Friday, 28 January 2011

Hercules Returns!


We're still reluctant to spoil the events of Chaos War, so we'll keep this relatively spoiler-free and brief. However! Hercules did survive the event, and it's been announced that he'll be rewarded with a new ongoing series, 'Herc', co-written as ever by Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak. And although he's getting a new series, there is no guarantee that any of his former co-stars will appear in it anytime soon. The first arc seems to be a tie-in to Fear Itself (as the very first issue of Hercule's solo title was a tie-in to World War Hulk) and sees Hercules breaking into his brother Ares' armoury in order to fight off... well, whatever it is that Greek Gods fight. Monsters, we presume.

The series will be pencilled by Neil Edwards, and as a result you can expect the comic to be released twice a month, starting this April.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Mark Millar Steps Away From Marvel

In an interview with Newsarama, Mark Millar has announced that he's stepping away from doing work-for-hire in order to focus on his creator-owned characters. His last work with Marvel characters will be 'The Death of Spider-Man' storyline for the ultimate universe, capping ten years which have seen him become one of the most controversial and popular writers in comics today. From his work on Ultimates and Civil War to less acclaimed work like his run on Fantastic Four or some of his recent Ultimate Avengers storylines, Millar has always known how to work the press to maximum advantage.

His recent work has been mainly creator-owned, but published through Marvel's Icon line, with stories such as Nemesis, Kick-Ass and Superior all coming through. Millar has worked with many of Marvel's finest artists in the process, and promises upcoming work will include a collaboration with Dave Gibbons himself. Many of his stories have been made into films, and Millar is friends with many celebrity comic-book fans such as Jonathan Ross - whose wife wrote the screenplay to the film adaptation of Kick-Ass. Wherever he goes, we're sure that controversial storylines will follow. The status of the Ultimate Universe is now officially upgraded to "under threat". With Spider-Man apparently dying and Millar off the alternate-universe franchise, it's looking increasingly unlikely that it will last the end of the year.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

EXCLUSIVE: One of the Fantastic Four "to die"!


Has anyone covered this yet? Apparently one of the Fantastic Four is going to die! We're only joking, of course you know about this. We're not going to say anything about the deceased member of the team, however. Read the comic! Enjoy Jonathan Hickman's words! Savour Steve Epting's artwork! Mourn according to your stance on the dead character! Here's the cover to the issue, by Alan Davis, which is hidden from casual browsing in the shop by a big black bag.

Monday, 24 January 2011

New 'Fear Itself' Teaser Image/One Shot Revealed


Marvel have released an image which serves as a teaser for the first of what are sure to be a fair few tie-ins to Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen's 'Fear Itself' storyline. The image, which promotes a one-shot by Victor Gischler and Goran Parlov (he of the Jonathan Maberry Punisher mini in which Punisher fought off The Hulk using a bow-and-arrow) called 'Throne Of Blood: Birth of a Vampire' seems to connect directly from Gischler's first arc on the adjectiveless X-Men series. Although the character here is kept in shadow, it wouldn't be a long stretch to suggest that it is either Dracula or a spawn of Dracula. Hah! Spawn. We never get to use that word often enough, and it's such a good word. The Spawn of Dracula. This will likely turn out to be the main villain of Fear Itself, or at least one of the more important side-villains.

The image shows off several of the main characters in the Fear Itself series, obviously showcasing obvious victims such as Captain America (Ed Brubaker is writing the prologue to the main series, featuring the character Sin as the new Red Skull), Iron Man, and Thor. Iron Man and Thor are written by Fraction, it's no great leap to see that they'll turn up in Fear Itself. Interesting is the Dr Doom mask, and Magneto's helmet. We already knew Uncanny X-Men was a lock to tie-in, but where will Doom show up? He's recently been beaten up during Doomwar, and seems set to marry Scarlet Witch during The Children's Crusade -- but he hasn't appeared in a regular series for a while. A tie-in for whatever Jonathan Hickman's new Fantastic Four book will become?

Finally, we see Daredevil's weaponry displayed. Daredevil isn't being Daredevil anymore, so this is a good indication that Matt Murdock will soon be coming back to the Marvel Universe! Andy Diggle has a few more issues of his Murdock-exploring miniseries, but it now looks as though Daredevil will be returning properly come this Spring. That'll please some of you guys!

The one-shot looks set to come out in April, so we've got a wait before any of this starts to come together.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Our Readership Goes Up When We Post Black Panther News


David Liss is writing the Black Panther title for Marvel at the moment, in which T'Challa (not technically Black Panther anymore, but ah well) has headed to Hell's Kitchen to take over what Daredevil started and then totally wussed out of. He's fighting someone called Vlad, and by all reports it's a decent series. But BP should get a significant push soon, as Marvel have just announced plans for a Black Panther movie to be made. Writer Mark Bailey has been asked to write the first treatment of a script, and should that be given the go-ahead, Panther should expect to turn up on the big-screen at around the same time as Dr Strange or Ant-Man. As Storm is owned by FOX Studios at the moment, it's unlikely she'll appear. Tony Stark may well show up, however.

A lot of actors are interested in playing this role! It's known that Djimon Hounsou wants to play it - he did the voice for the recent cartoon series. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Idris Elba are also some of the strongest contenders to play T'Challa. More when we get it!

Marvel allow 'Three' to be Released Early


Jonathan Hickman's current mega-arc on Fantastic Four, 'Three', is probably the best-maintained secret Marvel have ever had. Nobody knows for sure which one of the Fantastic Four are going to die, and it looks like nobody will know until the issue comes out. And now it turns out that this will be sooner than anyone expected, as Marvel have announced that any comic shops which take stock of the issue early next week, can sell it early next week.

This is interesting news, as it doesn't really sound like the sort of thing which will help sales much. Sure it'll be great for all the people who get a copy early, but what about the spoilers that are sure to follow? All it takes it one blogger - not us, continuity-continuers, we don't spoil on this site - to reveal the ending online for the whole internet to post spoilers. And as we know, many readers don't pick up a comic if they can have the ending explained to them in halting sentences in a blog or forum entry.

Marvel's explanation is that they are going to release some massive interviews with the mainstream media on the day of the issue's formal release, and they want as few fans to be spoiled as possible. When Captain America (spoiler!) died, the presses went ballistic and almost everyone seemed to have a take on the story. So this is Marvel's attempt to let the fans know a few days before the World does. It's certainly a decision, but we'll have to see how it all pans out next week. Keep your eyes open! Your store may stock this early!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Kieron Gillen is totally Writing Everything

Fred Van Lente has been overthrown! While Van Lente used to write every single Marvel title for about the last two years, the other writers circulated and formulated ways to depose him and take his throne. Van Lente wrote for every single offic and had contacts everywhere. The fight to claim his title of 'busiest Marvel writer' was fought in private, in silent katana battles in Joe Quesada's office. Many writers came out of the experience irreversably changed. Jeff Parker became gamma-infused. Matt Fraction became obsessed with giant hammers. And Dan Slott learned what the f-word means.

Only one man came out of the many guerrilla battles unscathed, and has now emerged to seize Fred Van Lente's prolific crown. And that man is one Kieron Gillen, who you may remember we once posted a picture of, where he was hanging out with a mermaid. Hot on the hot news that he will be writing 'Journey Into Mystery' come April is the even hotter news that he is now officially the SOLE WRITER of Uncanny X-Men! And with change comes more change - his first sole issue will be a pointone issue, drawn by Carlos Pacheco, and focusing on Magneto. Exciting!


The arc after that will follow on from one of the most popular X-Men stories of the past decade - Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men. You'll remember of course that Astonishing finished with the X-Men stuck on a planet called Breakworld, trying to stop the inhabitants from firing a missile at Earth. That ended with Kitty Pryde getting stuck inside the missile - then revealed to be a rocket - and getting fired at Earth. She's only just been saved from said bullet, and now it appears that the X-Men are going to meet the Breakworldians once more. She must be pissed.

This will also be the arc which properly focuses on the reunited Kitty and Colossus, who have been shown in small doses up to this point. Matt Fraction's run put Kitty in a hazmat suit designed to help her recover from the bullet ordeal, and that's still affecting her as we enter the Gillen Generation. With her problems, can she even make out with Colossus anymore? Or is it just weird. That's one of many questions we'll have answered in the arc. Emma Frost, Wolverine, Cyclops, Namor also appear in the story, as they are considered the 'core' characters of Uncanny X-Men at the moment.



Following this four-issue arc, drawn by Terry Dodson, we'll enter Fear Itself and probably see some tie-ins to both that Matt Fraction event and the stories unfolding in Gillen's other X-Title, Generation Hope.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Marvel Plan a Thor Franchise


There's a Thor film coming! And if the Golden Globes were any indication, the lead actor is going to be more charismatic than a rusty nail. But that doesn't matter! The main thing is that Marvel have unveiled their plans for a load of Thor titles to tie in with the film. Two series, in fairness, but that still counts as a load. Matt Fraction currently writes the only ongoing Thor title around, but come April he'll move over to a new #1 title. New series 'The Mighty Thor' will continue Fraction's storylines but will also be styled so new fans can understand it. So while the current arc is about worldeaters and big trees and Thor's family, the first arc of The Mighty Thor looks to simplify matters a little.

Fraction promises that the series will open with Galactus coming to Asgard, presumably to eat it. Thor's been trying to cultivate his homeland after it got destroyed at the end of Siege, and one of his discoveries seems set to bring the big G over to visit. As a result, we'll see Asgard Vs Galactus and Thor Vs the Silver Surfer. And y'know who'll be drawing all this? Only Oliver Coipel! The man who apparently legally requires to be present for any Thor relaunch will draw the Galactus arc, followed by the 'Fear Itself' tie-in which will presumably happen. Then Pasqual Ferry, current artist on Thor, will return for the story after that.


What happens to Fraction's current series? Well, artist Doug Braithwaite and writer Kieron Gillen take over it and retitle it "Journey Into Mystery". That was the title used for the very first Thor series all those decades ago, and Gillen's opening storyline will tie into Fear Itself. Loki looks to be the main character, as he assembles a team of mythological guardians - from Asgard and elsewhere - to form a secret team of protectors for his people. It's a little bit Uncanny X-Force, really. Anyway, Thor will appear in the series, obviously, but the interest here is that apparently Loki will start to uncover the origins of the Fear Itself storyline before anyone else does. And also, Loki is more interesting than Thor, as this cover shows:


So there you have it! Two Thor series, debuting in April. All ready for the probably-disappointing film! You lucky, lucky people, you.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Spider-Man, Spider-Man


Friendly Andrew-Garfield Spider-Man!

Captain America: A Little Help


"A Very Special Issue" of Captain America has been made available online as of this week. Captain America: A Little Help is a story which addresses the very real problem of suicide. Written by Doctor Tim Ursiny, the story is about a suicidal man, who is drawn into a chance encounter with Captain America himself that changes his life. The story is being launched with the guidance of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and will be available on Marvel Digital, as well as all electronic distribution sources such as the iPad or iPhone. We're not making any jokes about this, it's a serious subject and it's wonderful to see Marvel address it in a responsible manner. The story, drawn by Nick Dragotta, also appeared in the anthology series "I am an Avenger". You can read more about the issue below:

http://marvel.com/news/story/14974/captain_america_combats_suicide

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Meet The Deadpools


It's been light on news since we found out that Axel Alonso was Marvel's new EIC. Much of the reporting has focused on Joe Quesada's legacy, and what we might expect from our new all-conquering leader of editors. The first real piece of news we can actually bring you concerns Deadpool, and his assorted corps members. In a release which suggests a shift away from that military tone, Marvel have announced that come June they will be publishing 'Deadpool Family #1', a one-shot which focuses on the members of the corps and presumably pushes them more into a domestic setting.

This likely comes after recent complaints of oversaturation led to Marvel asking readers to vote for the cancellation of a Deadpool title. While we can't remember if Deadpool Corps or Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth lost that vote, it looks like the basic premise of both titles is going to be rolled into one series - if the one-shot does well, of course. The writers are interesting. James Asmus is already a favourite with ComVan, having written some fun X-Men short stories in the past. And Mary HK Choi - sister to Mike, fact-fans - has written some really great work outside of the comics-world. We're looking forward to seeing what she'll do with Marvel, and predict 'things'! Cullen Bunn will write another third of the story, and we're kinda hoping he brings the Western genre back to Marvel. We love Westerns!

The artists will be Darnell Johnson, Dominike Stanton, and Iren Strychalski, all of whom have a striking style. So although Deadpool 'may' be overdone at the moment, at least the stories will have strong creative talent behind them. We're overwriting this article because there isn't much else to talk about, and we want you to feel like you're getting content for your money. Which you aren't donating to us. You guys should totally donate money to us! That's an idea which just sprang to mind right now, and it's wonderful. Really liking that idea. Maybe we'll do something about it..

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

ALONSO TAKES POLE POSITION

Seriously how come nobody else has written that headline yet? It's almost as if nobody in America knows what Formula 1 is! The big news of the day is Marvel's announcement of a New Editor-In-Chief!!

Joe Quesada had the job for ten years, during which time A LOT has gone on - basically all the things we mentioned in yesterday's post. But recently he's been promoted above this rank, to chief creative officer. It's a role which requires him to spend as much time on film, tv, and other media as he does on comics, and as such his ability to oversee Marvel's comics division has been cut down somewhat over the past few months. As such, Axel Alonso will be taking over with due effect this year, moving from his role as leader of the X-Men to leader of the Marvel Universe. Congratulations to Mr Alonso, this makes you perhaps the third most powerful Axel on the face of the Earth.

What might this mean for you, the reader? Well, Alonso is a big fan of the X-Men and Deadpool, so we might start to see some of Joe Quesada's favourites wind down a little while those two franchises get a bit of a push. Already the X-Men are promised to have a strong role in 'Fear Itself', which could signal the start of bigger things for them as a series. Of course, this is wildly inaccurate misinformation which we are spreading - he's a professional, he's not just going to foist his favourites on an unwilling public. We'll just have to see what happens.

In similar triumphant news, Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort no longer exists. Because he is now the Senior Vice-President of Publishing! Congratulations to the new SVPOP, or 'SuV-POP' as we're going to call him from now on. But not to his face.

No, never to his face.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

ComVan Explores Marvel.com

Welcome to 2011! We're hoping for a bumper year of great, fun comics, without too many event or snuff comics standing in the way of us all having a good time. Why do we have to sit through long stories where nothing happens, connected to about sixty tie-in issues? We've left the naughties, the decade which saw Marvel grow up and then de-age itself in an act of self-retconning. Spider-Man became a teacher and then got divorced and lost his job. The X-Men watched as mutants became the largest culture on Earth, before they all got depowered and everyone started killing them. The Avengers were working on an international scale to defend the planet from atacks, before they got split up and hired Jessica Jones to be one of their key members. It's been a strange decade. First the characters were moving forwards, then they were suddenly moving backwards. Some characters have done better than others - The Fantastoc Four are arguably reaching a new peak, whilst Iron Man seems to be breaking new territory. Taskmaster did pretty well, and so did The Thunderbolts and Daken. Like we said, it's been a strange decade.
We've got a few things to look forward to this year, least of which being Matt Fraction's thus-far uninteresting 'Feat Itself' event storyline which looks to be all about Steve Rogers becoming Captain America again and Thor doing something with his hammer. It could well be good - we're just saying that it doesn't look likely. Elsewhere, one of the Fantastic Four are going to get killed off and War Machine is getting yet another attempt at the big time. Hawkeye looks set for a big push, whilst the Hulks are now friends and Red Hulk is one of the Avengers. Black Panther has taken over the Daredevil series while Matt Murdock wanders round a desert or something, and Wolverine is still trying to find a way to escape from Hell.
ComVan has been very quiet over Christmas, due to unforseen Snowman attack. But as soon as we came back we knew that it was time to deliver some big news to you. Comicbookresources and Newsarama didn't have anything new to tell us (remember: we basically steal their stories, rewrite them in our unique 'dreadful' style and post them) so Marvel.com were our last bet. And how fun that bet wasn't! Heading onto the website we were shown big pictures of the new TV series and films that Marvel are making/will be releasing this year, and a small box which said "comics". So we clicked onto that, as we are in the business of comics and not vaguely disappointing films.
This took us to another page which wouldn't load, thus forcing our browser to close the site and reload it once more, taking us back to the home page. We tried again, this time spotting an interesting looking article which said "vote for the newest thunderbolt". Were Marvel letting their fans decide who will join the team? What options might be available? Intrigued, we clicked to go to it but were instead taken to a news page which told us all about Marvel's new Iron Man hub. We clicked back, and the page broke once more and we headed back to the home. The site seemed to be actively trying to keep us away from any news about Marvel comics in 2011! After a further twenty minutes spent trying to find anything of interest - a preview page, anything - on the site, we eventually concluded that Marvel.com is one of the most terrible websites around.
So we went to the enjoyable and workable DC website instead, and read all about Peter Milligan's new gig -- 'Red Lantern Corps'. Super-cool!