Thursday, January 6, 2011

Too Much Awesome: Marvel comics in March

Fear Itself: Prologue
Marvel's "point one" issues

When DC announced it was scaling prices back to $2.99 across the line, Marvel's reaction was more or less, "Yeah, we're doing that, too!" As it turned out, that was a lie. Then there was something about "point one" issues being priced cheaper to invite new readers onto ongoing books.

What I thought this meant was that issues featuring a new creative team or starting a new story arc would be marked as such and sold for a dollar cheaper than regular issues. But it seems that's not at all what we're getting.

In the solicitations for March, there's a Captain America #615.1. This is a special issue sandwiched in between February's regular  #615 and March's #616 (which happens to be a special 70th Anniversary issue selling for an extra dollar, so, the dollar you'd be saving on #615.1 is basically cancelled out by the $4.99 price tag on the next issue).

What's not clear to me is whether this point one issue is essential for those who are already following the series, or if it's strictly geared toward new readers. Because if it's part of the main continuity of the series, then that means people have to buy an extra book every time one of these point one issues comes out. And I don't understand how that benefits anyone.

The case of Thor #620.1 is even more confusing. It's not even written or drawn by the current creative team and it's inserted smack in the middle of a storyline. In fact, the solicitation text for #621 starts with the word "FINALE!" in all-caps, suggesting this is the conclusion of the story that started in issue #615. (It also ends, rather confusingly, with the sentence: "Brought to you by two Matts, a John, and the marvelous Pasqual." I know who the first Matt is and the marvelous Pasqual - they're the writer and artist who are credited as the creative team - but who's the other Matt and the John? Beats me.)

So the "point one" issue isn't even part of the current story, it's written by a different writer and drawn by a different artist. How is that helping anybody? Why not just make it a one-shot? Don't pretend that it's an easy jump-on point to the regular series when it clearly isn't.

Meanwhile, the first issue of the new Venom ongoing and Fear Itself: Prologue - two series/events that I might be genuinely interested in checking out as a new reader - are both priced at $3.99. Well, guess what, Marvel? I won't be buying either of them.

Marvel Architects

By labeling certain writers as the architects of its universe and claiming that they are "telling the most exciting and impactful stories" every month, isn't Marvel implicitly saying that the rest of the books don't really matter? I mean, bother picking up anything else if it's not going to be "impactful." (Ugh! That's not a word!) They're basically encouraging the worst sin of comic fandom, which is to only pay attention to "the stories that matter," regardless of quality, while ignoring critically acclaimed gems like Thor: The Mighty Avenger until they get cancelled.

5 Ronin
5 Ronin

A story featuring five Marvel heroes, set in 17th Century Japan, written by Peter Milligan? Yeah, that looks pretty amazing. I'll buy it.

CrossGen reimagined by Marvel

I've never read any CrossGen stuff, so I'm not immediately interested by these two new mini-series (Sigil and Ruse). A lot of other people seem to be excited by this, so I might have a look. It'll probably depend on my budget more than anything else.

Avengers: The Children's Crusade - Young Avengers #1

What the hell is this? Avengers: The Children's Crusade, the 9-part limited that's getting stretched out over 18 very slow months, is getting interrupted for a one-shot? They call it a "stand-alone tale that's the perfect jumping-on point for a new readers," but I can't hardly make any sense of the solicitation blurb. I'm totally losing interest and considering just dropping the series. The only reason I won't is it features one of the only gay couples in the Marvel universe and that is relevant to my interests.

Five Captain America one-shots?

Because the 12 other books he appears in this month were not enough? Okay. I'll pass.

FF Issue One

I haven't been reading Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four, but I'll admit. I'm tempted by this. I don't know if it's the fact that we know pretty much nothing about where it's headed or what, but I'm considering it.


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