Nearly every gun in Marvel Comics’ cavalry came a blazin’ this past Wednesday with nearly every shot nailing the cranium. “The Architects” — as the #1 comic book company in America labels their top writers — have had their many ups and downs, as writers of trademarked material often do.
The week of June 20th remained the exception though, as even a fill-in job by Ty Templeton on Avenging Spider-Man #8 proved worthy of a purchase.
Seeing how we’re completely unsure of Silver Sable’s “death” during Dan Slott’s up-and-down “Ends of the Earth” storyline, it was nice to see a reflective look at the history of Peter Parker and Miss Sablinova during the good ol’ Doctor Strange vs. Doctor Doom days. The Avenging Spider-Man title has also proved to be a nice collection of team-ups that have actually pushed Slott’s titular Spidey-ongoing forward.
Speaking of moving forward, the true highlight for Marvel – and all of comics – this week was Avengers vs. X-Men #6. Sure, it was easy to either get really revved up for a comic “event” of this magnitude (Colossus vs. Hulk! Black Widow vs. Emma Frost!! Gambit vs. ..Captain America???), but Mr. Jonathan Hickman may have went and saved another floundering Marvel war (see: Fear Itself, Secret Invasion). Maybe his bowing out of the surprisingly awesome Ultimates title – imagine the Avengers movie versus Mass Effect video game – to Sam Humphries will allow Hick to step another notch up the company ladder.
And, why not? Hickman’s history lessons of technology on both volumes of S.H.I.E.L.D. were completely masterful; his Secret Warriors was the best Nick Fury-centered title in decades; and his epic run on Fantastic Four – and sister-book FF (Future Foundation) – has been damn near perfect. After reading issue #6 of AvX and witnessing Hickman not only saving that atrocious idea called “The Phoenix Five,” but making it amazingly awesome(!?!), one has to wonder whether this guy is now Marvel’s answer to Geoff Johns.
So, if Matty Frac’s parting with Invincible Iron Man (which hasn’t been bad in nearly five years!), Jonathan Hickman’s your man. But, also, if he’s writing the X-Men so damn well – the way he commanded the return of Professor X and his first meeting with Magneto in some years this past week was practically seamless – maybe he’s your guy. Better yet, since Kieron Gillen has been handling Uncanny X-Men without a hiccup in his first full year, dropping a great portrayal of classic X-villain Mr. Sinister, why not.. Avengers! I’m pretty sure Brian Bendis has said he’s closing up his run with “The Age of Ultron” or “Ultron War” or “Hank Pym Gets To Actually Do Something Relevant Again” event, so Hickman would be the perfect guy to take over the one of the Big 2’s biggest book.
Speaking of Gillen, many props go to his previously mentioned Uncanny and his take on Thor offshoot, Journey into Mystery. Cullen Bunn has also done a serviceable job on Wolverine between Jason Aaron and Jeph Loeb’s runs (“Sabretooth Reborn!”), as well as some of the scripting duties on Venom which hasn’t lost a step since Rick Remender’s initiation.
Last, but certainly not least, Jeff Parker’s “Mayan Rule” storyline during Hulk (or “Rulk,” which we like to label it, since it’s fairing better than the Green’s Incredible at the moment) has been a booming jolt of mayan-machine-whipping entertainment. Makes you wonder if the movie people over at Marvel will capitalize on this spectacular title when thinking of their third Hulk movie – or third Hulk remake, if you want to get technical. Yes, Green Mark Ruffalo Hulk meet Red Nick Nolte Hulk! Kidding. Well, at least about the Nolte part. Maybe Tom Hardy? Hell, Ryan Reynolds gets to play both Green Lantern’s Hal Jordan and the in-development Deadpool…
So, let’s announce this bombshell in a few weeks at Comic Con, Marvel.
Parker’s other title Thunderbolts has also gone the makeover route labeling itself Dark Avengers. Not only is the title silly, I doubt more fans are going to purchase the renamed Thunderbolts just because the word “Avengers” is in the title. Most comic fans are smart enough these days to buy a book because of their favorite writer or artist, and Jeff’s certainly been one of mine since the early Agents of Atlas. Parker just does a fine job at writing the quirkiest characters, or in other words, he makes some of these wondrously eccentric B-listers interesting. Rulk was a fucking joke until Parker took over (sorry Jeph), but Thunderbolts – though handled pretty well by Andy Diggle – lacked a solid direction. Dark Avengers, Thunderbolts, Dark Bolts, Thunder Avengers, whatever you want to call this book, is just the shit.Some other tidbits from “The week to which Marvel owned”:
• My congregation should already know by now that the three best titles Marvel has to offer lately have been, A.) Daredevil, B.) Winter Soldier, and C.) The Punisher, right? No? Time to search for another diocese that will accept you. Now. Daredevil #14 may have been one of the weakest in Waid’s run – still effin’ pretty amazing – but that final page was the funniest final page of the year. Bam. Ed Brubaker can’t do any wrong on Winter Solider, either, which is basically a continuation from his legendary run on the Bucky-led Captain America. If you love crime espionage, there is no better title unless you’re enjoying Greg Rucka’s Frank Castle as much as we are. In issue #12, Pun finally delivers a bark as loud as his bite (yes, I said that correctly), spewing more on his mind to Ms. Alves than he has in the eleven issues previous. Too bad none of the films could or will ever follow suit.
• There’ll be a couple comic-related video game reviews on the way. Yup.
• Wonder Woman #10 was DC’s Book of the Week. Again. But we still gave the fourth Parish Pick spot to Peter David’s X-Factor. Hey, it’s the Week of Marvel gosh darn it!