You all better get used to hearing about Marvel Comics over the next couple of months, because Marvel NOW! is in effect. Tonight we’ll highlight three of the five new Marvel NOW! series that start up this coming Wednesday, all of which are perfect jumping-on points for each of the book’s characters.
Since they’re the first family of the Marvel Universe, let’s start off with Fantastic Four #1. Combining classic with current, Mark Bagley (Ultimate Spider-Man), a veteran of both Marvel and DC comics, lends his artistic talents to wordsmith Matt Fraction (Defenders, Fear Itself, Hawkeye, Immortal Iron Fist) for a fresh take on Marvel‘s oldest series. Wanting to get away from the constant battles with Doctor Doom and Galactus, Reed and Sue Richards decide to take their family on a universe-spanning field trip. The series will take a stand-alone approach to its issues, as the Fantastic Four land on a new planet or time period in each issue, getting into trouble each time as they try to teach Valeria and Franklin about the ins-and-outs of the galaxy. And if you’re less of a reader and more of a collector, Fantastic Four #1 has variant covers in spades. That’s a Scottie Young Baby variant, a Mark Bagley mural variant, a blank variant, and a couple more for good measure.
Brian Michael Bendis carved himself out a fairly comfortable niche in The Avengers corner of the Marvel Universe over the last ten years, so now it’s time for him to do the same with the X-Men. All-New X-Men #1, his first X-Book, tells a story no other X-Men book has dared to tell before. With the fallout of Avengers vs. X-Men, Cyclops and many of the original X-Men members are in drastically different positions from where they started, thus Beast decides to travel back in time, collect the original X-Men members, and bring them to the future to knock some sense into their present-day selves. With art by the incomparable Stuart Immonen (Nextwave, Ultimate X-Men), All-New X-Men will look great and read crisply.
If you pick up only one of the Marvel NOW! series starting this month, pick-up Thor, God of Thunder. Jason Aaron (Wolverine and the X-Men, Scalped, Ghost Rider), local writer, dares to tell a Thor epic to rival the classic tales of Walt Simonson. A three-pronged narrative focuses on Thor of the past, Thor of the present, and King Thor of the future as all three versions contend with a threat the Asgardian has never faced before: A serial killer of gods. Along with Aaron’s time-spanning story, Esad Ribic’s (Silver Surfer: Requiem) painterly artwork turns the comic page into a mural, turning a simple comic book into a piece of mythology. And since of book of this quality deserves it, variant covers abound, featuring artwork from Ribic himself, Scottie Young, and Daniel Arcuna. Make yourself worthy of Mjölnir a pick up a copy.
Just as a reminder that there are other comic book publishers out there other than Marvel, let’s finish the night with a look at a new series from Image Comics. Riding a wave of successful series like Manhattan Projects, Saga, Happy, and Revival, Image releases Great Pacific, a grand adventure in an unusual location. Texas-born Chas Worthington is a trust-fund baby and a grade-A rich boy, inheriting the money of his oil baron father, but that doesn’t mean he has no principles. Setting out to tackle a task unheard of in his social circle, Chas decides to eliminate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating mass of trash that continues to build in the North Pacific Ocean (it’s a real thing). Martin Morazzo’s extremely detailed artwork renders every bit of debris and filth that Joe Harris’ scripts describe, making this another Image book to admire.