The stretch run! Marc Buxton‘s weeklong predictions for All-New Marvel Now! continue!
Part 1, covering All-New Ghost Rider to Avengers World, can be found here.
Part 2, covering Black Widow to Iron Patriot, can be found here.
Part 3, covering Loki to The Punisher, can be found here.
By MARC BUXTON
Secret Avengers. Writer: Ales Kot. Artist: Michael Walsh. The agents of SHIELD are certainly hot right now and this book is the closest thing Marvel has on the racks to ABC’s prime-time show. This book seems to be what fans want the show to be, SHIELD espionage featuring Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, along with some super-hero shenanigans courtesy of Spider-Woman and Mockingbird. As mentioned before, Kot nailed the Suicide Squad till DC boneheadedly pulled the plug, and this book should hit similar beats. Prognosis: Fans of “Agents of SHIELD” should check this book out, and having Avengers on the masthead shouldn’t hurt. Marvel has had a tough time selling the Secret Avengers concept, but by gum, they keep trying. Begins in March.
She-Hulk. Writer: Charles Soule. Artist: Javier Pulido. The hardest-working man in comics not named Jeff Lemire brings fans his attempt at getting She-Hulk to succeed. Fans met the Red She-Hulk concept with a typical ennui, but perhaps the return of Jen Walters, star of the animated “Hulk and the Agents of SMASH,” will work with the Now! banner attached. Again Marvel’s dedication to their pantheon of female heroes is clearly evident and should be saluted. The All-New Marvel Now! features five new books featuring female protagonists. The failure of these books would be more a reflection of fandom than Marvel, because, bless them, they are trying. She-Hulk has her fan base, and Soule is a great new voice to Marvel, saving Thunderbolts from mediocrity. Prognosis: She-Hulk, like so many others featured on this list, has always been a rough sell. Her mid-2000s series launched the career of Dan Slott, but did not last long once Slott departed. There is a place for She-Hulk in the MU, but this title seems like it could be a critical darling met with sales apathy. Begins in February.
The Silver Surfer. Writer: Dan Slott. Artist: Mike Allred. For years, fans have been clamoring for a Silver Surfer series, but whenever Marvel tries, the character is greeted with silence. Even Stan Lee had a tough time selling the Surfer, perhaps because the character is so not relatable and the conceit is a bit silly if someone is not familiar with the nuanced history of the character. The Surfer had a successful series in the late ’80s-early ’90s that launched the Infinity Gauntlet, so the concept could work given the right voice. Slott is that voice and Allred is the visionary who will make the Surfer soar. Slott’s specialty is the humanization of his character and the daring of his plots, while Allred … well can you think of a better artist to show the world how funky and fun a galactic Surfer is and could be? Prognosis: It seems Slott and Allred are going the Doctor Who route with the Surfer, humanizing the story by adding a relatable human companion to the mix. It should work, and fans are going to be in for the ride of their lives. Begins in March.
Wolverine. Writer: Paul Cornell. Artist Ryan Stegman. Another Wolverine relaunch, why the heck not? If it exposes new fans to the work of Paul Cornell and Ryan Stegman and adds some extra coin to our pals the retailers’ pockets, who cares? Cornell and Stegman seem to be going in a daring direction with a new costume, and new dangers to a Wolverine that will be operating sans healing factor and, seemingly, sans morals. The first arc also has Wolverine working as a heavy for a crime boss. Cornell has been great so far on the book and Stegman has been kicking butt on Spider-Man, so put this one in the win column. Prognosis: Between this book and the new X-Men film, Wolverine will be Marvel’s hottest character of 2014. Begins in February.
X-Force. Writer: Simon Spurrier. Artist: Rock-he Kim The first wave of Marvel Now! saw the launch of two X-Force books which, while a noble experiment in brand extension, did not work in Marvel’s favor. Cable and X-Force was a fun thrill ride while Uncanny X-Force … wasn’t. Now, Si Spurrier and new comer Rock-he Kim, mash the two X-Force teams together in one super unit led by Cable. As proven in his X-Men: Legacy, Spurrier loves big ideas and experimental storytelling, which could be perfect for the X-Force universe. Prognosis: The market certainly has room for one X-Force book, and this title should maintain the momentum lost with the brand split. With rumblings of an X-Force film on the way, this book could garner some attention very quickly. Begins in February.
NEXT: The rebrands