.” Perez’s first venture out with Wolverine and his students will actually take place on a field trip to the Savage Land in Wolverine and the X-men #25, out next year. You can check out a very early preview of the issues cover, done by Perez, on the left.
But it’s not just artist changing titles that Marvel announced at this year’s show. Sometime ago Ed Brubaker made it clear he was stepping away from Marvel…at least for a while. So this weekend Marvel finally announced who would be filling Brubaker’s shoes on the title he created and made popular, Winter Soldier. Winter Soldier is likely to get a lot more attention now that Captain America 2, the movie sequel, has been titled Captain America: Winter Soldier. So it comes as a rather big shock that Marvel has not chosen a superstar writer for the position, but rather a smaller indie artist with just a few writing creds to his name. Artist Jason Latour (Loose Ends, Wolverine)will be the new writer of Winter Soldier next year, starting with issue #15. Latour recently wrote Untold Tales of Punisher MAX #2 for Marvel, just one of less than 10 published comic stories the indie artist has written. With this in mind it should come as a shock that Latour even admits the opportunity was unexpected, saying “I just didn’t think this character would ever be in play. I’d drawn a few stories for my editor, Lauren Sankovitch, in the past and I’d always sort of dangled it out there that I’d like to pitch her some things. Fortunately she seemed to like my writing and when the time came to cast the book she asked me if I would be interested.” But Latour also knows he has big shoes to fill, following Brubaker, and already has plans for Bucky. “At the risk of oversimplifying it, Bucky is a guy struggling with a dual nature,” he notes. “The great things he’s done as Bucky and as Cap and the really awful things he did for the Soviets as The Winter Soldier seem very much at odds with one another. But this is a man who was trained by the U.S. government to be a super soldier—to fight and kill and do the messy work that Cap couldn’t or wouldn’t do. If things had played out differently he very well could have ended up a killer and assassin for the U.S. So an ever-present aspect of the character is the question of where and when does Bucky Barnes end and The Winter Soldier begin? There may not be an answer to that question, but Bucky as I see him is ready to ask it and that’s very scary for him. The answer might be very ugly.” It’s obvious that Latour couldn’t give much away about his plans for the series, at risk of spoiling Brubaker’s upcoming finale, but he did give fans a hint of villains to come by sharing details on the new femme fatale Bucky will be up against in issue #15. “She’s, hopefully, a new spin on Bucky’s rogues gallery in that she’s the first indirect casualty of his actions,” Latour explains. “But what I think will make her unique is that she’s got a complex set of motivations and agendas. Her plans are on a larger scale than revenge, but her involvement in them creates a very personal dynamic with Bucky—one that will really chip away at his already shaky foundation.” You can check out the cover to Winter Soldier #15, out in January, by Declan Shalvey above.
This next piece from Fan Expo probably deals with the Marvel comic I am most anticipating this fall, Punisher War Zone. Punisher War Zone is the 5-issue mini-series that concludes Greg Rucka’s brilliant run on The Punisher volume 9. In Punisher War Zone, the Avengers finally realize they can no longer ignore the problem Frank Castle poses their community and declare war on the gun toting vigilante. For the first 12-issues of The Punisher volume 9, Marco Checchetto was the series’ main artist. Unfortunately, due to person reasons, Checchetto had to halt his interior art duties for the final 2-issues of the volume and will not be returning for War Zone. Yet as Mico Suayan finished up issues #13 & 14 of The Punisher, he also wont be doing War Zone. So who is handling the interiors of what is sure to be a 5-issue masterpiece? Thanks to Marvel’s panels at Fan Expo we now know it to be artist Carmine Di Giandomenico (Journey Into Mystery, Iron Man 2.0) who will be handling Punisher War Zone this October. Editor Steve Wacker is quite happy with his choice of artist for the series, stating “Carmine’s work on varied projects like Invincible Iron Man, X-Men: Magneto – Testament and Spider-Man: Noirhave shown him to be a thoughtful artist with a pristine sense of storytelling, mood, and environment. He’s a fantastic artist who can do tough times very well. He draws like an action star which will be good for War Zone, particularly considered what Greg has planned.” And just what does Greg Rucka have planned for the mini-series? Well, Carmine gave away a little jokingly while describing the part of the story he was most excited drawing on Marvel.com, “The Spider-Man fight in issue #1. I mean the Thor fight in issue #2. Oh and when Wolverine…Rucka just strongly suggested I stop typing.” Now let it be said for fans of Checchetto, just because he wont be doing the interiors, doesn’t mean he’s no longer involved in War Zone. Marco Checchetto will still be providing covers for all 5-issues of Punisher War Zone, including the #2 cover seen on the right. Check out Punisher War Zone #1 when it hits stores this October.
Now with all that said, on to the biggest Marvel news of Fan Expo Canada, the announcement of a new Spider-Man spin-off series. Now this is just any Spider-Man spin-off, as it’s not featuring the ol’ wall crawler, but one of his pseudo-villains. Furthermore, this will be a brand new on-going series at that! So who is this series about and what’s the title? Morbius! Yes, Morbius, the living vampire, is going to be the star of a brand new, self-titled, on-going series from Marvel spinning out of Amazing Spider-Man #699.1 this December. The series, which starts January of next year, will be written by Joe Keatinge (Hell Yeah, Glory) and drawn by Rich Elson (Journey Into Mystery, 2000AD). Morbius has certainly had a fair amount of play recently in Amazing Spider-Man, and it seems Keatinge wants to run off Morbius’ recent misfortunes. “Morbius boils down to tragedy,” Keatinge believes. “He’s a guy who desperately wants to do right—he won a Nobel Peace Prize!—but everything always just goes so horribly wrong. A lot of people die in the wake of him trying to do the well by the world. There’s a lot of tragedy in our story. Things don’t go well for the guy.” Things certainly didn’t go well for Morbius in the recent ‘No Turning Back’ storyline of Amazing Spider-Man (issues #688-691), as he lost his job at Horizon, mutated the Lizard, and finally pissed off Spider-Man to a point that the hero found him a spot on the Raft (Marvel’s high security super villain prison just off Rykers). But it sounds like Morbius will be out and seeking redemption for Christmas, and traveling around as the new series begins next year. “Morbius’ adventures will lead us to explore new, unexpected and interesting areas of the character and his environment,” the artist, Rich Elson, says. “I know Joe’s thinking about some interesting locations to set stories in down the line and I have a few ideas of places that make me feel a little uncomfortable so hopefully we’ll get the chance to explore the breadth of Morbius’ world both internally and externally.” Keatinge further elaborates, adding “We’re putting him in a setting he’s never been before—he’s seeing a side of the Marvel Universe no one’s ever explored before. A side consisting of people too odd and disturbing for even the X-Men. I don’t want to say too much about them just yet, but Morbius will find he has a lot in common with a lot of people, which probably means they shouldn’t have met. This is definitely taking him in some very different directions, but the core of the character will be true to who he is.” Check out Morbius #1 next January
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