Well, it finally happened. After years of constant delays/postponements, Marvel has finally cancelled the next two issues of Bendis and Mark Bagley’s creator-owned series “Brilliant.” The first five issues were published erratically over the course of a year and the first volume wasn’t bad. It did, however, end on a note that was clearly meant to springboard the next arc. Whether or not we’ll ever see it is anyone’s guess at this point.
Part of me wants to put the reasons why we never saw these issues and their cancellation down to Bendis himself. After all, he’s the one who has over-committed himself with multiple ongoing titles in the Marvel Universe and additional delayed creator-owned projects. Bagley, on the other hand, is one of the fastest artists in the business and should’ve been able to draw scripts for “Brilliant” if he had received them. Except that the artist has also been kept very busy by Marvel over the past few years, including multiple collaborations with Bendis. The long-delayed pronouncement of “Brilliant’s” death is down to a combined effort on the part of its writer and artist as I see it.
Now it’s time to actually see if we’ll get the next three issues of Bendis and Alex Maleev’s “Scarlet” after all these years. They’ve been solicited, but will they actually show up?
The Fallen #1 & The Accused #1: Both are one-shot tie-ins to “Civil War II.” Both are also “Classified” regarding their actual content. If you want to know what’s so special about them, you’ll have to pay $5 for each of them when they come out in August. Or, you could just wait until the internet spoils them in the week that they arrive. I know which option I’ll be taking here.
All-New All-Different Avengers Annual #1: And I thought that the “Civil War II” tie-in madness had reached its peak last month. Now pretty much everything is tying into the event and it’s actually proving to find something interesting to write about here. Fortunately, this Annual has a killer idea to set it apart from the crowd: Kamala Khan’s fan-fiction! You’ve heard it mentioned in the pages of “Ms. Marvel” and “Avengers,” now you’re finally going to see it in action thanks to the efforts of Mark Waid, G. Willow Wilson, Faith Erin Hicks, Mahmud Asrar, Veronica Fish, and (I assume) equally talented creators who haven’t been announced yet! Should make for a great read for me when it’s finally collected.
Hyperion #6: Still not convinced this is an essential read. Except, that is a pretty sweet cover from Elizabeth Torque. Just thought that was worth mentioning.
Amazing Spider-Man #’s 16-17: And the reason Spidey just has a miniseries tie-in to “Civil War II” is because his main title is gearing up for the “Dead No More” event. This is where all sorts of characters of varying significance are being brought back to further some villain’s mysterious agenda. The first volume of Dan Slott’s “Amazing” showed us that people important to the Rhino and the Lizard have been resurrected, while the returns of Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy have also been teased in the promotional materials. Doc Ock’s return has also been teased, but that looks to be a different (and likely more permanent) kind of beast than what we’re getting with these other characters. It may look like Slott is breaking all sorts of taboos here, but at this point everyone should know that’s just a swerve. We’ll have to wait until the actual event kicks off to find out what his real plan is.
Darth Vader #25: To my surprise, this is the final issue of the series. It turns out that Kieron Gillen did have a specific plan for his run: To show how Vader regained his standing after the destruction of the Death Star in “A New Hope.” That the series is ending now that his planned story has come to an end is still pretty surprising. Given that the series is still selling extremely well, you’d think that Marvel would find someone else to take over for the writer and keep the party going. Hmmmm… now that I think about it, that’s how Old Marvel used to work. Marvel these days is just going to relaunch “Darth Vader” with a new #1 issue all for that delicious sales spike, and then start to panic when things dip below what Gillen’s run was selling.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. The first two volumes of Gillen’s run were great and even with the “Vader Down” speed bump, the fact that the series is ending on his terms indicates that it’ll likely be a very worthy finish.
Powers #7: Yup, this is still going. By the time this issue comes out, the second season of the TV series will have been out for a couple months. No points on guessing when we’ll be seeing the next issue now that Mike Oeming is working on “Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye” with Gerard Way over at DC.
Deadpool by Posehn and Duggan Omnibus: If the latest volume is any indication, this will wind up being the “good half” of Duggan’s run. Sarcasm aside, this is the take on the character that I’ve enjoyed the most. It’s primarily a comedy, but the dramatic moments just spice things up instead of detract from the entertainment.
Black Panther vol. 1: A Nation Under Our Feet: Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and artist Brian Stelfreeze’s take on T’Challa and his kingdom has already given us the biggest-selling issue of 2016 so far. One that also netted its fair share of critical acclaim as well. So yeah, I’m interested in checking this out. The fact that it’s only collecting the first four issues suggests that the experience is going to be on the thin side, but Marvel is bulking up the collection with a reprint of the Panther’s first appearance in “Fantastic Four” #52 and “more than 25 pages of bonus content.” All I can say about the latter part is that some insight into Coates’ writing process and thoughts about the story and characters would be all that’s needed to make them worthwhile to me.
Secret Wars Too: Collecting the title one-shot as well as all of the other such issues relating to Marvel events over the years. Are any of them worth reading? *shrugs* However, Hickman himself is contributing a story here about the creation of “Secret Wars” which could be amusing, but is likely to be more interesting for any “between the lines” stuff he manages to sneak in about the process. That’s not worth buying this collection for, but I will keep an eye out for it if the issue containing his story winds up on sale at Comixology one of these days.
Karnak vol. 1: The Flaw in All Things: What was meant to be one of the few good “Inhuman” titles was waylaid by massive delays as a result of bad personal circumstances on the part of its original artist Gerardo Zaffino. I’m also sure that Warren Ellis’ problematic medical event from last year didn’t help things either. No issues past the ones that are collected here have been solicited, but that may change once this volume comes out. Assuming sales are good. However, is this series going to be worth reading if Ellis doesn’t stick around? I imagine Karnak, with his flaw-seeing abilities and all, would have some choice words about that.